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.


Truth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.L.L said...

I tried that link but I got some error. I don't know how to use wikipedia to send email. You can try to send an email to me using the name of the blog (all squished together) at

Sara R said...

I read all of your posts. Thanks for such a detailed critique. I also had problems with TJed when I first read the book, but I hadn't thought of these specific criticisms.

RandomCritic said...

google: george wythe college wikipedia and find the document entitled: diploma demille

or google "diploma demille"

also, there is an anti-george wythe college/tjed (anti-gwc) google group that would love your contributions.

Marni Hall said...

I think your definition of a leader is extremely limited. One of the greatest leaders I know owns a mainly family run moving company. But everyone I know that has even had any kind of personal association with this man has been better for it. I would be exceptionally proud if even one of my children were as great a leader as he is.

TJEd teaches that everyone has a mission in life, and that we need to seek our own mission out, as well as mentor our children along in discovering their own mission. Leaders are needed in every unit of society, which is where the real benefit comes. We can't all be president, but we can all have an influence and be a leader in anything that we do. I don't think TJEd promises any more than that.

J.L.L said...

Marni, it's not my definition of a "leader" I'm using. It's DeMille's.

"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

"'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

"George Wythe University stands on the belief that Statesmanship is the product of a particular educational system, known to the great leaders of the past, but lost to modern academia."


Statesmen. Leaders in various fields. This is what DeMille says, not me. You can't have it both ways. Either we are talking about statesmen and leaders of others, or we are not. The promise of "Leadership Education" and the stated need for leaders, as DeMille describes, are leaders of others, not just nice guys.

My point has been that we need nice guys more than leaders. This is not DeMille's point.

"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)

So don't try to change horses midstream by trying to diminish the purpose of TJEd and what DeMille means by "leader."

Marni Hall said...

I absolutely agree with the DeMille quotes, but I don't agree with your interpretation at all. I didn't diminish a thing, you're reading way more into it than is there. None of those quotes you laid out said, "We will create people ready for a life in politics." You said it yourself, "leaders in various fields." And if you're looking for numbers to further prove that, you again provided the quote yourself.

"'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

He said you will be in a leadership position where DOZENS (so that could be as little as 24 people, not many really), MAYBE thousands or millions. I can think of people in my own neighborhood that either have been or are currently in leadership positions over thousands of people. It's not a stretch at all. But even at that, DeMille gives thousands a maybe.

We've all heard the quote that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Read that against DeMille's "The education of tomorrow's leaders determines the future. Throughout history, this pattern has been repeated again and again." I don't see any difference.

Nice people are great, but we need leaders in all our "various fields" at home, at work, and in our country. We need people ready to make a difference, not just placeholders.

J.L.L said...


Statesmen. Where are they?

Rusty said...

I suppose only time will tell the fruits. I can only see the seedlings and shoots. TJEd is a work in progress. It is a philosophy that is growing and developing. Perhaps the only results will be parents who love their kids and enjoy being home teaching them. Perhaps the kids will never be "leaders" in the sense that you are describing. We shall see. It will be interesting to watch over the next 10-20 years to see if this is just a fad that has little impact or if there are some fruits from the efforts of those utilizing these principles. We can resume this issue at that time :) Thanks for giving me a chance to share the things I've learned and believe. I'm glad you are allowing others to express their ideas openly.
Best regards
Cindy Clarke

J.L.L said...

Rusty, no one has graduated from GWC in the past 16 years? What are they doing now? Are they statesmen? When are they going to make their move? Now would be a good time.

This is exactly what I mean that the Promise is Sold, but Never Delivered. It will be "some time in the future." "Give it time." "Trust the process." "The check is in the mail." "Your money is safe with us." etc.

Marni Hall said...

First of all, your blog isn't titled, "Why I Don't go to George Wythe," and in my reading I've never seen GWC as one of the essential elements. He does try talk about the college, but nothing says if you don't go there you're outta luck.

In one of your messages you point out that the TJEd book has been published for 8 years. For it to be a true test, you can't take someone that started this program when they were 14 years old (now still only 22 mind you), you would need to judge it by someone that started from birth and was given a TJEd education their whole life. That person is now 8 years old. I'm not sure what you're expecting from an 8 year old.

In the first book page 138, "But what, exactly, is a statesman? Historically the term 'statesman' has been used to identify governmental leaders of the highest caliber (goes through examples). But true statesman are leaders in more than government; indeed they lead society as a whole. In our day, the character traits of statesmanship are needed in all areas of society.

"A statesman is a 'certain type of leader, one who takes character and moral courage into small business and major corporations, the media and entertainment, homes and families, schools and universities, hospitals and law firms, the military or the clergy, and government."

I believe that the basic principles of TJEd do help those using it to teach vision, mission, and values, essential qualities in a leader. I only learned about TJEd a year ago, and I can see the difference in my own children.

J.L.L said...

C'mon Marni. GWC is the college that trains statesmen. It's where kids go to do their "Depth" Phase. It's just the more advanced or higher level organization that fits right into TJEd and Leadership Education. DeMille even says that in the book. You do have that book, don't you? If not, I seriously recommend that you read it.

"For it to be a true test, you can't take someone that started this program when they were 14 years old (now still only 22 mind you), you would need to judge it by someone that started from birth and was given a TJEd education their whole life."

So now it takes someone's whole life to receive a Leadership Education so they can be leaders. Do all the TJEd moms know this? That unless they start when their kids are babies TJEd may not work?

Fine, use that definition of statesmen. Where are the statesmen coming from TJEd and\or GWC?

"I only learned about TJEd a year ago, and I can see the difference in my own children."
You already tell after a year? Well, good luck to you.

Truth said...

Marni - if I were allowing one of my children to be a TJEd guinea pig, I would look darn hard at the man behind at all, his own educational claims vs. the facts; I would also look hard at the substance and preliminary fruits of what this group has borne. I would also be highly interested in anything suspect coming out of the movement. There is so much here that stinks, Marni. For the sake of your children, do some investigating into this movement. The more you look, the more it stinks. I was considering it for my children; now I would not touch it with a 10-foot pole (though I am still very interested in homeschooling, classical education, etc).

Anonymous said...

What exactly have you done to find out about kids raised with TJEd or graduates from GWC? Why have you not done the simple logical thing and contact GWC or the DeMilles to find out? That's very curious to me, in light of how much time you must have spent on this blog and your very contentious attitude.

J.L.L said...


"my very contentious attitude"
again with the backhanded accusations.

Who is the source for how well GWC grads are doing in society? GWC? Or society? If I am not finding any GWC grads that seem to be "statesmen" or "leaders in their field" do I need to ask GWC directly about that?

But I think your question is an attempt to deflect and delay the answer. Basically, "yeah there's no statesmen from this, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be. You just haven't asks enough places yet. Don't pass judgment until you have asked GWC (or whoever)."

No. For statesmen and leaders like DeMille promises will come from TJEd, I shouldn't have to "ask GWC" if they are statesmen and great leaders. Although I'll bet their answer would be interesting.

Nothing's stopping them or anyone else from posting here.

RandomCritic said...


you said: "TJEd is a work in progress. It is a philosophy that is growing and developing. "

I thought that TJEd was a static philosophy that was the basis of education of Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and TJ himself. If it is "growing and developing" why should it be called a "Thomas Jefferson Education"? Thomas Jefferson has been dead for over 150 years, George Wythe has been dead for much longer!

If you want your child to be a lab rat for an educational that is "growing and developing" that is your decision. As for me and my house, we will follow direct instruction (if you don't know what that is, google it!).

J.L.L said...

"TJEd is a work in progress. It is a philosophy that is growing and developing."

not according to DeMille:

"We did not invent Leadership Education; we codified it." Leadership Education, p.224 (emphasis original)

"These Phases [of Learning] were first noted and identified in our research of the education of Thomas Jefferson, and were later seen to be a pattern of many luminaries in history who lived exemplary lives and changed the world for good.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 31

"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education – classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc – great men and women of history studied other great men and women. ” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 37

"This is how the great leaders of history learned. They read classics and had these sorts of discussions and were really pushed (by inspiration and internal drive, not forced requirements) by mentors.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 47

"The greatest leaders in history used a very simple curriculum. They read the classics, they discussed them with a mentor who accepted only quality work, and they applied what they learned to real life.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p.55

"Leadership Education is more than just a collection of ideas. It is a recounting of a process by which scholars such as Thomas Jefferson, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Winston Churchill achieved excellence in scholarship and personal development. And we do not consider ourselves the authors of this process as much as its biographers." Leadership Education, p.59

"We cannot expect to enter this new country and suppose that it will be tamed for us, or that we will master it upon our first arrival. 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, Appendix

"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

"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

I don't think anyone faults DeMille or anyone else for trying out something, or for developing something and modifying it along the way. But DeMille uses the claim that this is how leaders learned, that it is how you must educate your children if they are to become leaders. He claims this is how it has been done, must be done now, and only way we will get leaders. That's what we have a problem with.

Donna said...

As I read your post I get the idea that you think leadership and greatness used by DeMille is about fame and recognition. Not all leaders are "famous," nor are they always the one in charge. Leadership within your field can be through influence and direction. It can be in an office.

Yes, DeMille began by looking at the lives of leading founders. Not everyone has a major national crisis, of epic proportions, to have their abilities revealed. Most of us lead everyday lives, but we can still make our influence felt. Some choose to have that influence in the home and within their neighborhoods. They use their personal character, knowledge, and talents to influence others for good.

Aside for a few standouts, I doubt that most people including yourself could rattle off the names of all 56 signers of the declaration and all key individuals involved in leadership
of major influence of the Constitution and the Revolution.

That is because the nature of leadership. Some leaders stand up front and take charge, others use their leadership abilities to influence and move things forward.
For instance, during the time that Madison was trying to work out the ideas during the constitutional Convention, Jefferson was in France. Yet, behind the scenes Jefferson involved himself through written correspondence and sending books for Madison to read.

The American founders were tried in the crucible of a crisis. Some were young, others were middle aged, and some like Franklin were Elderly. Some were not signers or representatives but were leaders nonetheless. They used their pen to write and their tongues to persuade.

I think of women like Martha Dandridge Washington. She was never elected to public office. She was not a leader in the sense that you have pigeonholed the word. Yet, she was a leader. She was educated at home mentored by her mother and also taught by a tutor. As a Baptist, the bible was her central classic. Yes, she studied music and sewing. She also learned how to manage a plantation home, and later how to manage a large plantation. Both of which which required far more knowledge and skill than running a home today. She used her knowledge, and leadership skills to rally officers wives into aide for her husband's army. She was a leader.

Susannah Wesley wanted to have impact. She was very well read. She was mentored in her education by her father. Her leadership happened through happenstance. She refused to pray for the King and her husband left. She home schooled her large family. She held Sunday School for her children and soon many of the community were joining her. The minister wrote her husband to have her stop, she replied that she would stop when God told her to. Her leadership was mostly in the family as she studied history and the gospel and imparted that knowledge to her children. Two of her sons were very instrumental in the reformation. She was most definitely a leader, but not by your narrow standard.

You cannot judge something after just 15 years and whine where are the leaders. Some became leaders very unwillingly, like Washington. There leadership came at a time when their character training, their knowledge, and events seemed to all line up. Had there not been a crisis for them to work through I doubt that we would remember many of them. Yet, these men would have been leaders anyway in the challenges that faced them.

Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration, that was 14 years after leaving William and Mary, and nine years after his mentoring by Wythe prepared him for the bar.
Jefferson was by no means Wythe's first student. I have been to Wythe's home. He mentored several in his home. A few of his students became signers. Wythe himself was taught at home by his widowed mother who mentored him in the classics. Of course, to do so meant she had to know them herself. Her mentoring of him in religion and the classics had a lifelong impact on George. She indeed showed leadership in how she dealt with rearing her son without his father from the age of three. Had she herself not been educated George might not have became who he was, nor had the influence he had without his early moral training and classical studies with his mother.

Just because there were a few young, competent, and daring men that were leaders in Revolutionary times does not mean "young" is a criterion for leader.

Leadership education can happen anywhere. Some classrooms even in PS can be leadership classrooms.

My husband's grandfather was educated in this way at Cornell, but his mentoring was through his superior Alice Gertrude McCloskey who expanded his horizons through literature, and this was not in the classroom. His simulations came through the Anvil Club. His field experience was through being assistant editor to the Rural School Leaflet (RSL), and he was raised in a very devout home, and had a firm grasp of scripture. Granddad was in the agricultural department as assistant editor of the RSL. He did not know what his adult life would bring, but he had been changed by the classics he studied and the woman who mentored him. When he married, he took care of his widowed mother, the family farm and taught. Later, he became editor of Bellows-Reeve Publishing Company at about 40. He navigated the rough waters of the great depression at its helm. He then was at the helm of Row, Peterson, and Company before it became Harper and Row in 1962. Then he was at the helm of the American School Boards in the 1960s. Yes, I firmly believe that classics, mentors, simulations, field experience, and God can influence leadership development. Does it work for everyone. That would override agency. I do not think DeMille or any TJEder seriously believes that leadership education
is a guaranty nor do I think they believe that it trumps agency.

Not everyone that has this will use their agency to live up to their privileges. However, I feel this kind of education is fertile soil for individuals so inclined.

DeMille speaks of the need of leadership in all fields, and not just government and industry, including the home.

We have had many years of lack of leadership in many American homes. I feel that in part the crisis we are facing now can be traced back to absentee parenting, and leaving children to credentialed "experts." I feel that the habit of schooling the mind and not educating the character has fueled this. Those with solid moral training and a decent basic education are not so quick to buy into the get into debt or buy into promises of high returns. However, many American school children neither understand money or history. Many have had little or no moral training.

I was teaching at a UHEA convention when I first heard DeMille. He made no guaranties that if we did the five Pillars we would be great or famous. The people I know that do TJEd did not do it to become "great" or "famous." At least the hearer that acted on getting a great education for themselves would be that much further ahead of where they are at now. They could participate in a more informed way, if they had been well read. A mentor enhances the process.

I guess one major issue I take with your tactics is that you pick and choose what quotes you will use, carefully crafting it to make your point. This is similar tactics to those used by those who bible bash and anti-Mormons. They are fond of quoting scripture and words of the prophets without the benefit of all the person has said on the topic.

Donna said...

"DeMille uses the claim that this is how leaders learned, that it is how you must educate your children if they are to become leaders. He claims this is how it has been done, must be done now, and only way we will get leaders."

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

"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"

Neither were comprehensive implying "all." He even points out that success may be possible without it. I think you are making much ado...

Truth said...

Donna -

Allow me to sum up your formula for leadership education (which I do agree with) as follows:

*Great leaders learned from good books and/or good people.*

I argue that there is nothing new here! DeMille is simply re-packaging this concept using different terminology, mixed in with stories from colonial America (and other bits of history) and philosophies from 20th century child psychology. If that's your cup of tea, fine; but let's call a spade a spade. And I'm still curious as to your response vis-a-vis changes to DeMille's educational history.

Donna said...

I firmly believe that a core canon is necessary to the development of good character. Just reading great books are not enough. There are examples of leaders that were great, or should I say notorious, or infamous. They too often had mentorial influences. You could say they were "clever devils."

Great books and great influences are nothing new, only it is not how education is presently delivered in most schools in America. He is echoing others, and there is nothing wrong with that. He does not claim he is the only one who see this. He claims to have seen patterns and invites others to read, study, and learn.

He has never claimed that he orignated the conveyorbelt education perspective. He recommends reading broadly in education, compare and contrast, but most importantly to use your central canon to measure truth.

DeMille was not the first to call ps a conveyor belt, Dewey used it, but I do not know that it was original source. Parker Palmer used it in 1998. "“In the objectivist myth, truth flows from the top down, from experts who are qualified to know truth…to amateurs who are qualified only to receive truth. In this myth, truth is a set of propositions about objects; education is a system for delivering those propositions to students; and an educated person is one who can remember and repeat the experts’ propositions. The image is hierarchical, linear, and compulsive-hygienic, as if truth came down an antiseptic conveyor belt to be deposited as pure product at the end.

“There are only two problems with this myth: it falsely portrays how we know, and it has profoundly deformed the way we educate.”
Parker Palmer.

Another educator wrote "Righting the Educational Conveyor Belt." M. Grinder. 1998

I do not have the original documents about DeMille and his education. Is now more true than before? Are we going to judge someone on something from almost a decade ago?

I am more concerned about how my family is learning than what may or may not have been written years ago. I have two daughters in college, and a son that has his masters in Mechanical Engineering from BYU. I am still in the process, my youngest is 10 in two weeks. Again, I feel this is much ado...

Truth said...

"I do not have the original documents about DeMille and his education. Is now more true than before? Are we going to judge someone on something from almost a decade ago?"

Doesn't it bother you that he may have lied in print about his own education. In the first edition, he says he graduated from BYU before moving on to CRBU. In the second edition (after someone had called him out on it), he revised the statement to reflect the fact that he graduated from BYU after getting his CRBU Ph.D. This isn't some obscure writing; this is the first and second editions of A Thomas Jefferson Education.

Can you please address my question head on? Does it bother you or doesn't it bother you? Is he setting the kind of example you want your children to follow?

Donna said...

I have both books. The second is lent out by my college daughter, to one of her friends.

I am looking in the green and gold 200O first edition. It is a paperback the new volume is hardback. In the paperback edition BYU, nor his other college credentials are mentioned.

On page 205 there is a blurb about the author, no credential claims were offered there. Page 22 has an overstatement or misstatement. However, there were no named degrees nor college affiliations. I have mis stated things unintentionally. I went through my thesis 11 drafts, thought I caught it all. I had been fighting format issues. I went back and thought I would do a last editing and revision. I hit a paragraph that was a mess. I wondered how it escaped my writing and rewriting. I fixed it. This is after my mother-in-law had edited it. She graduated from Stanford in English, Masters from U of U in English and taught English at BYU for nine years. I also had a friend go through it with a fine tooth comb, she had graduated in journalism. In the end, though I had my work edited, it still had errors.

I Know when Tolkein published his first in the trilogy, the editor made some changes. They were being printed in the US before he discovered it. He spent the rest of his life trying to repair the damage.

I am glad that DeMille
had the opportunity in the second edition to set the record straight.

I give people the benefit of the doubt and am in no way going to judge a man that is not here to speak for himself.

Truth said...

Donna -

So your response is that DeMille accidentally (unintentionally) misstated his educational history? I'll quote from page 22 of the first edition (2000) for the benefit of everyone:

"Ten years ago, I asked the same question. Having graduated with nearly straight 'A's' from both high school and a respected private university, I faced a dilemma. I had scholarships, career opportunities, and 'great expectations' (though I didn't know what that meant at the time), but I knew something that none of my professors or academic counselors seemed to understand: I didn't have an education. I had impressive grades and a prestigious diploma and some skills and talents, but I really didn't have an education - and I knew it."

And now from the second edition (2005):

"Years ago, I asked the same question. Having studied with nearly straight 'A's' in both high school and a respected private university, I faced a dilemma . . . I had impressive grades and was on track for a respected diploma and some skills and talents..."

Truth said...

Let me add that between those two editions, an author / Christian educator from Delaware (Richard Stout) wrote an article on DeMille, questioning inconsistencies in his educational chronology.

After the Stout article was published, Brooks wrote the "definitive history" of GWC, "The First Fifteen Years." You can find a version of this history at Brooks wrote this ostensibly to set the record straight on GWC's history. Then came DeMille's revised edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education.

I'll let the chronology and the facts speak for themselves. Draw your own conclusions.

J.L.L said...

"As I read your post I get the idea that you think leadership and greatness used by DeMille is about fame and recognition. Not all leaders are "famous," nor are they always the one in charge. Leadership within your field can be through influence and direction. It can be in an office."

I agree. You don't have to be famous, but you have to be influential. You have to do something to lead. But DeMille talks about "great statesmen" too. That would mean at least winning some elections, or being persuasive or effective in the public arena.

"You cannot judge something after just 15 years and whine where are the leaders."
I'm not whining. 15 years is plenty of time to see if TJEd is working at all.

"Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration, that was 14 years after leaving William and Mary, and nine years after his mentoring by Wythe prepared him for the bar."

Uh, TJ did a lot of things before he wrote the Declaration. He was only able to write the Declaration because of all the other things he did before that.

"Just because there were a few young, competent, and daring men that were leaders in Revolutionary times does not mean "young" is a criterion for leader."

What is this strawman? Of course you can be young and leader. Lots of leaders in the past were young with little education or training. This just further proves my point that what DeMille says you should do in TJEd isn't necessary.

"Not everyone that has this will use their agency to live up to their privileges. However, I feel this kind of education is fertile soil for individuals so inclined."

Donna, I am not really interested in what you "feel" about TJEd. You've shared that with us plenty of times. How you feel about it isn't going to change its effectiveness.

"I guess one major issue I take with your tactics is that you pick and choose what quotes you will use, carefully crafting it to make your point. This is similar tactics to those used by those who bible bash and anti-Mormons. They are fond of quoting scripture and words of the prophets without the benefit of all the person has said on the topic."

It quote DeMille in context, without misrepresenting him. His quotes are the problem, not me quoting him. The anti-Mormon argument won't work either. If TJEd is an method or philosophy of education that DeMille "discovered" and "codified" after researching Thomas Jefferson and other great leaders of the past, then it is open to analysis. If DeMille makes claims about past leaders and human nature, it is open to critique and evaluation.

"You quoted ""Leadership Education has a long and successful history as an essential part of any successful nation's educational offerings." ...Neither were comprehensive implying "all.""

Well it at least implies ANY! And DeMille says it was "essential." Donn, which leaders in our nation's past studied 5000-8000 hours of the classics under a mentor? Which ones? And tell me how you know.

"I firmly believe that a core canon is necessary to the development of good character."

I know. I'm not really interested in what you believe unless you provide some good evidence to support your beliefs.

"I do not have the original documents about DeMille and his education. Is now more true than before? Are we going to judge someone on something from almost a decade ago?"

You know, there are plenty of things about TJEd I could have written about. This blog is about the reason why I don't do it, not all the things that bug me about it or all the things I think are problematic. There is something fishy going on their with DeMille's diploma and claims of education. I'm not very interested in that. But the answer to your question is, yes, what someone did 10 years ago matters. How could you say it wouldn't matter if DeMille changes his resume repeatedly years after founding George Wythe College where statesmen go to be educated? What does that say about his character and what does that say about "statesmen" who will be trained under him.

BTW, Truth, I noticed now that on the GWC bio for him all his "degrees" have the religious qualifiers. Not sure if you already mentioned this, but that seems somewhat new. Sort of changes things when you have a degree in "Christan Political Science" or whatever instead of "Political Science." It definitely gives the impression that you have a particular slant on political science instead of a well-round education of it, which I would think is why DeMille had left off the religious qualifier before.

Donna said...

I went back to the whole paragraph and reconsidered it. First, it was not a resume. Second, the book was republished and revised six years later. Knowing in publication word count matters, "years" or "sixteen years" would be in keeping with the first publication. "Years" is in keeping with congruency and is briefer. A mountain out of a mole hill and not necessarily resume doctoring. As I read further in the paragraph it seemed poorly constructed. There seemed to be
a moving back and forth through a time window. He was writing from a time when it was behind him. When he talked about his professors it seemed as he was talking about a time when still in college, he also referred to a diploma rather than a degree. Poor construction is obvious, but I am not ready to impute negative and indite a man. This was not a resume. It was making a point about how he felt he had done well in school and still felt lacking. I think many people can make the same claim.

As for statesman, even our own church leaders have used it differently.

"Why statesmen?

“Oh, how our world needs statesmen!” And we ask again with George Bernard Shaw, ‘Why not?’ We have the raw material, we have the facilities, we can excel in training. We have the spiritual climate. We must train statesmen, not demagogues; men of integrity, not weaklings who for a mess of pottage will sell their birthright. We must develop these precious youth to know the art of statesmanship, to know people and conditions, to know situations and problems, but men who will be trained so thoroughly in the arts of their future work and in the basic honesties and integrities and spiritual concepts that there will be no compromise of principle.“
Spencer W. Kimball

Having experienced President Kimball's definition as an artist, and a latter-day saint, I did not ever interpret DeMille to be speaking only about government offcials.

So, how many people do you have to influence to be called a leader? A quorum? A class? A neighborhood? A city? A nation?
A discipline? A Regiment? A platoon? A peer group? A Family?

There are loads of books out there on leadership, in and out of the church and they do not so narrowly define it.

My daughter requested to be home educated full time at the age of 11. She said the school here in Utah county was a year behind her Colorado school and was even giving the same assignments and using the same textbooks. She said she wanted to learn. She started reading classics at the age of 11. She would read all day and into the night. I had to pull her away to do nature walks, and take outside classes. She became a research assistant for a local screen writer and she researched the history of Europe from about 1266-1600 for the writer. She read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover in 16 hours, not slow, but not speed reading either. She most definitely studied that many pages and more, for at least that many hours. During the same time she learned to cook, sewed her own clothes, and was in some plays at the high school.

What is she doing. Presently she is compiling on a book about women of virtue from the past. She has been asked to speak on the topic outside of the TJed movement. She has not addressed a "TJed" audience. Youth and adults that have listened to her presentations have been inspired. She is young yet.

Yes, there are many who have been young leaders, especially during revolutionary times. There have been a lot of aged too.

J.L.L said...

"So, how many people do you have to influence to be called a leader? A quorum? A class? A neighborhood? A city? A nation?
A discipline? A Regiment? A platoon? A peer group? A Family? "

Donna, your equivocations are getting really old. Use DeMille's notions of what classics are and what a mentor is and what a leader is and use that to see if DeMille's claims are correct and if the promised fruits have been realized.

You keep on trying to turn this into an issue that we don't have the right understanding of these terms, where the problems is in DeMille and you not being consistent with the terms. Okay? If DeMille says we need leaders and statesmen, and that nearly all past leaders had an education that a few essential aspects in common, then let's see if his claims are true! Did "nearly all great leaders of the past" study the classics and have mentors.The answer is no. That doesn't mean the classics aren't important or good, but it does mean that they have not been the necessary for most leaders in the past. In fact, very few if any. Definitely it is not true that they were necessary for "nearly all" leaders of the past. This argument has been well-established.

Great for your daughter. "Youth and adults that have listened to her presentations have been inspired." Can you please explain this again without the TJEd-ese? What do you mean that your daughter was asked to speak to some people about a book she is compiling? Can you give some more information? Like who the audience is and how many of them came? I'm interested to know more about what they thought other than that you think they were inspired.

Number512 said...


I'm with you on this. The very basic fact that DeMille would take the title and allow himself to be called "Doctor" by others, knowing his degree didn't require a dissertation or any peer-reviewed publications, strikes me as blatant dishonesty.

I like a lot of his ideas, but the Dr. thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It spoils everything. If he dropped that pretense I think a lot of us would have more respect for him and his work.


Truth said...

Donna -

I didn't say it was a resume. This is the closest DeMille comes in the book to actually shedding light on his educational history.

In the first edition, he says he graduated from the prestigious university (read: BYU) before going to CRBU. In the second he changes the history to say he went to CRBU and finished before finishing at BYU. Around the same time (2005) a "B.A." from CRBU suddenly appeared in Brooks's "First Fifteen Years."

Reasonable people can certainly disagree, but when the facts appear so plain (all I have to go on is the published record; I haven't seen DeMille's college transcripts) I find it hard to believe that reasonable people would not come to the same conclusion in this case.

I think we can stop beating this horse.

Donna said...

As I have previously mentioned, I came to TJed in the summer of 1994, six years before DeMille's book was published in 2000, and while GWC was still part of CRBU. Nothing was said of the phases and nothing of the seven keys. Of course it was less than hour lecture.

I have worked with women for over three decades, I can fully appreciate the need for the Core and Love of Learning packet. Though there are a lot of good people and a lot of good families, there have been few standouts in my life. They have a different home culture than the others. Surprisingly the standouts had many things in common. Many issues covered in the packet were issues that many young mothers deal with. I have worked in the homeschool movement outside of TJEd and find similar issues. Mothers who were given a schooling, but not prepared to be a wife and mother.
They struggle with time management. They struggle with money management. They struggle with what to do with their children and so on and so forth...
If your wife does not struggle with these things Kudos, she had a mother that taught her, another woman that taught her, or she probably went out and got self- educated to gain this.

After hearing DeMille in 1994 I grabbed the college catalog for GWC (which was under CRBU then) and it had lists of classics for each discipline to select from and add to. I gave the catalog to my pre-teen daughter, my younger children were 5 and three.

What did I have to start TJEd on? I had a list of classics, my mother-in-law's example (and that of her father), a biography of Jefferson, but more importantly, the words of the prophets in scripture and those living. Since then, I have read a lot about Jefferson and others.

We were well on our way, before the rest of the material came out. As materials came out I found I was often already doing many of the things because they were intuitively common sense to me or part of my faith. I felt no need to be a clone, felt no need to make their recipe, and felt no pressure to do so. Mine recipe was working for me. I continued to learn and create.

It would be foolishness to drop something that has been working with my family so well, just because of the way someone else decided to spin it.

I am sure you are happy with what ever educational path you have chosen for your family. Based on comment in this blog by various commenters, and the email on yahoo, there is a high probability that you have chosen another form of education based on the philosophies of men. Great. Enjoy. What ever floats your boat. I have no need to convince you of what I am doing or go into a detailed reason why I am not doing what you are. You probably even prayed about the path you are on, as I have mine. Enjoy!

Agreed, we can stop beating this thing, but its not a dead horse.
May we all move forward into better things.

Truth said...

Donna -

Just a quick epilogue. I am all for homeschooling, and am currently a fan of The Well Trained Mind. I admit that I haven't prayed about it. I'll also admit that the thought of praying about it, or of mixing religion with the method I choose of educating my children, has never even occurred to me. I frankly have no opinion on that. C'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

Hi there...I don't know if this would help or hinder the discussion on 'the promise is sold but never delivered'

Here is a link to a project that a young student at GWC has undertaken. She's a good person, and I believe her project is admirable.

J.L.L said...

Anonymous, that's more what I am talking about. At least this guy is doing something. But it looks like the guy in Africa is the one with the school, and the GWC guy is helping to raise money. Ok, that's good, but I'm not sure on its effectiveness. There are lots of people trying to raise money for children in poverty or building schools. That's the right idea I think, but is it working? I just can't tell. I do applaud the effort. But also, given the stated purpose of GWC is to train statesmen, it's kind of bewildering that I don't see any statesmen coming out of GWC. And there should be a higher percentage of leaders from GWC than from anywhere else. That's why the guy you mentioned seems at least to be pursuing something honorable, but did he need to go to GWC to do that? And are there more GWC grads involved in stuff like this than other schools? If not, then whatever GWC is doing for educating doesn't really seem to be anything more than any other school.

Donna said...

This is not an orphanage. Nor is it a school for poor children. It is not a Florence Nightengale project.

The Princess Academy is an International Organization. It was started by a GWU grad. Would it have been started had the person not attended GWU? Probably not, as the creator is an artist.

It is not quite two years old 16 Dec 2006. Do not let the prissy P word fool you. The Princess Academy is not about the "pink tulle princess cult" of popular media, nor is it about creating June Cleavers, Amazon Women or Super Women. It is about embracing who we are as daughters of a Heavenly King.

This is a mother-daughter organization. There are lots of organizations to serve girls, others for young women, but few that bring mothers and daughters together. Fewer still that bring mothers and daughters together regularly for education, social refinement and philanthropy. Fewer still that do all that these mothers and daughters do.

The Princess Academy has members in India, Canada, Appalachia, the High Sierras, Alaska and in several states, soon in Puerto Rico. Many are not LDS and about 1/2 are not even TJEd people.

What is the Princess Academy for?
It brings mothers and daughters together with other mothers and daughters for monthly luncheons. They read and discuss great literature, learn of Women of Virtue, increase in refinement, become more culturally enriched, and work on humanitarian projects.
At home, mothers and daughters work on filling the reservoir within their heart, work on understanding their feminine nature as daughters of God, and work to have a well furnished mind. They also learn social graces, hospitality, Home making (intentionally separate words), elocution, and many more skills.

Oh, and it is free to join. Support is free. The new website is being created and the new magazine Mothers and Daughters is not yet launched. All in its due time. Right now it has been word of mouth.

At this point, mothers are requesting a father-son organization. There are few of those out there. I tell them that organization should be run by a man.

Too many young men are milling around at 25, not ready to take on the responsibilities of Adult life.

I love education but I feel we have thrown the baby out with the bath water. The more women I speak to the more I find that too many mothers of the past 40 years pushed their children towards education without also equipping them to be good spouses, good parents, and how to properly manage a home. Yes there are some that can manage resources and have a work ethic. However, many do not have this.

Our society has grown more casual. President Hinckley encouraged us to be more civil and to be more comely. These are some of the areas addressed in the Princess Academy.

I do not know if you think this organization is needed. However, those who belong to it feel so. Is is free to join and was not "sold" as TJEd to the TJEd community, LDS to LDS, or as a Home School group. The organization expended to India and then to Canada, immediately. All that and presently a blog and a yahoo group are its web presence.

There are more things out there going on than you are aware of. More things are coming.

J.L.L said...

Donna, what are you talking about? An anonymous poster put a link to an orphanage:

"Timothy founded Crane's School for Orphans as an effort to give orphaned children in Mukono, Uganda a chance at life. If they had not been collected and brought to the school, these orphans would have been roaming the streets, looking for trash piles to dig food out of."

Sounds like an orphanage to me.

Donna, I think you were thinking I was talking about something else. In fact, I think you left out some key details of "The Princess Academy" that you mentioned.

"The Princess Academy is an International Organization. It was started by a GWU grad. Would it have been started had the person not attended GWU? Probably not, as the creator is an artist."

Aren't you Donna Goff? Aren't you talking about yourself? Are you the GWC grad you are referring to? Are you the "artist" that created it?

The website for it say: "The Princess Academy™ is a Donna Goff creation, sponsored by Moor House Academy™."

Isn't The Princess Academy a chartered organization that requires someone to buy your book to get "free support"?

This looks interesting: "Yes, we do wear tiaras to remind us of being Daughters of the Heavenly King. Tiaras also remind us of the admonition to let our light shine."

"While a princess is born, a queen is made."

I don't really care what the organization does, but I don't see this is an example of statesmanship or leadership. It looks like yet another TJEd organization setup by someone thinking they need to build on of their two "pillars" by creating an organization to promote the ideas of TJEd. In fact, The Princess Academy is totally TJEd:

"Little Princess™ Young Ladies 6-9 (Transition to Love of Learning and Love of Learning) and their mothers.

Princess Academy™ Young Ladies 10-13, Love of Learning and Transition to Scholar) and their mothers.

Maidens™ Young Ladies 14-17 , Practice Scholar through Mentored Scholar and their mothers.

Prairie Princess™ For mothers and daughters, any age, focusing on provident living skills."
(from right on the homepage)

This is the 6 Phases of Learning repackaged. Who do you all think you are fooling? How many TJEd organizations do you think we need to spout the same ideas? But the marketplace is already crowded with other TJEd organizations (Liberty Kids, Knights of Freedom, etc) so I guess the "princess" domain was available.

Go ahead and do whatever organization you want. But just realize that it has no relation to Thomas Jefferson, his education, statesmen, leaders, or studying the classics.

"There are more things out there going on than you are aware of. More things are coming."

Yes, Donna, it's always coming. Tomorrow, maybe next year. It's always promised, but never delivered. Thank you for making my point.

Truth said...


Truth said...

I think I have found a member of the princess/tiara society:

Page 3, bottom right. Forget reason, JLL, this is proof positive of an association with TJEd.

Truth said...

Donna, FYI the "Little Princess" trademark registration is already taken (registration numbers 76132188, 76015539, 75436485, and 75605730). Should be good to go on Prairie Princess because the mobile home company that use to use that term has let the registration expire. Get it registered. "Princess Academy" is also taken but is currently up for public opposition (number 76683318). Better hurry on that one.

Truth said...

"it is free to join. Support is free"

Shame on you Donna for misrepresenting the facts. Per your website, "Free support is still available to those who have the booklet and those who purchase the Primer."

Donna said...

"The Princess Academy" not Princess Academy.

The Princess Academy started out as Bonnie Belles in Dec 2006, but it was articulated that they were Daughters of a Heavenly King, so we changed the title, because it should have been that in the first place. The title was changed after our first meeting. You can see the remnants of the Bonnie Belles concept in what The Princess Academy promotes:
Beautiful Girlhood
Equipping, through
Love and Learning
Ladies of
Eloquence, Generosity, Comeliness, Grace, and

When the title was changed, the blog was. This is still a work in progress and is not cast in concrete. The official website is not up yet, the blog is considered the temporary website.

The full title was changed to Daughter of A King: The Princess Academy. But in the original blog title when daughterofaking was run together it looked like daughter o faking. Ok that was humorous but would not do. The women and girls understood that was taken off the blog title and replaced with "The Princess Academy," but that did not change who we are.

The website will be clearer on that. Those who have followed this along, know this. I share this with the women I talk to and also at the beginning of the year with our new groups.

The booklet was $10 and was fully reimbursed through the Primer that people requested, as the material is part of the primer. One is not required to but the primer to join and start a group. Nor is the booklet.

Anyone can start a group and belong without the booklet and some have, including the lady in Bangalore, India. They simply cued off what was posted on the blog. Some customized it to their own group. The blog was up before the booklet ever was thought of. The booklet helped those who had difficulty applying what was already on the blog, without me having to re-articulate it to each person separately. That was above and beyond and I felt it was only fair for those who wanted a written plan beyond the blog that they should compensate for it.

Many people have emailed me and I have spoken with them on the phone at length on my dime,using time that would have been spent with my own and given them free support, I have answered their emails all without charge.

The booklet helped many but not all needed it. It costs zip to start a group. I do not charge a membership fee or a franchise fee, or a group set up fee. I do not require they buy the booklet.

However, the Primer was many months in making and many long hours in compiling. I never said that was free. The Primer was thought of after the group started in response to the parents that did not have this as a child.

Those who have bought the booklet and still have questions after reading it have a yahoo place they can share between groups and I can give further insights. The yahoo group is no charge. But I do not think it is fair for someone not to read the site and then not get the booklet either, then take a lot of other people's time.

Shame on you! Judging! But then how could you know how much time I have given in free support to those who did not possess the booklet? Perhaps you spoke too soon.

I had a daughter that was a tom-boy. I wanted to help her become more refined and have friends that were also trying to become so. She complained that she did not enjoy playing with the girls in our ward because they only wanted to play Barbie and undress them and speak disgusting things about their body parts. I wanted to do something positive.

My sons complained that girls at church were immodest and uncomely in behavior. I wanted to do something positive for my daughters and others.

There was a group based on American Girl dolls, my daughter said no. I had been a girl scout leader for years, even before I had daughters. I no longer agreed with the direction of the organization.

My daughter wanted to study about real people. I also wanted to introduce her to real literature.

I had mothers complain that their daughters were getting pulled toward the media princesses. We do use tiaras, we use them as a symbol of Godliness and to remind them to let their light so shine. The tiara may be used by those who do the media thing, we do not do the media thing. This is not the same as "The Pink Tulle Princess Cult." Liber teas are luncheons. The food is prepared by all, giving girls opportunity to learn how to be a hostess and to cook. They have the opportunity to learn, to read, to share, and to serve in humanitarian efforts. This is not playing dress-up.

Never mind. You would not understand.

A Prairie Princess is a kind of wild rose. These girls are Roses in Bloom, if you will. The times we are facing ahead, I feel that provident living skills are very important. Hence the Prairie Princess concept.

Those who participate are grateful for this option.

BTW, I have never been to any of GWU's Galas, ever. So what does that have to do with anything about The princess Academy? Their Gala had nothing to do with me starting The Princess Academy. What ever the princess/tiara society you were talking about???

These girls come dressed comely. This is not a put on the Ritz dress up group. Usually they are wearing simple skirts or jumpers and modest blouses. Manners are practiced. Something our society needs. No airs, no arrogance.

I am sorry that you feel it your duty to be condescending about this and to be critical of something you have neither experienced nor seem to understand. Perhaps you had parents that taught you many of these things. Many parents have confided to me that they did not, but want it for their daughters. I was blessed and I share it with others. I am sorry you feel the way you do. It was an earnest effort and has done much good.

Perhaps you do not value these things or skills. Perhaps you do not appreciate the time, energy, and creativity that went into creating something like this. You think you are above such things.

Having worked hard to do this, I am not about to ridicule other people's creative and heart felt efforts. Rather than spend my time dwelling on all those things I disagree with in the world, I would rather focus my time and creative energy on creating and doing something positive.

Again, The Princess Academy serves people of LDS and other faiths, in many areas of the country, in foreign countries, Cmers, Tjeders, Homeschoolers, and even outside home school community. This is my effort to do something positive.

Donna said...

Truth. Thanks for the run down on some of the circle names I selected for the age groups. Though I did not register the TM I did not use R, or make claims that they were registered.

An innocent oversight, as to c or TM can be registered or unregistered. There was no intent to infringe and the symbol/logo are still in the works. The TM in this case referred to each concept and not to the name only. Hence, logos are in the works to help identify or associate concept and symbols.

Simple enough to fix. The intention was pure. So, thanks for the heads up :)

There. Done!

J.L.L said...

Truth, where did you find the trademark information? Is there a website where you can look that up?

I really don't want to go off on some unfruitful tangent here, but why would someone use the trademark symbol on something they didn't trademark? I don't think it's an oversight. I think it's an attempt to show that it's trademarked, when it's not. I mean if The Princess Academy is chartered here and abroad and people see the "TM" on the names of the levels, they will be led to believe it is in fact trademarked when it's not. And unless there are people checking these things out, no one would probably know.

Normally I don't think I'd draw attention to this, but in this case, it's seems like there's a pattern of behavior here. I have not gone into DeMille's diplomas one bit, but I do know that he has changed his resume over time to have different information about his diplomas. I do know that his diplomas from Coral Ridge by law had to carry the religious description (eg, Doctorate in Christian Political Science, etc) but he didn't use that for the longest time. I see that now he does on the GWC website.

There's just a pattern of falsely representing things. A pattern of pretending to be one thing, but in reality being another. I don't think the trademark usage was an oversight, and by itself really is no big deal. It's just that this seems to happen a lot in TJEd that I can't help but point it out.

-J.L.L. (Patent Pending)

Truth said...

Donna - You have to know my personality. One fault is that I do poke fun at people. I wouldn't be so sensitive, because if you really want your thing to succeed you're going to have to answer some ridicule.

Donna is within her rights to put the "TM" next to the names. Legally, anyone can put a "TM" next to anything they want; it's a trademark claim, where as the ® symbol indicates that a trademark is actually registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can do a lookup here:

Donna, calling you out for misrepresenting your fee for support is not "judging" -- don't take me for an idiot. When people lie to me and I know they are lying, I am within my rights to call them out on it. Admit you made a mistake and let's move on.

Sorry about that JLL. End of tangent.

J.L.L said...

Oh ok. So puting "TM" is like a trademark claim that could be challenged, whereas using the circle R is registered with the Trademark Office. That's for the info. I guess, though, it wouldn't do much good for one person to use "TM" on something that another person has registered at the Trademark Office. Like I could try to TM "iPod" but obviously my claim to the trademark could not be upheld since Apple already has the registered trademark,

I'm not sure this really makes the whole Princess Academy trademark issue any better in my eyes. It's still an infringement of some else's intellectual property that they had actually gotten registered. Still pretending to me.

I just asked someone if they thought using the "TM" on something they don't have trademarked was a big deal or not, or if I was just nitpicking. This person said no that it was kind of a big deal. You don't just go accidentally puting TM's on things you can't actually trademark.

You know, it just seems there's this pattern of behavior in TJEd, and outside people have to keep them honest. DeMille didn't change his resumes and bio until that one guy wrote all about his diplomas. I don't trust them with hardly any claims, about anything.

Donna said...

Again, there was no intent of infringement. I was not aware that it was trademarked. As this has grown it has become many academy circles and not just one, and because each one though they begin with a similar pattern, are each unique. So that will be reflected in the end offering on the website.

There was no attempt to deceive. People that start things on a shoe string do not always register their copyright/trademark, in the beginning. The law does not require it. It makes it easier to prove in court if it gets registered. Again, there was know intent to deceive.

Donna said...

There are legitimate errors. I did not realize the name had been registered. The ideas that were behind the offering were mine and there was no intent to claim other people's intellectual property was mine. I was looking at the title and what it meant. It was an honest error and is easily rectified. If someone has first rights, I will gladly acknowledge and make the changes needed.

Please be careful of imputing wrongful or negative to people's motives.

There are errors and there are honesty issues.

Intentional and willful dishonesty comes in many forms:
- A bold faced intended lie. Where you state something you know is untrue with the purpose to deceive.

- Crafting words to have people come to the conclusion you want them to arrive at by either intentionally over stating the case, or by intentionally understating the case, withholding information, so people will come to the conclusion you want them to arrive at.

Now, I am not going to judge your intent nor am I going to assign error or honesty issues.

Again, I sincerely thank you for your research and suggestions. Feedback was welcome and will be used to the benefit of others.

Truth said...



Donna said...

Charter Membership is free. If someone wants more than basic support they do pay a small fee for the written material. People contacted me and wanted something written, something tangible to refer to. I saw the value in making it available to them in preserving time with my family. That is extra support above and beyond what I have freely given.

A benefit with them and the booklet is that they can have something tangible to refer to when they discuss their plans with their friends. They can then pick and choose how much they will use and what they will add and how they will run there group. All without having to reread and go through the blog and sort things there. A time saver for them.

This has evolved and is still evolving. The blog is the temporary site until I have the website clear and easy to use.

The yahoo group was support for those who had read the booklet and not a substitute for the booklet. I wanted those discussing it there to be on the same page and understanding. This way it does not waste members time explaining everything, they all start with the same base.

From August 11 blog post:

The main points of the 11 August post was to let people know that I was no longer going to offer a $10 coupon toward the primer. For the simple reason that the cost of printing and the cost of the coupon would add up to more than I thought I could charge for the book, and I would be eating the difference. I still honor the promise to those who bought the booklet with the promise of $10 off the Primer cost.

Then in a separate paragraph I said "Charter membership is still available for free." There waere no conditions in that paragraph, the sentence here was the only sentence.

Then in an entirely separate paragraph I spoke of the free support that goes with the booklet and primer. I did not want people to feel that if they purchased something they would be left to their own devises to figure it out. I also did not want others to abuse the yahoo group members time by having them have to bring a person up to speed.

The booklet is on the yahoo site.

I have always been willing to speak to and support people without charge and answer their questions. Usually when they email me I ask for their phone number and discuss things at length with them at no charge, and I call them so to reduce as much as possible any burden that would be incurred by them.

The Princess Academy was in existence for about 16 months before the booklet was created.
The yahoo group is a support for those with the booklet and not a substitute for the booklet. However, that is not the only support that is available, it is in addition to present free generous support that has always been my policy.

Generous support was free and available for groups through email, blog, and phone, and still is.

The side bar has the basic details and refers anyone who wants to belong to contact The Princess Academy. No fees for membership were posted there, because there are none. I refer people to the blog first for the free material there. I ask for their phone number. I talk with them for free. When they have had genuine questions and need and have posted to the blog, I have responded freely. I do not know many people who would give this much support free.

So how much free support has to be offered in order for it to qualify as free support?

If people start groups with my permission and use my stuff off my blog and are not charged a membership fee or franchise fee, and are not required to buy the booklet, then that is free membership.

Now, if someone read the site, then emailed with me, and I spoke to them on the phone and they were still struggling with it, I would first consider that I gave reasonable support and then I would recommend the booklet and yahoo group, as perhaps group support and sharing might help the person beyond what I was able to offer. However, the booklet and its attached extra support are not required.

I think you are making a case where none exists. I said support and membership is free, and they are.

I did not say all offerings and all levels of support are free. That would be suicide.

Everything is done to keep basic costs low so I can offer as much free as possible. I will try to maintain some avenue of free support, future factors not known at this time, might change the nature of that support, but I will try to keep an avenue of free support open. As things evolve they are subject to change.
That is stated in the booklet.

Nonetheless, membership and support are free at this time.

Truth said...

"So how much free support has to be offered in order for it to qualify as free support?"

I don't know Donna. You're the one that said "Oh, and it is free to join. Support is free."

You tell me how much free support has to be offered in order for it to qualify as free support.

On second thought, I don't really care. Good luck in your endeavor.

As the father of several daughters, I encourage and help them become as educated and refined as possible. The sky is the limit for them as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion there is enough to do in raising children without having them run around in tiaras trying to build their self esteem. My wife was just commenting yesterday how disappointed she was that one daughter had begun showing interest in "princess" things. My wife, who was homeschooled, thinks it's a complete waste of time. I don't mind her playing dress up every once in a while, but an entire system built around playing princess seems questionable.

But to each his or her own.

Donna said...

"Good luck in your endeavor. "

Thank you, and bless you in your positive contributions to this world!

"In my opinion there is enough to do in raising children without having them run around in tiaras trying to build their self esteem."

I am an artist and symbolism is an important facet of my work. You missed the entire point of the tiaras. "A tiara is a symbolic representation of radiating light, an aura, or halo of God’s daughters. Reminding us that, as daughters of God, our example should be a light unto the world."
This is not a self esteem game. Self esteem is the worldly counterfeit of self worth. This is more like a standard to rise to, to represent who they really are, daughters of God.

"but an entire system built around playing princess seems questionable."

Ah, you really do not get this. Every girl and woman is a daughter of God, the Heavenly King, whether they believe that are not. A daughter of a King is a princess. They are not playing princess. This is not dress up. This is not pretend. There is no snobbery.
No airs. When you understand who you are it comes with great responsibility.

You are free to do your think, but please do not mock something you really do not understand. Just leave it alone.

Truth said...

I understand exactly what you're doing, and yes I will leave it alone. [end of thread jack/]

Kathleen said...

So...what's the big deal with "leaders" anyway?

JLL, I hope you keep writing on here. It's just adding to my discontent with the TJEd system!

Anonymous said...

"So...what's the big deal with 'leaders' anyway?"

Is the goal making world leaders? That would be an over simplification and not an accurate portrayal of what TJEd is promoting.

"To build men and women of virtue,
wisdom, diplomacy, and courage
who inspire greatness in others
and move the cause of liberty."

A goal is to help people recognize the importance of leadership in every facet of their life, in every field, in small actions as well as in times of crisis?

It is good for people to develop their inner core values and to be inspired by others who practice the same. Hence, I read good books.

We live in a world where we have a constant barrage of examples not worth emulation, and unfortunately some less stable minded have acted on those poor and often evil examples.

A look at the financial crisis and to politics, we can see a need to promote virtue. We live in a time that fear is more common than courage, as we look at the issues and challenges of our world. Wisdom is lacking in the public arena as they look for quick fixes to long term problems. The lack of wisdom in the public arena is magnified by the lack of wisdom in the populace. The wars and rumors of war, means diplomacy has been abandoned or failed. Diplomacy is not what we are fed as a culture. Diplomacy without wisdom, courage, and virtue, will bring us more to mourn.

I feel any effort no matter how small to encourage virtue, wisdom, diplomacy, and courage is time, effort well spent.

For me, the greatest example of leadership is my Savior, backed up by those who have walked in his foot steps. Mortal men fall short, we all do. Me, you, DeMille, none is exempt from imperfection. Just most of us are anonymous and that protects us from people we do not personally know, seeing all of our flaws. None the less, I can be inspired by their courage and hard work. If others can rise to the best and overcome aspects of their mortality, to stand for truth and righteousness, they show leadership even if they have to stand alone.

Anonymous said...

I said,"
It is good for people to develop their inner core values and to be inspired by others who practice the same. Hence, I read good books."

My Pb encourages me to read good books, as do the scriptures, etc. So I read good book for many reasons, the above reason included.

Though TJEd is often sold, but not always sold, I do not think you can make the case that it is "never delivered."

Randomcritic, your ad hominem attack digresses from the topic of sold but "never" delivered.

You cannot demonstrate that it is only sold, as it has been demonstrated that there are many free venues. I got much understanding from the free venues.

As far as delivered, it is yet to be seen who is right. It is j.l.l.'s opinion that TJEd has not, and he contents that they therefore cannot. deliver. That is his opinion and his opinion cannot be argued. Whether it is fact, is yet to be seen. It is sufficient enough for j.l.l. to make his decision. He has not reasoned it enough to convince me though.

Though GWC began under CRBU in the 1990's it is no longer under them.
Refinements were made when GWC separated from CRBU That was about six years ago. Refinements continue to be made, as they should be for any dynamic endeavor to move forward. It also takes time to prepare incoming students to do the work, about 18 years, because even the pre-school years help prepare a student. It takes time to build a university staff that carry it out this vision at higher and higher levels. So, this blog is a premature reasoning for others to embrace.

Even BYU had to season. I arrived after it had been around for 100 years. It changed and refined in many ways bewteen my time and my son's time at BYU. BYU started in commercial buildings, with a less than stellar program. They refined it. That is how many institutions of higher learning started.

Classics, Mentors, Simulations, Field Experience and God were methods used by George Wythe, so they are nothing new. There were others other than Jefferson that Wythe used those methods with. These five tools are still used today to some degree in many institutions. These methods are not without a track record.

That said, the current generation is not that generation. We have more distractions and have less experience. Though sexual maturity is earlier, emotional maturity and taking on adult responsibilities seem later than in Wythe's time. This is a huge challenge for institutions of higher learning. So, though I know the methods are valid, we are not comparing apples to apples.

I cannot with good conscience say never.

If j.l.l. is inspired that this is not the way for his children that is what he should do, follow his inspiration. That does not necessarily mean it is the inspiration others will get for their own, even his extended family and friends.

I am delaying final judgment on whether TJEd can deliver. At this point I feel it is premature. This blog is begging the question. Yes, circular, a type of logical fallacy. In light of most universities doing fund raising and charging for teacher training, and the costliness of tax supported schools, I feel the the premise that the promise is sold, is as questionable, as the conclusion that it is never delivered.

Truth said...

"BYU started in commercial buildings, with a less than stellar program."

What are you talking about? What commercial buildings, and against what was "the program" judged as less-than-stellar?

Let me ask you this: Did Karl Maeser lie about his doctorate? Surely if BYU had been built on that kind of a shoddy foundation it wouldn't be where it is today.

Anonymous said...

Warren Dunesburry started the school in an adobe building in 1862, it was latter changed to Brigham Young Academy in 1876. Dunesburry was the first principle until Maeser came in April of that year. Even then, it was held in a brick building called the Lewis building, which was then destroyed by fire and the school then met in a warehouse. The school was divide into a high school and a university in 1903.

One point being that is not where it is housed but what happens there.

Another point is BYU and many other current universities had humble beginnings, small campuses, and even rented or donated space. That does not mean they were wrong to do so. They started that way then built and refined their faculties, offerings, and infrastructure.

Resorting to ad hominems again?

Truth said...

First of all, I have never criticized GWC for its physical plant. I agree that what happens inside a building is more important than the building itself.

A point of clarification -- did you mean Warren Dusenberry? I think you've got his and his brother's early school confused with BY Academy. Young did tap Warren as the first principal of BYA, however.

Once again, DeMille touts his own education as the model to follow. Therefore, challenging the veracity of his story IS NOT AN AD HOMINEM.

Anonymous said...

It is AD HOMINEM when the topic discussed is that the promise is sold but never delivered.

Anonymous said...

Let's start a new topic then on the propriety of calling yourself "Dr." when either

(A) You never published a dissertation and your diploma came from a mill


(B) you granted yourself a diploma from an unaccredited school you started yourself.

I don't care if you think this is an ad hominem argument. By doing this, he is making a mock of the entire university educational system, dating back hundreds of years. Perhaps that is his intent.

With such fundamental dishonesty as a base, everything else DeMille has done is suspect.

Like most other institutions in this world, TJEd has *some* elements of truth in it. But we wasted too many years of our children's precious time under our roof on what we finally figured out is glorified un-schooling. We were sucked into TJEd for a while and it just didn't work for any of our kids. We felt like we were cheating our kids and squandering their time.

Once I found out about the real background of TJEd, I felt like I, as a parent, was also being cheated. Fortunately we've only wasted a few hundred dollars on a few books, CDs, and one trip to Utah for the first 5 Pillar seminar.

I'm much more angry about the time we've wasted.


Anonymous said...

The thread is the promise is Sold, but is Never Delivered.

The very topic is a non issue.

TJEd is sold. Big deal. And???

The reason I feel it is bogus excuse is that so are most other educational products and programs in this country, including public school. I do not see you starting blogs to point out how all of the other programs are sold and do not deliver.

Pointing out that some people fail at TJEd is not enough. This is not new in home education circles. I have read many email posts on groups from people not happy with, or successful with TJEd, The Well Trained Mind, Sonlight, K-12, Kindred Learning, Robinson, etc. And???
Many of those who struggle are the same people. They curriculum hop looking for the golden bullet.
Many have closets full of buyer's remorse. I think all of those programs can an do work for many individuals. However, they are sold and they ask the same kinds of questions about application of the other methods, as are asked about TJEd.

Yes, DeMille's words are idealistic. Yet, I never took them as a promise or guarantee that if I did this I would be a great leader. I knew that it was his hope that by bring back George Wythe's methods, he could help prepare the next generation that will have tough challenges. I know, we all have tough challenges. I see his aim, but I do not see it as a guaranty.

The promise you want us to see as an absolute is not the motive that led me to TJEd, and it is not the reason people I know chose it.

Big deal.

Anonymous said...

Happy trolling ;0

Truth said...

"I knew that it was his hope that by bring back George Wythe's methods, he could ..."

Ah, but there's the rub my friend. These are not George Wythe's methods, they only carry the name of George Wythe. This is not Jefferson's ideal of an education, it merely carries his name.

If nothing else, DeMille's claims deserve to be exposed to restore the good names of Wythe and Jefferson. Being bolted to shoddy scholarship and books full of half-truths hardly brings them honor.

Anonymous said...

Wythe was religious and God was important to him.

He used Moot Courts...simulations.

He used classics.

He mentored Jefferson.

The field experience came with working under Wythe.

Jefferson experienced it. I have been to Williamsburg and been through Wythe's home.

I have been to Monticello, Virginia.

I have read Jefferson biographies in book form and on the internet.

I happen to disagree with you.

I have noticed that biographies differ depending on who has written them, based on what information they chose to use, and what world view they used.

Seeing an accident from three angles.

OK, so we differ in our opinions.
Perhaps it was about time you were exposed for being who you are. Ah, you already have...


Truth said...

"Perhaps it was about time you were exposed for being who you are. Ah, you already have..."

This comment was not necessary.

Truth said...

"He used Moot Courts...simulations."

Extrapolating moot courts to "simulations" is quite the stretch. You'll find moot courts in just about any law school.

"He used classics"

No argument there--they did indeed discuss good literature.

"He mentored Jefferson."

Yes, Jefferson was "reading the law" in Wythe's office--an apprenticeship. DeMille always fails to mention that. But yes, I agree that Wythe served as a mentor.

"The field experience came with working under Wythe."


"Jefferson experienced it."


Are you trying to strengthen your argument by saying you've been to Wythe's home? Help me understand that.

Yes, biographies can differ. What point are you trying to make by saying that?

Anonymous said...

Wythe was the first professor of law at William & Mary. He set the pattern of using Moot Courts for law schools that later developed in this country.

A simulated court experience, especially they idea of moot court can serve as a pattern for other simulated experiences. Moot Court is a simulation.

"Ah, but there's the rub my friend. These are not George Wythe's methods, they only carry the name of George Wythe. This is not Jefferson's ideal of an education, it merely carries his name."

They are methods used by George Wythe. Jefferson experienced Wythe's methods. You have failed to demonstrate otherwise.

Reading the law/apprenticeship is field experience.

Jefferson experienced classics under Wythe. He also experienced them before and after Wythe. He discussed great ideas with Wythe before he came to him and requested to "read the law" under his guidance.

Jefferson called Wythe his mentor.

Wythe helped his students gain experience and test their understanding with simulated situations referred to as "mock trials" or "Moot Courts," and mock legislative sessions.

Perhaps this could have been coined A George Wythe education, not based on his childhood but around methods he used to enhance the learning experience of his students. Instead, it was named after one of his famous students. Not after Jefferson's childhood educational experience, as each of Wythe's students had some things in common but also different early education, but again, on the refinements or furnishings he received under Wythe's tutelage.

Problem resolved, I find no issue with calling it after his model student.

So, TJEd because classics, mentors, simulations, field experience and God were methods that Wythe used with his students and with Jefferson.

Truth said...

Anonymous, can you add to that your view of how Wythe adhered to DeMille's "Seven Keys of Great Teaching"?

K.E.R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Nov. 7, 10:21 and Nov. 8, 1:17 are almost certainly Donna again. I can't guarantee it, but the writing style is very distinct. I don't have a problem with what she wrote, but why log in for some comments and stay anonymous for others?

arlene said...

I just picked up a book at my local library. It is called "Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths that are Destroying your Prosperity" by Garrett B Gunderson with Stephen Palmer.
I had never heard of this book or either author. I read the first few chapters and found a lot I liked. I will be buying this book. I was describing the book to a friend and looked at the author bios.
It turns out Stephen Palmer is a graduate of a place called George Wythe College where he got a degree in statesmanship. It also states that he is devoted to moving the cause of liberty worldwide. There is a contact at

I don't really care about Oliver DeMille's personal faults. His educational ideas line up with historical evidence.
What do you say is wrong with an education that is built upon classics, mentors, simulations, field experience and faith in an absolute Truth?
DeMille never claims to have invented this stuff. You do understand that, do you not?
I have met the man several times, studied under him, and respect his passion, at face value. No one I have come into contact with through my own attendance at his 5 Pillars courses has ever tried to coerce me into either his religious beliefs or supporting his college.
I read classics. I prefer to learn with a mentor. I understand the power of simulations, (didn't you do a mock-trial or some-such in high school? I did, and learned a lot! I also used simulations with my toddlers.."let's play shopping. This is how we act at the store"), long before DeMille wrote a book about it. He just gave me a well articulated reason to continue using simulations throughout our families education. Simulations are powerful!
Field experience? Again, an honoured, age old tradition that is under-utilized in todays factory schools.
Absolute Truth? yes, please. I'd personally rather have contact with people of Faith (any faith that believes in the Tao as Lewis called Natural Law) than anti-theists. (BTW, diplomacy is another principle he espouses that has helped to temper my pre-judgement of others who are NOT believers in Tao).
Again, DeMille did not INVENT any of these principles. Why is it necessary to tear him down?

I've been doing that style of education in my home for 6 years and my young men ARE leaders. They volunteer, teach, read and study and LOVE learning and life. It works.
Stepping off that conveyor belt was, however, terrifying.

arlene said...

This is a good question, BTW. What are TJED'ers doing?
I googled and found this.

I know nothing about it other than what I just read on their blog.

J.L.L said...

arlene, based on your comments I don't think you actually read my blog because you fall for traps that I mention.

1) I don't say anything about DeMille's personal faults. I think you expected me to, but I didn't (you'd know that if you read my posts). DeMille wrote two books, and I responded to them.

2) Can you see what is wrong with this question of yours?: "What do you say is wrong with an education that is built upon classics, mentors, simulations, field experience and faith in an absolute Truth?"

That's called a strawman. You are putting words in my mouth. You are assuming I made an argument that I didn't make, then you are going to address that. That's a strawman. If you'd read the blog you'll see that I started off talking about what classics are. I am all for studying the classics. It's what I do and what my kids do. I have nothing against the other things you listed. Your premise, however, is wrong in that this is what DeMille supports and what I do not.

3) You wrote: "DeMille never claims to have invented this stuff. You do understand that, do you not?" I understand that's what DeMille claims, but that's not true. You understand that, don't you? DeMille claims to have "discovered" all this as something great leaders in the past have done (not true, see Reason #1 in the blog). I also show in Reason #3 that DeMille got the Phases of learning from Modern Child Educator and psychologists, who did invent all this. DeMille even admits that. Please read that post.

4) You state: "Why is it necessary to tear him down?" I am not tearing him down. He publicly teaches certain things and publishes books. Should no one say anything contrary to what he teaches? Should no one comment anything if it doesn't agree? Obviously not. Why do you feel like I am "tearing him down" when I explain my reasons for not doing TJEd, when I don't even deal with DeMille personally?

arlene, please read all the posts on this blog and don't assume you know what I am saying. Don't shortcut and create strawmen.

The Real George Wythe said...

Thought you might be interested in my latest posting, which details Oliver DeMille's announcement that the Monticello campus will be drastically scaled back, and that the Cedar City campus will be downsized as well.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult for most of us to accept our own lack of education. There is fear involved, there's no doubt.

I find it interesting that you find this much time to critique something you choose not to use. I found your blog searching for TJEd simulation examples, I'm off to use my time wisely.

Anonymous said...

Anon on 6/11 -

You're implying that time spent critically examining the way you educate your children is not time spent wisely. I disagree with that.

Kyle said...

I can't believe someone that disagrees with another would spend so much time trying to discredit their efforts. Move on. Create something better.

I guess it's that weak side of human nature that makes us feel better about ourselves to magnify someone else's faults or misfortunes. (i.e. "Thought you might be interested in my latest posting, which details Oliver DeMille's announcement that the Monticello campus will be drastically scaled back, and that the Cedar City campus will be downsized as well.")

"Truth" I mean "The Real George Wythe" what have you done besides try and destroy something seemingly good that someone else is trying to do? JLL-- Never is a long time. I am not so sure the use of an absolute is very wise...have fun.

The Real George Wythe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Real George Wythe said...


I responded to this once, but thought better of it and will be more charitable this time.

My interest stems from watching a young relative of mine eat through her college savings at George Wythe College before realizing the school wasn't what it had represented itself to be. In a way I guess you could say that GWC/U, and by extension DeMille, destroyed something good in her life -- a few prime years and thousands of dollars.

The blog takes a tiny sliver of my time, but if it means PREVENTING similar destruction in other young peoples' lives, I would say I am actually doing a service; not destroying.

Kyle said...

I can see why you feel so passionate about GWU. I guess if I were you and had a relative that felt the experience wasn't what was represented I would feel similar.

Out of curiosity, what was the representation that your relative received? What were her expectations?

J.L.L said...

Yeah people like to drop some sort of backhand comment about how I've spent so much time on the blog and they don't understand why, but they are going to go do something productive.

They still don't address the issues that I raise, like how it is not true that "great men and women in the past read the classics" etc. No one seems to care about any falsehoods in TJEd, just people pointing them out. No one cares that the "Phases of Learning" are modern theories that started with Freud's psychosexual stages, and have gotten modified along the way. No one should dare challenge the relationship between husband and wife as depicted in the Leadership book by the DeMilles.

Using false claims to build a foundation for education and family relationships = productive.

Pointing out the falsehoods and problems = unproductive

Parents spending hours and years going to seminars to learn how to adopt a faulty educational paradigm = productive.

Spending a few hours writing a blog to explain the problems with TJEd = unproductive

Nelgecting to instruct your child in some of their most impressionable and receptive years = productive

Helping people to not fall for yet another Mormon scam (this time educational) = unproductive

Got it.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been interested in TJed for our children because the classics appeal to us. We love to read and want to foster that same love in our children. We have purchased the books by DeMille and tried the method this year, much to the chagrin of my in-laws. We even attended a free seminar last summer to get us started. In that seminar the definition of a classic was changed to anything that is enduring. I believe even "classic rock" was included. You are right, jll. If this method is so tried and true then why are definitions changing. I can't believe I fell for the "great leaders used this method" argument without researching it. That is a shame on me. But it is even more of a shame on DeMille as he should have never made the claims. We (my husband and I) feel taken in. We will never spend another dime on this "method" ever again. We will, however be reading classics to our children and add text books to assist them in learning math and science.

Alison Moore Smith said...

I haven't been back in a number of months, but just dropped in because I linked to the site in a homeschooling forum.

JLL, seriously, you've got to get this site restructured! The organization is really odd!

This stuck out to me:

For it to be a true test, you can't take someone that started this program when they were 14 years old, you would need to judge it by someone that started from birth and was given a TJEd education their whole life.

You cannot judge something after just 15 years and whine where are the leaders.

If we can't judge TJEd by it's (lack of) leaders, then how can DeMille make the claims he does about the results? On what basis does he make those JUDGEMENTS?

It's utterly nonsensical!

Anonymous said...

J.L.L., as a homeschooling parent I want to thank you for articulating your criticism of TJED in such a thorough, logical manner.

What a lot of the comments on this site seem to reflect is the incorrect idea that criticism is, by it's nature, "wrong".

Not so.

If an idea claiming to be based upon facts, logic, and reason cannot stand up to criticism based on the same then that philosophy is fatally flawed.

Such appears to be the case with adherents to TJED.

I've spent the last hour this evening reading through this fascinating blog which I stumbled upon. And, the same pattern keeps appearing among the responses: The TJED adherents revert to emotional arguments when faced with irrefutable evidence in a factual, logical, and reasoned form. It is a fatal flaw to the TJED philosophy.

I suppose I should also thank the poster going by "Donna" just as much - her posts have demonstrated so well many of the negative attributes to be found among the TJED adherents who are more religious (and emotional) in their following of this philosophy. As I have been re-studying logic and critical thinking with my oldest child this year I've been thrilled this evening to have so many good examples of straw-men, ad hominem attacks, and faulty logic to draw upon from your posts, Donna! Thank you for showing me the incorrect way to argue for a philosophies merits! :)

Have a good evening all. And, J.L.L. - superb site with great critical thinking.

Anonymous said...

I too stumbled upon this site. As an LDS home schooler of 18 years I read the TJed book and have run ac cross many adherents. There is one idea I have seen that is of great value particularly with those parents who had poor educations and that is the concept that the parents should educate themselves in order to educate their children.

OTOH there are huge flaws. First of all as has been noted Thomas Jefferson was not educated in that manner at all. He had a rigorous and mandatory classical education. Further, many leaders were not well educated in the classics. I think most would agree that George Washington was an important leader and he was more of an athlete than a scholar. The reality is that many different types of education generate leaders and many different types of people become leaders.

The biggest flaw is what I considered a very simplistic world view. The book is very vague. The parents I have seen who are most attracted to it have been poorly educated themselves.

I also believe that in any field to become expert a times comes to do hard work and boring drill. My daughter is becoming an artist and she is doing drawing and design work. It is tedious and she hates it, but it is part of the process. Even abstract painters learn realism first. In math boring drill is needed. We don't need to read Pythagoras in order to study math, we need to work and practice through drills that have been developed over the centuries. My dh who is a math PhD thinks the TJed approach to math is ridiculous. I have not seen an TJed kids who have done well in any of the sciences.

The TJed approach of reading and discussing is valuable, but at the college level they need to get in deeper. In addition the idea that any book can be classic which I have found among adherents is a bit of a joke.

For those who are interested in relaxed yet rigorous education, my own personal favorite book is "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum" by Laura Berquist. As a mother who raised 8 children, 4 of whom had graduated and were in college, she holds far more credibility with me as to how to home school kids. Another great book is "Homeschooling for Excellence" by David and Micki Colfax.

The whole idea that all of us who were conventionally educated are unable to think independently is ridiculous. If they have a really good method then they don't need to go on about conveyor belt education, their results will speak for themselves. The many home schooled students who are doing well attests to the fact that people can do a great job without TJed or the seminars they push. Those of us who have been home schooling longer are sometimes a bit disturbed by the people who are now making money off the insecurities of newer home school parents and making them think they need some kind of expert to help them do the job be it the TJed people or the local school districts. ANyone who can read and study and has access to paper, pencil and a library can home school well without needing any additional help.

Kristine said...

Thank you, thank you. I bought and I read TJEd and never clicked. I did not know why. You put it so well in words. Thank you again!

Rebecca said...

After reading Leadership Education I went searching for some research and testimonies to either back up or refute some of the claims made in the book. I am so glad I came across your site. I thought your arguments and some of the discussions following very logical and addressed many of my concerns with the TJED model that I hadn't been able to articulate. I think anything worth learning, any truth, should be able to stand up to debate or critiques. While I think this method does have some really good ideas, I think I will use some, leave out a lot, use inspiration, and not worry that I am dooming my children because I am not following every Key precisely. This was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and opening a discussion.

mama of many said...

Just read much of your blog and most of the comments on #6. My main thoughts are,first, what is your motivation to be so antagonistic. My second thought is, why don't you write a blog being passionate about what you are for instead of nitpicking/hen pecking something you clearly don't understand. Life is too short.

Anonymous said...

As I was never home-schooled and was not introduced to LDS culture prior to college, I like to think that I have a unique viewpoint from other readers and posters on this blog.

I recently graduated from George Wythe, a promoter of TJE. It's the sad truth that they've made some horrendous errors in judgment (finances being only one and the others being already listed in your blog) but it's also truth that I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot.

Is all that I learned immediately practical for making a living in today's world? Heck no! I knew that before I applied. I had decided that I'd rather try a college focused on classics and discussion rather than a 'normal' college which would only give an exaggeration of high school.

It all depends on what we want and expect. If I'd been looking for a career in the sciences, my time and money likely would have been wasted. Philosophy (the basic of the college) is great to think about and consider, but it's never been practical.

No-one in my family expected the college, or TJE in general, to be the final word of authority. How can we completely rely on other fallible people and their very new theories and ideas? Take what works and leave what doesn't based on your own personal experience. That's what I learned from my grandfather, an intelligent man who never had more than a 6th grade education.

Perhaps part of this problem is the advertising; it's more philosophy in general than only Thomas Jefferson's (likely) education.

Also, it's not for everybody and they shouldn't say it is. Some people like and want/need that kind of education, others would hate it. Some people need and want a vo-tech and nothing more. We as a society and world need those kinds of people too.

Maybe TJE would work out better if issues such as have been addressed here would be addressed by proponents of that education style. I'll be in front of the line to admit they're elitist and loathe (like other normal humans) to admit being in error.

This is a good blog. You make good points, good arguments and good sense. Thanks for being polite and reasonable about your opinion.

Lisa said...

I'm a little late to the party, but I'm glad I found your blog. I started reading TJEd recently, thinking that this might be a good fit for our homeschool based on a few of the principles I had heard about ("inspiring children" -- who doesn't want to be inspired? -- and learning through the classics).

Reading through the books, I have had a lot of red flags shoot up. The fact that it is written with an almost religious fervour, and its adherents are mainly part of one discrete religious group, is somewhat offputting to me, for starters.

So many of my other concerns presented as unarticulated little nagging doubts until I read your blog and I was able to put them into words.

Thank you for expressing your points so clearly and comprehensively. You have done a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog and it is clear you don't understand what you are criticizing. To Donna, I don't know why you are wasting your time arguing with someone who doesn't want to understand. To Truth: I never thought of asking the Divine for guidance in your life as "mixing religion with education." One of the reasons we home school is so we can include our Creator in all that we do. Why wouldn't we? Isn't He the Giver of all TRUTH?

Anonymous said...

Wow, after ready all those comments I feel similar as when I talk to a family member who was backstabbing another family member. I feel gross all over but got sucked into reading it all. I feel like it is of an evil spirit. I hope that the author of this blog has found peace and doesn't have to understand everything everyone is doing in the world. I am sorry you had someone have a bad experience at that college. I know that not every college is for everyone and that a perfect match is important. I hope she learned something from the experience and has found what she was looking for.

As for this thread, people can go on and on over definitions. To communicate you need to hear what they are saying and feel it too. For example, Mormons believe they are Christians though by some people's definitions they cannot be because they don't believe in the trilogy. They believe they are because they are follwers of Christ. Or another way of trying to explain what I mean is, my daughter might think she needs a band aid but there is no blood so I don't think she needs one, we are both right. I do believe that there is no right way to educate our children or ourselves and by prayer we will know what is best for each family. Good luck to you on your journey.

Anonymous said...

Gees, sorry. I'm with Marni on all this. TJE promises to equip your children with the wisdom passed through the ages by classically trained great thinkers. It doesn't promise you'll get elected president. The Founding Fathers were 95% farmers, classically educated in the old books of wisdom. They then created a new country that, until recently hijacked by progressive socialists, was a shining beacon of light to all who came here. We declared our Independence in 1776. We signed our Constitution in 1787. That is eleven years for men trained their whole lives in the classics such as the Bible, but you want to know why DeMille hasn't reversed the last 50 years of crappy public school education in sixteen years? Really? The Founding Fathers were surrounded by millions of countrymen who could read and speak English and usually Latin and other foreign languages. Where do we have a critical mass, today, that all speaks English and has a basic education of the great classics? Our level of literacy is lower today than it was sixty years ago. We do not educate children anymore. We train them, somewhat, to follow a job. But you wonder why DeMille hasn't caught fire and changed the face of America?
I am a housewife. I lead four other people. But in my co-op, I lead fifteen. And with my Keeper's group, I lead twenty-five. I'm not the President. But I am a leader- and all the parents involved in these ventures are leaders. And we are training a pack of children to be leaders. You criticize, rightly, this book, because it needs to put up. But you wrongly assume that fundamental change can happen in sixteen or twenty years when we have done such damage to our schooling over the last 50 years. And I've looked at the man behind it all- it's Thomas Jefferson, dude. Honestly. Like we're not experimenting on our children right now, with crass sexual education starting in kindergarten, and never memorizing math facts. I'll take "experimenting" with my kids by reading the Bible and Cicero any day. Oh wait, here in California we have to start teaching our children about the wonderful things done by homosexuals in the past. Gee, that's solid research and knowledge! Much better than Thomas Jefferson.

Publius - 1787 said...

Why is it that proponents of TJEd have to belong to a cult-like group to raise leaders and bring up their children well? Even if the ends appear to support it, I believe that looking to an educational guru in dangerous. Why can't the DeMille followers take responsibility as parents and do what they know is best for their children without joining a mass group of sheep led by a fallible human. These people bend over backwards to do TJEd just right and feel like failures when they can't measure up. Why not just be a true parent and leader and raise your children yourself with your spouse and quit whing to a group who doesn't even know your family? Take ownership of your life and quit thinking that other fallible humans have all the answers. They don't.

Neil McGuire said...

I've noticed quite a few people who are concerned over the time taken to criticize Oliver DeMille's work. I don't understand these complaints. The highest honor you can give a book in my opinion is to give it a complete analytical reading, as described by Adler in How To Read a Book. In order to do this, you have to find the terms, propositions and arguments presented by the author. After trying to understand the author's logic and presentation, you are then not only invited, but obligated to respond. The options presented are as follows:
1.)I agree. No further action is necessary for this case.
2.)I disagree. In this case, it is necessary to explain the problems with terms, propositions, or the logical flow of argument.
3.)I suspend judgment. This can only be the case if the truth of the expository work has not been sufficiently proven through cases, logic and argument.

Some issues that occur with terms, such as their ambiguious usage, as pointed out in the definitions of Classics and Mentors, as well as the term Leadership, which is of paramount importance in the case of Leadership Education. In TJEd, the term Leadership Education must be defined clearly, and a lot of confusion can or has occurred over its use to refer to the system the DeMilles use at home, the system used at GWU, or simply any education based on great books and great mentors. If there are flaws in the logic applied to the propositions, they must be presented.

If there are flaws in the propositions themselves, they must be because the author is either misinformed or uninformed, or intentionally deceptive. This is the argument presented in Reason #1 - JLL states that a vital tenet is flawed. A valid concern. I personally have not gotten far enough into my own education to know for sure whether or not the leaders I am interested in emulating studied classics or had mentors.

There's an additional obligation on the part fo the analytical reader when the book is a practical book in that it urges action. It is necessary to determine the ends the book proposes and secondly, whether or not the proposed means would accomplish those ends. It seems to me that JLL is simply stating that while the ends of producing adults who are well-educated and capable of fulfilling leadership roles when called upon to do so are in fact worthy, he feels that the means presented are not backed by sufficient evidence to support their use.


Neil McGuire said...

(continued from previous comment due to 4,096 character limit)

I appreciate those parts of this blog that have remained in the logical, but in a couple of cases I found my self disagreeing. For example, in reading about FEC, I had the impression that as husband, I was not to bring up issues with my wife's stewardships, as she was not to meddle with mine. This left it on an equal footing rather than the unrighteous dominion that Reason #4 suggests would result. I also understood the usage of 'The FEC' to be more of a literary device used to indicate the necessity to tackle problems together, though a more literal reading of the passages can be seen as suggesting a separate entity at which the parents can point fingers.

There is a lot about the keys set forth in several of Oliver and Rachel's books, specifically the 'Ingredients' that I don't find necessary to our homeschool efforts, but they got me thinking about how I do want to set it up. It's a voice in the Great Conversation, and I am truly finding that most of what I have gathered from DeMille &co I can also get by going to the sources they used, including Adler. I know this comment has gotten a lot longer than I intended it to be, but basically, if you're still around, JLL, thank you for striving to fulfill your duty as an analytical reader, even in the face of so much opposition. I'm planning on going back through your blog again to try to see if I disagree with any of your terms, propositions, or arguments, but I find this to be a great example of a critical work, falling squarely in the realm of Theoretical Exposition. Were you to add some posts recommending where readers go to learn a better way, I'd move it over into Practical Exposition. But then you'd be in danger of gaining a following and being accused of misleading and misinforming people. Oh wait. That's already happening.

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Leslie Householder said...

I really appreciate your evaluation. I find it interesting, and it's given me something to ponder. In my case, I thought about homeschooling for 10 years before mustering the courage to try it on the one child I knew I couldn't ruin. I had been trained as a secondary educator, and had come through a very rigorous public school program myself, so I had a hard time believing I could possibly provide an experience that was remotely adequate. But, it was a lecture by Oliver DeMille that finally gave me the courage to take the leap. Each year, I invited a few more children to join us until 6 out of 7 were home with me. I had read a few of the books and was on my way, ready to put the philosophy to the test.

I've witnessed some amazing fruits from this, but the reason I find your critique interesting, is because I did NOT jump on the TJed 'conveyor belt'; I simply took the philosophy and went on to create our own path.

We haven't been doing everything their programs prescribe, but all prescriptions are only suggestions; and as long as we feel on target toward our goals, I certainly don't feel like I'm 'failing' in the method.

I do recognize the 'apparent' double-standard you speak of, and have sometimes wondered if I was doing something wrong that I didn't feel compelled to certify, or participate in their programs. But the fact is, I've been too busy living the philosophy to stop and participate.

By the same token, I certainly don't criticize their programs if they help a parent gain the confidence they need. If I hadn't already been through tens of thousands of dollars in leadership development training before discovering TJed, I probably would have relied on their programs to help me develop the leader in me.

Prior to learning about TJed, and after spending so much money on training myself, I discovered the problem inherent in 'following someone else's instructions to achieve what they achieved'. I learned that prescribed steps really only work as promised if you're starting at the exact same place, and have the exact same objectives. This rarely, if ever, is the case.

Instead, we must learn to pay attention to that little voice inside of us that guides us from where we are, to where we want to be. Sometimes the commonly utilized steps will apply, but not because someone *said* they would, but because you instinctively knew that’s what needed to happen next.

As for the fruits of the TJed philosophy (not as much the fruits of their programs, perhaps), I’m witnessing more and more, the longer I follow it. For example, at age 7, my daughter applied the principles of leadership and earned $300 selling bookmarks in less than a month. At age 14 she became an independent contractor, building marketing campaigns for hundreds of small businesses for one of the most prominent CRM software companies in the world. She set a goal about 2 years ago to serve a mission for her church (which would cost her about $8000), and by doing the campaign work in her spare time, she has already saved enough to pay for her entire mission, three years ahead of being old enough to go.

This opportunity only came about because we had pulled out of the 'system' and began following the TJed philosophy. For a few other stories to show the philosophy at work, visit my blog post at

As for whether or not my children will become statesmen - it's too early to say. I believe the foundation they are receiving now will equip them to do that, if it's part of their life's mission, though possibly not for another few decades, since many statesmen move into that world only after the age of 30 or 40.

But even if they don't become statesmen, I am confident that they are learning the thinking skills necessary to lead out in whatever endeavors they pursue. At the very least, they are learning to think, and are becoming confident, capable adults.

Thanks again for your perspective.

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Christina George said...

You have certainly given some food for thought... and touched on some of the things I was wondering about (those little red flags). While I like the philosophy behind the TJEd 'movement,' I have been hesitant to purchase anything from them. And overwhelmed with the website so slowly taking my time to read over it. I actually enjoyed the webinar they put on for HEOC(?) last week. Despite the little red flag of "salesmanship" that wouldn't leave my brain.

Thank you for this article. I see it was published some time ago; are you able to (or have you) done an update on TJEd to see if anything has changed since your post? If so, I would very much love to see it, and if not, is that something you would be interested in doing for your readers?

Thanks again.

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bj04 said...

Thanks so much for all your posts on this blog. You've saved our family from a lot of struggle and legalistic strife!