View Full Version : A Thomas Jefferson Education?

09-12-2011, 03:59 PM
A few people in my co-op have mentioned a Thomas Jefferson Education and I have yet to get a hold of the book from my library. Is it religious in any way? Is it similar to Charlotte Mason? Does anybody follow this style?

09-12-2011, 05:30 PM
I don't know but it sounds fascinating.

I would have to see it, actually check the book out. The Author was involved with Coral Ridge which is a right wing religious group. That doesn't mean that what he has to say is bad. Or that his method is bad. But I would still want to look at it first--I cannot tell if it pushes religion or if this is simply a teaching philosophy from the testimonials. You can visit the official site here: http://www.tjed.org/

I am in the middle of cooking dinner right now, So I will be back and forth.

09-12-2011, 05:47 PM
I started reading the book but couldn't get through it. The idea sounded good to me, too--an emphasis on forming leadership skills through a classical-style education-- but the book didn't give me a clear description of the approach and curriculum and I got frustrated. I also got the impression that the author(s) were evangelical, but I don't know if it's true. I didn't find it anything like Charlotte Mason at all.

Stella M
09-12-2011, 06:07 PM
That website lost me at the bit where it said 'young scholars will willingly study for 8-12 hours a day'. Right.

Even supposing a teen had the longing to do so, most couldn't. They need to work, assist in running the household. Some are fitting in study around care duties. They may wish to spend some of the energies in the community or exercising or enjoying leisure.The reason Thomas Jefferson could devote himself to study was because he had family wealth built on slave labour. This philosophy seems to smack of elitism to me. It's all leading up to 'Leadership' and I always find 'Leadership' is code for making a heck load of money on the backs of workers and using your money to buy social and political influence. No thanks.

Another issue with this style of education is that it is outmoded. The amount of knowledge and skills available to us in the 21st century is huge. It's crazy to think you can set aside a period of your life between 12-25 and master that knowledge before putting it into practice from then on. Life long learning is the only way to be flexible enough to adapt to the rapid pace of chance and increase in knowledge we are exposed to. Expecting to be learning cradle to grave removes the necessity to devote 13 years to 'mastering' knowledge.

Like anything, there's probably a few interesting bits and pieces to take away from the style.

I might go for a John or Abigail Adams Education though :)

09-12-2011, 06:11 PM
I think you might want to research the author and his background before using the book. Reading About the Founders (http://www.tjed.org/about-tjed/founders/) might be a good place to start.

Accidental Homeschooler
09-12-2011, 06:16 PM
I might go for a John or Abigail Adams Education though :)

Or maybe a Ben Franklin education?

Stella M
09-12-2011, 06:20 PM
Yes, possibly :)

Actually seeing all I know about Abigail Adams came from the TV show, I think I might actually be more thinking of a Laura Linney education. Man, she was awesome in that series!

09-12-2011, 06:45 PM
i read the book. i found there were interesting pieces to draw from it--i agree with the fact that our american style of educating our children isn't working. i also love the idea of reading classics with the family. but, i felt a lot like monkeymama, i needed a little more guidelines on how to make my child this super-amazing "leader" than just 'read a list of classics and take notes on what you read.' thats just not going to fly in this household.
i photocopied the list in the appendix of "classics" and suggested readings from literature and returned the book.
like everything, i think we can find tidbits that we can assimilate into our own styles, and leave the rest behind.

09-12-2011, 07:08 PM
Dh adorably used to call me "my dearest friend" when we were first together. So I'll take that Adams education please. I think they homeschooled all those kids, right?

I've seen a couple people mention the TJ education thing and it sounded a bit like WTM gone mad, but that could be totally off.

Stella M
09-12-2011, 07:22 PM
Awww....sweet :)

I was most impressed at how Abigail got those kids innoculated. I guess they home schooled. I like the way she wasn't shy about communicating her displeasure to hubby. My sister might be calling her baby Abigail, what a namesake!

WTM gone mad ? That was my thought too. The founders page Jilly linked to was illuminating about the sort of background this style is emerging from; Bible College background.

09-12-2011, 07:35 PM
I got the impression somewhere once upon a time that TJ education was basically a classical education on crack. I don't remember exactly why, I just remember I decided it wasn't for us.

09-12-2011, 08:58 PM
I used to study 8 to 12 hours a day and loved every moment of it. I always got the impression that made me weird though. The author is Evangelical or at least that seems to be the audience he is mostly communicating too.

I guess what intrigued me is that when reading some of the material on the webpage, that I have said similar things about the state of our American Educational system. Etc., But that being said.....

Who knows what that actually means. I will definitely check it out at the local library just so I can say that I read it though. 198 pages isn't very long. So it wouldn't take much to read that in a sitting.

Generally whenever I see constant references to "Founding Fathers" to me that is a very clear signal {code} that the message is mainly to Evangelical Christians and NeoConservatives, since that is one of the primary buzz-phrases that is often spouted.

The Founding Fathers never meant this to be that way, or that to be this way, or this is how the Founding Fathers did it.

Usually it's a justification for denying some minority group their civil rights. You know little things like women's rights or affirmative action, or the right to vote even if you don't own property.

But that doesn't mean that there isn't any wisdom or good ideas coming from those quarters. It just is what it is.

Stella M
09-12-2011, 09:01 PM
Studying long hours because you love it is one thing. Calling that the only way to 'leadership' is another.

09-12-2011, 09:18 PM
I hate that conservatives have co-opted the founding fathers. It's also just so absurd. I mean, how can you equally embrace Jefferson AND Hamilton? It only works when you've turned them into demigods without any depth and robbed them of their actual ideology.

09-12-2011, 09:49 PM
Agreed FarrarWilliams. I would posit that when certain groups do that, that they are giving our American History the same sort of deference and treatment that they do the Bible. People have a tendency to passage-shop in the Bible, to cherry pick the parts that most suit them and their personal worldview. And they also do that to justify all manner of decisions, habits, and desires or acts. So you will notice when you see this "deification" of our Founding Fathers--it is often recalling some kind of "holy" precedent that justifies a similar act today--no matter how anachronistic or ridiculous or even unlawful.

That is what I have observed anyhow. It seems to be a very strong dynamic in reconstructionist religions of any stripe.

09-12-2011, 10:29 PM
Thanks Tilly for adding the About the founders link. I hadn't read that yet and I was having a hard time finding any religious slant on the website. From his bio I can tell that there is probably a good Christian backbone to the philosophy, which is fine, Charlotte Mason and WTM are like that. Since I am not Christian I now know I need to pick through it a bit more than I would a secular curriculum. I will probably do what 5amigos did, borrow the book and photo copy the appendix. :-)

Stella M
09-12-2011, 10:36 PM
This isn't in reply to you, june autumn :) I just had a few questions to ask, related but tangential to the topic.

First, is there much of a critique in the US about 'exceptionalism' in education as opposed to 'excellence' in education ?

Also, doesn't anyone get really p***ed off about all this Founding Father stuff ? Who are the founding mothers in the American cultural histomythology ? ( I don't think that's a real word but it is descriptive of what I'm trying to ask about.)

09-12-2011, 10:50 PM
The answer to both your questions, Melissa, I think, is basically not really.

There is a sense in American education that is similar to the sense about American history, politics and culture that American education should be the best and anything less is unacceptable. The discussion as a whole is more concerned with the US being ahead of other nations than with just being excellent. Bah.

As for these Founding Fathers... yes, feminists get upset about the terminology, and yes there is a general push by some people to recognize the many contributions of women to American history. But the truth is, Abigail aside, the founding documents of our country, and the debates that shaped our early history were overwhelmingly male dominated. Those guys really are the founders of this country and they really are male. I've heard critiques of that, but... it's not like social, military or cultural history where you can point to women and their contributions. We're quite document obsessed here, I think. And there's a sort of mania of getting into the heads of those who wrote those documents to understand the meanings behind them... Greenmother is right though. It's a bit biblical in attitude.

09-13-2011, 07:31 AM
Women were there, but not at the forefront in a way that was documented in many cases. There were female soldiers in every war going back to the Revolutionary War, but they pretended to be men. There were pioneer and colonist women who held their own against the elements, marauding neighbors etc., but their stories are often buried under a mountain of He-Man lit, lying in the bottom of some library stacks somewhere, or in someone's attic waiting to become part of an obscure feminist anthology in a women's studies course.

Remember that the early colonists who settled here did so right about at the end of the Early Modern Witch hunt. It wasn't profitable for women to call attention to themselves in any significant way. Even though the Salem Witch trials were most like a trade dispute between Danvers and Salem, well--the women made convenient political targets now didn't they. Women who bucked the status quo could be exiled. The colonists here had a hard time surviving as it was--being pushed out into the wilderness meant certain death, if the Natives didn't take you in.

There are some great women in our history, you just have to dig for it.

And the people behind the Founding Father's reconstructionism really despise Feminism. Which is why so many of us genuine Feminists balk at Bachman and Palin when they try to claim that they are feminists.

09-13-2011, 08:00 AM
Here are some books that might interest the list---I have not read these I am browsing by topic and checking out the reviews

: Founding Mothers--The Women Behind the Men Who Raised our Nation by Cokie Roberts (http://www.amazon.com/Founding-Mothers-Women-Raised-Nation/dp/0060090251).

Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence by Berkin (http://www.amazon.com/Revolutionary-Mothers-Struggle-Americas-Independence/dp/1400075327/ref=pd_sim_b_4)

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary: 1785-1812 by Ulrich (http://www.amazon.com/Midwifes-Tale-Martha-Ballard-1785-1812/dp/0679733760/ref=pd_sim_b_25) This one might be better for older readers.

Through Women's Eyes: An American History with Documents: Combined Version by Dubois and Dumenil. (http://www.amazon.com/Through-Womens-Eyes-American-Documents/dp/0312468873/ref=pd_sim_b_7) This is like a textbook--and covers American History and not just early American History.

Women's names to look up: Dyer, and Hutchins for starters, Pocohantis. Prior to the settlement here, Native Americans ruled this land and many villages had female leaders. When European Explorers encountered them, they were often raped, after watching their children killed by those same explorers.

The Vintage Book of American Women Writers by Showalter. (http://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Book-American-Women-Writers/dp/1400034450/ref=pd_sim_b_13)

I did read this one years ago: The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Karlsen. (http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Shape-Woman-Witchcraft-Colonial/dp/0393317595/ref=pd_sim_b_16) It was used as a textbook in college. I had others that I liked better, but it had some good stuff in it. Richard Godbeer's Book--The Devil's Dominion was better. But it focused more on folk magic customs of early colonists. This author has been prolific on the subject of the colonies, with several books on Salem.

Anyhow these will have to do. Perhaps someone has other suggestions.

09-13-2011, 08:15 AM
I tried to read Founding Mothers, but Cokie Roberts is a terrible writer!

Not a "founding mother", but I find Louisa Catherine Adams (John Quincy's wife) a fascinating figure. She was an American merchant's daughter, raised in England and France. Abigail didn't think much of her at first, but she proved her mettle by travelling from St. Petersburg to Paris with her young son during the Napoleonic Wars. She and John Quincy were very opposite characters and had frequent disagreements early in their marriage, but they found a common cause in the abolition movement later in life.

A fun book of short anecdotes about First Ladies: Presidential Wives by Paul F. Boller Jr.

09-13-2011, 10:05 AM
I looked in to TJE a while ago - I live near and use to work in Charlottesville VA, which some joke should be renamed Jefferson City . . . he is like the patron saint of that town. Most of what I found about TJE was, I thought, by mormons. There was an awful lot of HUGE families talking about how they did it.

What I liked of what I read (on line, only, no books) was that they recognized that children went through different phases of learning, yes like WTM, but slightly different focus - like more about what the child is ready to take responsibility for, more of a psycho-social stage than JUST an intellectual stage (iir).

They also emphasized that the parents (BOTH) had to be good role modeles of leadership and scholarship, finding time for their own scholarly and important work.

I think it would really only work for certain personality types . . hard working ascetic types (and yes, I had to check the dictionary to make sure that word was the right one, sigh)

Stella M
09-13-2011, 06:08 PM
I knew there was a reason I'd be ruled out of using this. Hardworking and ascetic...hmm...lazy and cake eating ? Not so much ? My kids are mean bakers though :)

So, with the current economic/political climate, is anyone in general society starting to question the goal of America/American's being 'the best' ? The goal of 'leadership' ?

Thanks for the book suggestions Greenmother and AMM:) Doesn't everyone by now kinda accept the thesis that most of these men didn't function in a vacuum of solo genius, and that without the input and support of wives, mothers, daughters, their output may well have been less exceptional ?

Do schools teach this ? Do most home schoolers ?

09-13-2011, 07:21 PM
I think the phrase we are looking for is Protestant Work Ethic. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is also not the only way of viewing the world. I think that is where most of the stalemates arise currently. Certain groups seem to be under the impression that {in addition to operating in a vacuum} that there is only one way. No matter what.

What intrigued me about his site regarding this book, is that I have said some similar things about America's mass-psychological issues right now and how that is genuinely reflected in our version of Tall Poppy Syndrome, which leads to a dearth of authentic leaders and leadership.

That being said, I am not sure if this man and I would agree on who is or is not a leader or why.

Stella M
09-13-2011, 07:24 PM
Hmm...the word 'leadership' just sends a shiver down my spine. Because 'leader' implies 'followers' and we all know what happens when you get a strong leader and a nation of followers, right ?

09-13-2011, 08:59 PM
In my martail arts class the master talks about everyone being a leader, leading by example, and leading by helping. I really like the way he uses that word. He is not a power-hungry type, he inspires people to be their best, on their own terms. so thats what i think of when i think of the word 'leader'

09-13-2011, 09:05 PM
TJEd has some things in common with other classical approaches - like using classic literature - but they have their own definition of the "phases of learning". The early years are supposed to be very unschooly. The main book has a list of principals, and some of the principals are pretty cool and inspiring. There is a TJEd forum run by the author's wife. The author is Christian but the approach does not require following his religion. There is a secular TJEd Yahoo group and some people do apply the approach in a secular manner. The official TJEd forum seems odd to me. There is sort of a cultlike momentum to TJEd. They speak the lingo, read all the same books, etc. The author has written several other books which of course should be purchased and studied thoroughly (roll eyes smiley here). Some of it goes way beyond education and into how family life is structured. Some of the educational approach is IMO just strange and not very practical, like you can learn math by reading classic books about math, you can learn physics by reading Newton's original works, etc. The thing that bugged me the most is the TJEd books read like this is a scientifically sound approach or something, and really some guy just thought it all up, did it on his own family, and then started writing books ? There is a university as well, and there are some articles with questions floating around about the validity of the credentials of the faculty members or anything the university gives degrees in. The author is sort of a controversial guy. I enjoyed the original TJEd book very much, but for me it is one of those take the good parts of the book, but don't join the club things.

Stella M
09-13-2011, 10:05 PM
I would guess, Cara, that isn't what most people mean by 'leadership'. It's a code word in the context of this style of education for exerting influence, encouraging a particular world view and making money. I just can't imagine educating my child to be a 'leader' or coaching them in 'leadership skills'. Encouraging self-responsibility and responsible and effective self-expression, consensus based decision making and understanding and participating in social justice issues seem to be more...ethical...to me. I'm sure some kids have the outgoing temperament to take the lead, which is great, but also kind of useless if there is no ethical core to their 'leadership.'

I prefer to teach my kids to question 'leadership' and 'leaders', rather than aspire to it.

Idk, I'm all for a classical education, because culturally, much of what we are now is built on the classics. Without at least some exposure, a person can find herself culturally illiterate to some degree. Whether it can make you a responsible and moral citizen, let alone a leader of citizens, seems to me a pretty out-there claim.

09-13-2011, 10:28 PM
The phrase "The Protestant Work Ethic (and the Spirit of Capitalism...)" is forever tied to AP European History senior year for me. It was a sort of grueling class with an insane amount of memorization work involved and in the weeks leading up to the AP exam, the teacher hilariously kept mentioning that book as a piece of trivia we might want to know about. He mentioned it... oh, at least a dozen times. By the end, we were all making fun of him for it. I suppose the up side is that after the class, the AP exam was a joke. I remember coming out of it and my friend and I saw somehow who was like, "Oh, how was it?" and without even asking me, my friend ecstatically announced, "We got FIVES!" She turned out to be right.

The phrase "leadership" or "leader" doesn't send me with chills at all. I think of leadership as a positive thing generally. Back when I was teaching, leadership was one of the things we really worked with some kids on and saw pay off in the ways that those kids helped shape a positive, happy community and set an example. Not that it always worked, but in a sort of microcosmic way, that helped me see how a community without leadership at every level will really flounder. The Quakers have a term called a "leading." It's sort of the equivalent of what other Christians would refer to as a "calling." As in you might have a calling to teach or to the ministry (if one were Christian) or something like it - the Quakers would say you have a leading to do that. And then it's sort of an authority to follow that path in the community, so you can see the connection with the word leadership. It doesn't mean that people will follow, just that they will respect that role that you feel led to do. So there's a whole circle there... I'm not explaining it very well, I think. Bah. I guess, just that I think a healthy community - be it tiny or national - needs leadership and questioning of leadership in order to remain viable.

Stella M
09-13-2011, 10:45 PM
I have no quarrel with that :) If I wasn't an atheist I would so be a Quaker. A calling I can live with. However, you can't educate some one into a calling. Or can you ? :)

09-13-2011, 11:50 PM
No. And I think some people are absolutely not meant to be great leaders. Which is probably good, I guess. But I think the skills for leadership can be modeled, taught and nurtured.

Stella M
09-14-2011, 12:11 AM
How would you define those skills ? And can you model or nurture them as discrete skills in and of themselves and apart from an emphasis on 'leadership' ? I guess I see value in things like teaching kids effective written and verbal communication skills, which I imagine a 'leader' would need to be successful, but which are just important for non-leaders to have as life tools.

09-14-2011, 12:42 AM
Wow, yall think a lot about this stuff.. I am not sure whether or not to be impressed or start looking for the "dummy secular homeschool website for people who like jokes."

Hell I don't even feel smart enough now to go find all the links to the stuff yall were talking about......

09-14-2011, 08:35 AM
Don't worry Lakshmi-- this is just my brand of nerdiness. Other than this forum and a couple of blogs I visit, there is no one in my immediate community that I know of, that I can have this sort of conversation with--either because they don't know or don't care. Or both. And in spite of that nerdiness I do enjoy good jokes. I am pretty twisted.

As for leadership, I am with the Cifu, Sensei etc., Lead by Example. Being a leader and being in charge are not necessarily one and the same. I would like to see more people grow up with a stronger sense of a code of honor and integrity. To me those qualities are a mark of leadership.

You know what I have noticed is that a lot of people want to be led. If you show any kind of inner strength at all, integrity or knowledge, they will put you in charge. I know--because I suck at being in charge. I absolutely hate it. I hate telling people what to do. And yet, I get in that predicament regularly. And then the people who wouldn't listen, become disappointed with me, because I am not the leader they imagined I would be.

Well Duh- If they had been listening instead of fantasizing....

The biggest reason I hate telling people what to do--they use you as the excuse if things don't turn out right. They seem to forget that they laid down their own power, to ask you what to do. They stopped thinking for themselves by themselves. So if things go wrong it's all *your-my fault--not theirs. That sort of crap makes me want to kick people.

I love sitting down and helping people work through a problem. But ultimately decisions about their life should be made by them.

Stella M
09-14-2011, 04:42 PM
The reason I am such a terrible employee is that I can't bear to be led. Makes me want to rip my own hair out and scream. That is why I ended up a home schooling mother who has control over her own day and gets paid zero. I'm just so cynical about this leader thing. I truly can't think of someone in my own life I admire because of their leadership, and there are plenty of people I do admire.

To me, leadership is always ambiguous and open to abuse. That's why I can't imagine teaching my child to be a leader, or having a leadership agenda in their education, as per TJE.

Teach them the skills every human needs to have a shot at a good and useful life, sure. But leave it up to their inner self whether the path of 'leader', with all its pitfalls, joys, sacrifices is something they need to embrace.

I really don't think TJE is talking about the leadership inherent in living life as a 'good example'.

09-14-2011, 04:55 PM
I sure hate being subordinate to someone who has no integrity or who is incompetent [or worse- both lacking integrity and incompetent]. After having served in the military, you get a pretty good idea what you look for in a leader, and it's a lot more than charisma.

There is nothing worse, going home at night, pondering how some idiot got to be in charge. Because they you start to question the entire chain of command and the competence and intentions of the rest of the leadership. Like: "This person's an idiot, so does that mean the people that put the idiot in charge are idiots too? How did that happen? Does the idiot have some dirt on the people in charge? Is the idiot related to someone important?" And you may never find out the answer to that. But you will wonder.

Then you are trapped trying to do a good job and letting an idiot take credit for your accomplishments, as if you didn't do three times the work covering their ass and yours.

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-14-2011, 05:00 PM
In my martail arts class the master talks about everyone being a leader, leading by example, and leading by helping. I really like the way he uses that word. He is not a power-hungry type, he inspires people to be their best, on their own terms. so thats what i think of when i think of the word 'leader'

I love this, Cara. When my son joined CAP, the woman in charge told him that she could tell that he had leadership potential and that the best leaders, the real leaders, worked hard to bring their squadmates up with them as they advanced. It was totally not the power-hungry sort of officers as dictators thing that I was expecting out of a paramilitary type group.

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-14-2011, 05:07 PM
I first heard of TJE when I was living in Utah and pretty much surrounded by Mormon homeschoolers. The TJE people tried to convince me that it was much superior to WTM, mostly because it promoted the growth of what they thought of as superior moral character. I lost all interest in it at that point, because to me that's code for "this meshes really well with my religious worldview". This is the reason I don't use religious curricula and "secularize" them. Religious bias is sometimes really overt, like the Young Earth dogma, and sometimes it's more subtly woven into the material or the approach to the material. You can sift out the Young Earth dogma, but it's much more difficult to sift out more subtle prejudices and messages.

09-14-2011, 05:19 PM
It's so funny that this turned into a discussion of leadership.

I like how you put that, Greenmother, that leadership does not equal being in charge. I guess I've had enough of the opposite end of experiences with lack of leadership that the thought of it doesn't appeal to me at all. I can't stand it when there's a group where everyone is so worried about including everyone and agreeing about everything (which is not the same as consensus, but try to tell them that) that absolutely nothing ever happens. There was a group trying to start up art lessons in my homeschool group at one point and they suffered from this issue. There were literally about 20 families interested in doing it, but the person who was sort of running things kept waiting for every single family to agree about everything. And in the end, it didn't happen because of that. Blah. And I've seen that sort of thing an unfortunate number of times - it's what comes from working with people who aren't necessarily comfortable with authority, I think.

There's such a fine line between leading - doing things that need to be done, taking the lead, creating new things - and steamrolling - doing things your own way and only in your own interest and blithely stepping on toes as you go. It requires listening to people but then moving forward even when there's not total agreement. I think that's worth teaching kids - or at least, modeling for kids - because I think it can help you in the working world, in your community - it's a life skill.

Stella M
09-14-2011, 05:24 PM
It got to be about leadership because TJE souses its methods in the that particular agenda. I am definitely not comfortable with authority. I blame it on my school days :)

I thought it was a virtue. Now it seems to be a flaw ?

09-14-2011, 05:27 PM
I guess communities need both - people who are leaders and people who question leaders. ;)

Stella M
09-14-2011, 05:31 PM
Ok, well in the spirit of open-mindedness, I'll try to go away and find some people whose leadership I admire. It's going to be a hard task :( I guess I might admire the kind of leaders who spend a lot of time questioning other leaders. I admire George Washington Carver - does that count ? I read my kids his biography...

Interestingly, dd12 is a natural leader, whatever that means. I don't see it as one of her best virtues :)

OK, so I gave this some thought over breakfast and I guess I can see the value of small l leadership.

I still don't think, though, that TJE is saying 'Parents, give your child an education based on that of a slave owner so they will run co-ops and shelters for the homeless and gay and lesbian support networks and citizen initiatives effectively.'

Do parents who teach capital L leadership skills also teach the shadow side of leadership ? How open you become to corruption ? How political and financial motives will cause you to compromise on deeply held beliefs ? That power in and of itself may change you ? How, even if you are ethically unimpeachable, like Aung San Suiu Kyi, you will be asked to make terrible sacrifices of yourself and your family ? That your husband may die without his wife by his side ? That your children may feel your public persona and public duty robbed them of their mother/father ?

The only Leader I would give the time of day is the one who has been well schooled in these things.

09-14-2011, 07:03 PM
Oh yeah. The TJE people sound like they have the same agenda of "leadership" as that homeschooled leadership thing HSLDA started. Bah.

But I guess... I think if that's what you believe (obviously not what *I* believe, but hey) then teaching your kids to work for the kind of world they want is something I can respect, even if I disagree. Now, when it becomes bigoted or anti-democratic, I respect that less... Sigh.

The shadow side of leadership is a really interesting question. I mean, sure, it's nice to be Nelson Mandela now, but not many people have it in them to endure that for the sake of their ideals.

Stella M
09-14-2011, 07:31 PM
Hmm. You are much more tolerant than I.

09-14-2011, 07:48 PM
Again, I have not gone back to re-read any of this stuff, I am remembering what i read about TJE 2 years ago . . . but . . Melissa, you are a 'leader' to your kids. The way your run your home and your homeschool is the leadership you are modelling to your kids. Its the opposite IMO of radical unschooling - radical unschooling parents purposefully do not 'lead' .. . they do not want to be in charge of the direction of the people around them. But I dont think you are like that. You make decisions for others in your family and expect the best of them. You are modelling good leadership. I think that was part of the idea . . . some people are so afraid to take control of a situation that they wont . . . like my ex, who would always say something like "I dont know, i'm just a poor, ignorant suburban boy" any time he was asked to help fix a problem or something. I also think encouraging your kids to do things for themselves, think about the future, make good choices, and communicate well with others is part of teaching them leadership.

but you know, i read an AWFUL lot of homeschooling books and websites, and wove them all in to my own narrative, so maybe I just kinda blurred that a LOT to make it fit with my world view.

and there is a BIG difference between being 'led' and being 'ordered'. When a manager says "do this when I say, how i say, becuase i say so', that sucks. When a manager discusses what needs to be done, explains what his plan is, and asks if everyone thinks that will work, and listens to suggestions and tries to get the best possible plan for as many people before proceeding (ok, thats exaggerated, i know) thats leading.

09-14-2011, 08:17 PM
The issue with orders vs consensus really depends on what your *mission is, and how time sensitive the issue is, and how important the outcome is.

If you are in a situation that requires a precise action in order to achieve an acceptable or successful outcome, but life and death hangs in the balance--Orders are necessary. A chain of command is necessary, with someone *in charge, the buck-stops-here type deal.

But with community initiatives like homeschool groups, that might not be necessary or desired. Outcomes will determine social cohesion and maybe academic success but life or death is not going to be an issue here. Time-sensitive, but in terms of months, semesters, or years or seasons. But not seconds, minutes, hours, days.

As far as getting everyone to agree. I have been in groups where it was difficult to even get people to participate. Sometimes groups have no chemistry. Which is better than bad chemistry if you ask me. At least there is no overt or outward hostility. But no chemistry= no goals, no teamwork, nothing.

So leadership style, leadership methods really rest on more than individual abilities. The success also depends on the situation, or the goals that are desired.

Stella M
09-14-2011, 08:18 PM
Being led is for horses. I don't respond well to being led. My kids are more tolerant of issues around authority as the direct result of not being 'led' at school by pompous fools.

Idk. I would need personal experience of a tribe of these 'good' leaders to change my views. Old, hardened and cynical :(

09-14-2011, 10:30 PM
The reason I am such a terrible employee is that I can't bear to be led. Makes me want to rip my own hair out and scream. That is why I ended up a home schooling mother who has control over her own day and gets paid zero. I'm just so cynical about this leader thing. I truly can't think of someone in my own life I admire because of their leadership, and there are plenty of people I do admire.

To me, leadership is always ambiguous and open to abuse. That's why I can't imagine teaching my child to be a leader, or having a leadership agenda in their education, as per TJE.

Teach them the skills every human needs to have a shot at a good and useful life, sure. But leave it up to their inner self whether the path of 'leader', with all its pitfalls, joys, sacrifices is something they need to embrace.

I really don't think TJE is talking about the leadership inherent in living life as a 'good example'.

yeah, what she said. We had a segment in MBTP about leaders and what makes a good leader and I could not help dd1 with this at all. Leaders imo are good when they make other people do stuff that I don't want to do and who don't look too closely to see that I am most definitely not following all the rules. Rules are for other people.

I can see how the TJed (which I read as Tee Jayed, sounds like something you do to a four-wheel drive pick-up) would appeal to a certain crowd. It has hints of unschooling but with a very conservative feel.

[QUOTE=dbmamaz;54901 Melissa, you are a 'leader' to your kids. [/QUOTE] and all that you said. good point, specifically about MiO, but also in general.

09-14-2011, 11:00 PM
I looked in to TJE a while ago - I live near and use to work in Charlottesville VA, which some joke should be renamed Jefferson City . . . he is like the patron saint of that town. Most of what I found about TJE was, I thought, by mormons. There was an awful lot of HUGE families talking about how they did it.

Yep, it's really popular with LDS hsers in Utah.

09-14-2011, 11:25 PM
Here is an interesting critique of TJed from an LDS website: http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2008/05/a-thomas-jefferson-education/. I like how the author points out that TJed contradicts Thomas Jefferson's actual views on education.

Also, in response to the leadership discussion - I just read this passage last night in a back issue of Growing Without Schooling and have been thinking about it all day. I thought it was interesting that this conversation was going on at the exact same time:

"Unschoolers (JH's definition) are leaders, though many of them may not think of themselves this way. Leaders are not, as we are often led to think, people who go along with huge crowds following them. 'Leadership qualities' are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. They include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor flexibility, resourcefulness, stubbornness, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly.

True leaders, in short, do not make people into followers, but into other leaders".

I love this because, although I think true leadership qualities are important and what we are doing is important, I certainly feel uncomfortable with the idea of people following me. Everyone really needs to have their own path in life.

09-15-2011, 08:32 AM
Oh I love that, Missy! And I didn't read the link, but it's funny, that was what kept me researching TJE, the fact that I respect Jefferson, and thought it was somehow based on his life or philosophy lol

Stella M
09-15-2011, 06:28 PM

Interesting book for those enamoured of Jefferson :)

09-15-2011, 07:34 PM
There is interesting material right there on the amazon page - an interview w the author

09-15-2011, 08:59 PM
I don't know... Jefferson kept contradicting himself, so somehow I think it's fitting that an educational system named for him would contradict his philosophy. After all, he didn't follow it himself most of the time. Why should we?

I think in way, that's what so interesting about Jefferson - all those contradictions, about slavery too.