Why I Don't Do Thomas Jefferson Education


By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

It's been nearly five years since I've written anything on TJEd. The enthusiasm for TJEd has died down a lot and although people may talk about "Leadership Education" periodically there's not much said anymore about TJEd itself.

I still contend that what I said years ago is still true: TJEd has nearly ruined homeschooling in Utah. The fact that so many people would vehemently argue such a flawed philosophy and approach was surprising and worrisome. I put forth my best arguments and stayed clear of personally attacking anyone or using material that wasn't publicly available and which came directly from publishings of Oliver DeMille. Time would then tell whether TJEd was really a revolution that would raise up leaders of the nation, or dwindle away.

George Wythe University has published an account of the misdeeds of Oliver DeMille and others in their roles as founders and administrators of the school. It's not pretty. Below are some excerpts (http://news.gw.edu/?p=393):

"The most grievous discovery was that Oliver DeMille had, during the previous governance under Coral Ridge, approved two doctoral degrees based primarily on experiential credit and without any coursework.  In addition, DeMille’s own credentials were called into question when critics investigating his past revealed two illegitimate degrees he had received in the early 1990s."
"The first discovery was that incomplete and misleading statements and financial reports were being presented to the board by the administration. "
"Particularly troubling were the discoveries that accounting practices were in disarray and that Brooks had consistently withheld information about contracts and finances regarding the Monticello campus he had proposed two years earlier."
"As the board continued its investigation, a number of egregious actions were discovered that the board felt could potentially justify legal action."
"Given the board’s discoveries with regard to DeMille in particular and his selective compromising of transcripts and degrees, the board’s new leadership faced a serious dilemma."
"The board’s duty and commitment was to cleanse the school and its alumni of the checkered past of its founders.  Yet a delicate balance was required between timing the publicity of the founders’ misdeeds and allowing institutional strength to recover from the very damage they had inflicted."
"Through this sheltered introduction, a loyalty to personalities had formed among thousands of people.  Given this, the board realized that many would not be able to distinguish the school from its founders."
"It is the opinion of this board that the public should be safeguarded from the kind of mismanagement, deception and irresponsibility that the school previously suffered under DeMille and Brooks.  We condemn their actions in the strongest terms and without reservation. " 
These statements are from the official Newsroom of GWU. These are not accusations from outsiders.  I suggest you read the whole thing. There's a lot in there. One could argue that it doesn't mean the current Board of GWU is right, but it does mean that the Founder of TJEd has been found to be "deceptive," and having a "checkered past," and acting "egregiously." Not all the misdeeds were done by DeMille of course, but they were done by Board Members of GWU. If GWU isn't the most blatant example of TJEd in action or implementation of its principles, I don't know what is. And GWU is not some splinter group from the movement that is dissatisfied and broke off from DeMille. There is no group left of any size that still defends or implements TJEd like there was when this blog was started. None that I'm aware of.

Perhaps some will accuse me of kicking a man when he's down or jumping on the bandwagon of attacking DeMille. I'm bringing to light what the results of the founder of TJEd has been. These are the results. DeMille and his followers preached a better way and made a lot promises and arguments about the benefits and results of TJEd. It didn't happen, and it wasn't because they weren't allowed to fully implement their ideas. It broke apart all by itself.

The current GWU Board said something I totally agree with: "None of this had to happen." That's right, it didn't. Yet the damage done was widespread and long lasting. It will still take a few more years before Utah homeschooling recovers, and hopefully nothing as faulty comes in and takes the place of TJEd. But like the old saying goes, when the students are ready the teacher appears. We need people and parents who aren't so quick to adopt philosophies like TJEd. We need to not fall so easily to claims and promises. We need to not be so eager to accuse other people of persecution, or "conveyor belt" thinking, or denying people greatness, or squandering their destiny, or of being too stupid to understand. We need to be wiser than that.


Reason #6: The Promise is Sold, but Never Delivered

Whether TJEd delivers on its promise to produce leaders is the final proof of it being "leadership education." Regardless of all the books, seminars, classes, certifications, organizations, blogs, and forums, if it doesn't produce leaders like it promises, then it's not something I would want to do for my children.

What is the promise of TJEd?
No doubt there are benefits to reading the classics, regardless of why a person reads them. But DeMille offers plain promises to parents that do TJEd and "Leadership Education."
"Parents, teachers and educators who choose to become and mentor leaders will construct the future. Our purpose in this book is to invite you to be one of these pivotal figures." Leadership Education, p.2

"The leaders of the future will come from schools, homes, colleges, universities and organizations where classics, mentors, and other elements of Thomas Jefferson Education are cherished and seriously pursued." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.113

"Where are the new American Founders of the Twenty-first Century? None of us know who those statesmen will be. But this I do know - the great statesmen and stateswomen of the future will be prepared through the Five Pillars of Statesmanship." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.133

"If you do these things well, your fourteen-year-olds will beg for a Leadership Education like Thomas Jefferson got and you will be ready to help attain it." Leadership Education, p.30

"Give yourself time to let the ideas for facilitating and providing an environment conducive to Leadership Education sink in...It may be a little painful and discomfiting, at first, but the tasty, delicious, soul satisfying fruit will be worth it. We promise." Leadership Education, p.124

"When the day comes that you are called upon for what the world calls "greater things," you will see clearly that they are no greater than the things you did at home. By the way, that call will come. If you have paid the price of greatness in the next phase of your education - the everyday-life phase - you will become great, and you will be called upon to change the world." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.112 (emphasis original)
The promise that DeMille sells is that TJEd, if you do it correctly, will produce the leaders of the future. Of course maybe not everyone who has a "Thomas Jefferson Education" will end up being a leader, but leaders will come out of parents doing TJEd. This will happen, DeMille promises, if you implement the Seven (now Eight) Keys of Great Teaching.

Who buys the promise of TJEd?
In my observation, those who are already familiar with the classics do not buy the promise. I don't mean "experts." I mean those who have actually done what DeMille talks about in becoming familiar with the great works. Rather, those who are unfamiliar with them and don't have much experience with the great ideas in the classics are the ones that believe DeMille. I think it's like a salesman selling a new exercise machine to the public. He gets an attractive and fit model who smiles and demonstrates how to use the machine, as if she became fit by using the machine. If anyone challenges the salesman, he just responds, "well, ma'am, how much do you weigh? What is your dress size?" as if your challenge was not valid unless you had already achieved the fitness that the salesman promised you would achieve by using his machine.

I believe this is what DeMille does when people challenge his "leadership education" methods.
"Plutarch, Gibbon, Toynbee, Durant. Have you heard of these authors? Have you read them? If not, they are a great start to your study of history. You must study if you plan to teach.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p8.2

"If you are wondering how to get students to read Newton, you are asking the wrong question. The question is: Have you read Newton? If you haven’t, you’ve got some homework.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.85

"In a seminar, right about now I would likely be hearing the question again: "But how do I actually do this?" Almost every time people ask this specific question, they are either happy with the process and just want to improve, or they are struggling with the process because they aren’t personally reading the classics. Consider a typical dialogue: "
"But how do I actually do it?"
"How are you doing it now?"
"Well, he reads lots of books, many of them classics."
"Do you read them too?"
"Well, some of them."
"Okay, which ones have you read this month?"
The question is usually followed by a nervous silence, then:
"Okay, I know the classics thing. But how do we really make this work?"
"You read the classic. Your student reads the classic. You discuss it. He writes a report on it and you discuss it together. He gives an oral report to the class or family and you discuss that. You get other classmates or family members to read it and you meet for a group discussion. But of course none or this works unless you read it."
"But what about things like math?"
"Exactly the same. I assume you are asking me because a student of yours is struggling with math, right?"
"Right. He reads classics and lots of things but I can’t get him to read math classics."
"What was the last math classic or textbook that you read?"
Almost nobody has an answer for this. If you haven’t read math classics, it’s almost impossible to teach math through the classics." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.72

"If you don’t read math classics, how can inspire him to read them? You can’t? The answer to the question, “How do I actually do it?” is that you get started. You don’t have to be an expert to teach well, you don’t have to have a degree or years of experience teaching the subject, but you do have to read the classics, get excited about them, and pass your enthusiasm and new knowledge to the student.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.73
I wish someone would say, "I am familiar with the classics, and I have read many of them recently. When I try to discuss them with my child, he doesn't really seem to understand them very well, or seem very interested in them. What do I do now?"

That attractive and fit model demonstrating the exercise machine didn't get fit using that machine. If you ask her in private what she does to get and stay fit, you'll get a different story. In fact she may tell you that the machine is a total waste of time, or might actually be harmful to you. So then you have to make a decision to either trust the model who already has the results you want, or the salesman who is merely promising you the results you want.

Martin Cothran recently wrote an article about whether the Harry Potter books were dangerous for children to read because of all the witchcraft and wizardry. His response was, “Absolutely. In fact,...all literature is dangerous." And the way you deal with that is to be well-read. "Literature is dangerous except when taken in large doses," he says. I love that statement. We are more vulnerable to ideas that are new to us when we don't have much in us to evaluate the new idea against. Cothran writes,
"Many parents of my generation will remember the fellow students they ran into in college during the 1970s and 80s who were hijacked by the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. These were people who left home and came to college where they encountered Rand's novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and were captivated by Rand's egoistic ideology. Why were they so swept away? For one reason: they hadn't read anything else. By and large, these were people who were not well-read in the first place. They were ignorant of the great books, and so, in encountering Rand, they mistakenly concluded that they had come in contact with great thinking. They were not used to ideas, and so, to use G. K. Chesterton's words, Rand's one idea went to their heads like 'one glass of wine to a starving man.'" - Martin Cothran (source)
I believe this is what has happened to a lot of people that got swept into the TJEd movement. DeMille's ideas of reading classics and not pushing the student and returning to the old ways of educating leaders struck a chord with them and aroused a desire for the realization of the promise, but they weren't able to do a very careful evaluation of what DeMille was proposing because they really hadn't come across these ideas before. They bought the promise that TJEd would create leaders out of their children, and now they are doing everything they can to realize that promise, regardless of the results they are actually seeing.

But it's even worse than that. Even after people try to do TJEd, they are told there is yet more they need to do in order to do it right. The more you learn about TJEd, the more you learn that it is very complex and there are so many things you need to do in order to do it right. It's like you can never actually be successful at doing it. The goalposts keep moving, and new requirements keep getting added (like an "Eighth Key").

Now it takes a year or more to figure it out.
"We have found that in order to internalize, comprehend and successfully apply the Phases of Learning, a family must have been working on the process of getting off the conveyor belt for about a year or more." Leadership Education, p.38
If it's not working, you are probably doing it wrong.
"The Leadership model of education is counter-intuitive to the conveyor belt approach. Most parents educated on the conveyor belt try to apply it in precisely the wrong way. To apply Leadership Education successfully it is necessary to listen closely to those who have mastered the system and work hard to duplicate both the content and, especially, the methods of experienced leadership mentors." Leadership Education, p.30

"Also be aware that in most cases when the Scholar struggles or abandons Scholar Phase, it is because of obstacles placed by the very parents who were so anxious that this time should arrive." Leadership Education, p.182
It you struggle, just "trust the process." The "leaders" know this:
"Leaders will remember lessons of Core and 'trust the process,' knowing that its fruits are worth its labors." Leadership Education, p.266

"Give yourself time to let the ideas for facilitating and providing an environment conducive to Leadership Education sink in...It may be a little painful and discomfiting, at first, but the tasty, delicious, soul satisfying fruit will be worth it. We promise." Leadership Education, p.124
If you still struggle, maybe it's just parenting that's hard, not TJEd.
"It is easy to ascribe our feelings of inadequacy to the inherent challenges in our Leadership Education agenda. But could it just be that parenting is such a high stakes endeavor that we are constantly in awe of the magnitude of our responsibility?" Leadership Education, p.5
There's no way to disprove the effectiveness of TJEd with all this. "Leaders" know to "trust the process" (quitters don't I suppose). You may just have to wait longer (like a year). Remember this is how all great leaders were trained (not true). You are not doing the "essential" aspects of "Leadership Education" (like the FEC and bookshelf). You are inspirational enough (although that's probably because this isn't working). And any problems are with you, not TJEd.

What has happened is that the true goal of TJEd, creating leaders, has been supplanted with something else: doing TJEd well. Parents don't seem to be looking for children who are leaders as the models to follow, but rather who is doing TJEd the best. The standard is not how well does TJEd create leaders, but how well do parents do TJEd. This has led to the creation of all sorts of ways to measure and indicate "success" in doing TJEd, while putting the original promise of TJEd aside.

What's the point of "certification?"
As I go to homeschool conferences and browse seminars and courses online and talk to people involved in TJEd, I find a lot of "training" and "inspiration" about doing TJEd. I see moms "doing their 5 Pillars" which is a certification from George Wythe College that indicates that you know how to do "Leadership Education."
"Certification endorses an individual’s knowledge and ability in the Classics/Mentors approach to teaching leaders by incorporating all Five Pillars into an overall approach to education—the approach which has trained great leaders from Washington, Jefferson and Abigail Adams to Lincoln, Churchill and Gandhi." online page at George Wythe College
Now, why does anyone have to certify that a person is a mentor, or is proficient in their "knowledge and ability" in using the classics and mentors? Leaders have to be certified? Mentors too? I thought the whole point was on how to think. Are they certifying people that they know how to think? And why does George Wythe College think they are in any position to be certifying anyone? What are their achievements?

If you look over the "5 Pillar Certification" you will see that it is not free.
  • Level I Enrollment Fee - $45
  • Level II Enrollment Fee - $180*
  • Level III Enrollment Fee - $195

* Level II Enrollment Fee is $30 per month until completed, with
a six month minimum. - from online page at George Wythe College

I have to wonder why it costs money to be "certified" in Leadership Education, especially when GWC does so little in the process (does it really require $45 to fill out a form, and $30 a month for you to be studying on your own?). But not only do you have to pay money at each level, but you must attend their seminars.

In Level I,
Attend the seminar “Face to Face with Greatness: A Thomas Jefferson Education.”
In Level II
Attend the seminar “Face to Face with Greatness: The Power of Mentoring the Classics.”

In Level III
Attend either of the following seminars*:
  • Face to Face with Greatness: World Views and the Emerging State
  • Statesman Retreat: Rethinking Leadership
And how much do these seminars costs? Around $165 per person, depending on your situation and when you schedule a seat (see this page for an example).

But if you look over the requirements, you basically have to read some novels and a few books on education (including A Thomas Jefferson Education), submit book reports on these novels or talk about them with a friend, pay GWC money and attend some of their seminars. That's basically it. Then you are "certified." They don't even require you to read any "classics." (Hey wait, what are require-ments doing in Leadership Education?)

Oh, and by the way, your certification is only good for two years, then you have to recertify.
Educators must re-certify every two years by attending and completing any GWU seminar.
I really don't see any value in getting your "5 Pillar Certification." In fact, it's almost an insult to anyone trying to learn the classics, and it is inconsistent with what DeMille argues you should do with you own child. But people use this as some sort of indication of...something (I can tell you what it indicates to me). I see in the bio for Angela Baker who spoke at the Latter-day Saint Eastern Home Educator Conference that she is "5 Pillar certified" (source). I see moms discussing their "5 Pillar Certification" and how they are working towards it (source). Why are parents, who supposed are "off the conveyor belt" which teaches them "what to think," just shifting over to another system that teaches them what to think and how to educate their child?

George Wythe College is even pursuing accreditation (source, and here DeMille says in 1999 that they were trying to become accredited by 2002). I don't understand why a "Leadership Education" College wants to be accredited by the "conveyor belt" system.

All these organizations
To those unfamiliar with TJEd, you may notice all the kids' groups, mom's clubs, businesses, foundations, and even schools established to "promote leadership education in the home" or something similar.

Here is a quick list:

The Liber League
Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI)
Moor House Academy
Wings of Eagles Organization, Inc.
Art of Womanhood
Liberty Girls
Knights of Freedom
Young American Stateswomen Association
Statesmanship Club

...and on and on. DeMille says that in the Mission Phase,
"Leadership Education demands of the adult two new things, not just one. He is required to build two towers...The two towers that he is to build are a family and an organization (as entrepreneur or intrapreneur)." Leadership Education, p. 253 (emphasis original)
These organization are created in large part because of all these parents trying to work on their other "tower." All these moms are trying to be good TJEd moms by starting a club, or a group, or a business that somehow promotes the ideals of TJEd. Most of them appear with a bang and die out, while the successful ones grow and become franchised or chartered, with a fee (see the startup packet for "Knights of Freedom" which is part of the larger "American Youth Leadership Institute"). Now there 's nothing wrong with people trying different efforts to further causes they believe in, and failing to create a successful organization doesn't mean they shouldn't try. But if the motivation to do it is because you think you have to in order to be doing "Leadership Education" correctly, and if so many appear with the same goal and mission and so many fade out so fast, I think that's a pattern indicating a problem. And it seems that the people who started their organizations first are the ones that are the most successful. I would guess that the market for "youth leadership" clubs is probably mostly limited to people doing TJEd and the market is probably already saturated by now. Nevertheless, the ones with the successful clubs are held to be the models, or at least indicating that they are doing TJEd correctly, and supposedly will produce future leaders.

What is "success" in TJEd?
The goals stated in a Thomas Jefferson Education, and Leadership Education, and by George Wythe College are all basically the same: to create the leaders and statesmen of tomorrow. What I see in the TJEd movement, however, is a whole lot of energy and effort in "doing TJEd correctly." The seminars that people put on, the speeches that are given, the retreats, the audio courses, and the online forums seem to all be about doing TJEd and not about getting the results of TJEd. The "experts" and "masters" of TJEd will be happy to hold a seminar to explain what they are doing (for a fee), even if they aren't doing it perfectly. In fact, in my observation, length of time doing TJEd seems to qualify people in telling other people how to do TJEd. Is anyone asking how their kids turned out? About how effective all this really is? Are they asking about whether their kids are becoming leaders at all? That's the point, right?

Where are the leaders?
I did a web search for "George Wythe College alumni" and I didn't find hardly anything. There was a wikipedia entry that got deleted that listed four alumni from George Wythe College: one was Oliver DeMille, one was a woman whose expert testimony in court was discredited, one was the president of GWC, and one was a actually a U.S. Representative, but was recently indicted for funneling money to an Afghan warlord. There's got to be more than this, but I can't find them, and I don't know what they are doing. I only see seminars about doing TJEd and going to GWC. Where are all the leaders that DeMille promised would result from doing TJEd?

When I look to see what current students at GWC are doing, all I can find is that they are "studying" and "preparing to become leaders." But I see GWC setting up a company through which students can sell phone service. Where are all the student entrepreneurs? I'm not faulting students for not being financially successful as a student. I did unpleasant jobs in college. But DeMille promised that if we followed TJEd we would have leaders and children who would be successful in all sorts of fields. Where are the books and articles they publish? The humanitarian efforts they are doing? The public elections they are winning?

George Wythe College was founded in 1992. That's sixteen years ago. The first edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education came out in 2000, eight years ago. Where are the leaders from all this? Why aren't there members of congress, successful businessmen, authors, scholars, or leaders that are the result of this type of education? How much time should be given to people doing TJEd and going to George Wythe College before we can make a determination of whether this education really does produce leaders? The stated goal of TJEd and GWC is to produce leaders, so we should be seeing a higher percentage of GWC graduates as leaders than from other schools. Where are they?

I did not promise, nor do I expect, that TJEd and George Wythe College would produce highly successful people and leaders. But it is what DeMille promises, and what several people in the TJEd movement repeat. This is where the rubber meets the road. "By their fruits ye shall know them." The fruits are not how well someone does TJEd, but how well TJEd produces leaders. It does not.

When all is said and done, this is my final reason: it doesn't work. TJEd is built on a false understanding of the education of Thomas Jefferson, of how past leaders were trained, on what makes a leader, on how children develop, and how family members should interact. Of course the natural consequences of this, the fruits, is that it will not produce leaders at all. The lack of leaders from TJEd is the final proof for me.

And that's why I don't do TJEd.


Reason #5: Wrong Motivators Are Used on Parents to Do TJEd

The Problem and the Promise
I think few would disagree with DeMille that public schools are not able to help children to deal with the challenges for today. A lot of kids seem to be emerging from the school system as passive and ignorant of many of the great ideas that are found in the great books that humanity has produced. What we need, says DeMille, are more men and women like Thomas Jefferson who have read the classics and have been fostered to lead. This is what resonates with many parents and is something I think most people want.

How you get that to be realized is what DeMille proposes in his Thomas Jefferson Education model that he also calls Leadership Education. He asserts that he has researched the great leaders throughout history, Thomas Jefferson being the ideal, and has discovered what it is that produces great leaders. This is where DeMille has come up with the Seven Keys of Great Teachings, the Phases of Learning, and everything else. If you follow what other great teachers and mentors have done in the past, you will create the needed leaders for our day. This is the promise of DeMille if you follow what he describes as Leadership Education.

In a nutshell
Two big problems I experienced with learning about TJEd is the elitism and fear of failing your responsibility to raise future leaders. There is this sense from DeMille and those that do TJEd (although not all of them) that they have this mission, and that mission involves the rescuing of the country, in fact the world, from ruin. Their children are the chosen generation to save humanity, but only if the parents step up to the plate and do what is required to train them to this calling. This Leadership Education is not for everyone, and in fact is only for the ones that can actually pull it off. If you are a believer, you may become one of the parents of the truly great leaders of the future, but only if you do exactly as they say. If you fail in your attempts, then obviously you are not one of the great parents and your child will not be a great leader. Conversely, you cannot be a great parent or mentor unless you believe in and practice the method's of TJEd, and their is no way your child will become a great leader without TJEd.

They do not care whether outsiders agree with them or not, because if outsiders disagree, that just shows that the outsiders will not be the next great leaders. And since only some will be the next great leaders, then this is not really a problem. TJEd is not for everyone. Only those that recognize the need, the truth of it, and have the will to do it even when it is hard and other people don't understand. In fact, only believers will understand so don't bother listening to non-believers. You should limit your association with non-believers so they don't make you question what you are doing and possibly jeopardize the great mission you were born on earth to do, which includes raising your kids according to the TJEd method that DeMille describes.

They say: Do not screw up your opportunity to raise the leaders of the future. They deserve this education, and all the struggles you experience doing it will be worth it. If there are problems along the way, the problem is with you. You are not being inspirational enough or are deviating from what DeMille says you must do in order for it to work. Your conditioning from public schools is messing up your thinking. Follow what others are doing who claim to be successful doing TJEd and do what they say. Go to seminars if you are having problems. Get your Five Pillar Certification from George Wythe College. And never doubt that this is what all the great leaders throughout history have done. You don't want to screw up your child's destiny, even the world's destiny, do you?

Some might think that I am being harsh or reading too much into what is being said. This is why I include all the quotes below that I think prove my point. Some may also think that I make TJEd sound like it is a religion, and I would agree. I think TJEd is something of a pseudo-religion that is based on a subset of LDS ideas. But what makes it pseudo-religious is not that is is based on anything religious, but that it has religious elements itself: faith that this is the one and only true way, a promise of salvation and a destiny to fulfill, a necessary conversion to the truth and continued allegiance, leaders that are the only ones that can point out the way, and a separation of the chosen people from the profane. Now, for a true religion, this is not a problem. For anything else, it is a problem. However, based on my experience, most people that do TJEd are not really deeply into it and I wouldn't say that they are "true believers" (they usually just like the classics and don't like public schools, so they say they are doing TJEd). But that says nothing about what DeMille says TJEd is and how you should do it, but rather how far people have actually adopted what DeMille has said.

I also realize that some people will think that my criticism of TJEd is like anti-Mormon literature. They might point out about how the LDS church and Joseph Smith received similar criticism from people ever since the church was restored. If that accusation were even true, that would just reinforce my notion that TJEd is pseudo-religious. I am trying to use arguments and logic in my reasons for not doing TJEd. I am not appealing to the authority of the scriptures or declaring TJEd to be some deviation from the "true faith." It's not the newness or difference of TJEd from what I am used to that cause me to not do TJEd. TJEd is an educational approach that has taken on religious aspects. I am criticizing those educational aspects. It's not religious to me. Alma criticized the actions of the people on the Rameumptom, and other times people "reasoned" with others using the scriptures. I am not saying that I am like Alma and people doing TJEd are in need of some redemption. I am just saying that just because someone claims to have the truth and someone else challenges that does not mean it is like anti-Mormon literature. In a free world with free exchange and debate of ideas, you can expect challenges to claims. Feel free to comment here and elsewhere on the claims I make. It's exactly what TJEd needs: more discussion and evaluation of its merits, rather than just its methods.

This blog is about why I don't do TJEd so I am going to explain what I think are the wrong motivators DeMille and others doing TJEd use on parents to get them started in TJEd and staying in TJEd. Obviously some people will disagree, but I think that this will resonate with a lot of other parents who are doing TJEd or considering doing TJEd.

I have grouped many quotes into topics that I feel are wrong motivators. Many quotes could probably go under multiple topics, but I still only put each quote in one topic.

Appealing to pride and elitism
DeMille writes how we should want to be "great."
"Greatness is the second indispensable trait of true leaders; goodness is the first. Both are the function of education." Leadership Education, p.2

"Neither of us remembers much of what we said as we talked there in that parking lot for over an hour about life...paying the price of greatness, much more." Leadership Education, p.150

"Never fear your own greatness" (DeMille quoting Dobson) Leadership Education, p.156

"It isn't a certain set of talents, but rather a choice to develop your own talents, to use classics, mentors, hard work and faith to become great." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.117 (emphasis original)

DeMille also says that we all have a "mission" to perform and that it is our purpose in life.
"Our purpose in life is to find out our genius, the mission God gave us, and to accomplish it...Nothing will have more impact on the future of the world than for each of us to find out why we were born and to do it." Leadership Education, p.282
He says that you will be called on to lead hundreds to millions and that you will affect the world.
"'At some point in your life,' I said, 'you will face a situation where you are in a leadership positions and dozens - maybe thousands or millions - look to you to lead.'" A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.3

"When the day comes that you are called upon for what the world calls "greater things," you will see clearly that they are no greater than the things you did at home. By the way, that call will come. If you have paid the price of greatness in the next phase of your education - the everyday-life phase - you will become great, and you will be called upon to change the world." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.112 (emphasis original)

"Scholar Phase is certainly a personal choice, but the consequences are literally global." Leadership Education, p.223
But those leaders will come only through a Thomas Jefferson Education.
"The leaders of the future will come from schools, homes, colleges, universities and organizations where classics, mentors, and other elements of Thomas Jefferson Education are cherished and seriously pursued." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.113

"Where are the new American Founders of the Twenty-first Century? None of us know who those statesmen will be. But his I do know - the great statesmen and stateswomen of the future will be prepared through the Five Pillars of Statesmanship." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.133
You as a parent could be one of the great mentors of these great leaders.
"Parents, teachers and educators who choose to become and mentor leaders will construct the future. Our purpose in this book is to invite you to be one of these pivotal figures." Leadership Education, p.2
But you should not be swayed by those who do not understand your great destiny.
"There may also be those who discount or undermine your attempts to improve the world, who laugh at your educational or career choices. Let them. And while you let them, quietly set out to serve them." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.111

"Because of this fundamental shift in your paradigm, you may feel the tendency to downplay the process that brought you to this place. And because of your personal power as a leader in Mission Phase, others may feel confused when you try to communicate your vision to them." Leadership Education, p.258
DeMille also relates his dream that some time in the future there will be some bill being voted on in Congress that would drastically change the United States as we know it. No one can believe that such a bill would ever be proposed, but it looks like it will be passed. Some young representative will stand and say, "No," and speak in a convincing way to stop passage of the bill. By the way DeMille describes this in the end of A Thomas Jefferson Education, I think he really believes this will happen and the reason this young man would be in that position and speak to convincingly is because he had an education, like TJEd, that enabled him to do so. While I would hope that this could be the case, the feeling I got when I read that in DeMille's book (A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.139). was more that "you wouldn't want that to be your child and you didn't provide him the necessary education for that, would you?" It's almost a fear that I better do TJEd because that may be my kid's destiny and I don't want to mess it up, especially if it involved saving the country like that.

"Greatness" is definitely not a goal or desire I have for me or my kids. "Goodness," yes, but "greatness," no. I believe that good people will rise and meet the challenges that appear. I think training to be great is putting the cart before the horse. Try to be good and you will do great things if necessary. Cincinnatus and George Washington were both good examples of men who were good, but responded to the call and did great things. Then they both went back to their private lives. They did not train to become great, or even want to be great. Even the Lord said that he accomplishes his ends through small and simple means. I question why DeMille and others in TJEd want to be great.

You are already stupid
If you haven't already had a TJEd education for yourself, you really don't know anything.
"Without a high-quality Scholar and Depth experience, a person is not really educated." Leadership Education, p. 47 (emphasis original)
You must do TJEd for yourself first before you can give your kid a TJEd education.
"If you have not done Scholar Phase (or are not progressing toward it) you simply cannot pass on what you do not have; you cannot inspire principles that you are not living. You can try - you can even teach them - but the inspiration will be fatally lacking." Leadership Education, p.60
You public schooling will cause you to be frustrated with TJEd.
"However, in your efforts to engage in Leadership Education you may have experienced something like this: the power and authenticity of the principles resonated with your core, and you felt inspired that this is the right things for your family. But when you began putting the Legos together you came face-to-face with the Conveyor Belt circuiting of your brain...the mantra of "yeah, but how do I do this?" pounds in your head, and a whirlpool of overwhelm and frustration grows. The Conveyor Belt circuits in your brain begin to spark and short." Leadership Education, p.290

"Some of you may be thinking: "My Mary is just not a leader. she is a good girl, yes, but not a leader." Don't give in to that mindset. It comes from our public socialization..." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.117
I think Mary can just be a nice girl if she wants. She doesn't have to be a leader. She won't be any less valuable to her family, or God, or the community. This reminds me of the speech by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, that he gave shortly before dying of pancreatic cancer at a fairly young age. He was considered in the top 100 most influential people of 2008 by Time magazine. If you haven't watched his speech, I highly recommend it. He was just a nice guy, living a good life. His example affected people way more than any other "scholar" of the classics. It was because of who he was: just a really good guy. Not a leader.

Education determines whether the students chooses right or wrong
DeMille argues that the way to produce good people is to teach them correctly.
"First, societies are successful when people choose to be good."
"Second, people choose to be good when they are taught and believe in good."
"Third, the thing which determines how well they are taught is their national books." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.58
There is some truth to this but it is not the whole story, and the part that he leaves out is troubling. It is true that teaching truth has a positive effect on the student. He has more knowledge to be able to determine and understand right and wrong, but his character will decide what to do with that. A national book does not supply the character of an individual. There are many examples of people, even nations, that are taught truth only to disregard it. My major concern with these three observations of DeMille is that if it is true that people choose good if they are taught to be good, then all you have to do to make them good is teach them to be good. If you want good kids, just teach them to be good. And it would then also be true that if a child is not choosing good then that means he was not taught to be good. I think this reduces the responsibility of choice of the child too much and shifts it to his environment.

I think often people will teach children what they think is good with the expectation that the children will result with those adopted ideas. That's getting more into indoctrination than education. A lot of people throughout time thought that people were the result of their environment a little too much, and all that was necessary was correct education. I don't like where that road goes.

If it were as simple as this, that teaching children to be good results in them being good, I think we would have seen the results of that. But we don't. I agree that the odds of children (adults too) choosing good are increased by being taught what is true, but the child at some time will need to decide for himself, and will face critical moments of doubt and decision. So many other factors are involved that no one can claim to have it figured out. People will choose what they will do often regardless of what is taught. God understood that. So I would be real cautious in taking these three ideas that DeMille lists very far. Unfortunately, I see them as part of the foundation of all the other principles that TJEd is built on.

DeMille states that the Conveyor Belt Education (public schools usually) teach a child what to think but a Leadership Education teaching him how to think. It seems contradictory to then state that a Leadership Education will teach the child how to think and then they will choose good. Actually, looking at some of the books in the 100 Classics list in the back of A Thomas Jefferson Education (3 books by Skousen, 3 by C.S. Lewis, 1 by von Mises), I think that is what DeMille would like: that we have students who could to the right conclusions and become leaders of the country. Now, I happen to be a pretty big fan of the three writers that I just mentioned. I think DeMille and I have similar opinions regarding politics and economics, but we have very different ways of getting there, and very different ways of educating children to arrive there, if they choose to at all. And while I like Skousen, Lewis, and von Mises, I realize that they are just men and that truth is independent of them, so I may not have it exactly right and neither might they.

We are doomed without TJEd
It is our only hope.
"Without Leadership Education, no nation maintains its liberty or its prosperity. Without Leadership Education, the two other traditions of education ultimately decline, creating a "dark age" of learning." Leadership Education, p.3

"Eventually without Leadership Education, great and powerful nations decline and lose their influence for good in the world. Without Leadership Education, the future is bleak." Leadership Education, p.3

"The only historically proven solution capable of averting this danger is high quality Leadership Education. The liberty, prosperity and stability of future civilizations are dependent upon the leaders of tomorrow getting a Leadership Education today." Leadership Education, p.4

"America is in desperate need of families and schools that do Scholar Phase." Leadership Education, p.223

I think we have already demonstrated that no one has ever received a TJEd like DeMille describes it, so how could there ever had been freedom anywhere? Regardless, I don't think that a bunch of people with TJEd backgrounds are what guarantees freedom. I think it is good people willing to fight and defend their rights to be free. You can't be totally ignorant it is true, but I don't think TJEd is the magic ingredient. Repeatedly DeMille paints the picture that without TJEd we will lose our freedom. He has the one true path to prevent this.

Leaders determine destiny
DeMille states that the leaders are what has shaped history, not the regular people. If you want to shape history, you must be a leader.
"The education of tomorrow's leaders determines the future. Throughout history, this pattern has been repeated again and again." Leadership Education, p.1

"The education of tomorrow's leaders will determine the future, rather than the education of the masses. Leadership determines destiny." Leadership Education, p.1 (emphasis original)

"To know the leaders of the past is to know the past." Leadership Education, p.1
Of course leaders are influential in history, but I don't think it's correct that the masses don't matter. This creates a division between those "in charge" and those living quiet humble lives, and the line that divides them is pride. It's lowly, then, to not be a leader. You're not doing anything worthwhile or worthy of changing the world. Being a good private person is not enough.

Parents, don't screw this up
As I read Leadership Education, I kept on coming across passages about how the parents always screw up the Leadership Education of their children. The parents were basically responsible to provide a Leadership Education for their children and if they don't do it right, their children won't become leaders. And our children have been entrusted to us so that they can fulfill their destiny. Don't screw that up. If they have a problem, it is because of you. Even feeling like a failure is your problem. You should just be more inspirational.
"Which one do you want for your children? If you want to be in low-income, production, service, government jobs, you ought to be in a conveyor belt school; because that's what it will prepare you for, and it will do it effectively...But if you want more, you'd better get into another system." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.117

"What if youth worked very hard and put in long hours getting a real education and preparing for their life mission? What amazing results could come of making such a reversal in our society? So what is a parent to do?...It is this: be inspirational. Be inspirational. BE INSPIRATIONAL. So much is encompassed in this mandate, and it is the answer to almost every insecurity and complication that arises in the process of having a great classroom or a great home. Be inspirational." Leadership Education, p.23 (emphasis original)

"It is also for the rest of us who want to be up to the task, who worry that we are not, but who try anyway because we know our children were born to make a positive difference in the world." Leadership Education, p.2

"Picture the face of each of your children or grandchildren. Look into their eyes and see what potential is there. If you are like most parents, you will see and feel that they were born to be special, to make a difference. This is not just because you love them; it is because it is true...They deserve the highest quality of education, and it is our responsibility to help them get it." Leadership Education, p.4 (emphasis original)

"Today's children were born to serve and make a huge positive difference in the world, to really lead. We simply must get the them the best possible education." Leadership Education, p.6

"Parents often find it easier to apply the content portions of the Seven Keys of Great Teaching (classics, mentors, structure time) but ignore the leadership methods (simplicity, quality, inspire, YOU). This keeps parents and children stuck on the conveyor belt." Leadership Education, p.38

"There is no need for someone just now learning of these ideas to fell like a failure, or worry that it is too late to make a difference." Leadership Education, p.38

Those darn kids get in the way of you being able to get to the higher phases before you have to start taking care of them.
"It is unfortunate that out society has so few contemporary examples of the true and natural progression of the phases, at least as corresponding to the ages. The result is that very remote few ever reach Depth Phase before having to take on the responsibilities of homemaking and breadwinning. These consuming and primary responsibilities have precluded all but the most determined from achieving the full extent of their mission and reaching their leadership potential while in their prime." Leadership Education, p.55
You wouldn't dare to not give your child this education, would you?
"Even more, they know that their children vitally needed them to have it [their parents to have a true Scholar Phase with 5,000 to 8,000 hours of mentored study]. There are many things vital to your children's well-being that you would not dream of foregoing in the name of finances. You would simply find a way to make it happen...We are spending so much time on this because after fifteen years of promoting Leadership Education or the Thomas Jefferson model, the only people we have seen do it really well are those who get mentors and do the full Scholar Phase study. Remembers, it is "You, not Them." the fact that getting great mentors takes some commitment and that getting a superb education is hard should not deter you from achieving excellence." Leadership Education, p.138
Your child is already broken and only through the right education can you fix him.
"As James Dobson taught, every twelve-year-old boy is a wounded soul, desperate for healing. If and how he heals literally makes the man who will marry your daughter and become the father of your grandchildren. How can you help?" Leadership Education, p.180

You must do it the right way or you'll mess it all up.
"There are Three Indispensable Choices parents should make during each child's Transition Phase. If any of the three is forgotten, or ignored, Transition is slowed down or impacted negatively. And while it may be hard to do all three as well as you would like, understand that good parenting is hard and that doing all three will be worth it." Leadership Education, p.181
Don't fail your child, and the world.
"To be honest, this [The Six Month Inventory] will not do much good unless you are willing to do The Six Month Purge and The Six Month "No" and you will not use it much if you do not have Sunday FECs and interviews. But if you combine these most basic of ingredients, you have the makings of a powerful recipe for superb Leadership Education. Your children deserve it - they were born with important, world-shaping and universe-shifting missions. What a tragedy when their parents fail them by not situating family life so family members can pursue an education that is up to the tasks they have at hand." Leadership Education, p.80
This is a great way to instill some fear and uncertainty in the minds of the parents. They might have thought that they were doing an ok job parenting, but no. In fact, unless they understand the phases and transitions that DeMille's modern educators came up with, and unless the parents have the FECs, arrange the bookshelf and closet correctly, have the yard right, the Annual Ball, etc., etc., they are going to mess it all up. And you wouldn't want to do that, would you? Look into your child's face and tell him that the time and effort and frustrations aren't worth it. And tell that to all the other people your child would have influenced for good, had you given him a Leadership Education.

You can't argue with principles
"Each of the Seven Keys of Great Teaching is based on principle, rather than expediency. When they are applied, learning occurs. When they are ignored or rejected, the quantity and quality of education decreases. "Leadership Education, p. 34 (emphasis original)

"Some things are best taught during a particular phase; it not only goes against nature to work on a different schedule, but very important opportunities might be missed, and this can impact the development of the individual." Leadership Education, p.38

History says so. You can't argue with that
Say it enough times and it must be true.
"This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated - the great statesmen, thinkers, artists, businessmen, generals, historians, philosophers, mathematicians, prophets, sages, composers, and entrepreneurs. 'Success' may be possible without a superb Leadership Eduction, but lasting freedom is not." Leadership Education, p.207

"Leadership Education has a long and successful history as an essential part of any successful nation's educational offerings." Leadership Education, p.5

"What Leadership Education presents is nothing less than an educational and cultural shift, through principles and methods employed by great men and women throughout history. But the transformation experienced through these pages will not be without some pain. It will feel much like traveling through a new country...However the path we walk through this country is tried and true. Great leaders and countless great citizens have been invited by trusted mentors to walk this way." Leadership Education, p.289
One thing that I suggest people ask themselves is, "If this were not the education that Thomas Jefferson or other leaders received, would you still do it?" If you answer, no, then you probably are only doing it because DeMille says this is how the other leaders were trained. You are just going on DeMille's word. People, especially conservatives, are pretty reluctant to try anything that seems to deviate from tradition or what they are convinced is the "right" way to do things. That is often a shortcoming that should be overcome and can stand in the way of true progress (or restoration), but it also can be a way to remain steadfast in true principles. It all depends on what the issue at hand is. But sometimes people will merely state that what they are professing is in fact the old way, and that what you think is the old way, really isn't. Sometimes people will only believe "new doctrines" if they are told they are the "old doctrines."

"Trust the process"
After repeatedly hammering the point that DeMille's Leadership Education is what all great leaders throughout history have had (which is not true at all), he then tells you to just "trust the process." It will produce leaders. Don't question the process.
"Trust the process..." Leadership Education, p.195

"Leaders will remember lessons of Core and 'trust the process,' knowing that its fruits are worth its labors." Leadership Education, p.266
If it get's difficult and you wonder if it is really what you should do, it's probably just the difficulty of parenting, not the process, that you are experiencing.
"It is easy to ascribe our feelings of inadequacy to the inherent challenges in our Leadership Education agenda. But could it just be that parenting is such a high stakes endeavor that we are constantly in awe of the magnitude of our responsibility?" Leadership Education, p.5
Don't worry if this isn't working for you. It may take a year or more. Have you been doing it at least a year? If not, then that's your problem.
"We have found that in order to internalize, comprehend and successfully apply the Phases of Learning, a family must have been working on the process of getting off the conveyor belt for about a year or more." Leadership Education, p.38

"Give yourself time to let the ideas for facilitating and providing an environment conducive to Leadership Education sink in...It may be a little painful and discomfiting, at first, but the tasty, delicious, soul satisfying fruit will be worth it. We promise." Leadership Education, p.124
If it all seems too hard, that's not because there is anything wrong with the process. That's a normal condition of doing the process. Consider that as evidence that the process is working.
"At the same time, in our society, we seem to be perfectly comfortable with torturing our little kids with stress and tears in the name of "what is best for their education," yet we somehow reject the notion that crying real tears in the process of getting a Scholar-level education for ourselves might be worth it. IT IS!" Leadership Education, p.131

"The transition between each phase is marked with disorientation, confusion, discontent, yearning for change, and feelings of disconnection from past phases and frustrations with life." Leadership Education, p.254
Why would you "trust the process?" Do you believe the process will produce leaders? If you do, you are going on faith, since there is no evidence anywhere ever that DeMille's Leadership Education produces leaders (where are they?). I might trust the process if I observed a whole bunch of leaders coming out of the process. Without that, no way would I trust the process (I might try it out, though). DeMille telling the reader to "trust the process" I think is just an attempt to prevent people questioning whether there is any merit to the process at all.

Do as we say
You can't read A Thomas Jefferson Education and know how to do TJEd. That book states the problem with public schools and the presents the promise of DeMille's TJEd to create leaders. In order to actually create the leaders through TJEd, you will have to follow what the TJEd experts say to do. You cannot figure it out on your own. Don't deviate from what the TJEd experts say, or it won't work.
"The Leadership model of education is counter-intuitive to the conveyor belt approach. Most parents educated on the conveyor belt try to apply it in precisely the wrong way. To apply Leadership Education successfully it it necessary to listen closely to those who have mastered the system and work hard to duplicate both the content and, especially, the methods of experienced leadership mentors." Leadership Education, p.30

"First, you can just keep trying for years, learning from trial and error what works and what doesn't. We have seen this work for dozens of families, but it takes a long time - and it is stressful. The second way is to learn from those who have already done it successfully - in the classics, in books such as this one, in seminars and conferences specific to Leadership Education, or directly from friends or acquaintances who have successfully applied Leadership Education for some time." Leadership Education, p.39

"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59
It's even better to follow other people new to TJEd than others not in TJEd even if they are successful.
"In fact, if in the selection of a mentor one had to choose between someone very knowledgeable but low in vision or passion, and one who is just getting started on an aggressive learning curve with a mentor of his own, we would personally prefer the individual who is exemplifying self-education over the one who seems dormant, if accomplished." Leadership Education, p.37
Don't listen to other people who might lead you astray or cause you to waver.
"Trusting [your feelings] means applying principles according to the vision and counsel of the FEC and not allowing other voices to incite you to second guess your hard won inspiration." Leadership Education, p.181

"Be cautious when you become aware that your feelings can be characterized as "fear," "guilt," "pride," or some other self-centered, basically negative emotion or motivation. If these elements enter in, your feelings and impressions need to be double checked with FEC so that you do not subconsciously apply your past experience in place of your new vision." Leadership Education, p.182

For something sold as a "leadership" education, there sure seems to be a lot of emphasis on doing what DeMille and other TJEd experts say (and I thought you weren't supposed to listen to "so-called experts"). Apparently no one can really figure all this out without DeMille and a few other parents who have "mastered" this. Again, how we ever had any leaders in history is a mystery to me if this is what they had to do and not screw it all up.

If there is a problem, it is with you (You're doing it wrong)
It seems that parents are the biggest roadblock to the success of TJEd. They are always doing it wrong, not being inspirational enough, letting the conveyor-belt conditioning cause them to question what they are doing, or they are too lazy to put in the necessary work to create the great leaders of tomorrow, or they are just not doing what DeMille says they need to do. If you have any problems, it is you. Focus on you. If your kid is not learning, you are the problem. Look at all the other parents who are "successful" in doing TJEd. They are optimistic. They are exciting. Their children are motivated. They do interesting things. They will be the leaders. Be like them. Just be happy!
"Your success here depends so much on your vision and your expectations...If you expect every day to fit a mold, you will be disappointed and frustrated. If you expect the process to work, you will be richly rewarded. Immerse yourself in the principles, live a life that is inspirational in its simplicity and commitment, and have a vision of what you are trying to accomplish that informs your choices along the way. Be confident and joyful!" Leadership Education, p.61 (emphasis original)

"This is what teaching means; it is what teaching is. When teachers inspire, students study." Leadership Education, p.86

"The answer to the question, 'How do I actually do it?' is that you get started." A Thomas Jefferson Education p.73 (emphasis original)

"Plutarch, Gibbon, Toynbee, Durant. Have you heard of these authors? Have you read them? If not, they are a great start to your study of history. You must study if you plan to teach." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.82

"If you are wondering how to get students to read Newton, you are asking the wrong question. The question is: Have you read Newton? If you haven't, you've got some homework." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.85

"The sad reason that people think that Love of Learning is 'easy' is that they have been brainwashed by the conveyor belt. When they hear 'Inspire, not Require,' their brains are so conditioned against combining 'inspire' with 'education' that they actually go home remembering something very much like 'ignore, not require.'" Leadership Education, p.86

"[If you don't separate entertainment and family rooms] you will be one of those wondering why this system did not work instead of those who know it works through repeated successful experiences." Leadership Education, p.111

"Nothing hurts Foundational and Educational phases like extra stuff around the house which consistently and very silently robs energy and focus from your education and your time with the kids." Leadership Education, p.113

"The basic source of inspiration for achieving a Leadership Education is mission. Those who know they have a mission desire to prepare for it - to do the hard work necessary to get the needed education." Leadership Education, p.143

"There is a growing number of families whose parents have gotten ahead of the game (actually, who did things in a more convenient time and season) and are ready for Depth Phase when the children come. In any case, a child in Transition needs to see her parents setting the example. Your children need to see you actively progressing in your current phase during Transition." Leadership Education, p.181 (emphasis original)

"Leadership Education comes naturally in homes where the parents are on the Leadership Path...Remember that you are the expert on your home and your children; trust your feelings and impressions more than the views of the so-called experts, neighbors or extended family members." Leadership Education, p.181

"Also be aware that in most cases when the Scholar struggles or abandons Scholar Phase, it is because of obstacles placed by the very parents who were so anxious that this time should arrive." Leadership Education, p.182

"'Look,' he says, 'my dad won't let me study all the that time, okay! just back off. I'm doing the best I can. I have to mow the lawn, help with the dishes. My dad says he's sick of me just sitting around reading all the time. He says I'm old enough to help, to get my lazy butt off the couch and do something constructive. He wonders what's gotten into me anyway, just sitting around reading, not even hanging with my friends anymore. He's sick of it. So, if you gotta problem, you talk to my dad. Not me, okay?!' He stalks out...The story speaks for itself. We have taken license with some of the details, but we heard the story repeated over and over. When we ask homeschooled youth, they tell the same story. It might be true in your home. They cannot get a Scholar education if you will not let them." Leadership Education, p.215

"The true test of leadership is grandparenting. Everything else falls short...All of us need to start grandparenting as soon as we are in Scholar Phase. Puberty is the call to grandparenting, to begin preparing a better world for your future grandchildren." Leadership Education, p.283

"I can do this! And so can any other dad. I especially love the section that teaches me how to help my kids through the scholar phase. It will take effort, but it's worth it!" -Andrew Goft, Leadership Education, back cover

Exaggerated claims and promises
"If you do these things well, your fourteen-year-olds will beg for a Leadership Education like Thomas Jefferson got and you will be ready to help them attain it." Leadership Education, p.30
They will, huh?
"Thousands of parents, in numbers growing larger each day, have fourteen-year-olds who beg to study ten-hour days and follow through. These parents are full of testimonials about Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.55
Thousands? There are thousands of parents who have fourteen-year-olds who "beg" to study ten-hour days? And they can testify about this education? Will 100 of them please post a comment stating that you have a fourteen-year-old who begs to study ten-hour days? And will you "testify" that this education is actually producing results, that is, producing leaders in the community? Thanks.

Fake examples
Several times DeMille talks about the importance of example. I think everyone agrees that good examples make a huge difference, but only when people are not trying to be an example. When someone is being a good example to you for example's sake, then you see it as fake, disingenuous. You would think that the person is only doing that to convince you of something, but it isn't something they would do otherwise.

Imagine saying to a child, "Now sit here and watch me be a good example of being nice to this person. Did you see that?" The child is not going to observe an example of helping those in need, but rather of pretending to be a good example to impress on people things you want them to do. So much for not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing. It's much more powerful if you just are a good person and you do good things regardless of what your kid will observe. Your kid will catch on that you should do good things regardless of whether anyone knows or is watching, maybe especially if they aren't. Setting up "times for examples" is not setting a good example at all in my opinion.
"[In the afternoons] Mom now has time to set the example of Scholar, Depth or Mission Phase, depending on where she is at...when fingers get too cold from the snow or pants too full of sand, little feet trudge back into the house to find Mom reading from a current bestseller or with a worn classic on her lap, following up on family duties, studying Hebrew or French, researching current events online or corresponding with one of her many friends, or on the phone arranging a service opportunity. In such examples, lessons are taught. Afternoons are for setting the example, and interruptions from little people are welcome." Leadership Education, p.84

"In the heat of the afternoon, Scholars read while Core and Love of Learners watch the example of Scholar and Depth parents and older siblings." Leadership Education, p.94
In a similar vein, DeMille states how kids are impressed with showy things, excitement, and hype. I think they are more impressed when they observe true character in action.
"When our children see other young people who really love learning, who share what they are studying, who excitedly tell stories about the things they are reading, who amaze them with their imagination, wit, vocabulary and prowess, something happens inside them." Leadership Education, p.101

Don't deny the faith
"The pull of the conveyor belt is very strong for parents who were schooled in that system—which is most parents today. When the temptation to return to requiring, textbooks, canned curriculum, and even public school arises, we as parents must go back to those feelings present when we first felt that TJEd was right for our family. We can trust that desire to give our children a chance to become truly educated, great men and women of character who will someday change the world. Our children have important missions to fulfill, And parents are equipped to help them live up to those missions. But we have to trust our hearts, our feelings, those whisperings from God.

Trusting the process yields the best results for a true Leadership Education. Just keep moving forward on the path you have chosen." The Thomas Jefferson Consortium

"A young mother told Rachel, 'I keep feeling like I should sit down on the floor with my five-year-old and read him books a lot more, but that would ruin my scholar phase.' By all means, 'ruin' your scholar phase - if that is the right thing to do. If not, then do not." Leadership Education, p.263

"Trusting [your feelings] means applying principles according to the vision and counsel of the FEC and not allowing other voices to incite you to second guess your hard won inspiration." Leadership Education, p.181

"Be cautious when you become aware that your feelings can be characterized as "fear," "guilt," "pride," or some other self-centered, basically negative emotion or motivation. If these elements enter in, your feelings and impressions need to be double checked with FEC so that you do not subconsciously apply your past experience in place of your new vision." Leadership Education, p.182
I don't think that it's only "conveyor belt conditioning" that causes people to question TJEd. It's not just that a mom might be tempted to do something else and cause her to forgo her destiny of training leaders. Those feelings of "fear" or "guilt" and those "other voices" might be telling you to re-evaluate what you are doing. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss those feelings.

DeMille seems to have recognized that moms were getting discouraged and stressed trying to do all this. That's why a new "Key of Learning" (Number 8) was added to the original "Seven Keys."
"An important Eighth Key of Great Teaching is 'Secure, not Stressed.'
"Being secured instead of stressed about whether Leadership Education is right for you and knowing that you are doing it effectively will not remove all stress from your life, but it will immediately and significantly bring you peace and focus in your educational endeavors." Leadership Education, p.39
Somehow I don't think just adding a new "Key" will change the way people feel. And this Key in particular is not something you do, but is the result of everything else you are doing. You cannot do things that make you stressed and then just "decide" not to be stressed. You have to do something different. I wonder why a new key had to be added if DeMille had already studied the great leaders of history and "codified" the first Seven Keys. I think it's because the natural result of trying to do TJEd as DeMille describes will produce stress, feelings of guilt and disappointment. This is due to defects in the TJEd process itself, not the moms.

A pattern
There is a pattern here of making promises, saying it is simple, and then when people actually try to do it, the goalposts keeping moving, and the challenges and failures are due to the parents, not the TJEd process. And if the parents are thinking about giving up on TJEd, they are told about how their children were born with a special mission and if the parents don't do TJEd the right way, they are going to mess that mission up, and that TJEd is the only way there can leaders that the country needs. All the while, they the parents are bombarded with promises that this will work, and if it doesn't you are doing something wrong. This was a big turn-off to me as I learned about TJEd. It's in the books, and in the seminars, and I've seen some of its effects in people I know that do TJEd. I don't think TJEd is the only way, even the best way, even a good way, to train leaders so right off the bat I question the promise that is being sold. I also can't imagine why the parents have to get "training" or have to find a "mentor" to do TJEd in their own family. I don't think a parent has to go through a "true Scholar Phase" (I also don't believe that there are "Phases" that DeMille describes). I definitely would think that after a year of this if I didn't like the results, I'd try something different, and if I were to experience problems doing this, I'd blame the process, not me. And I think that we need good people more than we need great people, and that I will help my children be good and they will do great things if called upon.

After noticing and these patterns in the TJEd movement, my trust for them is very low. They do not use "motivating" or "inspiring" methods, but rather fear, guilt, and shame after making exaggerated promises. Fear that you are going to mess up creating needed leaders, guilt that you are not putting forth enough effort for your child, and shame for thinking about returning back to the evil "conveyor belt." And one other emotion comes in to play: pride. Pride that your child is going to be truly great, that if you are a parent that can pull this off, you are better than almost all other parents, even those who are trying to do TJEd. If you can pull this off, you will be a great parent and mentor to the great leaders. You will be the example of all other parents struggling to do what you have been able to do. I do sense this pride of those who have "mastered" this (or at least claim to). And I have also sense that other parents feel discouragement that they just can't seem to get it to work for them, even though it does work for others. These parents just keep trying because they believe in the promise, and they don't want to let their children down. So they keep doing TJEd. This is not for me.

Maybe I am just a hateful little man ragging on TJEd
Maybe this is all just my opinion and I'm just some guy that doesn't like TJEd for some strange reason. Maybe TJEd is just "like the gospel" and is full of truth. After all my reasons I have posted and the effort I have gone through to explain them, there is still one reason left that just might trump all the others: Where are the results? Where are the fruits? Where are these leaders that should be coming out of TJEd? DeMille has given us the promise that if we do what he says we will produce leaders. Where are they?

This is actually my Reason #6...


Reason #4: Doing TJEd as DeMille Describes Would Be Harmful to My Family

DeMille states that to do "Leadership Education" effectively, you need to listen to the advice of those who have been successful at it and if you stray from what they say, you may not end up with the results you want. He argues that if you went to public school (the conveyor belt), most likely you will face difficulty in abandoning incorrect ideas and adopting correct ideas about education.
"The Leadership model of education is counter-intuitive to the conveyor belt approach. Most parents on the conveyor belt try to apply it in precisely the wrong way. To apply Leadership Education successfully it is necessary to listen closely to those who have mastered the system and work hard to duplicate both the content and, especially, the methods of experienced leadership mentors.
If you do these things well, your fourteen-year-olds will beg for a Leadership Education like Thomas Jefferson got and you will be ready to help attain it." Leadership Education, p.30

"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59
There are several ingredients to a Leadership Education that DeMille describes. Each Phase of Learning will have different ingredients, although there are some ingredients that span all phases. First though, if you are a parent and want to help you child through all the phases correctly, you first must have gone through all the phases correctly yourself. If you haven't, you need to make yourself go through them before trying to give your child a Leadership Education.
"If you have not done Scholar Phase (or are not progressing toward it) you simply cannot pass on what you do not have; you cannot inspire principles that you are not living. You can try - you can even teach - but the inspiration will be fatally lacking." Leadership Education, p.60
Once you have gone through the phases (or are least progressing ahead of your children), then you can implement the necessary ingredients. I will discuss some of them. These ingredients, DeMille claims, have been used successfully by many families throughout history. You be the judge if this is true.
"These ingredients have been used by many of the great parents of history, but unfortunately are too infrequently discussed in our day." Leadership Education, p.62
The Family Executive Committee (FEC)
I believe of course that Sundays are important days to rest and worship. These are days to spend with the family or doing service and going to church. I don't have any problem with DeMille declaring "Sundays" to be the first ingredient. It's what you are supposed to do on Sunday that I have a problem with, and the organizations you are supposed to have. DeMille calls the first ingredient "Sundays" but all he talks about in this ingredient is the FEC.
"Sunday is the day that makes it all work. Each Sunday we hold out Family Executive Committee (FEC) meeting. The family members who attend this meeting are Mom and Dad. Both are full voting partners, and we consider our unanimity in prayerful decisions to constitute a vote from God.
The FEC establishes long-term family policy including assignments and rules, and it the highest authority in the family. By assignment of our FEC, Dad presides at the meeting. He is responsible for announcing and convening it, preparing the agenda, and keeping the meeting running smoothly." Leadership Education, p.62
This does not sound right to me. Setting aside time to meet with your wife and discuss the calendar and talking about the kids is great. Referring to it as the "FEC" and having an agenda seems a little overboard to me. But it gets worse...
"Rachel tries to limit her entries on the agenda to issues specifically within her stewardship. It may refer to Dad's stewardship, but only as it affects her ability to do hers...Any concerns that she has that actually fall under Oliver's stewardship she prefers to take to God in prayer, and He and Oliver tend to work it out." Leadership Education, p.63
This is disturbing to me. Not only are they calling their marriage the "FEC" but the wife can't even bring up anything her husband is responsible for! This is a great recipe for manipulation.

The FEC is referred as "the FEC" by the DeMilles as if it were really something separate from them, or something that "some committee out there" does. All through the Leadership Education book, there are references to "taking this to the FEC," or not challenging something after it has been "decided by the FEC." For example,
"FEC has been also been helpful in conflict resolution. If a disagreement arises during the week that could lead to an argument, either of us has the prerogative to "refer it to committee," meaning the Family Executive Committee. This means that further discussion must wait a minimum of 24 hours and must take place in the context of an FEC which can be convened especially for this issue, if necessary." Leadership Education, p. 64
I don't know why they can't talk it out when the issue arises, or later that night. But they have to wait 24 hours? Doesn't really sound like a loving close relationship to me. It's not what I would want. I've been married for more than a couple weeks and we don't have any problems talking things out.

It's concerning to me to see how DeMille uses the FEC with his wife:
"After another pregnancy we were thrilled to welcome America Esther...[Rachel's] health continued to decline to the point that for several weeks the children were in other people's care as much as they were in our own. At this point she [Rachel] was humbled enough to accept what Oliver had been urging her to understand: she had to say 'no.'
When she was faced with literal exhaustion, she happily allowed Oliver to take her through an exercise - a list of commitments followed by a Six Month "No" - which resulted in meaningful changes in her schedule over several weeks time.
Often in a family, one spouse thinks she can do everything, and one is savvy to limitations. Be trusting to the counsel of the savvy one, and utilize the FEC to set limits and make decisions." Leadership Education, p.78, 79
Apparently Rachel should have just listened to the FEC.

It should be noted that the FEC is not a meeting, but an actual committee that does things including meetings. DeMille often refers to what the FEC does:
"This can turn Mom into a minivan chauffeur and leave the home fires untended. It is very important that the FEC set boundaries to curb this trend." Leadership Education, p.100

"But their sister Eliza started piano lessons at the age of 7 while still in Core Phase because the FEC decided in one of our Sunday meetings and after much discussion that this would be best for her." Leadership Education, p.115

"The FEC spent hours and hours putting the details together." Leadership Education, p.118

"Under FEC advisement, set up an educational plan and demand follow through from yourself." Leadership Education, p.126 (emphasis original)

"An Inventory will most likely reveal the issue at hand, and the FEC can prescribe the solution." Leadership Education, p.141

"Of course, this requires communication so that gifts are not given that do not meet FEC approval." Leadership Education, p.147

"We know of many good books and mentors that can assist a family who feels like they need to emphasize improved health habits and principles as a part of their family culture and education plan. If this applies to you, seek one out and use the FEC to apply the advice you receive.'" Leadership Education, p.176

"It means applying principles according to the vision and counsel of the FEC and not allowing other voices to incite you to second guess your hard won inspiration." Leadership Education, p.181

"If these elements enter in, your feelings and impression need to be double checked with the FEC so that you do not subconsciously apply your past experience in place of your new vision." Leadership Education, p.182

"In other words, the FEC (Family Executive Council) should consider these issues and set policy for them." Leadership Education, p.195

"Employ the FEC to choose what is right for your family." Leadership Education, p.197

"Then quit worrying about a timeline that is not inspired and FEC-endorsed and go in search of one that is." Leadership Education, p.198

"Danger lurks not because the recommendations are necessarily ill-considered or patently wrong, but because they threaten to unseat the Family Executive Council and thus imperil all decisions and roles." Leadership Education, p.261 (emphasis original)
The FEC even decides on the morning activities and deviations are not allowed.
"Any deviation from the routine [family morning activities] should be considered carefully and almost without exception should receive prior approval from the FEC." Leadership Education, p.70
Mom is half of the FEC, right? She can't make changes to the morning activities without the approval of...her husband, since he's the other person in the FEC.

Parents planning the week, talking about each child, even calling it a committee meeting if they want is ok to me, but extending the use of such a meeting and referring to it beyond this use as if it were some external thing seems unnecessary to me. It sounds more like a way for the parents to distance themselves from the decisions they make, as if some of these things were out of their hands. Imploring God's help is good too, but I don't think I would consider a unanimous decision by the father and mother to necessarily constitute endorsement from God. That's a little presumptuous, and suggests that whatever Mom and Dad agree on is what God wants. Referring to decisions made by "the FEC" that have the approval of God because both parents were in agreement and that can't be changed without approval of the FEC makes it pretty hard to challenge anything the parents decide, even for the parents, but especially the wife, since she can only address things under her stewardship.

Maybe this is all just something the DeMilles do and it works for them? That would be fine, except:
"The first ingredient - truly the most important ingredient - of successful Core and Love of Learning environments is the weekly FEC followed by quality interviews." Leadership Education, p.66
So, if you don't have an FEC with you husband or wife, and if you don't have your weekly meetings, you're not doing Leadership Education, at least not doing it correctly. I have no idea why anyone would think this is what Thomas Jefferson's parents did or George Wythe, but there it is.

Family "callings"
The FEC calls children to specific assignments and duties. DeMille talks about how one of his daughters was "called" to a specific task in the home.
"We select such callings in FEC and meet with the youth in a personal Sunday interview to "call" them to the responsibility. We make it voluntary. But they understand what the FEC is and how it works, so they virtually always say "yes" and they do their best (with some inspiring and encouragement of course). They may bring up concerns for the FEC to consider, but they consider the decision on the FEC binding. Parents may readily see the importance of earning that sacred trust and being careful not to manipulate things in the name of the FEC.

Following their acceptance of the duty, the family votes their support of the family member's calling in full Family Council. So far we have never had a calling rejected or voted down. When we make a change, we vote to release them from a previous calling in Family Council so everyone always knows who is called to what." Leadership Education, p.122
They don't live in a "family." They live in a "ward." LDS people will immediately recognize that this is how LDS wards operate. But this is a family, not a group of families getting together to make the ward work.

The other day I was telling my kids that they get their allowance because I get paid for the work I do. We are a team. They do some things more than me, like put the dishes away from the dishwasher, and Mommy does some things more than anyone else, like cook, and Daddy does some things more than anyone else, like take out the trash and make money so we have a place to live and can buy food. But we do it for all of us. We are not exclusive in our responsibilities. I do the dishes, just not as often as the kids. Mommy takes out the trash sometimes, just not as often as Daddy. Since I make money for the family, and they are just kids, I give them some of what I make so they can spend it on some things they like, just like I do. I spend money on things like the house and car, but I also get things I want for me. I told them that I am sharing some of what I make with them. I give them their allowance when I get paid. I think they understand better now that when I go to work, I go to work for the whole family, because we are a team. When they put the dishes away, they do it for the whole family. It's not that some people do some things, other people do others; it's that we work out what how we can do things for the family, and some people may do some things more often than others.

Now this is just what we do in my family. I don't claim it to be based on any principle for anything. But it makes way more sense to me, and I think it helps us be more kind and willing to do chores and things than we would otherwise. DeMille's methods make me shudder. I would hate to be in a family that operates like a corporation or a ward. I want a Mom and a Dad, not an FEC. I want to just help Mom, not be "called" to do something.

The Bookshelf and the Closet
DeMille says that two very important aspects in the home doing Leadership Education is the bookshelf and the closet. Not just having a bookshelf, but arranging it in a certain way.
'The bookshelf should stand in the family room, the room where the family gathers each morning to study together.
Strangely enough, even something as simple as a bookshelf can, by the way it is organized, either reinforce the conveyor belt or leverage a leadership-style education.
The Leadership Education bookshelf is very distinct...At the very top of this bookshelf, the books are arranged neatly on the shelves, organized by topic and arranged by subject, size and\or color. In short, Scholar shelves would look good in an attorney's office.
Scholar shelves are high and can only be reached by youth and adults...Core Phasers cannot even reach the Scholar shelves without climbing on something.
Below the Scholar shelves are the Love of Learning shelves, eclectically sporting books of all size, shapes and subjects, arranged haphazardly but neatly through the middle section of the shelf." Leadership Education, p.107
The Love of Learning shelf is supposed to be kind of messy, and if Grandma straightens the shelf, you should mess it back up.
"In fact, if a well-meaning grandparent or housekeeper does arrange them in order, an early afternoon activity is made of dumping them all out on the floor and re-shelving them by random delight. This is very important." Leadership Education, p. 107
The physical arrangement and height of the shelves is of utmost importance:
"It is very important for Core Phasers to look up and wish they could reach the books above, and for Love of Learners to feel the reach as they peek into one of the top shelves. The bookshelf should be in the room where everyone sits and studies." Leadership Education, p.108
This is just another suggestion by DeMille, right? Something that works well in his family? No:
"This ingredient is essential for the Core and Love of Learning success and for ensuring a Leadership Education learning environment." Leadership Education, p.108
The closet must have things in there that the children can get to. It should be arranged like the bookshelf with the things for the Core Phasers at the bottom, Love of Learning things on the shelf above that, and Scholar Phase things at the top. It should be open during the day, and closed and locked up at night. Is this just another suggestion by DeMille?
"The closet is a vital ingredient of success in Core and Love of Learning Phases, and without a quality, well-stocked closet, the Foundational Phases might be lacking." Leadership Education, p.109
What does the arrangement of a bookshelf and a closet have anything to do with the great leaders in history? Did they all have these? Is there a "Leadership Education closet" at Thomas Jefferson's boyhood home? Any why are so many things "essential" and "vital" that have nothing to with leadership?

Every piece of minutia is "essential"
The bookshelf and the closet are just two examples of the minutia that DeMille claims is essential for the "proper" environment in the home for Leadership Education. DeMille lists over and over things that you must do in your home that are "vital," or "essential," or "important" for Leadership Education.
"The morning routine is very important for Core and Love of Learning students." Leadership Education, p.67

"The Six Month Purge is essential, even for those who do not struggle at all with keeping the house clean." Leadership Education, p.76

"We teach the Six Month Purge and The Six Month 'No' so that The Six Month Inventory will happen, because when it does, a great education will occur and a leader will be trained." Leadership Education, p.80

"The Annual Break is a key ingredient to any off-the-conveyor-belt family." Leadership Education, p.83

"The binder is a very important part of Love of Learning Phase..." Leadership Education, p.102

"Field trips are very important in Core and Love of Learning..." Leadership Education, p.103

"Separation of entertainment and family rooms is vital to successful Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.111

"Leadership Education homes need a donation box..." Leadership Education, p.111

"It may seem like we are overstating the case, but this ingredient [the Storage Box] is very important." Leadership Education, p.113

"In short, your yard matters when you are raising and educating leaders." Leadership Education, p.128

"As we have said several times in this article, real work is the key to training leaders, and it must start at an early age...And real chores that require hard work and are truly necessary to the family are a vital ingredient in a Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.130, 131

"It is essential to teach the young person the entire educational model over and over." Leadership Education, p.132

"Whatever your family's national book, making it a central part of daily education is vital to Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.134

"Finally, it is essential that you clarify what your mission is and align your life to be actively pursuing it." Leadership Education, p.144

"At least one such friend is invaluable to a Leadership home." Leadership Education, p.144

"If you truly want your child to succeed in his mission, to be happy and fulfilled in life, be sure to give him full parental focus in the Core Phase curriculum during these vital years." Leadership Education, p.146

"During the Sixth Month Inventory it is essential to say "Yes" to your own education..."Leadership Education, p.148
How many things can be "essential?"

The Scholar Phase is really messed up
You may have forgotten that this all started with DeMille giving accolades to the education of Thomas Jefferson and how we need children study the classics so they will become the great leaders of the future. We've gone way off course it seems when we get in to FECs, bookshelves, and closets, but the Scholar Phase will make it all come rushing back.

Remember that the first two Phases of Learning are Core, where you learn right from wrong, and Love of Learning, where you just adopt such a love to learn that you can hardly contain yourself. You are not supposed to give the child any formal instruction before the Scholar Phase, because like Piaget said, it will be wasted, and it might prevent the child from becoming a self-learner and have that thirst for knowledge.

First, DeMille states that there are actually four levels within the Scholar Phase itself. The child is not supposed to go into the Scholar Phase until she is dying to do it. You the parent are supposed to set up a special meeting with the student to discuss the "transition" to this new phase. The meeting is supposed to be exciting, maybe a picnic or something. You tell the child that she soon will be going into "The Scholar Phase" but she gets to choose when she gets to go. Then you are supposed to drop the subject for awhile.
"For the child who is ready to progress into Scholar, your restraint and reassurance will server only to light the fire under her and challenge her to take on the commitments that await her...Tell her how exciting, fun and wonderful it will be." Leadership Education, p.199
Then you go back to treating her as before in the Love of Learning Phase. However, you do give her some "practice days" doing the Scholar Phase. She may not like it, so you just keep her in the Love of Learning Phase until she is really ready to commit. Once she is ready to do Scholar Phase full bore, then you make the transition.
"When he decides to go into Project Level [second level of Scholar Phase, the full-time level], sit down with him and write out a formal agreement." Leadership Education, p.204
The formal agreement includes "Responsibilities" in one column, and "Benefits" on the other. The "Responsibilities" include study schedule and when she will turn in reports. One of the benefits of being in the Scholar Phase is that you don't have to do hardly anything but study. All the chores the student did in the Love of Learning Phase get transferred to someone else.
"As our good friend Cherie Logan put it, 'If you're still doing the housework, you missed your promotion!'" Leadership Education, p.97

"Remember the Scholars are no longer errand-runners and can not be interrupted during Scholar hours - basically 9-5 - unless it is an emergency" Leadership Education, p.201
The Scholar also goes through a sort of bar mitzvah (my description) where the child is announced to be in the Scholar Phase and won't be doing hardly any more chores and will be treated as a young adult instead of a child at home (and this is something that DeMille says should be written in the "Benefits" column in the formal agreement).
"Note that to be treated as a Young Adult in the home might be to include the youth in certain discussions, or when other adults are visiting; outside the home includes finding opportunities to give perks, like - do an adults-only activity (a certain movie, or going to dinner with Mom, Dad and Scholars)." Leadership Education, p.205

Scholars study a lot. That's pretty much all they do.
"The Self-Directed Scholar studies eight to twelve hours a day, five to six days a week, ten to twelve months a year for three to four years. This 5,000 to 8,000 hours of intense study builds a huge base of knowledge and skill which can be applied to whatever mission the later adult embarks. This model is based solidly on the experience of great leaders of history and how they were educated." Leadership Education, p.207

"At the time of this writing, young Oliver is almost 17, Emma is 15 and Sara is 14. They study almost all day long. They literally must be interrupted from their studies to eat or to help out when necessary. All day, they study." Leadership Education, p.127
First, notice how DeMille say you should treat your child based on the "Phases of Learning" that he devised that are based on Piaget's, Erikson's, and originally Freud's theories of human development. These "Phases of Learning" are dictating how the parent treats and interacts with the child. Not only does DeMille not show any evidence that these Phases are correct, but there also is no evidence that this is what leaders in history went through (see the blog post on Reason #3).

Second, while many societies have some sort of "coming of age" ritual or acknowledgment, to DeMille this happens when the child begs to be able to study all day. Until they reach that point, they are not allowed to go into the Scholar Phase and they are not treated as a young adult, but rather still as a child. DeMille has a intellectual or academic view of the transformation into adulthood. I'm not sure that's the right place to draw the line.

Third, writing up a formal agreement is unnecessary to me. A formal agreement with a twelve-year-old? Why is that necessary? How exactly is that enforced? Who arbitrates? Obviously the parent has the finally say, so why draw it up with your kid? Can't you just talk to him about it? This is not my idea of a loving parent helping a child through the transformation of puberty. They've got enough to worry about besides whether they are going to break a contract that they made with their parents - excuse me - the FEC.

Fourth, this transition is build up by the parent to the child as being "exciting," like teenage years usually are, but again it's only in academic terms. Aren't there other changes that are part of the development into a young man or woman? Physical, emotional, hormonal, social, etc.? I don't think that the parent should say to the child that it will be "exciting" because they will get to read all day, but because of all the other aspects of developing into adulthood.

Fifth, "graduating" from having to do a lot of chores to no chores doesn't make sense to me. Ever since I've left home someone's had to do the chores. I didn't "graduate" from them in college, or on my mission, or as a bachelor, or as a married man. It's hard to balance everything else you've got to do with doing chores, but they must get done. Sometimes you have to prioritize doing chores or doing homework, or going on a date, or whatever. I don't see how it really gives the child a realistic worldview to say he has "graduated" from doing them.

Sixth, why not include the child in adult discussion regardless of the age? I think judgment should be used with each topic and each child, but an artificial delineation that now he gets to be with the adults and the other "Scholars" again is just built on those phases of learning from psychologists.

Seventh, studying 8 to 12 hours a day is not healthy, especially for teenagers. I don't think it's balanced at all. They need to be able to spend time reading, and pondering, and experimenting, and building, and exploring, and getting out into nature, and working in groups, and being on teams, and practicing musical instruments, and learning home and garden skills, and engaging in debates, etc. I realize that DeMille says that Scholar in fact do these things, but I don't see how they can do that much if they are studying 8 to 12 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week! When do they do extracurriculars? When do they interact with the opposite sex? When do they build things and work on projects? This seems entirely unbalanced to me and focused on academics way too much. But DeMille has a response to this:
"Young people who read all day are not lazy. They are students. And it is tempting to want to help them 'balance' their lives. But compared to the non-scholar generation they are living in, and the level of leadership that will be required to face upcoming generational challenges, these few youth are the 'balance.'" Leadership Education, p. 216 (emphasis original)
So wait, the way to counteract unbalanced youth that are lazy and ignorant and play too much is to have unbalanced youth that don't do anything but read? The answer to unbalanced youth in one extreme is to create unbalanced youth on the opposite extreme? I think the goal is to have each youth be balanced, not try to balance all youthdom by squishing extra amounts of "knowledge" in some youths to the point that there is no room for anything else in them. It's not a cumulative balance across all youth we want, but balance within each youth.

Boy Scouts vs Scholar Phase
Of course kids in the Scholar Phase could do Boy Scouts. What I want to point out are the differences between the philosophies and methods that the Boy Scouts use and what DeMille's Scholar Phase uses. I realizes that this is not exactly comparing apples to apples, but DeMille is promoting a "Leadership Education" which is part of the purpose of Boy Scouts also, so it is relevant I think to compare them.

Boy ScoutsScholar Phase
PurposeThe Aims of Scouting: character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.

The Purpose is "to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

The Scout Oath is:

On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty To God and my country

And to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

The Scout Law is:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
"Tiffany Earl explained the goal of mentoring youth in the Scholar Phase this way: 'I know what this looks like, but I want them to taste it, to feel it, see it, breathe it, smell it. I want them to be with Reuben in the library studying Freud, I want them to be with Newton in the loft of his barn building and calculating. I want the youth to be with Lincoln and a book by the fireplace. They need to feel it!'" Leadership Education, p.197

Transition to Scholar skills include:

Take smart risks

Don't put yourself down

Inner Approval: Don't Emphasize external measures of success

Don't complain or whine

Don't be judgmental

Never get "bored"

Learn from mistakes

Learn to lose and win well

Practice smart self-reliance

Choose to feel at peace and serene

Realize that life is about smiling

Never fear your own greatness

Leadership Education, p.156
MethodCamping, hiking, first aid, merit badges, service projects, troop leadership positions, organizingStudying classics
Leadership OpportunitiesOpportunity to be Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leaders, Senior Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Den Chief, Quartermaster, Historian, proposing\planning\organizing\executing Eagle Scout ProjectReading about leaders
MentoringAt the troop level there is a Scout Committee, Scoutmaster, Assistance Scoutmasters, and Eagle Scouts. Boys are supposed to run the troop with adult shadow leadership overseeing.A mentor who has gone through the Scholar Phase himself and receives the reports of the Scholar Phase student he mentors. The mentor helps guide the student in areas to study but does not dictate to the student what to learn, how to learn, or how fast to learn. The students discusses what he learns with the mentor.
AdvancementScouts advance after fulfilling requirements at each Rank. Requirements usually include being active in the organization and activities, demonstrating knowledge and skill of camping and other areas, service project hours, and leadership position in the troop.Transition Phase is the period when the student moves from Love of Learning to Scholar. The Practice Scholar is when the students gets to try having Scholar Phase days periodically. The Project Scholar is permanently in the Scholar Phase, turning in daily reports on what he has learned. The Self-Directed Scholar studies 8 to 10 hours a day. The Mentored Scholar receives mentoring from outside the home.
Skills learnedcamping, swimming, fire-building, cooking, hiking, knot-tying, first aid, orienteering, campfire presentation, scheduling, teaching younger scouts, delegating, responsibility, recruiting, teamwork, reverence, Indian lore, animal and reptile study, conservation, crafts, archery, rifle shooting, wilderness survival, service project organization and execution.Story acting, task accomplishment, short/long term

Perceiving, sequencing, patterns, remembering, creating, organizing - managing time and materials

Relationships, popularity, interpersonal politics

Intuitive thinking

Conceptual, problem-solving, rule-guided, creative

from Leadership Education, p.157-158

Reading classics, discussion, oral reports, written reports, field trips

Knowledge is important for leadership development, but I think more important is character development and experience following and leading. We want leaders to be good people, not have read about good people. In order to be a good person, I think it is necessary that one must have followed up their beliefs by action, so helping the child be in situations where he is able to practice and interact with others is absolutely necessary for good character development. Reading about leaders isn't enough. You can't be "book smart" about leadership. I don't know where DeMille gets the notion that the great leaders will come from those who have read about great leaders, but have done little or nothing themselves.

Royalty almost always has sent the princes to the military and have them start at the bottom. They need to know what it's like to be ordered around, to be the subject, and to do the grunt work. They need to know how to work as a team, how to get along with different types of people, how to organize, how to implement backup plans when things go wrong, how to deal with insubordination, how not to be too wimpy or timid or too shy or too obnoxious or too complacent or too boring and unmotivating. I don't see any of this with TJEd or DeMille's "Leadership Education." I see kids reading for way too long, not doing enough activities, not practicing leading and being lead, and merely "discussing" what they learn. I don't think fosters good character development at all. I would not want to follow someone like that. I would much rather follow a Boy Scout that knows how to lead others than a kid that has read in his room for 5,000 hours.

Of course nothing precludes a boy from doing Boy Scouts under DeMille's Leadership Education, but DeMille does not list Boy Scouts as an ingredient to Leadership Education so to him it is not essential but only optional. And DeMille has stated that what he outlines will give your child a Leadership Education, and but deviations might not.
"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without also modifying the outcome. The principles we enumerate below do not pretend to be everything to everyone, but they are what they are - A Leadership Education." Leadership Education, p.59
Perhaps Boy Scouts is not an essential part of fostering leaders, but I believe there's got to be something like it, something where the boys and girls practice leading and following, learning skills, organizing, planning, doing things, not just reading about them.

Labels, Labels, Labels
In the Leadership Education book, and in the internet sites, the TJEd classes, and in the speech of parents doing TJEd, there is lots of use of labels for their kids.

Just from flipping through the book I see these over and over and over again:
"our Core Phasers"

"Lover of Learners"


"Scholar Phase scouts"

"Core and Love of Learning kids"
This is the typical way the kids are referred to. Again, taking those unproven, artificial "Phases of Learning" that DeMille created and using them to define how you refer to your child and how he sees himself.
"When people ask our children what grade they are in, they answer, "Love of Learning," or "Scholar Phase." Then, when questioned, they explain what that means and what they are studying. They do not see themselves as children or teenagers, but as Core Phasers, Love of Learners and Scholars." Leadership Education, p.133
This defines how you see your child. I think it's a shame to refer to your kid as a "Core Phaser." I would never do that. They are who they are and what they are, and using labels is a dangerous for preconceived, and incorrect, notions to affect you and your child's view of who they are. It affect the self-identity of the child and the identity the parent has of the child. Do other people constantly refer to their kids as "their second-grader," "my Tenderfoot Scout," the "deacons in in our family?" Maybe once in awhile if the context suits, but often and repeatedly and as the usual way? But see the reason people who are really doing TJEd use these labels is because they see the kids so fundamentally different in each of these phases that they think their kids are in, that they use these labels to communicate to others what they think their kid is like. Using the names of the phases to describe the phase you think your kid is in would be one thing, but referring to your kid based on the label you think he's in can confine the kid to something that is not accurate. Toss the labels. Your kid is not a "Phase."

Violation of their own principle of "Simplicity, No Complexity"
DeMille has 55 ingredients that he covers in his book Leadership Education. "Some are helpful, others vital" he says. And some of these are fairly involved and complex, like setting up a Mom's School, a Formal Ball, and the Weekly Club. You've got to set up an FEC and have weekly meetings. You've got to know what morning are for, what afternoons are for, what evenings are for. You've got to know what summer is for and what winter is for and what dinner is for. You've got to know how to arrange your house, assign chores, and create committees. You've got to make sure you don't push your kid to ZPD and thwart their desire to learn. You've got to be working on your "Two Towers" which includes creating an organization to promotes these ideas. You've got to know the Phases of Learning (there are sub-Phases too), and you've got to know when you child should be transitioning from one phase to another, and you better not do it wrong or you'll mess them up. Because remember:
"One cannot modify the details of Leadership Education without modifying the outcome." Leadership Education, p.59
Oh, and you need to be going through your own Scholar Phase which takes at least 5000 hours of study, if you haven't already:
"If you already have a college degree, ask yourself whether or not you actually had a true Scholar Phase - 5,000 to 8,000 hours of mentored study of the great classics." Leadership Education, p.136

"If you have not done Scholar Phase (or are not progressing toward it) you simply cannot pass on what you have not done." Leadership Education, p.60

"Without a high-quality Scholar and Depth experience, a person is not really educated." Leadership Education, p.47 (emphasis original)
After doing all this, you will create the leaders of the future. Good Luck! I don't know how we got any leaders in the past, because I don't think anyone can do this (nor do I think they should).
"The Leadership model of education is counter-intuitive to the conveyor belt approach." Leadership Education, p.29
I should say so! And this is supposed to be "self-learning" by the child? No wonder Rachel's health declined "to the point that for several weeks the children were in other people's care as much as they were in her own." Leadership Education, p.78.

But you better do it because:
"'Success' maybe be possible without a superb Leadership Education, but lasting freedom is not." Leadership Education, p.207

"Without Leadership Education, the future is bleak." Leadership Education, p.3

Why would I want to do this to my family?
Enough said.