Writer, historian, and educator

Publisher and editor-in-chief of Well-Trained Mind Press, a small press (distributed by W. W. Norton) that publishes K12 resources for teaching in the classical tradition.

Owner, Well-Trained Mind Learning Services, an educational consultancy

Member of the faculty, College of William and Mary, 1994-2012.

Board, The Clemente Course in the Humanities, www.clementecourse.org
Advisory Board, Education & Culture: A Critical Review, www.educationandculture.org
Contributing Editor, Comment, www.cardus.ca/comment

Education

  • Ph.D. in American Studies, College of William and Mary in Virginia, 2007
    Concentrations in nineteenth-century American literature and the history of American religion
  • M.A. in English Language and Literature, College of William & Mary, 1996
    Concentrations in 17th-century literature and translation theory
  • M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1991
    Concentration in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature
  • A. in English Language and Literature with Greek minor, 1988

Current Topics of Interest:

History and politics
  • The rise of slavery before the Atlantic slave trade began
  • The connection between medical advances and cultural change; the interplay between our sense of physical vulnerability and our willingness to take social risks
  • Religious rhetoric in secular American politics
  • The struggles of women in the contemporary world of American conservative religion
  • The possibility of doing world history: telling a narrative that makes sense and encompasses the entire world
Education
  • Neo-classical education: recovering the standards and skills of classical education for modern schooling
  • Nontraditional educational paths
  • The responsibility (and rights) of parents to take on the role of teaching children at home when their school options have failed
  • Self-education for adults through reading the classics in literature, history, and politics
  • Learning and teaching the basics of good writing, grammar, and persuasive argumentation
  • Teaching world history on both on the college and secondary school level

Books

  • Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education. W. W. Norton, 2018.
  • The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, fourth ed. W. W. Norton, 2016 (previous editions 2009, 2004, 1999).
  • The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, revised and updated edition, W. W. Norton, 2015.
  • The Story of Western Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory.  W. Norton, 2015. (Previously published as The Story of Science.)
  • The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople. W. W. Norton, 2013.
  • The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade. W. W. Norton, 2010.
  • The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Public Confession in America. Princeton University Press, 2008.

Curricula

  • Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind: A Complete Course for Young Writers, Aspiring Rhetoricians, and Anyone Else Who Needs to Understand How English Works. Well-Trained Mind Press, 2018. A four-year series for middle and high school.
  • The Complete Writer: Writing With Skill. Well-Trained Mind Press, 2015. A three-year pre-rhetoric program.
  • The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease. Well-Trained Mind Press, 2009. A four-year elementary expository writing program.
  • The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child. Well-Trained Mind Press, 2008. A four-volume narrative world history for grades 1-6, along with accompanying teaching guides, tests, and supplementary materials.

Representative College Courses Taught

  • British Literature Survey I and British Literature Survey II
  • American Literature: Themes and Issues
  • American Literature, 1865-1920
  • Literature and the Bible
  • Introduction to Creative Writing
  • Advanced Expository Writing
  • Creative Writing: Fiction
  • Advanced Workshop in Fiction Writing

Representative Public Lectures

  • A Plan for Teaching Writing, Grades K-12
  • Neo-Classical Education: A Pattern for Modern Educators
  • Teaching the Real Child: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Learning
  • The Role of Public Confession in American Politics
  • A Walk through Ancient History: A One-Day Seminar
  • A Walk through Medieval History: A One-Day Seminar
  • A Walk through the Renaissance: A One-Day Seminar
  • The History of Science, From Aristotle to Quantum Physics: A One-Day Seminar
  • Educating Yourself in the Classical Tradition: A One-Day Seminar

Lectures have been presented at the Smithsonian, the National Montessori Convention, the Royal Society of the Arts (London), the Midwest Educators Convention, the Florida Parent-Educator Association, and elsewhere.

Representative Workshops Given at Educational Conferences

  • An Introduction to Classical Education
  • Teaching Students to Work Independently
  • A Plan for Teaching Writing
  • What is Literary Analysis? When, Why, and How Should I Teach It?
  • What Is History? Why Should I Teach It?
  • How to Read a Book (With Apologies to Adler)
  • Preparing for College Admissions
  • A Hands-On Seminar: Basic Literary Criticism
  • A Hands-On Seminar: Constructing an Argument
  • Educating Ourselves: How to Teach Ourselves

Workshops have been presented at many state education conventions; among them, the conventions sponsored by the Utah Home Educators Association, the Home Educators Association of Virginia, the Washington Homeschool Association, the Home Education Association of California, the Long Island/New York Home Schooling Convention, the Arizona for Home Schooling Families Convention, the Southeastern Homeschool Expo, and others.

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