Featured Article:


Featured Article:

Hire Education

by Oliver DeMille

In the past week I’ve seen the phrase “Hire Education” in a magazine and on two billboards—all advertising universities in the United States.

At first blush, this is a crass appeal to commercialism in higher education, which is often criticized by traditional academia.

But one of these ads came from a usually credible source: five state schools including the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, Southern Arkansas University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The need for marketing to attract students in a struggling economy makes sense, and in fact the idea that the purpose of higher education is to prepare a person to get hired has been around for a long time.

But both the Bush and Obama administrations have spoken out against schools with a focus on job training like the University of Phoenix and other for-profit institutions. There is a disconnect in these competing messages.

Sadly, today most of us consider higher education only in terms of job and career training—and are surprised when anybody suggests that college is about anything else.

In short, the idea of Hire Education is now the view most people have of higher education.

This is a disturbing development in our history, because it has a direct impact on the future of freedom.

Put simply, free society only lasts while the regular people generally have the same education as their presidents, senators, judges, governors and top corporate leaders.

There is a name for a society where such leaders have one type of education while the majority of the populace has a lower level of learning: the term is Aristocracy.

There are really only three social arrangements.

The first occurs where nobody is greatly educated and the strong exert their force on the weak.

The second is called monarchy or aristocracy, and exists when the few have a higher level of education than the many.

Third, a true democratic society rises—and endures—when most of the people and their leaders have the same level of education.

In the case of the American founding, the masses and their leaders literally read the same books and discussed the same ideas.

Another way to say this is that when the masses and their leaders have a different kind of education, democracy is already in decline—it is already an aristocracy.

Indeed, that is precisely what aristocracy is: a highly educated (and, as a result, wealthy) few ruling the less-educated masses.

Or, in modern terms, those with higher education ruling a population steeped in hire education.

These are our two most likely futures: A country where a few get excellent higher education and rule the rest (who see schooling as mere job training), or a nation where the people remain free and prosperous because they have the same level and kind of education as the elites.

All of our colleges and universities need to be sure they put the higher back into hire education, and that means the great books and the great ideas.

Say what you want about the role of the great books in education, but the wealthy have always used them to keep their power and the elite classes continues to do the same.

When mass education doesn’t include the classics, the gap between the haves and have-nots increases.

Each of us as citizens needs to think about our own educational background.

There is an old saying that attorneys approach things very different when they are earning than when they are learning.

In the same vein, do you have enough true higher education, or have you let hire education get in the way?

The future of freedom literally depends on how most citizens answer this question—and what we do about it.




Featured Article:

A Thomas Jefferson Cultivation

by Rachel DeMille

[A new friend expressed concern about how he could be sure his little ones would grow to be scholars.  He got me thinking–I crafted this response.]


We have four youth between the ages of 12 and 18* of differing styles, strengths and handicaps. All of them own their education. They look to Oliver and me as resources, facilitators and guides. The will to exceed themselves comes from their own sense of purpose and the desire to know and be and do.

You could say, “Well, it’s easy for you, because they’ve known this all their life.”

I do say that. And that is precisely the message of TJEd.

The outcomes are as natural and predictable as, say, gardening. It is a great deal of work to prepare a plot of ground, to learn about the optimal conditions and varieties for the region where we live, to plant and water while the little seeds are getting established. There are absolutely multitudinous things beyond our control. And while it doesn’t always turn out the way we hope or plan, the process is always instructive, enriching and transformational. And for all that we would like to control the outcome, certain things are ours to do, and certain things are not. When we partner with the land and sky, we must submit to that truth.

And yet, we plant. We pray for rain. We wish away and fend away frost and pests, invaders and diseases. We weed and we amend the soil, we trim back and thin. But for all our tending, it really is a process that we only tap into; we never are in control of it.

TJEd mentor Melinda Ambrose has said, “You don’t dig up beans to see if they’re growing.” It illustrates for me the obvious truth that humankind has learned through millennia to resign ourselves to the futility and even peril of tinkering in the wrong ways with developing things.

But even though we know that once we have created and are working to maintain the appropriate habitat for growth, and we had better not disturb the progress of a developing plant, our little “mini-me’s” seem to tempt us to do just that, don’t they?

But to trust the process really does work. I personally interact with (I will say, conservatively) many dozens of families with similar success to our own. Each youth has different gifts and preparation, and virtually all own their obligation to prepare for their future so they can make their unique contribution.

I remember feeling as you do. Oliver and I have been teaching the principles of Leadership Education since our children were smaller than yours. It was a struggle, sometimes, to answer people’s questions and concerns about the future because our children were not yet the proof in the pudding, so to speak.

And since our oldest had learning disabilities (common with the males of my husband’s family), we had to be especially patient and inspired to know how to apply the principles in the best way for his development. You might even say we felt just a little bit of pressure to perform. Luckily we found the grace to patiently do what we knew was best for him and the others.

We of course made mistakes and course corrections all along the way. And yet, he and his three sisters just younger are successfully progressing in their respective levels of scholar phase.

Actually, I suppose I should credit him with having successfully transitioned into Depth Phase—he has studied this week (in addition to class time and other educational discussions/projects) over forty hours.

Similar to last week, and the week before, and the week before that. For all the bumps in the road his learning disabilities afforded him, he is excelling in college, and I seriously doubt anyone would suspect any previous “impediments”.

His sisters are respectively in Self-directed Scholar, Apprentice Scholar and Practice Scholar, all of them actively working to achieve their personal goals and interacting with their father and me to help them achieve them. And each will be shifting to the next level within three months, I would say. Their brother’s transition has left a void in the Transition to Depth niche that the next one will feel, and so the dominoes will fall as they move forward, impelling each other to progress like pears ripening in a basket.

But even though it does move on almost like a machine set in motion, and in spite of all we say and teach, and all that we do to create an environment of passion and inspiration to facilitate his and our other children’s learning, we still must look on hopefully and prayerfully and resigned to the fact the certain aspects of this process are not ours to control.

And yet, he studies. They study. They are growing, learning and becoming, in their own particular imperfect, short-sighted, moody, marvelous, messy, forgetful, insightful, transformational ways.

And based on our own experience and the examples of many, many parents and youth, we can suppose that others who implement the same principles in their families may expect the same thing. As much as any gardener can plan on a harvest.

There is a level of uncertainty; but to act against principle to circumvent the process in the name of control is not only ineffective, it’s not even rational.

We just need to pay the price to know and understand our role, invest ourselves completely in the things that are ours to do, and let the sun shine and the rain fall.

The universe does its part in the process, and over the course of years, the good harvests outnumber the bad by far. And both we and our children will have become Liber.

*This article was originally written in 2009; ages and personal details reflect that time period.

tjedbasicseal March 2012 Inspire Newsletter


Guess what we did??

We invited 100 homeschoolers of every stripe to have a look at our This Week in History subscription, and we couldn’t have been more tickled about their response! 100 out of 100 gave a very favorable review.

Here’s a sampling:

Nicole said:

“I just don’t know how this resource could be any better. It is so fun to get this e-mail each week and look at the plethora of suggested activities. And they are RELEVANT which is exactly how I like to teach!!”

Read the full review here >>

Hope said:

“Our whole family has enjoyed This Week in History from TJEd.org. There are many beautiful photographs and illustrations that keep little (and big!) eyes engaged. The content has always been appropriate and inspiring.

“I am thankful to have the opportunity to expose my family to the well-researched topics in TJEd.org’s This Week in History. It is a wonderful, ready to go, quality resource waiting for our family to use.

“We also enjoy the author including personal touches in various lessons, such as adding ‘this is a place’ she grew up, personal favorite literature books, and so on. Those comments bring the content down to a personal level and provide a connection to the author that we enjoy. 

“We have found some lessons are easier for older students to grasp, some seem geared more for younger students, but they are all adaptable and enjoyable for any age group.

“Do take a peek into the sample weeks provided by TWIH. There’s no way I could explain any better than one actually seeing and exploring the product on one’s own.”

Read the full review here >>

Jan said:

“Topics covered using “This Week in History” include math, science, language skills, geography, current events, the arts, and much more. All subjects covered are tied to events in history. And there’s no need to worry that the subject you’d like to study won’t be available for the week you need it; you can search by date, topic or keyword to find exactly what you’re looking for.

“This is somewhat similar to a today-in-history calendar, but it’s really different than any resource I’ve come across in my years of homeschooling. I started digging around the website right away and I was pretty impressed right from the get-go.

“I found a TON of ways to incorporate TJEd.org into our homeschool easily – and ease is pretty key to maintaining my sanity, I’ve come to find out!

“In fact, this resource completely fulfills a request of my husband’s from a few years back. He wanted me to find a way to eliminate ‘down time’ when our children’s assignments were done, but didn’t want to fill that time with busy work.

“His idea was for me to create a binder with activities, reading lists, etc. for the kids to use. I started said binder, but alas my roles of wife-mom-homeschooler-to-five-children-and-all-the-rest stopped me from completing this task. Thomas Jefferson Education makes that idea a solid reality…and it does it with NO extra planning on my part.”

Read the full review here >>

Debbie said:

I’ve seen a lot of calendars with a “this day in history” feature.  We’ve had printed ones that hung on our wall for a year. Sometimes, we would actually remember to look at them and read the event for the day. I’ve seen others online. Generally, they are a single fact or two. Kind of interesting, but we read them and move on.

“Initially, I thought that Thomas Jefferson Education’s ‘This Week in History’ would be the same. Well, I was wrong. I think I’ve found something that we’ll stick with!

“A subscription to ‘This Week in History’ allows the user to access the weekly information online or in weekly emails. I like the email format because, with the information in my inbox, I’m less likely to forget about using it.

“Each weekly email includes a colorful article for each day of the week.  The articles are accompanied by links to additional information, craft and activity ideas, and so on.  There is honestly almost enough here for it to be a full unit study curriculum!”

Read the full review here >>

Lizzie said:

“This week in history is accessible either on the website or in your inbox as an email! Super convenient and easy to use. I am from a history geek family, so I really enjoy reading the emails and seeing what was happening on that day.

“Often as I read the email, I share with James what event happened that day in history and show him some of the photos or check out the links.As we get into the swing of full time school this fall, I’m looking forward to using it to enhance areas we’re currently studying as well as to add in some fun projects.

“Each day is like a unit study already put together for you. Many days include a few links or ideas but many of them include a ton of links and resources. I appreciate having them ready to go so that all I have to do is pick and choose.

“As I read through the emails, I’m impressed with the level of detail and work involved in preparing this resource. It’s full of links and ideas. The email is not ‘chintzy’.

One of the great things about this resource is that the work is all done for you. Each week features the story and an explanation as well as photos, topics to discuss, links to further information or ideas for projects. All I have to is click, read, and plan which activities to highlight that week. Easy peasy!”

Read the full review here >>

TWIH banner600x140 This Week in History

This Week in History is a daily resource that brings your home school or classroom to life!subscribe button This Week in History

Whatever you want to learn, whatever there is to teach, it starts with history!

With a subscription to This Week in History, each day’s resources are an adventure in math, science, language skills, geography, current events, the arts and so on – all tied to events in history.

For just $9.99 per month, you have the world of learning available to help you lead and inspire your students to explore, learn and and excel!

This Week in History is provided as a weekly online bundle of resources that you can access in either of two ways:

  • On the dedicated TWIH blog feed at TJEd.org
  • Via an email sent directly to your inbox using our secure email service

The content is searchable by date, topic and key word, and the whole year’s archive can be accessed by subscribers at any time.

Of all the things you’ll spend $10 on each month, This Week in History is not only a great value, but a time saver and a worry eliminator. This Week in History:

  • relieves fear, stress and burnout
  • energizes your kidschool
  • fills in the gaps
  • cultivates cultural literacy
  • facilitates state or provincial compliance
  • correlates resources for co-ops, classrooms and family learning
  • harnesses the power of technology in a classical leadership education
  • harmonizes with Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Trivium/Quadrivium, IEW, eclectic, etc.
  • delivers new ideas and areas of learning to you and your child
  • instigates discussions and projects that expand wisdom and understanding
  • connects the subject areas–from music to math, from geography to world religions, from hobbies to science projects, etc.
  • motivates you and your students to greater excellence
  • delivers Face to Face with Greatness
  • empowers you to mentor your students in the classics
  • enlivens the 7 Keys of Gr