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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century Paperback – September 1, 2009

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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century + A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion + Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: TJEdOnline.com; First Paperback Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615399917
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615399918
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Oliver DeMille voices the need for a generation of leaders to be thoughtfully trained in our homes today. This is a message that homeschoolers need to hear! I don't know when I've seen another book that communicates with such clarity, purpose and vision the powerful potential of homeschool.
I find myself nodding my head and marking passages that sound like something I might have said--and DeMille says it so well. TJEd gives clarity and purpose to the decision to homeschool, and a template that can be applied by any family to achieve their goals.
I refer to it often as a handbook to help me further my own studies, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in quality education. Parents, teachers, and students alike will be energized by this exciting book. --Rebecca Kochenderfer, author of Homeschooling for Success: How Parents Can Create A Superior Education For Their Child; Senior Editor, Homeschool.com, the web's #1 homeschool site & Forbes Best of the Web Top 45 winner

As a cofounder of Acton MBA, I believe our future rests on how we inspire the next generation of leaders to educate themselves safe from the meddling of assembly line schools.
Oliver DeMille's book, A Thomas Jefferson Education, has reminded me that master teachers believe that each child who walks into their classroom is a genius, waiting to be discovered. --Jeff Sandefer, Founder and Faculty Member, Acton MBA, A Princeton Review Top-3 Program

Like most homeschooling parents, I found it difficult not to fall into doing conveyor-belt education at home, using grades, grade-level materials, and checklists. After several years of doing this, I had successfully helped one of my children go from Core phase into Hate-of-Learning phase, where her main goal was to get the schoolwork done, as quickly and with as little effort as possible, so she could have her time back. It was awful.
As I discovered and began to understand the Seven Keys of Great Teaching as presented in the Thomas Jefferson Education book (and DeMille s presentation on the Seven Keys), I realized why I had been so successful at creating a hate-of-learning student. Her textbooks were so boring, even I could not stand reading them. We were focused entirely on content, not time. Home education had become so complex, there was no time for simplicity. The results were tedium and frustration. I found that it is very, very hard not to do to my children what was done to me by schools.
Now, having applied for several years albeit imperfectly the Seven Keys... , along with many other ideas gleaned from the TJEd book and related materials, my children are thriving. They really don t know or care what grade they are in, and they never say the word schoolwork (except by accident). We study as a family, and the Love of Learning phase is truly exciting.
My older children have been successful in Great Books programs in college, and I, myself, have taken time to read and study more than I ever would have thought possible. As you might imagine, I am profoundly grateful to Oliver DeMille and his co-authors for opening this world of educational thinking, life to me.
It is now my great privilege to be able to speak to parents and teachers around the world, and help them rebuild their education paradigm, pointing them to the same source of wisdom that I was so fortunate to find. --Andrew Pudewa, Director of the multi-award winning Institute for Excellence in Writing

About the Author

Oliver DeMille is a founding partner of The Center for Social Leadership, and the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift. He and his wife Rachel have eight children.

More About the Author

Oliver DeMille is a founder of The Center for Social Leadership, and the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, 1913, FreedomShift and The Student Whisperer - among others.

He and his wife Rachel are the developers of Thomas Jefferson Education, an educational philosophy and methodology for building mission-driven leaders.

Oliver is a popular author, keynote speaker, and consultant. Presently, he devotes a majority of his time to writing. He and his wife Rachel are raising their 8 children in southern Utah.

Customer Reviews

I would highly recommend this book whether you are homeschooling or not.
N. A. Carr
Even if you can't homeschool your children, you can learn from the philosophies in this book and make their education the kind you only dreamed about growing up.
A. Taylor
So grateful to Oliver DeMille for his insight and time he put into writing A Thomas Jefferson Education!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Song Girl on September 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
As someone who used the TJED method for 4 years (and continues using ideas from this book) I feel that others ought to know the pros and cons I have encountered in following this homeschooling method. I had to rate it 4 stars because I like it and feel that there is a lot of valuable information here which can be implimented with any homeschool method, however, I wouldn't recommend using TJED as a method on it's own or following every idea to a "T".

The main ideas of the method are: "Inspire, Not Require" which means that we inspire our children to learn, instead of forcing them. "Read, Write, Discuss" which means that you will be active in their education, reading to them, reading the same books they read, using writing and discussion as the true test of whether they understand the material (no tests). "Lead by Example" which means that you ought to put forth an example of continually learning, yourself, whether that means reading enriching material, taking a class, or pursuing a degree. "The Child is the Text Book", which means that the child should be given choice in what they will learn and be able to pursue their interests. "Read the Classics", which means to use wonderful, appealing books in any given subject or topic, instead of text books.

The method is divided into 4 phases of learning, all of which are self-driven: "Core Phase" (ages 0 - 8), in which children's education is focused on family life, morals, creating and discovering. "Love of Learning Phase" (ages 9 - 12), in which children learn skills simply by pursuing their own interests (it is said that most children want to learn to read and start some math during this stage).
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207 of 254 people found the following review helpful By LDS Homeschool Dad on September 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this book Oliver DeMille sells a promise and a hope to parents that are dissatisfied with public education. DeMille argues that we need great leaders like Thomas Jefferson to be able to meet the problems of the 21st century, and the way we get those leaders is that we give them an education like what Thomas Jefferson had. DeMille claims to have discovered what nearly all great leaders in the past have had:

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education - classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc - great men and women of history studied other great men and women." p. 37

This is the basis for everything else he espouses in the book. However, Joan of Arc most likely couldn't read. George Washington was not familiar with the classics and it was something that he was a little self-conscious about. In fact, if you look at leaders of the past, including the ones DeMille lists as examples, virtually none of them were particularly well-versed in any classics and had any significant mentoring, if any at all. But this is the proof DeMille attempts to use to convince the reader that what he will describe is not only what great leaders in the past have done, but what we must do now.

Reading the classics is fine and anyone would benefit from reading them. But DeMille isn't even consistent with what he considers a "classic." For Thomas Jefferson, it was Homer and Livy, for parents now, it's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and books by Cleon Skousen.

Part of the Thomas Jefferson Education approach is that there are six "Phases of Learning.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Math Mom on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For the record, DeMille CLEARLY and REPEATEDLY states that it is irrelevant where your child sits [whether it is at public, private or home school] to get the inspiration & fundamental tools of learning; and that TRUE education is not teaching WHAT to think (teaching to a test) or WHEN to think ("professional" training), but HOW to think. That is exactly what our young people need to learn! What a valid and refreshing objective in the current environment where "feelings" are taught to over-rule thought.

"Conveyor belt learning" for instance, is a mindset first followed by the approach that has led to the decline in literacy rates & rankings. As such, DeMille does not attribute the dysfunction only to government schools as LDS has asserted. Rather, he outlined/demonstrated the pros & cons of all learning environments and how all can fall under that category.

If LDS has indeed read this book and/or is a home school dad who did due diligence before deciding to home school (which looks doubtful after his review), then he would admit & understand this. Anyone can pick paragraphs here & there (out of context), make assertions/assumptions and then criticize for pete's sake. Perhaps he should read it again...this time slower.

Whereas I think DeMille's emphasis on the "classics" was a bit beyond what we work on with our children, his points were no less valid and his solutions were proven & attainable for ANY parent [again] regardless of their child's official learning environment.

I believe this is a must read for anyone looking to explore and/or apply different educational approaches based on the needs of their child(ren).
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