Book Review - A Thomas Jefferson Education

Everyone needs some light reading while on their vacation, but this was NOT my light reading book. (In fact, if I wasn't currently on vacation, I would have finished it sooner, but reading while at Disneyworld is tough, even for me!) It provided me with a great deal of insight and many things to think about and ponder over.

I think this book quantifies the essence of my home schooling goal - to teach my children how to think. DeMille did a wonderful job of explaining how the classics in every type encourage kids to do so. This book came at a particularly good time in my reading schedule, because it did a remarkable job of clarifying several of the points made in "The Curriculum Debate" and I found myself nodding and saying, ah, yes, now THAT point is suddenly clear! Specifically, I enjoy how he made clear the idea that the classics do a superb job of modeling humanistic behavior, and provide us all with the ability to learn as we reason our way through them. I also appreciated how he broke down the various books into categories, with each category clearly defined. This is a big help to me as I determine what types of books I should be reading.

The thing that stood out the most, however, was the need for parents to model the type of behavior we want our children to portray. In this case, he states that we as parents should be seriously reading and examining the classics ourselves if we want our children to do this. Though this should be a 'duh' thing, it is something that I think we often neglect.

Although I've seen references to a Thomas Jefferson education all over the LDS home schooling boards, DeMille points out the ability and the need for such an education in all the different types of school, including public schools. He also discusses how a public schooled child can receive an education that helps them think.

As a Latter-day Saint, this book takes several of the points made in various LDS Conference talks that discuss spiritual learning and applies them to secular learning - which shouldn't be a surprise. Basically, the student is the one who is responsible for their own education. A student who does not think that what they are learning is not important will not learn the subject matter.

This book solidified much of the vague notions I had in mind for my home schooling, and so I am going to have to give it another good read - probably with a notebook in hand - before I mail it back to its owner. I am also going to have to give in and make an actual purchase of the book! I enjoyed the clear way that it was laid out, and the methods the author used to move through each section.

Nola Redd is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Fiction Writing Visit her online bookstore, Redd's Read Books to find something else great to read!