Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moving the Cause of Liberty

We are making fools of ourselves once more. For over 230 years America has struggled against oppression, injustice and slavery, among many other great evils, while still advancing the causes of peace, life, the pursuit of happiness and, most importantly, liberty. Today, something much different is taking place. Children, even before their very birth, are in debt; the people’s voice in their own government is being smothered; the lives of hundreds are being enslaved by ignorance spread by our very own systems; and the words of truth are being ignored by those who should be documenting them. Our whole society is tearing apart at the seams and few have taken enough notice to try to repair it.

The only thing stopping total collapse is liberty. Because people are still able to think for themselves chaos is held at bay by the desire for the benefits of peace. Luckily, though many have forgotten, liberty is an unalienable right which can never be taken away, but, like a beam of light is hidden by a dark cloud, it can be blotted out. Like trained animals we are being taught to rely on others, releasing out freedom and independence; systems are operating which put the good in some form of bondage, while giving evil to have a greater hold on the lives of others; and, while we must always have laws to protect us from the harm of others, our rights are being taken away before our very eyes. Organizations across the earth are covering the light of liberty in the physical, intangible and mental realms, which is horribly affecting our way of life.

But all is not lost. History is repeating itself again and leaders of every shade are stepping forward to save this country. In times of need they have always done so: every civil war has had a Lincoln, every revolution a Washington, every protest a Gandhi, every problem its vanquisher. This crisis, for it soon will be a crisis, has leaders to destroy it as well, some of whom are only children at the moment. It is these children who will solve the coming problems and liberate America from its self-imposed bondage, and a small group in southern California is trying to nurture youth to become those saviors. This group is small, but great; it is compassionate yet strict; it was built by ordinary people to do extraordinary things; and it IS going to have an impact on the future of this earth. This group is G.E.N.I.U.S.

Their name proclaims their mission: to Guide, Educate, Nurture and Inspire Unique Scholars. But to guide, educate nurture and inspire them to become what? Geniuses: people who have achieved their greatest potential. Liberty is the most powerful thing people can have to fulfill such a mission, so it is freedom which they are using. The very essence of each class is imbued with the ideas of liberty, allowing the potential for great manifestations of genius to take place. G.E.N.I.U.S.’ classes each impact a different part of the liberty within each of its scholars, and by the end of a scholar’s time in a class they will have awakened a new sense of liberty in their minds and hearts.

Knowledge, understanding, ability, leadership and freedom are what G.E.N.I.U.S. is striving to give its scholars. Each of the classes is designed to impact them in a profound way, and if in the end the classes have done so then the scholar has received one of the greatest gifts this world has to offer. They have the power to influence their own destiny and to become who they most desire to be; they have the knowledge to succeed in all areas of life, no matter how hard the challenges; they have a mindset which allows them to keep growing and developing, while still allowing them to be themselves. These scholars, these youth, are the future of America, and if they have learned from these classes they will be among the great names of history. Liberty will be the flame which burns inside them, the fire which burns within their very spirit. They will be the saviors of liberty, and nothing will stand in their way because of what they carry forth. These will be the scholars of G.E.N.I.U.S. and it will be thanks to that small group that they became so extraordinary.

Written by Josh C.


Josh C. is a youth who wrote the above excerpt from his opinion paper on "moving the cause of liberty".

*G.E.N.I.U.S. is a Commonwealth School in a mentoring environment where youth participate in activities lead by an adult mentor to help them become self-directed scholars through practice-, apprentice- and self-directed scholar projects. The Commonwealth School program was designed by
Leadership Education Mentoring Institute which trains adult mentors in leading youth projects as a Commonwealth School. For more information see http://www.thelemi.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How Does One Become an Inspiring Mentor?

(a) Someone once asked Robert Newton Peck, a prolific writer of children's fiction, how to write a book. He responded, "Read a thousand books first".

(b) Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers" chronicles many cases of 10,000 hours of practice leading to mastery.

(c) Inspiration comes from "inspirare", "in the spirit". I'd like to quote briefly from an essay I am currently studying: "In many traditions, the word "spirit" refers to life-force, the basic energy of being. Symbolically, spirit is the breath of life. The Hebrew ruah, Greek pneuma, Latin spiritus, and Sanskrit prajna all mean both "breath" and "spirit." Traditionally, this life force is seen as manifest in our love--in the passions and inspirations that motivate us and connect us with the world and with one another.

"In this view, spirituality has to do with the fundamental propelling forces of our lives, our most profound loves, passions and concerns. It is the wellspring of our sense of meaning and of our will to live, the source of our deepest desires, values and dreams. Spirituality, then, is not a thing apart from our daily lives, but rather the fundamental energy source that fuels all our emotions, relationships, work, and everything else we consider meaningful."

Although I have only recently (within the past couple of years) come across these three pieces of information, I find they sum up quite nicely the steps I am taking to become more inspiring -- to myself, to my family, for all those in my stewardship. When I combine (a), (b) and (c), I come up with a few steps that have been helpful for me:

(1) If you want to be an inspiring mentor, take as many hours as possible to be inspired yourself, whatever that means to you. It might be worth starting by finding out what inspires you. For some, it is nature. For some art or music. For some, it is devoting time to their spiritual practices -- praying, meditating, reading scripture, serving others, visiting holy places...

Know what touches your heart and mind and soul -- what opens them, expands them, and leads them towards a longing for truth and further growth. Then schedule in some time every day for at least a passing experience with those things. Understand the process of being inspired. Open yourself to greatness every day.

(2) As time progresses, you will be led to do in-depth study of what inspires you. For some, that means research -- deeper reading of scripture, intense study of the biographies or artistic or service or work practices of those who inspire you -- who become *your* mentors, whether in person, or through their works and contributions to the world. For some, that means intense practice -- wielding a paintbrush or an instrument or a garden trowel or tools for serving others or spending much time in holy places. For some, it means both. Take the time to immerse yourself in such study and application.

(3) Know what touches your child's heart and mind and soul -- know what conditions need to exist for them feel inspired. This starts with an in-depth study of your child, and much practice of your relationship. Trust needs to be strengthened -- in some cases, established or re-established. I refer you to Diann Jeppson's TJEd Continuum diagram in the back of the Leadership Education book by the DeMilles for further information.

For some children, physical presence is needed -- much one on one time, or tickling, or hugs, or snuggling against their mother as they read. For some, it is much physical movement -- inspiration to do more, stretch more, attempt new things comes from running, or riding a bike, or tinkering with tools, building or discovering. Some children have passionate interest in something -- for my son, it was Star Trek -- so interest in THEIR interest, mastery knowledge of THEIR passion is the key to their heart, and then their mind. Find out what inspires your child, and if you can, find out how it inspires them, and why.

(4) Find ways to make your passion and what reaches your child overlap. You are not trying to change your child, to have them accept your interests instead of theirs, but to find ways to connect that which makes you feel alive, and that which touches them.

(5) Finally, one thing that I think has been well illustrated by recent posts is the importance of taking care of your physical well being in order to create fruitful conditions for your inspirational best self. Eat well, breathe well, sleep as you can to be able to have the energy and strength to carry through on the epiphanies (a-hahs) that come to you about how to reach your child or create a more inspirational environment or better train yourself to be both inspiring and inspired.

These are the bones. I hope others clothe them in the flesh of their own experiences.

Debi from Canada

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009


A Constitution Study

Begins Thursday Oct 22, 7 - 9 pm
Class meets every other week through June 2010
Commerce Business Building
7100 SW Hampton St #221
Tigard, OR 97223

The Freedom Project is a study of America's Founding documents and principles of government including The 5000 Year Leap. This project studies various forms of government and their effect upon the happiness of the people.

Participants will learn by:

1. Reading and discussing the lives and works of individuals who fought for freedom
2. Lectures on foundational principles of freedom
3. Annotating the U.S. Constitution
4. Writing workshops which develop the power of personal influence
5. Field experience while taking active involvement in local government

Please join us in the Freedom Project where you will be empowered with greater knowledge of the Founding Fathers to effectively promote the cause of liberty.

"If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free,
as Jefferson cautioned, it is the responsibility
of every American to be informed." Ronald Reagan .

This course is similar to a year long weekly course "Key of Liberty" for youth 12+ but designed with the busier schedule of parents/adults in mind -- by meeting every other week.

Tuition: $50 per individual or $75 per couple (we recommend couples if possible)

Fee: One time $10 online registration and $15 for student workbook
ordered through www.LiberCommunities.com
This includes access to a nationwide network of others taking this same course!

plus books -- some of which you may already have.
* The 5000 Year Leap, by Cleon Skousen
* John Adams by David McCullough
* The Real George Washington, by Jay Perry
* The Making of America, by Cleon Skousen
* Bridge at Andeau, by Michner
* And There Was Light, by Lusseyran
* essays by Bastiat

Registration Form You may print this off and bring it to the first class with your payment, where we will introduce the syllabus, the books we are studying this year and outline our goals for the year.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saving 9 Little Boys

Hannah Hendee

On 16 October 1780, about the time that Peter was routing the British at the Burkeville tavern, Robert Havens was awakened by the barking of a neighbor's dog; something was after the sheep. Partially clothed, he left his house near the White River in South Royalton, Vermont, and ascended the hill. He found the sheep safe. He stood pensively looking back as the first light of dawn touched his frontier home. Something was wrong!

As he turned to retrace his steps, he saw a large company of Indians move from the forest and push in the front door of his home. Two teenage boys who had been aroused to help with the sheep were getting dressed. One was his son Daniel Havens. The other, Thomas Pimber, was courting a neighbor girl and had stayed overnight with the Havens family.

The boys burst through the back door and ran for their lives. Daniel stumbled as he reached the stream, rolled down the bank under a log, and was not discovered. Thomas Pimber was not so fortunate. In a few minutes the Indians were roaring with delight. His scalp had a double cowlick. Cut in two, it would fetch a double bounty from the British.

The Indians-three hundred of them from Canada-and a few Tories were commanded by a British captain named Horton. The British had offered the Indians eight dollars each for live captive men, something less for boys, and a lesser amount for scalps. The British had placed no bounty on women and girls, who were therefore immune to captivity and subject to something less than death.

During that long-forgotten burning of South Royalton, Vermont, the Indians moved downriver capturing the men and boys, killing those who resisted. They killed all the livestock and burned the houses and barns holding the harvest upon which the colonists depended for survival during the long New England winter.

Some distance downstream, the Hendee family had been warned. The husband set out on foot to warn others further downstream. Hannah Hendee grabbed her seven-year-old son, Michael, and a younger daughter and ran for the woods. Just when she thought she had reached safety a band of Indians stepped from the shadows and wrested her boy from her. One of them spoke English. She demanded to know what they were going to do to her boy. The Indian replied, "Make a soldier of him."

As the Indians dragged her sobbing boy away, she made her way toward the road along the river carrying her little girl, who screamed in panic for her mother to keep the Indians away.

Near the river she met Captain Horton and asked what they intended to do with the little boys. She was told that they would be marched to Canada with the men. She said the youngsters could not endure such a march, and was told, "In that case, they will be killed."

She headed down the road toward Lebanon, sixteen miles away, carrying her little girl. She had not gone far when she was filled with a surge of uncommon resolve, a fierce determination. They should not keep her little boy!

She returned upriver and found the British and the Indians gathering their captives on the opposite bank. She started across and would have drowned had not an old Indian helped her to shore.

Oblivious of the danger, she demanded her little boy. Captain Horton said he could not control the Indians; it was none of his concern what they did. She threatened him: "You are their commander, and they must and will obey you. The curse will fall upon you for whatever crime they may commit, and all the innocent blood they shall here shed will be found in your skirts when the secrets of men's hearts are made known, and it will cry for vengeance upon your head!"

When her little son was brought in she took him by the hand and refused to let go. An Indian threatened her with a cutlass and jerked her son away. She defiantly took him back and said that she would follow them every step of the way to Canada, she would never give up, they would not have her little boy!

Finally, intimidated by her determination, Captain Horton told her to take her son and leave. He could face an army of men, but not a mother driven by the strongest of emotions. She had gone but a few rods when she was made to return. Captain Horton said she must wait in camp until all the captives were assembled and the march north began.

During the day other little boys were brought into camp. Desperately they clung to Mrs. Hendee. With uncommon courage she interceded for them as vigorously as she had for her own.

Finally, when the captives were assembled for the long march to Canada, Mrs. Hendee somehow crossed the river with her daughter and nine small boys: her son, Michael, Roswell Parkurst, Andrew and Sheldon Durkey, Joseph Rix, Rufus Fish and his brother, Nathaniel Evans, and Daniel Downer. Two of them she carried across. The others waded through the water with their arms around each other's necks, clinging to her skirts. As the cold October night closed in, Mrs. Hendee huddled in the woods with the soaking-wet little brood she had rescued from certain death.

One of the boys, Daniel Downer, "received such an affright from the horrid crew, that he was ever afterwards unable to take care of himself, wholly unfit for business and lived for many years, wandering from place to place, a solemn, tho' silent witness of the distress and horror of that dreadful scene." (Evelyn Wood Love-joy, History of Royalton, Vermont [Burlington, Vermont: Free Press Printing Co., 1911].)

They talk about a woman's sphere,
As though it has a limit;
There's not a place in earth or heaven,
There's not a task to mankind given,
There's not a blessing nor a woe,
There's not a whispered yes or no,
There's not a life, or death, or birth,
That has a feather's weight of worth . . .
Without a woman in it.
-Author unknown

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Face to Face With Greatness Seminar

Thomas Jefferson Education Revisited:
You, not Them

September 25-26, 2009

Endorsed by:
George Wythe University

“For learning requires a mentor—an Athena, a Virgil, a Beatrice—to lead and teach, guide and instruct . . . showing their charges how to learn, stepping back when the pupil begins to see and to understand on his own.” --L. Cowan
* Core and Love of Learning
* Transition to Scholar
* Scholar Phase
* Depth Phase
* How to Read a Book
* The 8th Key
* Pre-readings:
The Virginian, Pride & Prejudice,
A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion,
Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning
* Colloquium on The Virginian and Pride & Pejudice

Seminar Schedule: (each day includes 1h 30 min lunch break)
Friday: Registration opens at 8:30 am
Seminar begins promptly at 9 am - 5 pm,
Saturday: 9 am to 5:30 pm.

Pre-Registration Cost:
$185.00 per person*
$140.00 per spouse*
$ 95.00 per youth (14+)*

At the Door Cost:
$200.00 per person*
$150.00 per spouse*
$110.00 per youth (14+)*

**Click Here to Register ** Space is limited

*Seminar fees are transferable person-to-person, not seminar-to-seminar, and are not refundable.

This workshop provides an opportunity for 'training' that will help you as a parent and as a teacher.

The Virginian Audio:

Pride & Prejudice Audio:

Monday, August 31, 2009

The 4 Lost American Ideals

We recently had a conference call where we listened to Oliver DeMille explain the four most important ideals that were present with the Founding Fathers that are missing today.
  • Georgics
  • Providence
  • Liber
  • Public Virtue

What this presentation teaches about Freedom and America are eye opening and inspiring.

To learn more details about Liber, come to the Face to Face with Greatness Seminar, Sept 25-26, 2009!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Freedom Project - for Adults

The Freedom Project is a study of America's Founding documents and principles of government including The 5000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen. This project studies various forms of government and their effect upon the happiness of the people.

Participants will learn by:
  1. Reading and discussing the lives and works of individuals who fought for freedom
  2. Lectures on foundational principles of freedom
  3. Annotating the U.S. Constitution
  4. Writing workshops which develop the power of personal influence
  5. Field experience while taking active involvement in local government

Please join us in the Freedom Project where you will be empowered with greater knowledge of the Founding Fathers to effectively promote the cause of liberty.

The Freedom Project meets in a classroom setting twice a month for nine months. This project is offered in communities around the United States and Canada, as well as Online.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be.” Thomas Jefferson
"If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, as Jefferson cautioned, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." Ronald Reagan
Sign up for a Freedom Project Class near you. Look at the sidebar on the right for schedules.

The Freedom Project Certification
and Continuing Education Credit:

George Wythe University’s “Freedom Project Certification” accompanies this project. (See www.gw.edu for the Freedom Project Certification requirements.) Upon completion of the certification three credits may be purchased and applied to a George Wythe University degree program.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thoughts on a Thomas Jefferson Education

There are a few books that when you initially read them, simply resonate with your spirit. A Thomas Jefferson Education is one of them. I read many different books on educational philosophy over the course of about 7 years, searching for answers and learning by trial and error on my “guinea pig” children. I wanted them to have a superior education, but my own limited understanding and poor study habits were a definite hindrance. I had come to realize that a public school education would only give them what it had given me… and I wasn’t very happy or satisfied with the results. I wanted more for my children. What parent doesn’t want that?

I’ve always believed in building on what you have – weeding out the bad and improving on the good. I tried with all my might to “build” upon the public school system (classroom helper, homeroom mom, PTA, parent committees, school board), but it made no difference. The decision to “weed out” the public school system was decidedly the most difficult decision of my life – that was one HUGE weed; a gigantic leap of faith! It took over a year, once the thought took hold, to gain the courage to do so.

With a very poor beginning, feeling alone and unprepared, through lots of tears and time spent on my knees, I began my experiment, knowing that my children’s future was at stake. I was always cognizant of the fact that this little experiment could literally destroy my children and their futures… and that it would be all my fault. Talk about pressure! This was an enormous crossroad in our family – our Rubicon. Taking this road would forever change the course and destiny of my family. Would it be for better or worse?

Four years into my homeschooling experiment, I was introduced to the book, A Thomas Jefferson Education. By that point I had learned a great deal about what worked and what did not. I was doing OK, and remarkably happy with our progress as a family in spite of all the limitations and deep seated fears that continued to nibble away at my confidence. I knew I was doing better than the public school up to that point, but it still wasn’t enough. Something more was needed. Thankfully, a generous and loving Heavenly Father had been supporting and guiding my fledgling efforts. We discovered George Wythe College quite by accident; a peculiar story I won’t take the time to relate in this paper. I also had a seventeen year-old daughter getting ready for college. One look at the curriculum and we were both sold… instantly. Then, as a matter of course, one cannot attend GWC without reading and learning about A Thomas Jefferson Education. I find it interesting that when something is right, it has a way of making itself known to our hearts almost instantaneously. It just “feels” right and something cries out from deep within our very souls. Then doubts come, but only because the heart has to compete with the mind; especially when a new idea goes against tradition.

Somehow our society’s educational traditions have gotten off track. It was that insight that prompted me to make the attempt to teach my own children. But I also knew I couldn’t continue by myself indefinitely; I needed help! Badly. A Thomas Jefferson Education was an answer to prayer. It is much more than a book on educational methods or philosophy. It is a book on educational principles. My heart tells me they are correct principles; my experiences have confirmed them. However, friends, family, acquaintances, and even my own “conditioned” beliefs continue to fling traditions at me that keep me from implementing those principles to their full potential. Bad habits are so hard to break! Yet the principles are there. The paradigm has shifted.

My vision and understanding of education – what it is and what it is not – changed drastically after reading about TJEd. Once your eyes are opened to a grand view of a beautiful scene, you are never quite the same afterwards. That vision stays with you. It may fade with time if not refreshed, yet the memory is always there to some degree. Suddenly all the small components of that scene take on greater meaning, purpose and depth. One can see how each piece fits into the larger, greater puzzle of life. Greater appreciation and reverence for each small truth begins to make an impact that changes our lives forever. Our course has changed. We take that fork in the road that leads us toward that beautiful new vision. We stumble, fall, question, and encounter roadblocks along the way, but we cannot go back once we’ve seen it… and be happy.
Among all the substantial insights gained from reading A Thomas Jefferson Education, there were two key points that particularly captured my attention.

The most striking was the injunction to "Inspire not Require". I have always known that the power of example is tremendous. Like the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. But it especially hit home on one occasion in particular that I’ve never forgotten.

When my youngest son was just a toddler he began exhibiting some very odd behavior. For no apparent reason, he would suddenly stop whatever he was doing, walk towards a blank wall or door and press his face against it, stand there for a few seconds, then just as suddenly turn around and go back to whatever he was doing before as if it were the most natural thing in the world. He would do this at least three or four times a day. My husband and I would look at each other and wonder what prompted him to act in such a bizarre manner. This baffling behavior continued for several weeks. It was the only abnormal quirk he exhibited. He acted much like any typical toddler in every other respect, so we weren’t overly concerned, but we were certainly curious! We often made comments like, “He’s YOUR child” or “He must take after YOUR side of the family”, and would just laugh it off, knowing he would eventually grow out of it. But I’ll be forever grateful that he didn’t grow out of it before I learned the powerful message he was bringing me.

One day I was in the kitchen when I thought I heard a car in our driveway. Wondering who it might be, I walked to our laundry room door which opened out into the driveway and looked through the peek hole in the door. As I stood there gazing through the peek hole, my little boy came running up from behind and squeezed himself between me and door, again exhibiting that odd behavior of pressing his face against the door. Suddenly, in a flash of comprehension, I understood! He was copying me! Laughing, I quickly picked him up and positioned one of his eyes in front of the peek hole. I could see the little light bulb go off in his head as a huge smile spread across his face. Needless to say, his odd behavior immediately came to a halt. One look through the peek hole and he had the vision of what I was doing and why. This experience changed him. He never again pressed his face against a blank wall or door. From then on, he dragged a chair to the door and looked through for himself – behavior that made perfect sense.

We have two doors in our home that open to the front of our house; both with peek holes. Obviously, my son had seen me and other family members use these peek holes, but being so short couldn’t see them from his low vantage point. He only knew that we would walk to a door occasionally and press our faces against them. Children learn by imitation, so he was doing what any normal child does. He was copying us even though it made absolutely no sense! Although this incident brings to mind many possible analogies and lessons, one of the greatest lessons I learned from it was the power of my example on my children… for both good and bad. But more importantly, how easily we follow and copy things that others do – that society does – that make no sense. How many false traditions do we pass on without understanding why? How often do we press our faces against a blank wall?

Reading A Thomas Jefferson Education opened my eyes to many blank walls I had been pressing my face towards. Like my son, now that I’ve seen through that peek hole and caught the vision beyond the closed door, there’s no going back. I cannot continue a tradition and habit that doesn’t make sense. I have to change! And I have to find some way to help others see what I’ve seen. I have to learn to inspire!

To inspire, however, requires another key point – "You not Them." To be a good example, requires establishing good habits worthy of emulation and also means getting rid of bad habits as well. That’s the painful part. We have to pull up a chair and get busy studying ourselves, as well as do a bit of weeding. Eventually we all come to realize sooner or later that the only person we can change is ourselves, and that changing ourselves is what makes the greatest impact. It brings to mind a little poem I once heard that has simplified my life and given me hope. It reads:

“Your task… to build a better world”, God said. I answered, “How? The world is such a large, vast place so complicated now. And I so small and useless am; there’s nothing I can do”. But God in all his wisdom said, “Just build a better you”. –Anonymous
Susan J. of AZ
Friday, October 3, 2008

Dr Shanon Brooks Aug Visit to PDX/Vancouver 2009

In gearing up for the September 25-26, 2009 Face to Face #2 Seminar, Dr Shanon Brooks was in town and visited with people throughout the greater Portland Region. (Vancouver, WA; Salem, Oregon City; and Beaverton)

We were privileged to learn about a new book coming out in November 2009 called TJEd for Teens -- it gave us some interesting history about where the Teenage term was first used, and the consequence this concept has brought about the 'Midlife-Crisis' of our times.

He introduced some questions that every teen can ask themselves which will help them focus on the correct principles and help them make better decisions. As we parents know, the teen years are transformational in the direction a person makes for a lifetime. He shared with us some of the "Transformational Life Questions" every person needs to ask themselves.

The response by attendees' was incredibly positive. It has helped many of us to re-focus as parents so we can be more effective. Definitely a book on my list to get!

As a follow-up we also offered a conference call on August 26, 2009 to answer specific questions. He also gave us some insightful new information that helps us understand more about the content of the Face to Face Seminar#2: TJEd Revisited-You, Not Them (September 25-26, 2009)

Here's the recording of the call:

NOTE: We have TJEd for Teens available here in Portland Oregon. Contact Ann Agent 503-939-6577
The Seminar was well attended and very informative.  We will post when another Seminar is available in locations of the  Pacific Northwest. It will be posted in the sidebar..

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Value of Education

By Jared and Selena Sorensen

The good education of youth has been esteemed by wise men of all ages as the surest foundation of happiness.” Benjamin Franklin

Our freedoms are under attack, our economy has weakened and public virtue among our political leaders has vanished. History repeats itself and therefore we are experiencing the past due crisis in our nation. Although the government can be blamed for many of the maladies in our current economy, if there is to be real “change” it will come from the bottom and work its way up, not be imposed upon us from those on the top. That means that we must begin with our generation in order to become the informed electorate envisioned by the founders of our country. “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.”(Thomas Jefferson) By paying the price to obtain a Leadership Education for ourselves and our children, we can stop the erosion of our freedoms.

Right now we are seeing in the world a period of deflation and revaluation in property, stocks and commodities. There have been housing bubbles, tuition bubbles, and even bubbles in the commodities that have burst and caused values to decline 50% and more. What has happened to the value of education during this deflationary period? This largely depends on the type of education one possesses. Unemployment rates are now in the double digits suggesting that the current recession has affected all sectors of the working class. Many highly educated individuals have found that they are no longer needed as businesses, out of necessity, down size their work forces.

Leaders Wanted!

Where will the leaders come from to bring the United States back to the principles upon which the country was founded? Are these principles obsolete in the 21st century? The individuals that will lead our nation are being created right now in our homes.

The United States is among the most educated societies ever to live on the earth. One who believes in the value of education might be predisposed to believe that our country would be free from many of the ills that have plagued former civilizations. Recent attacks on morality and the current economic crisis suggests we are not immune from these problems. What is wrong? Perhaps the answer lies in our education.

The Founding Fathers realized that for freedom to endure it was necessary to implement public education. Jefferson stated, “If the condition of man is to be progressively ameliorated (improved) as we fondly hope and believe, [education] is to be the chief instrument in effecting it.”

In order to make the changes we need in our society, we must first know what types of education are now available to us. They can be divided into at least three groups: Job training, Professional, and Leadership Education.

Job training

Job Training is the type of education offered by many universities, technical schools, training programs and the public schools in America. The purpose of this educational system is to give individuals the skills needed to obtain jobs and become functional citizens in the nation. There is nothing wrong with this form of education; in fact it is a great thing. Job training does have some weaknesses however, as we can see by the current number of individuals who have received this form of education that are now unemployed. These individuals sacrificed both time and money to acquire the skills that would get them good paying jobs. Unfortunately, many of these skills are now obsolete or are not currently in demand.

Professional Education

Doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and many of those currently serving in political offices receive a professional education. These individuals are an integral part of any society because their services improve the quality of life for the people. The time and money required to receive a professional education is extremely great, and the monetary rewards they receive are commensurate with their investment. Because the services rendered by professionals are so needed, they have greater job security. These individuals are not immune from the economic recession however. Professionals may still have employment, but they have witnessed the erosion of their net worth thus requiring them to postpone retirement.

Leadership Education

There is another form of education that is known as leadership or Oxford education. This type of education involves the in-depth study of classical works, books, and art. Leadership education is based on the ancient Hebrew model of education, whereby a mentor works closely with a student to form a personalized education that will be a guide on the path to obtaining wisdom. Wisdom is defined by Webster as: “Insightful understanding of what is true, right, or enduring,” and represents the “amassed learning of philosophers, scientists, and scholars.” True wisdom, combined with common sense, or “native good judgment,” gives the student depth and breadth in all subjects, including math and science. We are living in the information age. Information however is of minimal worth if it cannot be converted into wisdom. Wisdom must also be coupled with moral principles to prevent tyranny and despotism. A good example of the lack of moral principles in leadership was demonstrated in the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler.

Many of the Founding Fathers of America received a leadership education under the hands of great mentors such as George Wythe. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and their contemporaries studied the works of Montesquieu, Cicero, Plato and many others, in their original context and very often in their original languages. Those history lessons enabled the Founders to come together in the common cause of creating and preserving a system that would protect man’s inalienable rights and God-given freedoms. As a result of these men coming together with a common goal—because of their wisdom obtained through their education, and under the hand of God, the Constitution of the United States was born.

Some argue that the principles upon which the United States Constitution is founded are outdated and not applicable in our day. To an extent that may be true, but if it is, it is a result of our Nation’s actions that are contrary to moral government. The Constitution has no power over an immoral people. John Adams stated: “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Morality has been steadily on the decline in our nation for the past century. The ills that have eroded the moorings of the Constitution cannot be corrected overnight and not without sacrifice and effort.

The purpose of job training education is to teach a person what to think, professional education teaches people when to think, and leadership education teaches one how to think. What could be more important for all of us who love our country than to know how to think, how to study and plan, how to discern between right and wrong and how to have the courage to choose the right.
Although all education is good, leadership education gives one a breadth of knowledge that allows the student to adapt to changing circumstances. This does not ensure that the person with a world-class leadership education will not lose his or her employment during economic downturns, but if that individual does, he or she will be more likely to find the silver lining in the storm cloud and the opportunities that inevitably accompany every crisis. The current crisis in our world has leveled the playing field in many ways for those in the work force. The leadership-educated entrepreneur now has many advantages over the individual who has become indebted to obtain a degree from a prestigious university.

Freedom and Education

If our nation is to remain free we must return to the principles upon which this great nation was founded. Leadership education principles can be applied in any system of education. “Lay down true principles, adhere to them inflexibly, and do not be frightened into their surrender.” (Thomas Jefferson) The key is to take responsibility for one’s own education. Sir Walter Scott stated, “All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.” It is up to each of us to become educated and then assist in the education of those around us. The big question is how. And the answer is: Prayerfully seek for guidance from God, and then go to the classics, find a mentor who has the type of education you desire, and start now to educate yourself and your children. The call to leadership will come. As we pay the price to obtain a leadership education we can answer that call and follow the wisdom of Gandhi to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Jared Sorensen lives with his wife, Selena, and their 6 children on a ranch in Ruby Valley, Nevada. Jared and Selena are obtaining a leadership education through George Wythe University and are striving to give a leadership education to their children.

The Nation Comes from the Nursery

By Laurie Gatrell

Recently, as my husband and I ate dinner at a rustic steakhouse, I noticed a large portrait of a mother and child above our booth. In the picture, the young woman, in her blue satin Victorian gown, gazed adoringly into her child’s cherubic face as they sat serenely on a pastoral bench. Across the bottom of this tranquil scene blazed the bold statement: “A Woman’s Place is in the Home.”

In our politically-correct society, “them’s fightin’ words!” Therefore, one could almost dismiss them as sentimental; an out-dated, irrelevant Victorian platitude. But I couldn't; not since learning about the importance of statesmanship and leadership education in the home at the “Face-to-Face with Greatness” seminars.

Statesmen, I learned, are ordinary people who choose to live good, honest lives and pay the price of greatness; who become the change they want to see in the world and who make a difference in society. Leadership education is the type of education our Founding Fathers had.

One presenter, Laura Bledsoe, quoted Samuel Smiles, who said, “The nation comes from the nursery.”

These words resounded in me.

Before our country was founded, before the Boston Tea Party, or the Stamp Act, and before Thomas Jefferson heard Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death” speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses, and before the men who made our country had paid their price to be great-- there was a woman. You probably haven’t even heard of her, but her legacy influenced the founding of our country. Her name was Margaret Walker Wythe.

Margaret and Thomas Wythe, a plantation owner in Virginia, had two sons and a daughter together before Margaret was widowed at a young age. Her second son was having difficulty in the public school, so she brought him home and taught him herself.

It was rare in those days for a woman to be educated, and Margaret was not merely ‘literate,’ she was a ‘highly educated woman’. She mentored her son until he was about sixteen in Latin, Greek, mathematics and more. Most importantly, she helped him acquire the greatest gift: a life-long love of learning.

Margaret passed away about this time, but building on the foundation she gave him, he decided to study at the College of William and Mary. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford it. He didn’t let that stop him, however. Indeed, over time, Margaret’s son became Virginia’s foremost classical scholar, the colony’s Attorney General, a delegate to the Continental Congress, a speaker of the Assembly, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, the young man who’d been too poor to even attend the College of William and Mary eventually became its, and the nation’s, first law professor!

This man went on to mentor the generation of lawyers, judges, ministers, teachers, governors, senators, congressmen, and ambassadors who surrounded the events and laid the foundation that birthed our nation, and who led it in its infancy. Two of his students became president, two others were attorneys general, and, as Professor Forrest McDonald put it, this man mentored “enough other Founding Fathers to populate a small standing army!”

Who was this great man who was educated at his mother’s knee? He was George Wythe, and the impact of his mother, “of this amazing woman…cannot be overemphasized.” 1 How would it be to have such a positive impact on your child; on your community? By obtaining a leadership education for myself, it’s possible.

I soak up every opportunity I can to learn about the principles of great teaching, mentoring the classics, and creating within the walls of my own home a great environment for freedom and self-governance. Through studying the classics and coming Face to Face with Greatness, I am building my own superb classical education. I’m making a difference to my family and my community.

I can be like that Victorian lady in the picture. I can be like Margaret Wythe. So can you. When it comes to educating our children, a Stateswoman’s place is in the home.

1Brown, Imogene E., American Aristides: a biography of George Wythe, Rutherford N.J: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1981.

TJEd: A Father’s Perspective

By Lance Gatrell

Are you growing uncomfortable with the unexpected “stuff” your child is learning in school? Has your child lost his/her curiosity or creativity? Does your child view learning as a chore, or as something unpleasant? Have you noticed that public education treats your child like an object on an assembly line, where every child is taught the same thing and in the same way, even if your child has unique abilities that should be nurtured in a unique way? Has your child ever had a teacher that squashed his/her interest in a subject? Have you found your own personal education stagnating?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then perhaps a Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) is what you and your child need. The term “Thomas Jefferson Education” is named in honor of one of the great thinkers amongst our Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, as well as several other prominent thinkers during the founding of our country, was mentored by a wise teacher, George Wythe, who taught Thomas through studying the great classics of literature, history, political thinking, mathematics, and science, etc.

Our family started our TJEd about three and a half years ago. Since that time, I’ve observed the gradual transformation in our family as I, my spouse, and my children have read and studied some of these classical concepts (our education is not complete—not that you should ever “finish” learning).

Following TJEd principles, the parents are to set the example by continuing their education, and so I’ve read more books in the last three years than I did in the previous 17 years combined. I’ve seen our 11 year old son close a book about Archimedes one Saturday and exclaim “That was a great book”. I’ve watched our 7 year old daughter change from crying that she “hates” reading and that she can’t do it, to now devouring 150 page novels in a day or two, and studying about animal science so that she can become a veterinarian when she grows up. She is writing her own novel that is quite interesting. When our 16 year old son was 12, he played the trumpet in the school band, but we couldn’t get him to practice, nor did he enjoy it. Now, he has discovered his talent on the piano, and several times a day he chooses to sit at the piano and work on a piece, or work on figuring out a song by ear. My children now love to read.

I’ve noticed that the behavior problems have diminished; they’re not perfect, but there has definitely been an improvement. I’ve noticed that my children have become more kind to others. Their willingness to do chores has also increased; again, they’re not perfect here, either, but they have improved.

If you’d like to learn more about a Thomas Jefferson Education for you and your children, please contact Ann Agent, 503-939-6577 to participate in an introductory meeting. Or sign up for the Seminar: You, Not Them to be held in Portland OR on September 25-26, 2009.

Summary of Leadership Education

A Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) Overview

“A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver DeMille is available
in the Washington County Library System.
By Ann Agent prepared 05/06, updated 05/09

There are many “styles” of learning that are well recognized. This particular approach to education is very different. It was named by Oliver DeMille based upon his intensive personal study of the Founding Fathers. He learned how Jefferson was educated through the mentoring of George Wythe, a signer of the Constitution and a great leader of that time. DeMille also researched the other great leaders throughout time and found they had very similar experiences to their education. This is actually a philosophy approach referred to as Leadership Education— a set of principles applied to the various modern styles of education most are familiar with.

TJEd has some basic concepts that classify these principles. People can understand the principles and then use different methods within the context of the TJEd principles. One basic premise: you cannot educate someone else; people have to choose to learn. In other words TJEd respects individual agency and accountability. With this approach a person’s educational journey
is divided into 4 Phases of Learning, supported by 7 Keys of Education under each developmental phase and done in the 5 Environments of Leadership Education.

No matter when one begins to use this philosophy whether from birth, or later in life, everyone must go through the Phases (and included are some examples of some educational methods most effective for that phase).

This process can be applied to ANY educational environment and not limited to Public or Private School, Home Education, etc. But the princples are used in all activities and phases of living.

4 Phases of Learning
(ages suggested can range + or – 99 years.)

1) Core Phase ~Birth to ~8yo

(Montessori and some Charlotte Mason methods)
The heart and habits of life. This is where the values, character and work ethic are learned typically through play. Such as right / wrong, how to relate to the world around them, others & introduction to social skills.
KEYS: Inspire, not Require; Structure time, not content; Classics not Textbooks)

2) Love of Learning Phase ~8yo to 12 yo

Delight or Interest Driven (Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Unit Studies)
This is a flutter-by stage when a child will want to try it for awhile then drop and move on to new things. They are curious but not capable of deep intensive study yet. The attention/focus time still relatively short. They are enjoying the journey of looking into a myriad of things. An introduction to everything is going on in this phase. They “practice scholar phase” as they transition.
KEYS: Inspire, not Require; Structure time, not Content; Classics not Textbooks)

3) Scholar Phase ~12yo – 16yo

(Classical/The Well Trained Mind, or some Curriculum approaches)
Broad and deep study preparing for life’s mission. The learner willingly takes on long periods of intense study 8 – 10 hrs at a time is typical. Eventually leading up to 5,000 to 8,000 hours of study. They focus on this intense personally driven study 5-6 days a wk for 10 to 11 months per yr. They are self-motivated and somewhat reclusive because they are intent to learn. This is considered “pre-university” study. They use mentors, and willingly seek to have their work reviewed and will do it again until it is excellent.
KEYS: Classics; Quality, not conformity; Mentors; You, not Them; and in the 5 Environments

4) Depth Phase ~16yo – 22yo

(University or professional study -- or mentor guided apprenticeship, Specialty)
This is where the learner now goes into professional study, typically at a university. Here is when one has figured out his “life’s mission” and does all he can to achieve it, receive training for it, it’s the Depth of Knowledge process.
KEYS: Classics; Secure, not Stressed; You, not Them; Quality, not Conformity; in the 5 Environments..see below)

Note: If a Core or Love of Learning phase was poor, then the learner may experience great difficulty focusing in the Scholar phase and this must be resolved before a full scholar phase can be completed. If an age is given as related to developmental stages keep in mind, learning these principles can be done at any age, the best time to do this is as a youth. Many parents are
just now learning the phases and modeling the behavior for their children. They are built through the 7 Keys of Education.

Keys of Education

These are applied based upon the phase the learner is in. Learning occurs developmentally and builds layer upon layer. It would take an hour or two to go through each of these in detail but their concepts are suggested in their names—a very brief comment is included if possible:

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. Thatknowledge 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!
– Inspire comes from the root meaning of "in spirit". Are we "in the spirit" of learning?
– Parents getting inspired will do more to help their children discover their own passion for learning when they lead by example, than by anything else they can do. Lead out and avoid "educational vomit" meaning don't pounce on a child the moment they utter any sign of interest in a subject.
– We lead them to learning through our own example of being passionately involved the the pursuit of knowledge.

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 submits (as in when he's ready to seek out guidance and direction from a mentor) he trusts the direction to do work until its best. This process is part of the sheer joy that comes through the hard work to do it right, vs the lazy approach to just get it done no matter how it ends up. If he's not ready for seeking guidance, but pushed before he's ready, then he conforms to another persons agenda or purpose, not their own. When they own their work, they strive for quality

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 a 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.

5 Environments of Leadership Education

These are the environments that are used throughout all the phases, sometimes
referred to as "5 Pillars".

  • Classics

  • Mentors

  • Simulations

  • Field Experience

  • God - or where your philosophical source from where
    all values and morals come from aka, your "Central Classic".

These 5 Pillars work best when you have others to discuss these things with. This philosophy to education has trained great leaders from Washington, Jefferson and Abigail Adams to Lincoln, Churchill and Gandhi to name a few.

The 8th Key of Education: Secure, not Stressed

– Its important to find security by knowing:
(1) that you are doing what is right, and
(2) that you are doing it effectively. Use whatever means available for to you to know what is right for your family. It is essential to be truly secure about seeking a Leadership Education. Its also important to know you are doing it well. Either by trying it for years on your own (learn by trial and error – which is stressful) or by learning what works from those who are doing it successfully – in the classics, in books*, in seminars & conferences specific to Leadership Education. In other words, being mentored by those experienced in Leadership Education plays an integral part in ensuring your success.

“You must be the change
you wish to see in the world”

By learning and applying the Leadership Education principles, you can best use the types of specific educational methods at the right time in the right way. This is the path to obtaining superb education. We'll use tools effectively, spend time wisely, focus on the appropriate phase of learning and truly achieve the ability to think for oneself and learn our life's mission. We'll also have the knowledge to stand up for true principles and be able to mentor our children effectively toward their own life's missions.

For more information about the Oregon group contact: TJEd-OR-owner@yahoogroups.

*Suggested books to read:

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, by Oliver DeMille
A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, by Oliver & Rachel DeMille, Diann Jeppson
Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, by Oliver & Rachel DeMille

For Oregon Seminar Information see:
http://www.FreedomAcademyWeb.org and click on the TJEd Seminar link
or http://FaceToFaceWithGreatness.com to locate a seminar near you.
Contact George Wythe College at www.gw.edu

*These are available at a discount:
TJEducation book $20 (reg $26.95)
Leadership Education $20 (reg $26.95)

coming soon:
TJEd for Teens by Oliver DeMille & Shanon Brooks