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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century

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Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, O Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, Oliver DeMille presents a new educational vision based on proven methods that really work! Teachers, students, parents, educators, legislators, leaders and everyone who cares about America's future must read this compelling book.


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Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, O Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, Oliver DeMille presents a new educational vision based on proven methods that really work! Teachers, students, parents, educators, legislators, leaders and everyone who cares about America's future must read this compelling book.

30 review for A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Natalya

    Okay, so I have been reading a lot of reviews about this book. It seems that either you hate it or love it. Well let me say that on a very deep level this book has changed my life. I am a twenty-three year old woman, and I was home schooled using this method. If it is done properly I think it is the best way to raise a child. From the freedom I experienced when I was young to the long hours of study that I did when I was a teen, I loved it all. This book is a jewel and anyone who tells you diffe Okay, so I have been reading a lot of reviews about this book. It seems that either you hate it or love it. Well let me say that on a very deep level this book has changed my life. I am a twenty-three year old woman, and I was home schooled using this method. If it is done properly I think it is the best way to raise a child. From the freedom I experienced when I was young to the long hours of study that I did when I was a teen, I loved it all. This book is a jewel and anyone who tells you different hasn't actually tried implementing the principles. I have personally meet Dr. Demille, and he has got to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. If you have doubts about his credibility, just listen to him lecture for an hour, all doubts will be chased from your mind. Don't just read this book, do what's in it. It will change your life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charyce

    I began reading all the parenting books I could in an attempt to gain the skills I needed to manage the behaviors of our youngest daughter who suffers from ADHD, Impulsive and Anxiety Disorder. My brother recommended I read A Thomas Jefferson Education, insisting that it was the source from where he gathered his knowledge of how to properly care for his family and prepare them for these Latter Days. I bought it that day. Read it. Wept. Though it is a book about education, I found it more to be an I began reading all the parenting books I could in an attempt to gain the skills I needed to manage the behaviors of our youngest daughter who suffers from ADHD, Impulsive and Anxiety Disorder. My brother recommended I read A Thomas Jefferson Education, insisting that it was the source from where he gathered his knowledge of how to properly care for his family and prepare them for these Latter Days. I bought it that day. Read it. Wept. Though it is a book about education, I found it more to be an inspiration and guide for my role as a parent in preparing my children to reach their greatness. And although it is not a book specifically proclaiming that homeschooling your children is the only right way to achieve that greatness, I could not put it down without concluding for myself that homeschooling was the answer. Within a week Taytum was pulled from the public school system and was home with me. This was a new concept for my habitual self, since I had previously ached for the sound of the school bus brakes in the morning as the Pavlov dog salivates to his bell. But the testimony from the truths I had read was strong enough for me to overcome my previous self-centered routine. The first day we began homeschooling, we sat at the dining room table contemplating the day and what to do for "school." Taytum was impossible to focus. I began to dread my decision and clasped my head in my hands and prayed. While I was praying, Taytum asked me what I was doing. I told her. She said to me, "I didn't know you could pray without using your voice!" A beautiful conversation ensued. I explained to her about praying in your heart, and being able to always talk to your Heavenly Father whenever you have a question or problem and He will hear you. Listening to me intently, she then rested her head in her hands and began to quietly move her lips. She suddenly blurted out with wide-eyed excitement "It really works!" Our first day of home-school was a success. The following days were also successes, as one by one great awarenesses began to spurt from her tiny self and heal her repressed spirit. One morning as she helped me mop the Kitchen floor, she looked up at me with pure joy in her face and said "Mom, I am so happy to be alive! I get to be with you every day!" A far cry from the previous year when she tormented us with thoughts of wanting to die and feeling like she was so stupid she should just "jump into a bunch of hot lava and kill herself." Another day she exclaimed as she was happily helping me around the house, "Mom, me heart is telling me that I am choosing the right! I am so happy!" Success! Pack up the textbooks, no need for them here. As with any pilgrimage, there are difficult paths to travel. Days filled with weariness and question. But what gets you to the end is endurance of faith. So it is with our journey. The days we are broken down and immovable we look forward and find a gentle strength that pushes us from behind. The days our fires are stomped out and we sit blindly in the cold with the shiver of regret, we press together and warm ourselves with other's lights. As each day passes we see where we have come. We continue on, one foot ahead of the other and enjoy the things we see on the way. Quite the book review! How can you not read it now?! I know what you are thinking, "But if I read it then I will know it is true and I'll have to do something about it." So be it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    I read "A Thomas Jefferson Education" for a book club. I had never heard of the book and didn't really know what to expect...except that when I got it from the library I was surprised at how short it was - for some reason I had expected it to be longer. I was immediately turned off by the first chapter - the story about the child that goes to kindergarten and has all this creativity and then it is sucked out of him by the merciless kindergarten teacher, leaving him colorless and un-creative. I n I read "A Thomas Jefferson Education" for a book club. I had never heard of the book and didn't really know what to expect...except that when I got it from the library I was surprised at how short it was - for some reason I had expected it to be longer. I was immediately turned off by the first chapter - the story about the child that goes to kindergarten and has all this creativity and then it is sucked out of him by the merciless kindergarten teacher, leaving him colorless and un-creative. I nearly stopped reading altogether. I suppose the author intended for it to be an attention grabber, however I felt it was overly dramatic and a harsh representation of kindergarten teachers. I have known many marvelous public school teachers, and I immediately felt defensive. I agree with what could be considered the author's main philosophies. I think that mentoring is one (but not the only) great way to learn. I believe that there is much truth to be found in classics. However I disagreed with many other statements and conclusions that he makes in this book. First, the author states many times that if you want to use this method, this book is the only resource you need. But I think that if I really wanted to use the TJE method to teach my children, I would need much more than this. A friend uses the supplemental materials, and she seemed to have a much deeper understanding of the process. And I felt that after her explanations, I understood his method much better. So he should state, "This book and the supplemental workbooks are all you need to implement this method." One of the author's theories is that this private mentoring education was used by aristocrats in past centuries as educational method of choice, and so we should continue to use this method because it was used by the elite, and it produced some great leaders such as Thomas Jefferson. However, I am not sure that it was purely this educational method that produced the great mind of Thomas Jefferson and others. I think that in great leaders there is already a lot of innate genius. And I also think that the argument "this is the way the aristocrats were taught" is an extremely poor argument - it seems to me that aristocrats were historically out of touch with the common man's plight, making them poor leaders. I was quite disturbed by what I felt was an overgeneralization the author made in regards to learning to read. He states that "late readers are life long readers", and gives the example of his son who didn't learn to read until quite late, but now is an avid reader. Marc Fey of University of Kansas has done multiple literacy studies, and has found that there is a literacy window (that closes around age 5), and that children that do not gain age appropriate literacy skills by then almost never catch up. I am sure that because the author and his wife are educators, his son was provided with the most nurturing of literacy environments for his entire life. My concern is that people reading this book will only remember "late readers are life long readers" and not provide necessary literacy opportunities, leaving kids who never really learn to read. When I finished this book, I searched for some reviews on this book to see what other professional educators thought about these theories. I was concerned about the lack of peer review on this book. What I did find was a review from a reader on Amazon.com that seriously discredited the author. I don't immediately believe anything I find posted on the internet, but it did raise questions in my mind. I would like to see more studies done on the effectiveness of his methods, or at least some peer review of his work, before I would consider it a valid method for education.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tia

    I've read a lot of reviews on this book, some negative and some positive. Mine will be positive. I've read of many criticisms regarding flaws in the educational program that Dr. DeMille has presented in this book. I would like to argue that Dr. DeMille is not really presenting a program of education, but a philosophy of education. The philosophy is basically this: The only person that you can educate is yourself. The only TRUE education is self-education. I suppose this goes against the philosoph I've read a lot of reviews on this book, some negative and some positive. Mine will be positive. I've read of many criticisms regarding flaws in the educational program that Dr. DeMille has presented in this book. I would like to argue that Dr. DeMille is not really presenting a program of education, but a philosophy of education. The philosophy is basically this: The only person that you can educate is yourself. The only TRUE education is self-education. I suppose this goes against the philosophy of some teachers and school directors, but I don't think that any good teacher could deny the truth of this philosophy of self-education if they pondered it with an open heart. Don't we always hear, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"? Nobody can force another person to learn anything. Along with this philosophy Dr. DeMille outlines how self-education is best promoted--not only for oneself, but by teachers truly inspiring their students. This outline includes, primarily, inspiring teachers and the use of classics (created by other inspiring teachers, past and present, in any field, and in any venue). There have been periods in my educational history that I have been taught by the use of what this book calls the Thomas Jefferson Education method, and times when other educational philosophies were applied to me. I've come to see that any time I have been inspired to real education, it's been when the principles of Thomas Jefferson Education were applied, even if the teacher or the program did not claim to ascribe to this method. Thomas Jefferson Education is simply the title that Dr. Oliver DeMille has given to the best of educational methods and philosophies that have ever been used today and in history--the only one that truly works.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I desperately wanted to like this book the second time I read it. When I read it for the first time about four years ago, I felt surprised that so many people liked it, and in the ensuing years, I continued to find that many of my friends were impressed by it. My rereading was an attempt to give it a fair chance. However, I rediscovered the same problems: the author's points were either poorly argued or regurgitated from other sources. Everything he wrote that was original I disagreed with, and I desperately wanted to like this book the second time I read it. When I read it for the first time about four years ago, I felt surprised that so many people liked it, and in the ensuing years, I continued to find that many of my friends were impressed by it. My rereading was an attempt to give it a fair chance. However, I rediscovered the same problems: the author's points were either poorly argued or regurgitated from other sources. Everything he wrote that was original I disagreed with, and everything I found to be true I have found in other sources both better written and more persuasively argued.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Although I was a annoyed by the propaganda in this book, didn't agree with many of his opinions, and found him repetitive, I was able to weed through and find things that I thought could improve my children's education. This book is a big proponent of homeschooling, but I feel these suggestions can be used to improve any form of education. Here are my notes: --read great books (classics) with your children and discuss them together --ask good questions and let your children figure it out...encoura Although I was a annoyed by the propaganda in this book, didn't agree with many of his opinions, and found him repetitive, I was able to weed through and find things that I thought could improve my children's education. This book is a big proponent of homeschooling, but I feel these suggestions can be used to improve any form of education. Here are my notes: --read great books (classics) with your children and discuss them together --ask good questions and let your children figure it out...encourage curiosity and thinking --study the lives of great teachers together...Gandhi, Washington, Churchill, Mother Teresa, etc... --teach love of learning by example --“It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds….In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.” William Ellery Channing --"When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.” Clifton Fadiman

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love the concept of Leadership Education - focusing on how to think instead of what to think. That is the focus of the book. How to inspire, and get out of the education box. However, I think he's a lousy writer. And while I agree w/ the basic concepts, they are written somewhat manipulatively - like if you don't agree w/ him you are an idiot. Also, he doesn't cite his sources all the time, which is annoying. DeMille's book is definitely propoganda for his college - George Wythe College. But w I love the concept of Leadership Education - focusing on how to think instead of what to think. That is the focus of the book. How to inspire, and get out of the education box. However, I think he's a lousy writer. And while I agree w/ the basic concepts, they are written somewhat manipulatively - like if you don't agree w/ him you are an idiot. Also, he doesn't cite his sources all the time, which is annoying. DeMille's book is definitely propoganda for his college - George Wythe College. But w/ all that said, it's worth looking at the concept of Leadership Education, and some of his implementations are very practical.

  8. 4 out of 5

    C

    This book annoyed and disappointed me in so many ways. First, he holds up George Wythe College as the end-all of the best possible education ever (according to his non-research-substantiated ideas). Having had some interaction with people who went to George Wythe, I have to say I'm underwhelmed. Two, he recommends not starting to get serious about educating your child until they're seven or eight. What a waste of their early years, the years when they'll actually listen to you! And I doubt there This book annoyed and disappointed me in so many ways. First, he holds up George Wythe College as the end-all of the best possible education ever (according to his non-research-substantiated ideas). Having had some interaction with people who went to George Wythe, I have to say I'm underwhelmed. Two, he recommends not starting to get serious about educating your child until they're seven or eight. What a waste of their early years, the years when they'll actually listen to you! And I doubt there are many modern teenagers willing to spend TWELVE hours per day on their studies once they hit the "scholar" stage that the author describes. I suspect most people who use TJEd find that they have to put their kids into public schools by high school because this method of education is "not working for their individual child". Could it be that the method of education is simply unsound? Could it be that Mr. Van DeMille is the emperor with no clothes on? Go ahead, look into his academic credentials. They seem pretty wispy to me. Three, as a math major in college, I'm disgusted by the feeble plan he sets out for math education. "Read Euclid and Newton in the original." That's not going to teach you how to quickly perform basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra operations. Learning the principles of calculus won't help you apply them if you can't even factor a binomial. If a person doesn't mind their child turning out functionally-illiterate at math, then this book is for you! Four, what parent has time to read everything they want their child to read? Aren't adults supposed to be earning money, serving in their community, running a household, caring for younger children, etc.? Adults are no longer children, and their primary job in life is no longer learning to prepare for the responsibilities of adulthood. (If the adult doesn't feel he or she gained enough knowledge in their earlier life, then perhaps they should consider the possibility that the book's author is hoodwinking them into following a philosophy that helps him sell a lot of books and lecture programs of dubious efficacy.) If a child's only serious reading is that which their parents can also read so as to be able to discuss the book in a "mentoring" way, either the parent isn't doing enough adult work or the child isn't being exposed to enough material. If you want to give your child a real classical education, consider reading The Well-Trained Mind and following it instead. After reading that book, Oliver Van DeMille looks like a cheap copycat.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    Disclaimer: To any and all people who think TJed is the greatest and newest idea since sliced bread: Carry On! This is only a BOOK review. My hope is that the critical thinkers who gave this book such good ratings had already embraced the idea of TJed before reading this book. Perhaps they are rating the TJed system, and not the book as it stands alone. It was painful for me to read the first thirty-five pages of this book, where Van DeMille tries to make a convincing argument that: Firstly, "Ed Disclaimer: To any and all people who think TJed is the greatest and newest idea since sliced bread: Carry On! This is only a BOOK review. My hope is that the critical thinkers who gave this book such good ratings had already embraced the idea of TJed before reading this book. Perhaps they are rating the TJed system, and not the book as it stands alone. It was painful for me to read the first thirty-five pages of this book, where Van DeMille tries to make a convincing argument that: Firstly, "Education will never be fixed, and in fact doesn't need to be fixed" because (drum roll). . . education can't be defined, and lastly "Education can't be fixed" . . . UNTIL (!) we stop believing that education is possible. I am not joking. Three paragraphs beginning on page eleven. I'm presuming that the author began sharing his ideas on the public speaking circuit where people might fail to notice that you are talking in circles. It would also be easier to make unfounded assertions when speaking. Here's a good one: "The actual curriculum of the public school system is about 75% social and 25% skills." Where in the world did he come up with those numbers? He doesn't say, but if you have your doubts he encourages you to back up his argument by asking your friends and family. (pg. 28) In my opinion, this book would hardly stand up to any honest scholarly review. It reads more like the op/ed section of the newspaper with a kind of populist appeal. As in Van DeMille's subtle "Soviet conveyor belt method" label for public education. I have no problem with homeschool. In fact, the women I know who teach their children at home are very intelligent, very dedicated, and make a lot of sacrifices in order for their children to receive a great education. And I don't know anyone who would argue that studying the classics is a bad idea, obviously. I am just a little concerned that Van DeMille feels himself qualified to be a "mentor of mentors" since he's no great shakes as a writer. And lastly, I don't get the "Anniversary Classic Edition" seal on the cover? Anniversary of what? Six years since the first edition?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Young

    This book was fabulous!! My friend Julia, a homeschooler, recommended it when she found out I was going to be homeschooling Miriam next year. It discusses our current educational system as compared to the education of the founding fathers, especially the most educated of the bunch: Thomas Jefferson. Basically, the author says that the best education is gained through reading books that are deemed classics because they contribute to our knowledge of human nature and right and wrong. After you rea This book was fabulous!! My friend Julia, a homeschooler, recommended it when she found out I was going to be homeschooling Miriam next year. It discusses our current educational system as compared to the education of the founding fathers, especially the most educated of the bunch: Thomas Jefferson. Basically, the author says that the best education is gained through reading books that are deemed classics because they contribute to our knowledge of human nature and right and wrong. After you read a classic, you should write about you learned and discuss what you learned with someone. The author labels that someone a "mentor." The mentor can then ask probing questions, which leads to more thinking, reading, and writing, and possibly some oral presentations. At the end of all that, you start reading another classic. And so on. And so on. Until you have a firmly established belief in what is wrong and right and what actions will lead to positive consequences and which actions will not, and basically answers to all other big life questions. Fascinating, fabulous, I loved it. The first "classic" Miriam and I will start with--Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Now that woman teaches some life lessons! Which reminds me, the author included several lists of "classics" in an appendix and I loved that the lists included The Sackett series, Walking Drum, and Lonesome Gods, as well as Ender's Game, Anne of Green Gables, The Black Stallion Series, and several others that don't usually end up on your typical "classics" lists. As the author said, it is all about what lessons you are trying to teach and which books teach those ideas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    This is the book that inspires to me read better books, to read more often, and to continue my education. If anyone says you are just born either liking to read or not it is not true. We can all improve our study habits by improving the books we read. Leslie says this theory could also be known as a "Louis Lamour education" as Louis Lamour also was an avid reader. (Which reminds me of another great book --Louis Lamour's autobiography.) But this book is more than just about reading. It's about ou This is the book that inspires to me read better books, to read more often, and to continue my education. If anyone says you are just born either liking to read or not it is not true. We can all improve our study habits by improving the books we read. Leslie says this theory could also be known as a "Louis Lamour education" as Louis Lamour also was an avid reader. (Which reminds me of another great book --Louis Lamour's autobiography.) But this book is more than just about reading. It's about our entire lifetime of learning. It's about continually seeking knowledge and experience for ourselves and our families. It's about seeking opportunities to get involved in the community and our country. It's about taking a more active interest in our children's education and our own.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Reread: July 2012. Reread: May 2012. I think I got more out of this book this time around than any time so far. I absolutely love this book! Reread: July 2011 Reread again: 11/26/2010. This book continues to empower and inspire me. --------------------------------------- I just finished rereading this book for the fifteenth... thirtieth time? I don't know. I first read it about five years ago. It all started then. This book has had a profound affect on my life. The first thing it did for me was to i Reread: July 2012. Reread: May 2012. I think I got more out of this book this time around than any time so far. I absolutely love this book! Reread: July 2011 Reread again: 11/26/2010. This book continues to empower and inspire me. --------------------------------------- I just finished rereading this book for the fifteenth... thirtieth time? I don't know. I first read it about five years ago. It all started then. This book has had a profound affect on my life. The first thing it did for me was to introduce me to the classics. Before that point I had never had a good experience with school or a classic. I knew that I should want to read Shakespeare but believed that would never happen. I did just what DeMille suggested in his book. First I read Lonesome Gods, then I read Laddie, then I read the Chosen, then I read Jane Eyre. That's when I got it. The first three were really cool (okay I don't love Laddie let me interject) and I was happy I'd read something besides a Christian romance. I was making progress. But Jane Eyre. Wow! I knew then that a good classic makes all the difference. I loved it. I thought about it over and over. I had to have more. That was the beginning of the end. This book became the reason I even have a goodreads account. I bet 99% of all the books listed here on goodreads have all been read after this book. I actually had books to put on somewhere, to make a list somewhere. Since then there have been many Shakespeare's read several times, there's been Les Miserables, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Iliad, Ivanhoe, A Tale of Two Cities, etc. Wow. Wow. Wow! That's all I can say. The second thing this book does for me is that it articulates a deep feeling inside of me that screams that I need to be a leader and so do my children. Ever since I was little I felt the need to do great things and to lead others. Maybe it's because I'm Type-A, a "red" personality, and bossy? This book gives me direction to something that is rooted so deep down inside of me. I love that my husband and I are both on board with this powerful book. We've discussed this book at length for years now. He's read probably more classics than me now. He'd only ever even read a handful of books before this book. I'm so grateful we are on the same page. A last powerful concept (for now) is regarding the principle of mentors. I didn't know what a mentor was before. I do now. I understand why I need one and how I can mentor my children. There are many "how to" Thomas Jefferson books on the market now, but none have been has motivating and insightful as this original book. This book stands alone for me. It's filled with treasures. The other books are just nice for ideas. I know many homeschooling moms don't connect with this book. I know some people are offended that it attacks professionalism. It appeals to me though because I never had a real education. Perhaps my views would be different if I'd had a real education. Reread: 2/27/10

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Hochstetler

    An alternative solution to the modern day education dilemma, this book dives into what type of education a future leader should receive. Radically counterculture, Oliver DeMille portrays an excellent vision for a proper education. Read the classics. What books have stood the test of time? Why have they? The timeless insights from authors such as Plato, Confucius, and Kant provide a deeper understanding of the world we live in. Through out history there are men and women who have escaped their cu An alternative solution to the modern day education dilemma, this book dives into what type of education a future leader should receive. Radically counterculture, Oliver DeMille portrays an excellent vision for a proper education. Read the classics. What books have stood the test of time? Why have they? The timeless insights from authors such as Plato, Confucius, and Kant provide a deeper understanding of the world we live in. Through out history there are men and women who have escaped their cultures dogmas and assumptions to create a philosophy that transcends time and space. Building on the foundations they laid, we must develop our own philosophy that is rooted firmly in truth. Oliver argues the fundamental idea that learning how to think is more valuable then learning what to think. His philosophy on education is superb. Why is the modern education system flawed? It is simple. It is an education that perpetuates the status quo.. On purpose. The institution defines the philosophy of its members, and then enacts an education model to best serve its needs. It's the "conveyor belt" method. Creating robots, the current education system attempts to design the minds of those enrolled. How does one escape this culture hypnosis? Last thought - is their an actual solution to the education dilemma? No. It will never be accomplished through any enterprise with interests other than the growth and enlightenment of its students. That being said, what institution could not be affected by outside interests? Even personal agendas of the the faculty, which are not always pure, destroy the education. The question of how to create a perfect education model is irrelevant - It is impossible. However, Oliver's ideas of how to give students the best possible education is phenomenal. Teach a student how to learn, and how to love to learn. That's the idea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Trace

    The biggest idea I took from this book was the importance of immersing your children in great books... classics... this book has become a foundational one in our homeschool. Amazing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    K.

    To be read over and over and over. These are true educational principles to be applied to any method of education. --- TJEd Review June 2011 WARNING, CONTENTS HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE! (view spoiler)[ Despite the fact that nobody could possibly live by, let alone remember all the trendy numbers people use these days to name their ideas (the Seven Keys, the 5 Pillars, the 7 Habits, 5 things……..and on and on to about 1,234,569,873)—okay, okay, I actually do remember the Seven Keys and the 5 Pillars, but you To be read over and over and over. These are true educational principles to be applied to any method of education. --- TJEd Review June 2011 WARNING, CONTENTS HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE! (view spoiler)[ Despite the fact that nobody could possibly live by, let alone remember all the trendy numbers people use these days to name their ideas (the Seven Keys, the 5 Pillars, the 7 Habits, 5 things……..and on and on to about 1,234,569,873)—okay, okay, I actually do remember the Seven Keys and the 5 Pillars, but you get what I’m saying. Or, at least, back to what I was saying, despite the gimmicky number thingy, this is still, far and away, the best book elucidating WHY to consider a different sort of education for your children (and yourself). Some highlights and comments: Hands-down my favorite statement of all time (concerning education): -“Is the education our children are receiving on par with their potential?” (7) And I add to that, or with their need? And if not, why not do something about it? -“Greatness isn’t the work of a few geniuses, it is the purpose of each of us. It is why we were born. Every person is a genius. Everyone. Some of us have chosen not to develop, but it is there. It is in us. All of us…How can we settle for less than the best education?” (8) Why am I contentedly mediocre? I ask myself that in all seriousness. Why am I? Well, really I’m not all the way (contented, I mean to say), but often I’m too lazy to do too much about it. I’m too tired. I have to cook dinner. I have to put kids to bed. I have to blah blah blah. C.S. Lewis said (In “Learning in Wartime” that if we always put things off until a better time—like, after the war—we’d never do anything worth doing. I remind myself of that bit of wisdom quite often and still I don’t always follow through.) I’m trying to get back into the habit and renew the effort and get a move on (and surely other clichés as well) this summer. At any rate, back to the book. I can see the genius in my children and rather than let it be stamped out, I want to foster it and watch it ignite. Sometimes I so wish I could see the future, because I’m just certain they will be so far from mediocre! -“Myth: It is possible for one person to educate another.” (12) Nope. Sadly, it’s up to us as individuals. Teachers are to teach and inspire, but students have to choose to learn. Dang, can’t someone else just dump it in? And force me to retain it? No fair. -“Application to the real world is essential; no education is complete, or even particularly valuable, unless the student uses what he or she has learned to serve the community, family, society & God.” (38) From the time I can remember, sitting in my public school classrooms, I thought, on many subjects: “what in the world does this have to do with real life?” Or, “Why would I ever need this information?” Or, “I just don’t believe you that I’ll need to know (xyz) to survive.” Sound familiar? I was never taught application or the answers to most of those questions. Sure, some of those things I retained have come in handy here and there, but unless I really care about the inhabitants of Mozambique or the health of the rivers in Ecuador, it makes no difference if I know the capital city of said former country or even where on the map said latter country is. The goal of education perhaps ought not to be “stuff as much, well, stuff, in so we can get passing test scores, get into college and get a good managerial job” but a sense of humanity, a sense of unity and a sense of citizenship in the world. Not only a sense of those things, but a willingness to serve and make the place better. -“Leadership is a choice.” (117) Not an inborn gift. It takes willingness to get out and do. (Instead of stay in and watch!) “…it is hard to study the classics and find mentors. We are busy…but if we are too busy to study….& to apply…we are too busy to stay free, too busy to secure the blessings of liberty.” (134—emphasis added) As I’ve pondered the statement above I’ve had a few thoughts. How many people out there need to be well-educated (as opposed to highly trained), coupled with a drive to serve and do good, in order to maintain the freedoms (ever-diminishing) that we yet enjoy? Sadly, more than there are—as we can see by how politicos, the media, scientists, and rock/movie stars can get us to believe anything they want. It’s not enough to ask our better informed friends and neighbors who or what to vote for (although perhaps as a start that’s better than not voting if we don’t understand the issue anyway). It’s not enough for me to rely solely on my husband’s feelings about worldly matters, no matter how much I wish I could. The thought makes me almost gag, I hate politics. But I love freedom and I have to know what I need to know to be a force for liberty instead of a herded, genetically modified, force-fed, heavily-medicated (and overweight) cow. One of the most significant points in this book is a quotation by someone who wonders what happened to the type of education that produced “great souls” instead of drones. When I can see it in their eyes—my children and the children (and adults) I come across daily—those fledgling souls, destined, pre-mortally prepared for greatness, I get all excited inside and the possibilities and then I cringe at the thought of what we do to them to squash that potential so flat. I do it every day. Sick! But I’m trying. I’m working on becoming what I’m meant to be. I’m trying to be inspiring and my family gets to watch me fail and win, and repent and get up again. And I hope that they’ll be willing to do the same. I want my great soul, and theirs, to SHINE so brightly, that none question that we are indeed, different—but GOOD. And to ask us how and why…. BTW, this is not directed to anyone real or historical, just at ME. Call it a self-appraising review. As Tony Horton sort of says, “[take out] the best, and forget the rest.” (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    I find it somewhat funny that I lived in Utah for three years and didn't finally read this book until I'd moved to Massachusetts. The book takes a fairly strong stance about public education, and it's clear that DeMille holds the political view I think of as Utah Libertarian, but looking past those strong convictions, his assertions sound solid, and I plan to implement some of his ideas into my own homeschool curriculum. This is basically a variation on a Classical Education as outlined by Jesse W I find it somewhat funny that I lived in Utah for three years and didn't finally read this book until I'd moved to Massachusetts. The book takes a fairly strong stance about public education, and it's clear that DeMille holds the political view I think of as Utah Libertarian, but looking past those strong convictions, his assertions sound solid, and I plan to implement some of his ideas into my own homeschool curriculum. This is basically a variation on a Classical Education as outlined by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer in their The Well-Trained Mind. Since I'm already a big fan of Classical Education, TJEd isn't that huge a change. The big difference is that DeMille has distilled it to the point that reading the classics is critical for the teacher, and that learning from the classics is critical for the student. Everything, according to DeMille, should be learned by reading the classics, including math, science, and foreign language. The idea is that the Founders of the United States were all better educated than anyone taught during the second half of the 20th century on (during which time the US education system has increasingly relied on a conveyor-belt method of educating youth, according to DeMille and others), and that by going back to the way the Founders were taught, we can groom more effective, more eloquent, and more moral leaders. I think I can agree with his basic premises, particularly that a teacher's job is to inspire a student to do her/his own learning. A teacher can't force a child to acquire knowledge, and she certainly can't force a child to learn to think critically and logically address issues. The best a teacher can do is to encourage a student to want to learn things on her/his own. I like his suggestion that time should be structured, but that what the child does during that time should not. We need, says DeMille, to enforce daily study times and routines, but that within those times, there should be a fair amount of freedom for children to study where their interests lead. In this model, the teacher's role is to help a child see the connections between different academic disciplines within her/his particular area of interest. So, if the child wants to learn about castles, the teacher can help him find information about the medieval period (politics, religion, scientific advances), principles of math and physics that go into castle building, the music popular during the time, the lifestyle of those living within the castle walls compared to that of the people outside the castle walls, etc. This helps children learn that facts in the real world aren't actually compartmentalized into disciplines and that the separations we've made are a fairly recent innovation. This last part isn't a new idea, but the idea of the structured time during which the child leads the activities is a new one for me, and one that I think will work very well with the way my daughter learns. In addition, I definitely want to read more classics on my own. I'd already determined that this is a sizable gap in my own education. Because I want to include classics in my children's education, I need to read them myself so I can properly mentor my children and help them to determine where to start and then where to go next as they begin to tackle the classics. I don't plan on scrapping all other curricula and relying solely on classics. I still plan to use a math curriculum and I don't plan on strictly adhering to DeMille's Phases of Learning. But I think it makes perfect sense, along with other ways of exploring a subject, to go to the source and experience the way the great thinkers think and read the way great writers write. This is similar to the Suzuki Method in music: you expose children to great music early and often, and this helps them emulate the best musicians. I think the same would go for great thinkers and great writers. If I want my children to be well-educated and great thinkers, it makes sense for them to learn from the best.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    TJed Captain's Log - Reached the Final Page on this day, 7/17/8. Thomas Jefferson - now he had it tough! Dr. Oliver Van DeMille likened coming off "the conveyor belt" of public education unto a detoxification process (as for recovering substance abusers). Here the family goes through the struggle of adjusting to being a unified family in which parents are responsible for their children and the family does activities together in the stead of public school time. I can imagine that it is only too ap TJed Captain's Log - Reached the Final Page on this day, 7/17/8. Thomas Jefferson - now he had it tough! Dr. Oliver Van DeMille likened coming off "the conveyor belt" of public education unto a detoxification process (as for recovering substance abusers). Here the family goes through the struggle of adjusting to being a unified family in which parents are responsible for their children and the family does activities together in the stead of public school time. I can imagine that it is only too apt a simile for some families! How do we do this? How do we individualize a classical education to our children when we are only a step ahead of our children in reading and studying? His suggestion - Get inspiration. And follow it. This generation needs statesmen. Those statesmen need inspiring teachers, classic training, and the ability to think for themselves. My wife and I are enjoying being here and being involved in our children's learning and we are reading the classics and studying and writing ourselves to gain our own "Classical Education" by seeking out of the best books words of wisdom and understanding. Our children are thriving and we are loving it. A recent lesson was the importance of establishing and abiding by a national book. Sobering. Our nation switched from a national book (the Bible) to Rock Music in the 60's and is without a central text. As for me and my house, we'll take the Scriptures. I was reminded of the importance of writing about what we've learned as an exercise in processing; so also of teaching by the "Great Job" or "You need to do it over" method. I think one of the reasons I was disappointed in my own education was that many of my teachers let me off easy and were more interested in moving me along the conveyor belt rather than having me re-do my work and bring it up to a high standard. When I was in grade school, I LOVED learning new things. I'm so glad that now that I'm in my 30's, I've completed my formal education so I can finally get back to that - WITHOUT all the busy work getting in the way! Here's to Classic Literature and Mentors!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    I'm currently on a quest to explore a number of homeschooling approaches so I picked up this book to learn a little about this "Thomas Jefferson" approach. I definitely agree with DeMille's basic tenets: classics and mentoring customized to individual students (hence the two stars). But beyond that I find this book pretty much useless. DeMille's own educational background is shady. He has "degrees" from unaccredited Bible colleges and diploma mills. He does have a bachelors degree from a respect I'm currently on a quest to explore a number of homeschooling approaches so I picked up this book to learn a little about this "Thomas Jefferson" approach. I definitely agree with DeMille's basic tenets: classics and mentoring customized to individual students (hence the two stars). But beyond that I find this book pretty much useless. DeMille's own educational background is shady. He has "degrees" from unaccredited Bible colleges and diploma mills. He does have a bachelors degree from a respected university (my own alma mater, I'm ashamed to say) but that's pretty much it. I definitely don't think advanced degrees are required in order to research and write a book about Thomas Jefferson's education, but all of DeMille's sources are somewhat controversial and have pretty heavy conservative and religious biases themselves. That makes it hard for me to really give a lot of weight to anything he says. One particularly irritating passage comes after 49 pages of extolling the classics and mentors as THE most important elements of education. But then he says this on page 50: "Most importantly, read them your family history and central religious texts." MOST importantly??? That negates everything he says about classics in the preceding (and proceeding) pages. That is a fine example of the poor writing found throughout the book. There is a reason this book was self-published. As a little side note, the "college" that DeMille founded provides fodder for further questioning of this man's legitimacy. The school is still unaccredited after 15 years, it only offers one degree (a bachelors in "Statesmanship"--what???) and he is a "professor" there with his phony PhD. This is just not a source I want to use in educating my child. If you want a great text on classical education, read the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. They're intelligent, legitimate, and have real accomplishments (and degrees) to validate their well-researched theories and practices.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    Everyone should read this book. Many will agree our education system is messed up and this goes into the best way to fix it. But it's not only for those still in school, it's for everyone. Life is about learning new things, constantly, everyday, and when we're not learning wearing really failing. Our entire lives should be spent learning more and more. So let's get to it! I've read some of the critical comments about this book from readers who didn't like it and all I can really say is they total Everyone should read this book. Many will agree our education system is messed up and this goes into the best way to fix it. But it's not only for those still in school, it's for everyone. Life is about learning new things, constantly, everyday, and when we're not learning wearing really failing. Our entire lives should be spent learning more and more. So let's get to it! I've read some of the critical comments about this book from readers who didn't like it and all I can really say is they totally missed the entire point. But if I were to expound on that I say if the writer could sum up the book in just a few words it would be: read often, read most everything, holding on to the good stuff, and do it for the rest of your life. He never said George Wythe college is the "end all be all" of education. He said the method they use there (and that he said can be found in some other schools, actually) is the best way for learning because it's not just about parroting the answers back to the teacher to get a good great. It's about actually learning. You do something, make mistakes, see what those mistakes are, correct them and do it all over again until you get it right and understand not only that it IS correct but understand HOW you got there so you can use that knowledge when and where it's applicable again. And he never said this was the only school to go to. He said search out those schools that desire to truly education and not just train. I agree with another reviewer, it's amazing how two people can read the exact same book and get polar opposite ideas from it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Save yourselfI'm going to stretch myself and give this an extra star because I do agree with the overall premise of the book: you cannot force anyone to learn; they have to choose to learn. I also agree with using primary sources as a learning tool which is what most of the classics are. If nothing else, this book inspired me to read more of the truly great works of literature. That's it for my positive. So my first issue with Demille is listing Covey's 7 Habits as a classic. Seriously?! Dr. Zhi Save yourselfI'm going to stretch myself and give this an extra star because I do agree with the overall premise of the book: you cannot force anyone to learn; they have to choose to learn. I also agree with using primary sources as a learning tool which is what most of the classics are. If nothing else, this book inspired me to read more of the truly great works of literature. That's it for my positive. So my first issue with Demille is listing Covey's 7 Habits as a classic. Seriously?! Dr. Zhivago is a classic. Covey is a self help book. My overall opinion? The book seemed poorly researched, poorly organized, and I'm sorry to say, poorly written. At first I got into it, the homeschooling bug in me was awakened. "yeah! I want to read classic books with my kids!" Then Demille had a few small historical inaccuracies (which really bugged me. You'd think he'd take the time to check his facts!) and began contradicting himself and I started to look at the book more critically. It's heavy on the pathos, but low on the evidence. He ends the book by giving his "college" a three page endorsement, which I found shady. I also have to add, look at a lot of the books he lists as classics for adults. It bothers me that he includes many books written by members of his church (I'm also a member, no bias here) and doesn't even have Frederick Douglas or Steinbeck. Obviously no one's "classics" are the same, but I would think they would all be actual classics. This book is fine for a generalized approach to education, but not a complete methodology.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This book describes the foundation of the education I am trying to provide for my children (and myself as I prepare for the children). I studied for a master's degree in public education and spent two years as a substitute teacher of grades K-4 in 48 different schools. From this I learned what I did NOT want for my children. One of the questions I get asked about homeschooling is "what about their social life?" DeMille's response on page 28 gives voice to what I have felt but didn't know how to de This book describes the foundation of the education I am trying to provide for my children (and myself as I prepare for the children). I studied for a master's degree in public education and spent two years as a substitute teacher of grades K-4 in 48 different schools. From this I learned what I did NOT want for my children. One of the questions I get asked about homeschooling is "what about their social life?" DeMille's response on page 28 gives voice to what I have felt but didn't know how to describe ... "What are you socializing them FOR?" I certainly did not want to socialize my children to be like the masses I encountered in those 48 public schools. A few of my favorite quotes: "Every person you have ever met is a genius. Everyone. Some of us have chosen not to develop it, but it is there." p.8 "The myth is that it is possible for one human being to educate another ... the fact is that the only person who can fix education is the student ... teachers teach and students educate. Students are the only true educators" p. 12 "The mentor must lead the way, by reading what the student reads, discussing it with him and requiring quality work." p. 53 "America cannot remain free, prosperous or moral unless the overall culture adopts a central text of the caliber of the Bible." p. 61 "The most challenging struggles of life are internal ... the classics deal with the real questions of life, our deepest concerns: joy, pain, fear, love, hate ... these issues are reality; they are eternal and more lasting than jobs, school, material things" p. 63

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shar

    I read this book when I was considering alternative education for my kids. It gave me a vision and inspiration for the educational experience I wanted my children to have, one that they love. DeMille stresses the importance of an individualized education, of teaching children to think for themselves and question things, and the importance of mentoring your child in a way that inspires them. He also stresses the importance of reading the classics, and notes that there are "classics" in every fiel I read this book when I was considering alternative education for my kids. It gave me a vision and inspiration for the educational experience I wanted my children to have, one that they love. DeMille stresses the importance of an individualized education, of teaching children to think for themselves and question things, and the importance of mentoring your child in a way that inspires them. He also stresses the importance of reading the classics, and notes that there are "classics" in every field and interest. He presents the key stages of learning in this type of education: The Core Phase (ages 0-8) which focuses primarily on values and family life, the Love of Learning Phase (around 8-12) which focuses on exposure and exploration of a variety of subjects and natural skill-building based on the childs interests, the Scholar Phase (around 12-16) which gives the child both more responsibility and priveleges to study for long hours anything and everything with a passion(reading, essays, discussion groups, etc), and the Depth Phase (around 16-22) which is characterized by a drive to excell and refine their knowledge and skills by finding mentors who will help them to accomplish their life goals (college or individual mentoring with masters of certain fields). I really appreciated learning about this approach to education.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nanette

    I give this three starts, instead of two, because the first chapters of the book are inspiring. As a veteran home schooling parent, reading it motivated me to take a look at the classics with more commitment than I have before. For years I've used literature-based unit studies in our home school but haven't really thought about the education the Founding Fathers received. I liked the springboard to thought DeMille offered, though I thought the book could have been an essay for a lot cheaper--it I give this three starts, instead of two, because the first chapters of the book are inspiring. As a veteran home schooling parent, reading it motivated me to take a look at the classics with more commitment than I have before. For years I've used literature-based unit studies in our home school but haven't really thought about the education the Founding Fathers received. I liked the springboard to thought DeMille offered, though I thought the book could have been an essay for a lot cheaper--it went on and on, and I don't buy the section on college at all. I think the college viewpoint is completely naive and would derail a person to the point of being a popper if followed. Being an autodidact is the key, no matter what you want to call it. The term 'statesman' didn't set well with me and I'd like a better synonym for the concept--one that didn't exclude half the population by current definitions and one that didn't have such a political undercurrent. But reading this book would certainly put a new homeschooler onto some valuable paths, especially if they didn't buy into the whole package.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cindi

    This book was amazing! I feel so inspired to read the classics and to help my children to do the same. It's overwhelming, but like everything else, one day at a time. My children are currently attending public school, but I'm thinking hard about pulling them out and exposing them to this awesome concept. I love the discussion of what is lacking in education today and it all really resonated with me. I learned how to work the system, walked away with A's but not much by the way of critical thinkin This book was amazing! I feel so inspired to read the classics and to help my children to do the same. It's overwhelming, but like everything else, one day at a time. My children are currently attending public school, but I'm thinking hard about pulling them out and exposing them to this awesome concept. I love the discussion of what is lacking in education today and it all really resonated with me. I learned how to work the system, walked away with A's but not much by the way of critical thinking. My husband does not concur with a lot of the ideas in the book. He has a PhD in education and is in charge of statewide testing and has different views of what is needed in education more based on research. Both points may be valid. I recommend this to anyone who feels like they didn't get the most out of their education and to anyone who would like more of their children's education.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    This book has changed my life and improved the way I see parenting and gave me a conviction on the importance of homeschooling. It was so inspiring and good I bought it for my brother-in-law and best friend. Guess what the rest of my family will be getting for their next gifts? I recommend it to EVERY parent and future parent!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joel Everett

    An excellent corollary to John Taylor Gatto's book "Dumbing Us Down." If one is looking for a positive way forward after the diagnostic of the problem with the current education system this book provides a path forward by presenting the type of education that produced great statemen through the ages by focusing on the two-fold sources of mentors and classics. Highly recommended.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I think the principles behind A Thomas Jefferson Education are generally sound. Classic works are deemed such because they have stood the test of time, have valuable insights into a specific area of study or into human character, and/or have broken new ground and are a useful study into the process of identifying ideas that have changed the world. I think we all should spend much more time with the classics, in all subject areas. Classics can enrich, teach, inspire, and help us re-examine our li I think the principles behind A Thomas Jefferson Education are generally sound. Classic works are deemed such because they have stood the test of time, have valuable insights into a specific area of study or into human character, and/or have broken new ground and are a useful study into the process of identifying ideas that have changed the world. I think we all should spend much more time with the classics, in all subject areas. Classics can enrich, teach, inspire, and help us re-examine our lives and our priorities. My favorite book that propounds the same principle is The New Lifetime Reading Plan: The Classical Guide to World Literature, Revised and Expanded by Clifton Fadiman and John Major. (I recommend Fadiman’s introduction entitled, “A Preliminary Talk with the Reader” from the 1978 edition over the much shorter “Preliminary Talk” in the current edition; the former gives a stirring recommendation for the study of the classics along with suggestions for forming a lifetime reading plan.) A five-star book. I related to much in A Thomas Jefferson Education. I was familiar with many of the books and essays about education in the bibliography, and I had read a significant number of books on the recommended “classics” list. I applaud the overall concept, but I found their proposals too limited, and I took issue with several points that were implied if not stated outright. The first is that American public education is designed for the poorest of the masses, thus our students get a poor man’s education designed to keep the masses in their place – therefore, our children will get a better education at home studying the great books of the world. My experience in the public school system before I became a stay-at-home (and work-at-home) mom is that the homeschooled children did not necessarily stand head and shoulders above public school children when it came time to apply for college. They have a lot of knowledge in certain areas, but are often surprisingly lacking in areas of the general knowledge that public school children receive. They are independent workers, but so are many (certainly not all) of the public school children, who often have teamwork skills their homeschool counterparts may lack . I’m not convinced that homeschooling is the perfect panacea. Also, the idea that public schools provide mass education for the poor, and that caring parents will provide for their own children at home, implies that parents who care can provide a solid education at home, and suggests as a corollary that parents who can’t or don’t must not care. Also implied is that the poorest are also the least intelligent or least educated. I really take issue with each of these implications and the further implication that their combination suggests: As a family’s household income approaches the poverty level, the children will naturally be less educated. Likewise if family circumstances necessitate that the mother must also work part or full time, and therefore cannot homeschool the children, the children will be relegated to public schools and will remain stuck at the bottom level of educational opportunity. This sounds like social stratification mentality. Family priorities and values along with individual ambition are a much better predictor of student success than adjusted gross income. I agree with the authors that a good education is not something that can be simply broadcast to the masses. The many epiphanies and eureka moments in which insight is gained, experience is expanded, and understanding is reached are absolutely individual and come at different times and speeds. Experiences can be designed to facilitate them, but at best a teacher can only hope for them – the student must do the hard work of thinking and discovering. While facts, stories and procedures may be broadcast to a mass audience, skill development, insight and understanding happen one child at a time. I agree with the authors that a mentor is more likely than a broadcaster to understand, cultivate and assist in bringing about such understanding and insight. But in today’s world, I think both public education and homeschooling are lacking. Each has strengths, but also weaknesses. There must be a cooperation between the two. I think a caring parent can entrust a young child to a capable teacher for the acquisition of many of the basic concepts and skills that must be developed, following up by reviewing homework at home for assurance the child understands. A classroom teacher cannot possibly tailor the instruction to meet every child’s needs; it is the parent who is best suited to guide and inspire their child in directions that fit the child’s personality, expand the child’s breadth of learning, deepen areas of interest, and inspire the child to take increasingly more responsibility for their own education as they mature and develop. In upper grade levels, schools offer equipment, expertise, and experiences that often cannot be replicated at home. Ultimately, as adults, and we continue to learn without the aid of formal classrooms. From my experiences with public and home learning, I believe that the greatest predictor of a child’s success is parent involvement and the parents’ sense of responsibility, whether the child is homeschooled or public schooled. Today’s society seems to place the responsibility of public school failure on the heads of the teachers; and the solution is to punish the teachers by requiring more testing, more regulation, and more hoops to jump through that are a distraction, at best, from effective classroom instruction time. Our society would do well to remember that responsibility for the child’s education rests firmly with the parents, that any school system can provide parents with good assistance, and that turning a child over completely to a school system – whether public, charter, or private – represents an abdication of the parents’ duty, with any resulting educational failure shouldered primarily by those ultimately responsible: the parents. End of rant; I step down from my soapbox. I did gain some valuable ideas – reminders, mostly, that a lifetime learning plan can be an individual quest, or it can include the entire family. And so we set up Family Book Club: my husband and I select a book and acquire several copies, often from the various libraries; we allow a month for us all to read it; we come up with thought-provoking questions; and, to entice the children to read, we take anyone who has completed the book out to a desirable restaurant – a real incentive for my kids who get family dinners seven days a week – for stimulating conversation about the plot, characters and themes, and about their teen or pre-teen problems, successes, fears, and hopes, especially as they relate to that month’s book. For that inspired idea that came as I read A Thomas Jefferson Education I am truly grateful. I know that others reading this book will also devise ways to enhance their own and their children’s education, and I recommend it with that end in mind.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Cook

    I bought this book earlier this week, and initially I was excited to read it. The early chapters were interesting to read as they explained his foundational ideas for what he would call a "leadership education" but his subsequent chapters on the application of his ideas were, in my opinion, lacking. One disclaimer for this review, I faithfully read chapters 1-7 and all of the end materials, but skimmed chapters 8-9 because I was rather annoyed with the author by that point. Here are my take aways I bought this book earlier this week, and initially I was excited to read it. The early chapters were interesting to read as they explained his foundational ideas for what he would call a "leadership education" but his subsequent chapters on the application of his ideas were, in my opinion, lacking. One disclaimer for this review, I faithfully read chapters 1-7 and all of the end materials, but skimmed chapters 8-9 because I was rather annoyed with the author by that point. Here are my take aways. My positive take aways: *I appreciated his emphasis on the idea that obtaining an education rests in the hands of the hands of the student. Teachers help facilitate, but ultimately it's up to the student to decide how to handle his or her education. *His reminder to teachers (mentors) to engage in reading the classics with your student. *His end notes and appendix lists have a small treasure trove of other books and authors which I'll be pursuing later. My negative take aways: *His tone and ideas about education seem, to me, both overly opinionated and half baked. *He regularly contradicts himself *He tells you that he is going to elaborate on an idea, then doesn't (chapter 5 was especially bad) *He attempts to say what others have already said better. (See anything by Susan Wise Bauer or Mortimer Adler.) But, the thing that bothered me the most was this: he never fully explained the context of Thomas Jefferson's education. I kept reading and expecting it to be just around the corner, but it never came. He certainly alluded to George Wythe and his tutoring of Jefferson and told us how great it was because it produced Jefferson the Statesman, but he never gave us the full context of this situation. If you're going to use this historical event as the basis of your educational platform, at least share the history that inspired you to do so. I guess the benefit of this deficit is that I'm off to read my husband's book of original writing by Thomas Jefferson.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cami

    After deciding that I would begin homeschooling my children this fall, I bought this book and several others as to better understand various educational/homeschooling styles. This one resonates with me the most. It defines several characteristics of my "conveyor belt" education that I hadn't before put a finger on as bothersome but now agree that they needn't have been a part of my education. I still consider myself an educated person, but I definitely learned to do the bare minimum for the A (o After deciding that I would begin homeschooling my children this fall, I bought this book and several others as to better understand various educational/homeschooling styles. This one resonates with me the most. It defines several characteristics of my "conveyor belt" education that I hadn't before put a finger on as bothersome but now agree that they needn't have been a part of my education. I still consider myself an educated person, but I definitely learned to do the bare minimum for the A (or B) grade and not necessarily learn the subject unless I felt like it. I didn't really understand my learning style until I was struggling in college. And I didn't pursue reading for pleasure until I was already married and on bedrest with my first child (I had some time on my hands). Now, with the help of the principles in the Thomas Jefferson Education system, I hope to instill a love of learning in my children. They already love reading, so we should be able to work together to focus on the classics. I can tell there will be a strong learning curve in some things (like scheduling time, not content), but I believe that by homeschooling with good mentors and good books and basing our school on our family's "national book" (the Holy Bible), I can better facilitate these goals. I agree with the author that it is up to us to prepare our children to be the future leaders our country needs. I may not subscribe to this method 100% and forsake all other means of education, but I do think TJed will be our foundation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Well, I had high hopes for this after reading reviews highly praising it. Although there are some things I do agree with (read classics, children who love learning with educate themselves, etc), I cannot handle the elitist mentality of the classical method (or any one method in particular) being THE BEST way to educate your child. Fastest way to turn me off in a book on education. This idea that one must use only old methods used by historical personnages centuries ago to have truly educated chi Well, I had high hopes for this after reading reviews highly praising it. Although there are some things I do agree with (read classics, children who love learning with educate themselves, etc), I cannot handle the elitist mentality of the classical method (or any one method in particular) being THE BEST way to educate your child. Fastest way to turn me off in a book on education. This idea that one must use only old methods used by historical personnages centuries ago to have truly educated children is just really annoying. Why? Why is old always better??? Have we thrown out too much from the older methods of education? Probably, but that doesn't mean that everything new is bad. It doesn't mean we have to now throw out all the newer research based learning theories. I was homeschooled without this supposedly superior method (although my mom did require us to read a lot of classic books that I ended up enjoying). I don't think you can say someone isn't truly educated if they haven't read Euclid and all of Plato (but he does apparently believe this). And is there really nothing to be gleaned from more modern or current literature? I never felt like DeMille had anything more than anecdotes to back up his theories. For instance, he states, "the stories of great mathematicians and scientists are necessary to effectively teach math and science" and that to not do this is a "serious mistake". Why???? Where is the research to back up his preferences and opinions? Statements like this appear frequently and I found it extremely frustrating. What really killed this for me was the amount of work that I would have to subject myself to in order to be "the best" teacher. I have to read Newton and Aristotle? I have to write and rewrite papers? At the same time as my kids are doing it?? Again, why???? Why is it not enough that I did this work AT SOME POINT IN MY LIFE? The point at which I closed the book for good (and this is hitting me the hardest because I used to be a certified French teacher) was his recommendation on the "best" and "easiest" way to learn a foreign language: "Do you want to learn Spanish? Read a great classic like Don Quixote in Spanish. If you want to learn Russian, read War and Peace in Russian...this method is the best and quickest way to learn it; when I say 'quickest,' I mean native-level, culturally rich comprehension and fluency." Oh for crying out loud! No! Totally ridiculous and undoable. That would be like expecting a baby to learn English by making them read Shakespeare. You don't learn your native language that way; why would you acquire a second language like that?? Language is social and cannot be learned solely from reading a book in an antiquated and complex form of a written language, which I think everyone would understand is different than the kind of language you actually use to interact with people. Again, there are some ideas that are good here but I'm not sure I couldn't have read a more approachable and less elitist book about successful education and found the same ideas. Moving on...

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