Thomas Jefferson's Principles In Educational Leadership
- Home Educating
- 05 March 2015
Yesterday I was not feeling well, so we are decide to learn on our own. My son chose to learn by reading science books from the We Give Books. I chose to learn about the educational principles of Thomas Jefferson.
Why I chose those topics? A couple days ago I read a review, writing by a homeschool mom that applies the principles of Thomas Jefferson on education her three children, and was pleased with its success. As usual, I was smitten, so would like to know about it. Then I browsed the internet. I met the official link of his book at amazon.com store, also links the counter principal of his theories.
At first glance I read the review, almost the same with the principles of Charlotte Mason education. The difference is, Thomas Jefferson emphasizes the formation of leadership qualities in children through the formal education. Thomas Jefferson have 7 principles of education:
Classics not Textbooks - in other words, living books, and original sources. These will give a better education than a textbook where others have decided for you, what they want you to know. I think that textbook learning is why so many disconnect learning, they are only getting part of the picture.
Mentors not professors or experts - or experts... lets face it the expert and the professor know what they know because they paid the price. That knowledge does not automatically transfer to the student. Mentors, on the other hand, can guide and encourage students to become their own expert.
Inspire not Require - Requiring a child before he is developmentally ready can lead to hate of learning and resistance. Development is not determined by age or intellect. Parents need to be the examples.... Children need that parental example. They need the core phase. If you feel your core phase was inadequate, get one!..Quality not Conformity – when the learner is inspired, they will strive for excellence, be willing to do it again until it is perfect. When he’s required, he conforms to another’s agenda or purpose, not their own. Its part of the sheer joy in hard work to do it right, vs the lazy approach to just get it done no matter how it ends up.
Structure time not Content - if you study great men like Lincoln, Churchill, and others, you will see that they structured their time. They had a time to worship, to eat, care for the animals, work, and often they took time in the evening to learn, after all their work was done, they took some of their leisure time to study and learn. Home is not an artificial institution, and I do not feel it should be run as one. There are tasks of everyday living that are every bit as important for adult life as the academics are. There are areas of greater significance than the academics, as an example of bible study it is better to set an amount of time for study, than it would be to define the content, such as a chapter a day. You may study just one verse, or be led to follow a thread for a time.
Simplicity not Complexity - When a curriculum is complex, the more reliant the student becomes on experts and likely to be caught up in the Requirement/Conformity trap. The more work we have to do to: prepare, or complete a task, the less likely it will get completed. Sometimes we add all kinds of busy work that is really not needed. Education means the ability to think, independently and creatively. Great teachers train great thinkers, and great leaders, by keeping it simple. Find a great thinker and leader in history, and you will find this method in their educational background.
You, not Them - If you think these principles are about improving your child’s education, you will never have the power to inspire them to do the hard work required for self-education. As the parent/mentors we must model the behavior. While the children continue where they are, learning in the mode they accustomed to. You begin your education, set the tone, be the example, establish a house of Learning. You do not need to be an expert to inspire a great education (the classics provide a variety of expertise) but must be setting the example.
Setting the example
I like these principles, and we have adopted them in our home education. But actually, the first principle was very difficult for us. Why? Because our son seemed less like the classic story book. He only like to read the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder and books that written by Enyd Blyton.
For us this is not a big problem. Love to read is the way to answer child's curiosity even if they read good inspiring books, which are not classified as a classics. I think, a good book is a book that can move a person toward his passion. For me, crafting and cook books are good books, they are able to move me to do something, in order to achieve my desires. Therefore, I never push my child to completely reading classical literatures that he is not enjoy.
The other Thomas Jefferson's principles are so very great. The point is, parent as the child's learning companion, consider the child as a unique person, not the person in need of generalized learning. Parents also is companion figure, not someone that push children at a way of life that they don't wanted to be. We may introduce a way of life to children, but may not force them to take it. That's something we have to do if we want our children to have the leader characters, not a follower.