The Thomas Jefferson Education, (TJED) or Leadership Education has become my new best friend. I found myself frantically trying to get through all my children's "subjects" on a given day and there never seemed to be enough time. Even when there was time, the children didn't seem to enjoy school, they became discouraged... I would watch my boys stare blankly at their lengthy copy work or math drills... The were listening to me lecture and try to make really, really dry subjects exciting and interesting. They were learning... just like I did in school... and that is exactly what I did not want for them. Oliver and Rachel De'Mille refer to my type of education the Conveyor Belt (very fitting). TJED invites us to hop off the conveyor belt and mentor our children so that they will love to learn.
When I first heard of TJED, it just resounded with me. It just felt right in my soul. After further review, discussion, and prayer, Nate and I decided this was the best path for our home school.
Through TJED, I am loving to learn too! My older children fall into the "love of learning" and "core" phases of learning and I am a love of learner right along side of them. TJED invites me to inspire my children through fulfilling my passions. When I get excited about something, they get excited about it too. My enthusiasm is genuine and my passion is poured into each endeavor (this blog is one of them).
Three types of education:
Rachel and Oliver De'Mille teach that there are three major types of education in America today. These same models can be found around the world and throughout history, with identifiable models and objectives. They are:
Leadership Education has three primary goals.
First, to train thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs, and statesmen—those with understanding and competence to lead society (do things right) and the moral character to act with integrity in the areas they lead in (do the right thing).
Second, to perpetuate freedom by helping people understand what freedom is and what must be done to maintain it, and inspiring them to actually do the difficult things required to make it happen.
Third, teach students how to think, which is how the first two goals must be accomplished. Those who know how to think are able to lead effectively and help a society remain free and prosperous, while those who know only when or what to think will be unable to do so.
The method for training leaders is as old as humanity—classics and mentors. The student studies the greatest works ever created, and submits to the guidance of great mentors, who customize the education for the student’s mission in life.
This is the simplest, though arguably the most challenging of the educational paths.
The Phases of Learning
One of the most significant differences between Thomas Jefferson Education and other classical styles of education has to do with the belief that people, especially children, learn differently at different ages. Thus, there are different phases for learning certain lessons.
Some of the greatest researchers in childhood behavior (Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore) agree that children pushed academically at an early age tend to burn out early in adulthood, or long before. Young children do soak up learning like a sponge, but at what cost are children pushed into academic work too soon?
A hate of learning is developed when children are forced to perform at a young age and blooms precisely at the time when non-pressured young minds have the potential to be the most curious and inquisitive! And if children of a very young age soak up knowledge so easily, shouldn’t they be learning the most important lessons of love, work, and faith during their most formative years, rather than filling their heads with random facts and figures their minds are unable to yet comprehend?
The Foundational Phases: Core and Love of Learning
Core Phase (approximately ages 0-8)
The Core Phase is the first of the Foundational Phases, and serves as the foundation for all the rest of a child’s life. This is when parents nurture their children in the safe, cozy atmosphere of home and family life. During this period, they get a spiritual education by learning about the difference between wrong and right in the secure care of their mother and father. They are exposed to inspiring music, good books, and an atmosphere of learning through the family culture. Highly structured and strongly pushed academics are not yet a part of a Core Phase child’s life.
A child in Core Phase should:
■Learn the difference between good and bad, and how to make good choices
■Learn how to work, and how to be responsible
■Learn about God and his or her relationship with Him
■Play—which is the best way for a child to learn about the world around him
■Spend most of his time at home with his family, being nurtured and loved
Love of Learning (approximately ages 8-12)
The Love of Learning Phase is the second of the two Foundational Phases, and it sets the stage for the child’s later scholarly pursuits. This is when a child begins to play in new ways, and this sometimes begins to look like study, but maintains the spontaneity and curiosity of play.
If a child at this stage (or earlier) is forced into academics, what results is usually a “Hate of Learning.” This is one of the earmarks of a conveyor belt education, and why most of us schooled that way can’t fathom the idea that young adults will eventually choose to study 8-10 hours a day, if this phase is successfully nurtured.
A child in the Love of Learning Phase (who has had a solid Core Phase) will:
■Study what they are excited about, with minimum “requirements” or “assignments” and maximum inspiration
■Be fascinated by a variety of subjects, and will move from one subject to another at a random pace
■Grow to love learning, if they are free to follow their interests (and conversely, grow to hate learning, if forced and coerced in academics before they choose)
■Continue to learn and add upon the lessons of Core Phase
Educational Phases: Scholar and Depth
Scholar Phase (often ages 12-16 ish)
As the student nears the culmination of a successful Love of Learning phase, he naturally begins to transition towards more scholarly pursuits, until he enters the Scholar Phase, the first of the Educational Phases. Within Scholar Phase, there are a number of different levels built one upon another. During the scholar phase years, the student develops and changes so quickly, that what works for a child in the beginning of Practice Scholar will not necessarily work for the serious Self-Directed Scholar.
In all of Scholar Phase, parents need to be careful not rob their scholars of study time. Chores and other duties in the home are needed, but these responsibilities should be lessened by degrees to give the scholar more time for his or her chosen studies. Parents also need to realize that the amount of time a scholar spends alone in their room is an indication that the student is studying.
I spend much of my time reading to the children out of the classics. History, science, math... all through beautiful literature!!!