I’ve been at the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati since Thursday. This has turned into one of the largest conventions in the country–I heard an estimate of eleven thousand people here. Big busy vendor hall, multiple meeting rooms, scary escalator which was always filled with a constant stream of people feeding into it at the bottom and spilling out at the top. I kept having visions of someone at the top falling backwards like a human domino.

Mom and I got to travel together to this convention, which we haven’t done for quite a while; she doesn’t speak as often as she used to (travel is exhausting for her).

I’ve been speaking at education conferences for ten years, and I always send the conference organizers a list of topics to choose from. We update it each year; this year’s topic list looks like this.

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES (can also be offered as workshops)

Home Schooling the Second Time
Susan Wise Bauer was educated at home for almost all of her elementary and secondary school years, went on to college and graduate school, and now teaches at the university level and home schools her own four children (her oldest has now graduated from high school and will be attending college in the fall). As she looks back over her own twelve years of home education, she picks out those elements which were most valuable to her in her adult life, which techniques and programs she has chosen to reproduce with her own children–and which aspects of her own education were mistakes!

The Joy of Classical Education: An Introduction to Classical Education at Home.
Susan Wise Bauer
An overview of the philosophy of classical education and the ways in which
home schoolers can pursue classical learning at home. Covers the
distinctives of classical education, the benefits to the student, the three
stages of classical learning (grades 1-4, 5- 8, and 9-12), the subjects
taught in each stage, and the overall goals of classical education. Also discusses the place of delight-led learning, and offers ways in which every home schooler can borrow from the classical tradition.

Educating Our Own Minds: How to Teach Ourselves as we Teach Our Kids
Susan Wise Bauer
Educating our children involves educating ourselves. And that means gaining confidence in our own intellectual abilities—rather than relying solely on “experts.” Come discover a plan for self-education in the classical tradition, including scheduling for busy adults; setting up a reading plan that involves understanding, analyzing, and discussing literature; and mastering the skills needed for reading classic fiction and nonfiction.


The Well-Trained Mind: Academic Excellence through Classical Education,
Grades K-4
Susan Wise Bauer
A practical, specific workshop covering the how-tos of classical education
for grades K-4. The place of memorization in the early years; foundations
for good reading and writing; using narration; placing history at the core
of the curriculum; relating literature to history; introducing Latin early;
mastering the facts of mathematics; the place of science in the classical
curriculum. Includes recommendations of curricula and books.

The Well-Trained Mind: Academic Excellence through Classical Education,
Grades 5-8
Susan Wise Bauer
A practical, specific workshop covering the how-tos of classical education
for grades 5-8. Introducing critical thinking and logic for middle-school
students; the chronological study of history as the center of the
curriculum; relating literature to history; developing skills in outlining
and in critical essay writing; foreign language study; moving into more
abstract mathematics; experiment-based science for home schoolers. Includes
recommendations of curricula and books.

The Well-Trained Mind: Academic Excellence through Classical Education,
Grades 9-12
Susan Wise Bauer
A practical, specific workshop covering the how-tos of classical education
for grades 9- 12. Using the Great Books as a combined history and
literature course; how to teach the classics at home (for intimidated
parents!); the study of rhetoric (written and spoken expression); advanced
writing and mathematics for home schoolers; how to do high school science at
home; foreign language study. Also covers use of tutors, online tutorials,
and other resources; preparing the high school transcript; preparing for
college admissions; and completing junior and senior “honors projects.”
Includes recommendations of curricula and books.

A Plan for Teaching Writing, Grades K-12 (Also titled Writing Well: A Plan
for Grades 1-12)
Susan Wise Bauer
An overall plan for producing good writers at home. This workshop explains
how to guide your student through a simple progression (copying, dictation, narration,
summarizing, outlining, short critical essays, long critical essays,
research paper) that will develop both writing and thinking skills in a
systematic, stepwise manner. Includes suggestions on how to use these
writing and thinking skills in every area of the curriculum. Recommended for those teaching all K-6 students, as well as for those teaching older students who are reluctant writers.

A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus on the Middle Grades
Susan Wise Bauer
Expanding on the principles presented in “A Plan for Teaching Writing,” this workshop offers very specific guidance in how to teach middle grade (logic-stage) students the skills of constructing an argument, outlining and writing from an outline. Includes training in outlining, writing from an outline, basic Socratic dialogue, and evaluation and grading. Essential for those teaching all 5-8 students; since written argumentation is the basis of high school writing, this seminar is also highly recommended for those teaching high school students. Students in grades 5-12 are encouraged to attend.

A Plan for Teaching Writing: Focus on the High School Years
Susan Wise Bauer
Expanding on the principles presented in “A Plan for Teaching Writing,” this seminar covers all of the types of writing that high school students should learn before entering the freshmen year of college: response papers, summaries, and critical essays across the curriculum Attendance at “Focus on the Middle Grades” seminar is highly recommended. Students in grades 8-12 are encouraged to attend.

Teaching Students to Work Independently
Susan Wise Bauer
A plan for helping middle and high school (logic and rhetoric-stage) students move towards independent learning. Offers step-by-step guidance for parents and students as well as troubleshooting. Students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to attend.

What is Literary Analysis? When, Why, and How Should I Teach It?
Susan Wise Bauer
You know that your children should read—but what else should you be doing to teach them skills in literature? After teaching literature at the college levelfor over a decade, Susan has seen the results of many different methods. This seminar will guide you towards the most effective way to teach literature. Offers a foundational explanation of what literary analysis is, a list of skills that need to be covered, guidance in how to teach them, and resource recommendations.

How To Read a Book (With Apologies to Adler)
Susan Wise Bauer
Offers specific training in the three levels of reading, explaining how they are applied in different genres and how they lead to the development of skills in literary criticism. For high school students and self-educators. [Overlaps with “What Is Literary Analysis”; please choose only one]

Preparing for College Admissions
Susan Wise Bauer
Start thinking about college in seventh grade! But even if your child is
older, all is not lost. This workshop covers both proper academic
preparation for college (writing skills needed for college classes,
necessary background in liberal arts and sciences, SAT preparation and
testing, etc.) and the technicalities of keeping high school records that
will impress college admissions officers. We will discuss portfolios,
writing samples, transcripts, diplomas, and extra-curricular activities as
well as choosing a school, filling out an application, and writing
admissions essays.


A Hands-On Seminar: Basic Literary Criticism
Susan Wise Bauer
Susan will lead a selected group of students in discussion of a literary work and the construction of a response paper. All are welcome to observe. Students must register ahead of time and complete assigned reading before the seminar begins. Intended for students in grades 7-12.

A Hands-On Seminar: Constructing an Argument
Susan Wise Bauer
Susan will lead a selected group of students in the construction of several types of written argumentation; covers thesis statements, outlines, and the writing of effective prose. All are welcome to observe. Students must register ahead of time and complete assigned reading before the seminar begins. Intended for students in grades 7-12.

ALL-DAY SEMINARS (4 consecutive sessions of at least 60 minutes each)

A Walk Through Ancient History
Susan Wise Bauer
Take a chronological guided tour through the ancient world before 300 AD. This introduction to ancient times, first developed for and presented at the Smithsonian, moves through the “high points” of history—those events which shaped the future. This seminar prepares high school students and parents for the study of ancient history and literature.

A Walk Through Medieval History
Susan Wise Bauer
Take a chronological guided tour through the medieval world, from Constantine’s vision at the Milvian Bridge in 312 and the First Crusade. This introduction to the medieval world offers four unifying themes around which to structure our understanding of the history and literature of the Middle Ages.

Hardly ANYONE chooses the history seminars. But this conference asked me to do the Walk Through Medieval History. It’s actually the first time I’ve presented those four sessions, so I spent a lot of extra time fretting over my maps and notes; the initial presentation of a new seminar is always nerve-wracking. (In the end, I felt like the first and last sessions went well; I’m going to make some changes to the two middle sessions.)

I also spent some time wandering around the vendor hall counting how many “the well-” products there were. Not that we were the first people to use “The Well-” as part of a title (Bach got to it first), but since The Well-Trained Mind came out I sure have seen a lot of oddly similar titles. Like The Well-Behaved Child, which the author was selling at this conference. And The Well-Adjusted Child, a book about socialization for home schoolers. And this one:

Interesting title for a planner.

Showing 15 comments
  • moshome7

    Why, oh why, did I look at the topics list? So envious. Your mom looks spectacular in red, by the way!

  • I was there. It was such a blast! It was nice to be revived in my homeschooling journey again and be able to explore the vendor hall.

    I was able to go to the workshop of how to teach myself. I really enjoyed it and I’m ready to apply it to myself as I find snippets of time as chasms are not an option;)

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Jane

    Your mom looks so pretty in her red suit — love that!

    Sounds like an interesting convention. I would have attended the Walk Thru Medieval History session. Oh well…

  • Greta

    Thanks so much for coming to Cincinnati again. Glad to see you will be back next year. I appreciate your candor in your “Homeschooling the Second Time” talk. I’ve heard you give it at least three times, including yesterday. It seems that every year I need to be reminded to trust my gut and take a daily “nap time” break. I would love to hear your “Preparing for College Admissions” talk next year.

  • Sebastian (a lady)

    That’s it. I’ve had enough. Next year I’m planning to go to this. Don’t know where in the world we’ll be living, but it looks like Spring Break will be in Cincinnati.

  • SallyOH

    I was there. If it gets much more crowded, I don’t think I’ll be able to stand it. Too much like an ant hill. I didn’t get to any of your sessions this year–I wanted to hear the history stuff, but felt like I should focus on the more practical offerings. Sorry! It must have been interesting to talk about history instead of the writing and college prep stuff you’ve done for the past two years.

  • SallyOH

    Oh, and by the way, I think it’s tacky for the other companies to use “The Well-planned…..” whatever. When I first saw the planner on the internet, I wondered if it was somehow linked with TWTM. Just think, now you know how Steve Jobs must feel with all of the “i—–” products out there!

  • Pam Klehm

    I’ve been homeschooling my two boys for six years and this was my first conference. (I know what you mean about those escalators…wish I had taken a picture!) I really wanted to see Homeschooling the Second Time but unfortunately we couldn’t stay until the last session on Saturday, when you presented it. And it’s not even available on CD…darn! Hopefully you’ll present this topic next year…yes??

    I did enjoy your topic on Educating Ourselves. I bought the book and am enjoying that, as well.

    Thank you, Susan. I don’t know what we would have done had I not found The Well-Trained Mind so many years ago!


  • Melissa in Australia

    I would LOVE to go to a homeschooling convention. I would have attended every one of your classes. but , unfortunately , America is just to far away!

  • susan t

    My 15 yr old son and I attended the tail end of Medievel History 1 on our way to Med Hist 2 and returned for session 3 and we really enjoyed them. You are a GREAT presenter which I imagine comes from your eclectic mix of researcher/author, college prof, writer, and clearly down to earth homeschool mom. So from our viewpoint, 2 and 3 were fine. I bought #1 on CD so my history loving college daughter can hear you and so I could understand your theme for that time period. Thank you so much for the presentation! I took my son to this conf so he could hear several Summit Ministries talks and he chose to break those up with your sessions 🙂 OT – but the other way we cleared our heads was attending the Cubs-Reds game…

    And I agree the escalators were a definite cause for concern… we tended to use the short ones on the other hallway down from your “classroom”.

  • Katie Heyward

    Susan, Just wanted you to know I enjoyed all 4 of your Medieval talks. Very informative. I also went to your mother’s workshop just because I could (I won’t be teaching reading for a very long time – until I am a Grandma maybe). You both are a strong, encouraging voice in the homeschool movement. Keep up the good work. We need you and your books.

  • Kathy

    Were the sessions recorded? I’d love to purchase them if they are available!

  • polly

    your last line gave me my great laugh o’ the morning. thank you!

  • Beth in New Jersey



    Do you have a few of these, LOL?


    Are you one of these? (It’s not what you might think).

  • Jenny Jensen

    Are any of your sessions available for purchase on cd? I would love to hear them.

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