Some Background

My wife and I decided to homeschool our kids from the beginning and we have been doing it for several years. The most important factor in our decision, I'd say, was that we didn't think the public education that our kids would receive was good enough and wasted too much time. My wife was the one who first brought up the idea, and I think I was not really on board with the idea, but not really opposed to it. It mattered to her so I was willing to look into it.

We read several books on homeschooling approaches and my wife attended many seminars. We agreed with many of the complaints about public schools. My wife and I had both attended public schools and didn't have many bad experiences with our own educations. But around the time we were looking into homeschooling we were also start to read the "better" books and we realized how our impression of what "educated" meant and how to be successful in life was largely due to the ideas we had adopted in public school. I thought it was a shame that Latin and Greek and the classics were almost nowhere taught anymore. There were several things we really wanted our kids to learn, and decided that we should homeschool them in order for them to learn them.

We went through the process of figuring out what to teach, and how to teach, before our oldest was even school age, so we had time to investigate and come up with our own plans and expectations. We checked out lots of different philosophies of education and different teaching methods. Our philosophy and our approach is partly the best out of all approaches, and partly our own ideas.

Learning classical languages, and learning about the ancient world, and the classical works from that time are part of the education we are trying to provide for our kids. Periodically, when other homeschoolers learn this they have asked us why we aren't doing Thomas Jefferson Education. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Homeschooler: "Why don't you Thomas Jefferson Education?"
Us: "What do you do as part of Thomas Jefferson Education?"
Homeschooler: "You read the classics."
Us: "Ok. We do that. I guess we do Thomas Jefferson Education, then"

We had read the Thomas Jefferson Education book, but it doesn't really have much on methods at all, just philosophy. So, we thought, we include the classics in our homeschooling and we understand the points about the "conveyor-belt education" in most public schools. but we wondered what exactly people thought we should be doing differently in order to say that we are doing Thomas Jefferson Education. We never said we were doing Thomas Jefferson Education, but people always seemed confused that we were reading classics and learning ancient languages and history, but weren't "doing TJEd."

Over time, we started to see more and more Thomas Jefferson Education groups, and more people asking us about whether we do it. We would go to homeschooling conferences and see that classes were being held on it. At some point it reached critical mass that we knew we weren't doing Thomas Jefferson Education like other people were that were really doing it, and we also felt no desire to. We had some friends and some family go to some Thomas Jefferson Education seminars and were involved with it in different degrees, and it seemed that most of the LDS homeschoolers were "getting into TJEd."

So, finally, I took a formal approach and said, 'Let me see what this is all about." I bought the new version of "A Thomas Jefferson Education" by Oliver Van DeMille, and the Companion book, and a book on the Phases of Learning by the same author. I went to the Intro to TJEd class at a recent homeschooling conference. I read information on the website of George Wythe College. Now I am writing this blog to explain to people why I don't do TJEd.