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Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Thomas Jefferson Education

Any idea what that is?

Have you ever seen the quintessential homeschooler T-shirt?  The one that lists all the famous/successful people that have been homeschooled?

In addition to listing people like:

Agatha Christie
Benjamin Franklin
Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
Alexander Graham Bell

or the more recent names:

The Jonas Brothers
The Williams Sisters (Venus and Serena)

....there is always one other name:

Thomas Jefferson

So, what would the definition of a Thomas Jefferson Education be?

Well, very simply put (there are a lot more details on the site), it is the philosophy that every person has inner genius. And, a Thomas Jefferson Education consists of helping each student discover, develop and polish their genius.

It encourages parents to apply the 7 keys of Teaching:
  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

This type of education is also sometimes called "Leadership Education". In its basic philosophy, it explains the three different kinds of education styles:

- they are forced to study long, hard and effectively
      aka......the “Stick”

- they are convinced or manipulated to study long, hard and effectively
      aka......the “Carrot”

- they love to study long, hard and effectively
     aka.....the "Love Affair”

If this concept interests you, there is a book available, that explains this concept in greater detail.  A Thomas Jefferson Education is available for $15.95.

The author of this book, Oliver Demille, is of the mindset that the "Love Affair" method is the one that leads to greatness.

It is hard to argue with that logic....if you look at the people throughout history that have had this approach to their own education.

I had never really heard of Thomas Jefferson Education before I got the chance to review one of their subscription products put together by Oliver Demille's wife, Rachel, called This Week In History.

This Week In History is something that comes to my e-mail box weekly guessed it..... things that happened This Week In History....for each day of the week.

Let me give you some examples of what scholarly things are included in their e-mails.

LeaningTowerPizza August 9   August 15: Codes, Colors and Magnets, Missourians, and yet another Annie!

The leaning tower of pizza!  

Ha!  They were just was actually about the construction of the campanile of the cathedral of Pisa that began back in 1173.

They go on to help you understand the words campanile and cathedral....then there are lots of facts about the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Then it gives you ideas on constructing your own campanile or finding ones near your home.

Then it goes on to talk about important people who had been born or died this week in history as well.  Telling you why they or what they accomplished was important.

Or how about this.....

zedonktrimmed July 26   August 1: Running Rabbits, Dizzy Feet, Penned up Ponies & Pikes Peak
 Did you know there was such a thing as a zedonk?

Or really helpful information like July 29th was....

lasagna July 26   August 1: Running Rabbits, Dizzy Feet, Penned up Ponies & Pikes Peak

National Lasagna Day!  Complete with a quote from Garfield the Cat.

The e-mails really cover all the bases.  Science, math, history, literature, architecture, sports, entertainment.....and the content is probably for around age 6 and up.

Here, go click on this picture, and take a look at a sample week:

parent xray View Sample Weeks

The great thing about this subscription is that I sort of don't have to do any work.  I don't even have to remember to go to their website because they send me everything I need in the e-mail.  Including links to activities and other resources right there.

I can't tell you what a time saver this is, number one to have it come to my e-mail box and that they have done all the research as to what happened on This Week in History, but all the other links and information are already in place too.

This subscription would meld well with just about any kind of curriculum you are currently using.....even if the curriculum you are using is....gasp.....public school.

I can really see it working great with the Charlotte Mason, unschooling mentality or delight directed learning styles, because you could just sort of wander through these e-mails and click on all the stuff that interested you, which would lead to more clicking and discovering....all without a textbook.

We use traditional textbook learning for most subjects, but I am using this as a "fun" supplement.  Usually, I will just have them sit down and take a look at the e-mail and see what interests them and sometimes I direct them to a specific part I think they will find interesting.

Quite honestly, I am the one that is  probably learning in more of the unschooling/delight directed learning style, because I can't seem to help clicking on the stuff I find interesting as I scroll through the e-mail. 

I guess you are never too old for delight directed learning.....or, maybe, somehow it is more acceptable when you are older.

You can also search through their archives for specific dates or events.  I think I will search each of the kid's birthdays and see what sorts of things have happened on those dates throughout the years.
The This Week in History subscription costs $9.99 per month.  You can access the information on their website or you can wait for the weekly e-mails.  I preferred getting the weekly e-mails so I didn't have to remember to go check out their site.

See what others on the TOS Review Crew thought of This Week in History.

Disclaimer:  I recieved a year long subscription for This Week In History in exchange for an honest review of their product.