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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century Hardcover – January 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 195 pages
  • Publisher: George Wythe College Press; 2nd Edition, Updated and Revised edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 096712462X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967124629
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


We've known for a long time that it was the extraordinary, far-reaching vision of America's founding fathers that produced the freest and most powerful nation on earth. What we have not understood, however, is the rigorous educational experience that gave them such remarkable vision. The loss of that knowledge poses a 'clear and present danger' to our generation, because liberty cannot perpetuate itself. A Thomas Jefferson Education tells us how to see, in our own day, exactly what the Founders saw - and thus how to safeguard and build upon what they created. It's not a quick or painless perscription, and Oliver DeMille doesn't sugar-coat it. But he does show us, honestly and authoritatively, the price we must pay to remain a free people. If you're willing to find out what that blessing will cost you and your children, read this book --Andrew M. Allison, Jefferson Biographer, Author of The Real Thomas Jefferson

As a high school teacher and administrator, I have yearned for a different approach to learning: and Oliver Demille shows us how education should really take place - with classics and mentors, where students must dig it out for themselves with a little guidance. It may take a whole generation to throw off the bad habits, but let's get started. --Earl Taylor, Principal, Heritage Academy, Charter High School

About the Author

Oliver Van DeMille is the founder and president of George Wythe College and a popular speaker and business consultant. 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

Even with a BS I didn't start learning until I read this book.
M. Curtiss
So grateful to Oliver DeMille for his insight and time he put into writing A Thomas Jefferson Education!
Our children are self-motivated with their education and they enjoy learning.
Stephen D. Palmer

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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