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A Thomas Jefferson Education
, Hardback
by: Oliver Van DeMille

I was Amazed to Learn that Most Americans Receive a "Conveyor-Belt" Education Designed for the Poor! 


After reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, I realized that I was one of those who received this type of education.  What do I mean by "conveyor-belt" education?  Oliver Van DeMille states there are three types of education.

1.  Public education (or conveyor-belt education) - A public education prepares everyone for a job, any job, by teaching them what to think.  Public education historically existed to teach the poor so they could land a job.  The poor had no other option, but public education.  Today, most of America only receives a public education.  Their education is set up like a factory: everyone in the class gets the same education at the same age from the same textbooks, and they are tested the same and graded based upon the same scale regardless of their individual talents, goals, interests, personal mission. Conformity is the name of the game in public education.
2.  Professional education - Professional education is anything from apprenticeship & trade schools to law, medical & MBA schools. These programs create specialists by teaching them when to think. The professional system is similar to public education, but on a competitive level.  Standards are set by the highest 10-15% to enter these programs.  But once you are in the program, you must hop back on the conveyor belt for several years until you receive another diploma.  Of course this type of education is mandated so you can really learn the profession.
Any of this sound familiar??
3.  Leadership education (Jefferson education) - Leadership education teaches students how to think and prepares them to be leaders in their homes & communities, entrepreneurs in business, and statesmen in government.   ***This is the type of education that I want for my children and I would guess most of you want for your children.  It encourages thinking outside the box, which is difficult for most Americans (not as difficult for homeschoolers :-) 
Throughout history, leaders have been homeschooled by mentors and tutors.  Then they move on to prep schools and study the classics by using the mentors approach.  It is the mentor system that creates leaders.  Unfortunately the leaders in America have been trained to be professionals and specialists - not leaders.  Most of our nation consists of followers who do not have a problem with the system at hand.  If our children are to overcome this dilemna, we must train them to be entrepreneurs and statesmen by the historically-proven methods for training leaders.
Keys to Leadership Education
Students need time to adequately learn.  To have adequate time, one must have structure throughout the day and week.  For most parents, they revert back to their school days and "structure" their day according to public education (you know, that conveyor-belt). Please realize that setting up public school is a great source of frustration for most homeschool parents and it does not train your children how to think Students will never become leaders by following the model of our current public education system.  Structure is necessary to give your child the time he needs to adequately learn.  If you set a structure in your home to study 5 days a week for 5 hours a day, your child will have adequate time to read and study.  Obviously, this particular schedule is geared more for older students.  Younger students do not need 5 hours a day to study. 
Mentors and classics can not be separated in leadership education because learning how to think is accomplished by discussing the classics with a mentor.  Mentors may not always be physically present while studying, but they must interact often.  Mentors read the classic that the student is reading.  Both student and mentor keep a reading journal, writing about key concepts from the classic.  In a homeschool setting, a daily discussion of the classic can occur.  A typical day may include math study the first hour, essay writing/discussion with a mentor the last hour of the day and time for free study in the middle of the day.  Students need freedom to read, study and experiment.  For centuries this type of education has provided the necessary knowledge, traits and skills for leaders.  It is by far the best training for leadership roles, professional training and life itself!   
As DeMille discusses leadership education throughout his book, he encourages you to find or be a mentor to your children as you read the classics.  Most of us are familiar with the history and literature classics, but classics can be found to deal with all subjects in life.  Classics are available to learn all necessary subject areas.  As Americans we are worried about learning the sciences and technological information.  Well, there are classics in science - Newton's Principia Mathematics, for one.  I would not suggest starting with that one, but know it is there when the time comes to study mathematics classically. 
After reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, I am inspired to become that mentor for my own children.  We read classics all the time, but we do not always discuss them at the level I believe is beneficial for my children to learn how to think.  DeMille outlines a program to help parents get up to speed.  It is the adult's education that must come first.  YOU must become a good teacher and mentor before affecting your child's education.  Since most of us did not receive a leadership education, we must provide one for ourselves.  This summer is the time I have chosen to begin my leadership education.  Summer is the PERFECT TIME to begin leadership education.  Why don't you start your leadership education this summer, as well?  Begin by reading A Thomas Jefferson EducationThen follow the two-month plan for parents as outlined in the back of the book.  By the end of two months, you will be ready to start with your kids. 

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by: Oliver Van DeMille, hardback, click below

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