Thomas Jefferson Education. Sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? But what does it really mean? Ideally, this type of education would involve the student being immersed in the classics: reading them, writing about them, discussing them in small and large groups. It would involve the student having a mentor to guide her through this learning process. Preferably this mentor would be someone who was well versed in the classics, also.
"Well," you may be thinking, "I am not well-versed in the classics, therefore this is not the method for me!" Wrong! The wonderful thing about homeschooling is that it can include the parents' learning, too. If you are not up on your classical literature, start reading. Read as many books as possible. Write about what you are learning. Discuss the books and ideas with your family. This way you and your children are learning at the same time.
If you look back at the kind of education that a lot of the Founding Fathers of this country had, you will find that they had this same type of classical education. They learned by reading the classics and studying with mentors.
How is this different than a Classical Education? There are many similarities. Both of them will involve reading the classics. A classical education, described here, tends to be more of a structured learning environment. A TJ Ed has some of the elements of unschooling mixed in with its study of classics. Mainly, a student will study whatever topics interest him/her, but will also link those topics to major classical works in that area.
Classics can be found in all areas
of study, not just literature. You will find classical music, art,
science, religion and history. Study the works of the tried and true
pioneers of the topic you are interested in. Then get together to discuss these ideas with others; join clubs, work in groups, participate
in simulations, take field trips and work on projects. All of this is
embodied in this method of education.
I have written a series of
about this topic. While reading the book, "A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century" I took a lot of notes and these blog posts are a good summary of what the entire method is about. There is also a book called "A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion" which helps you to implement the ideas in the "Teaching a Generation of Leaders" book that is very helpful. If you want even more information, this book, "Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens and Every Adult Who Wants to Change the World", is "written to youth and adults wanting to accomplish a successful Scholar
Phase academics, personal development and mission preparation". This is the newest book to come out on the topic and it looks to be a fantastic read.
As always, if you are involved in a group who follows this method and would like to provide me with contact information, I would be happy to post it on this website.