Thursday, May 27, 2010

TJEd & Public School Children?

One of the most common questions asked was recently addressed: 
I was wondering how TJEd works with public schooling children? How can you keep true to the principles? How do you structure their time? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

We've collected some answers from different viewpoints and experiences:  
Quite frankly...this is really hard to do. I have one who is graduating from public high school this month and my other two children are home schooled. The problem for us was that she spends so much more time at public school than she does at home, needing extra vigilance on the Core lessons of True and False, Good and Bad, Right and Wrong.

That said, we have spent time teaching her the principles of the 4 phases of learning, with emphasis on the lessons of Core Phase and learning to LOVE learning. I do believe that at age 18 she is a Practice Scholar, so the progress seems to be there, but at a much slower pace. (My 15 yo is Project Scholar and my 13 yo is also Practice Scholar. To me she is "behind" her younger siblings.)

For structuring time, our entire family has less electronics. Her time after school is spent with the family or individually studying, not on the phone or in front of the TV and computer. We limited participation in school clubs. Friends are only allowed on certain days. You can still structure the evenings and weekends to be geared towards Leadership Education. During school breaks, she participated in the regular routine of devotional, read aloud books, and kidschool that I had with everyone else. She was asked to share her personal studies with me and I still mentored her in her school classes as well as her personal studies.

It is possible, just know that it takes MORE work! The process is slower because they get bogged down trying to complete the conveyor-belt stuff instead of getting a liberal arts education. Outside influences get in the way and make the child backslide. It has been a real trial for breaks my heart that my ex-husband legally kept me from homeschooling her. 

Good luck!
Celeste Batchelor
That completely depends upon your public school.  TJEd does not mean homeschooling.  And homeschooling does not mean TJEd.  It's about the keys of great education:  You (not them), Inspire (not require), Structure Time (not content), Simplicity (not complexity), Quality (not conformity), Mentors (not professors), classics (not textbooks).

If you are asking how can you work these principles into your child's education, although they attend a conveyor-belt school for most of their time, then I agree that this is quite difficult.  It's difficult, although not impossible, to counter 30 hours or more per week of a child's time.

So, the first thing I would do is make sure you really understand what each of the keys means.  Read all the books, essays, listen to the audio of the forums, and talk to other TJEd families.  Get a well-rounded and deep understanding of each of the keys.

Next, go talk to the school, or specifically to your children's teachers.  Explain your educational philosophy to them.  Ask them to work with you.  Volunteer to work with them.  Become a team.  Most teachers love these principles, but often can't apply them for administrative reasons.  If they know you want to be integral in your child getting a great education, you may be surprised how much they will work with you.

Teach your children about the principles of Leadership Education.  Have them read TJEd for Teens.  Help them to understand that some things they have to do simply to go along with the system, but other things they will do in order to get their own, great education.

Lastly, I have to say, ask yourself why, if you believe in these principles, your children are spending the majority of their time in a conveyor belt school.  

There are public schools, private schools, and charter schools who utilitize at least some of these keys.  You can find them in many places (more in smaller towns, but they are out there everywhere).  These are not new principles.  People may not call it TJEd, but they may still be utilizing the keys.  That's why you must gain a deep understanding of this model of education, so you can recognize it regardless of what they call it.

If it helps...I attended public (very conveyor belt) schools for K-12 and then for my bachelor's degree.  And yet, I got a great education over the years.  I had a few wonderful teachers who used many of the keys of great teaching.  My parents understood the keys to great teaching, and they stood up to teachers when necessary, gave me supplemental materials when appropriate, helped me love learning, and encouraged me to push myself beyond the low expectations of conveyor belt teachers.

Amy Edwards
San Diego 
We'd like to emphasize that Leadership Education is not about the place or the curriculum used to educate, but rather the principles, breadth and depth of education -- the broad liberal arts education which in the old world was limited only to the wealthy aristocrats 2 centuries ago. 
The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that this type of education was not exclusive but rather available to everyone in order to prevent the elites from limiting who could be broadly educated and who could not.....things have certainly changed in the last 100 years! Today it survives because now families support and integrate these same principles to ensure their children CAN get a Leadership Education in spite of the drift public education has made away from the founders original intent.  Some families continue with their children in the public school and supplement at home, while others prefer to not use the public school at all. This post is designed to help give some perspective about how families do use the public school and leadership education in the home.
For a glimpse into a Public School where Leadership Education is happening we recommend the book "There Are No Shortcuts" and "Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire" by Rafe Esquith a teacher in the LA Unified School District -- where he uses the principles of Leadership Education. His story is one of obstacle and opposition, when many good teachers who try to make this happen in their classroom get so frustrated they give up -- Fortunately for Mr Esquith, persevered and eventually the District saw the results and supports what he does. The sad tale is, this is a rare opportunity since most teachers cannot operate their classroom in this manner.  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

FREE Shakespeare Play - May 25-26, 2010

We invite you for an outing in the woods to experience
This event will be performed by the
Oregon Youth Leadership Institute

Tuesday, May 25, and Wednesday, May 26,

Please note the NEW LOCATION and TIME:

7:00 PM
at the Couches' Residence
16940 S. Shelby Lane, Oregon City

Admission is FREE

Concessions are on sale to help finance the students' trip to Ashland.

Take I-205 to OR-213 South, Exit 10 toward Oregon City/Molalla. Keep right at the fork turn right onto Redland Road. Go 4 miles. Turn left onto S. Potter Road for 1 mile. Go straight onto S. Shelby Lane to 16940 and turn right.