According to Oliver DeMille, author of A Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) there are 7 Keys of Great Teaching. We’ve been using these keys in our home for 7 years and I can add my testimony that they work. Here’s the list:
1. Classics (not textbooks)
2. Mentors (not professors)
3. Inspire (not require)
4. Structure time (not content)
5. Simplicity (not complexity)
6. Quality (not conformity)
7. You (Not them)
Right now I’m working on number 7. The premise is that in order for my children to know how to get a really fantastic education, they need an example. They need to see someone else doing it. The last 5 years, my children have watched me build a photography business. I went from not knowing how to put a lens on the camera to traveling the country as a family photographer and teaching families how to use their cameras to capture their own special moments. Its been an incredible experience and an incredible education! And I’m glad they were there to watch the process.
I want my children to know how to run a business. I want them to know how to work hard and do what they love. I want them to know that whatever they put their mind to, they can accomplish. I’d like to think that Jake and I have been a pretty good example to them.
The last few months my focus has shifted. Now that Josh is 14 and entering Scholar Phase and Sam is 12 and beginning his transition to Scholar Phase, I’ve felt a call to be more involved as an example of academic study. I did this 7 years ago when Jacob was entering Scholar Phase, but the last few years I’ve been focused on other things (like running a business and traveling around the country in a bus). It’s time to get back to reading, discussing, and being an example of how to get a first class education.
I’m participating in the DeMille’s Mentoring in the Classics. It’s been an incredible experience. I can’t praise it enough. BFF Kim has been doing it with me. We’ve been reading the books, listening to the audios and then discussing the books together (online since she is in Alaska and I’ve been all over the place). I’ve started teaching a leadership course to a group of youth. Staying a few chapters ahead of them has been a good challenge for me! I’m leading a book group for parents who are just learning about TJEd and want to learn how to use it in their homes. It’s called Adventure Permitted | Raising Leaders.
Today I was writing out my schedule for the rest of the year and realized I have quite a bit of reading to do. My list looks a little like this:
Our son Jacob who is serving a mission for our church in the Czech Republic challenged us to finish the Book of Mormon by the time we get to talk to him on Christmas. So each day we spend 30 minutes reading the Book of Mormon as a family. We’re also reading Laddie (a simply incredible book) and our goal is to finish it before we leave New Mexico (the beginning of December).
Mentoring in the Classics:
This month we’re reading The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe (a math classic).
November we’re reading Jane Eyre (it will be my 3rd time through. I adore this book. Betsy’s middle name is Jane – after Jane Eyre.)
December we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods (a family favorite!)
I’m still also working my way through Les Miserables which was assigned in August. (I’m about 2/3 complete and it has been a transformational experience. Especially with listening to Oliver’s audio discussions.)
Adventure Permitted Leadership Course:
By the end of the semester we’ll read Do Hard Things, The Hiding Place (have you read this? If not – please do. It will change your life. Literally.) Rascal, and Little House in the Big Woods. We’re also discussing Anne of Green Gables (which we read earlier this month) with their parents in November. In preparation for next semester I’m reading Bendigo Shafter and The Cashflow Quadrant, Turn the Page, and The Closing of the American Mind.
Adventure Permitted | Raising Leaders Class:
Rereading A Thomas Jefferson Education, Little Britches, as well as reviewing Anne of Green Gables, and Little House in the Big Woods and discussing them online.
Holy Moly. That’s 15 books… in 68 days. My goal is a book every 4 days. This is where I mention how thankful I am for my life right now. Our simple life here in New Mexico is the perfect place to read. And read. And read. Wish me luck!
Also! I’m thinking about opening another Adventure Permitted Leadership Course (for youth ages 14-16). We meet twice a week online and discuss great books and articles. They also do presentations and writing assignments. They have one-on-one mentoring classes with me a couple times per month and parents are encouraged to come to two book discussions per semester. The cost is $250 per semester. If you have a youth who would like to apply, let me know!