February 4, 2015

Title Swap

Blood Brothers - Elias Chakour
Headgates - Kerri Tibbits
Unsteady - Jeanette G. Smith
An Enemy Hath Done This - Ezra Taft Benson
Return to the Hiding Place - Hans Poley
Inequality for All - Documentary on Netflix

February 3, 2015

My Thoughts on “A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Jesse Edwards

I read this book after several people have told me how wonderful it is and how it is THE way to homeschool my kids.  However, I came at it with mixed emotions.  Some people use this philosophy/model with great success, but others do not.  I do not agree with the idea of not “requiring” things of your children being an excuse to not expect things of them, and to not encourage them to become who they can. I believe our children can’t reach their potential without a strong education. 

I firmly believe that education is the key to success in life.  It gives us confidence and self-worth.  It opens windows and doors that otherwise we may not be able to open, and allows us to see things more broadly, and clearly with a more expansive view.  The huge question is how.  How do we do it?  I am a product of public school and got through school not learning much, yet receiving high marks in my classes.  I want my kids to know more.  We never learned ancient history.  We never learned world history.  We never learned about principles of freedom or the constitution.  We didn’t learn finance.  We wasted so much time.  I want different things for my kids, and I want their learning to be deep and ingrained into who they are.

Since I started homeschooling I knew I wanted my kids to have a classical education.  I was given many suggestions on how to do that, the main one being “The Well-Trained Mind.”  As I read “A Thomas Jefferson Education,” I didn’t find the two styles contradictory.  They both encourage the usage of classics as a source of true lasting education.  The difference, for me, was the idea of the mentor.  That I, as a teacher, need to do more to guide my children in a better way.  The things that the DeMille’s suggest for a teacher/mentor are not easy however.  It is time consuming but building.  This is probably the section of the book that I will take the most from.

I did find some arguments wanting.  For example his thoughts on a national book.  The idea I agree with.  I did not like, however, how he claimed each country’s national book to be defined by their great writers.  England with Shakespeare, Italy with Dante etc.  If we were to continue that argument, the USA would not have the bible be it’s national book, but something by Mark Twain, or Faulkner.  The bible would belong to Israel.  I would think that many people in Italy and England would love to claim the bible as a national philosophy just as many people here would and do.  In fact, with the Vatican they might stake a claim on it.  The fact that people revere their great writers is different than a national book that people turn to as a guide on how to live and act and govern themselves.  I would say that most countries would source some sort of religious text as a national book, like the Bible, the Torah, the Quran and other religious texts.  That’s a side note, but it bothered me.

All in all, I came away from reading “A Thomas Jefferson Education” thinking that it seemed pretty innate.  Do I think I’m going to drop everything I’m doing now and join the DeMille cult?  No.  Will I adapt some of the mentor ideas and standards?  Yes.  I think that section was the best, and from it I will try to be a better guide and leader to my own children and family.