Friday, May 14, 2010

My Journey to Educational Eureka, Part VI

Part I, Part II , Part III, Part IV, Park V, Park VI

These are some things I learned from 'A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion', by Oliver and Rachel DeMille and Diann Jeppson

The Home Companion is just what it says-a companion guide to help you implement the TJE method at home.  It has a lot of stories in it to get you started on your own schedule for working yourself and your family through the phases.

It has quotes on the sides through the whole book quoting George Trumbull, 1742.  I want to read that book now also.

Core and Love of Learning is the time when kids learn necessary daily living skills.  Most of that is done through chores and classes.  It should be a gradual process, with them doing the chores along side the parents until they are able to take them on themselves.  It's also the time when they learn a hunger for knowledge and a joy of learning. 

The bookshelf should be full of good quality books for the kids to read and have read to them.  Scheduling times for it, or just when the desire comes.  There should also be a lot of educational games and good quality play items for them to choose from during their free time.  This is different with each family of course, and even different with each child.  Many parents, myself included, should also be getting their own 'scholar education' at this time, spending a few hours reading their own classics.  The children should not be 'entertained', but rather have the option of choosing how to fill their time with the items that are provided for them around the house.  It's amazing to watch Myia or Samuel pick up a book on animals and start studying the pictures, asking me questions, often recreating them on paper or with blocks, legos, etc.  It's so fun!  It really does work.  I am finally getting the 'brain candy' out of the house and filling the house instead, with high quality learning tools.  And the kids use them, and love them!

The details are what I am finally figuring out, slowly, but surely.  This book was great for that.

Diann wrote about her '6-point approach to inspiring love of learning in my children'.

1.  Example
2.  Frequent Exposure
3.  Plentiful Choices
4.  Accountability
5.  Follow Through
6.  Environment

 They talk about group discussions and suggestions for starting up and leading groups.  That is an important part of the later Love of Learning phase.  Helping the students to think through what they read and see that others are excited about reading as much as them. 

Chapter 7 was really eye-opening for me.  It talked about the role of women in every child's life.  "Something that was lost with the feminist movement in America.  How very sad to have lost that role.  "Every great-grandchild is directly raised by twelve people.  There are others who will influence the child, but twelve who directly raise, mentor, teach, lead, counsel and help the child reach adulthood. The power of womanhood is to directly train all twelve of these people, so that when her great-grandchild is raised, he or she is raised correctly and well. Those twelve people are: father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, grandpa, grandma, uncle, aunt, church leader, teacher, friend and mayor (government). I found that an interesting thought, esp in regards to the other children that God has put in my life, besides my own two.

They stressed that your own education is your most valuable asset. Yikes!  I'm in trouble.  They also gave some great examples of amazing women who saw their roles as mothers as truly important.  It was very inspiring.

Chapters 12 and 13 were also very inspiring. He talked about how we must have a long attention span if we are to learn anything of value, and most Americans, myself included, simply do not.  That is not an option, it must be developed for any real education to take place, and consequently for real freedom to be maintained in a country.  His answers for increasing your attention span: discipline and hard work, hours and hours and hours of studying.  It may not be easy, but it is certainly do-able. The least educated among us can accomplish that!  Chapter 13 was an incredibly inspiring list of people, with just such values and long attention spans, who changed America's history.

The end has some great chore sheets, lists, class ideas, etc.

So, that takes us to the end of my 'Journey to Educational Eureka', but it's just the beginning of the 'education' of myself and my children.  I have worked hard to lay the foundation.  To see where we are going and how we are going to get there.  Now I must work just as hard to educate us.  And I'm very excited to do it!

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