There are many criticisms of TJEd aka Leadership Education. I have grappled with some myself over the years; it is why I have never really fully embraced the philosophy, not fully (see this post). I won't go into the criticisms (you can google that), but perhaps the misgivings, for me personally, stem from the fact that the author Oliver deMille and 95% of the TJEd machine and followers are of a drastically different faith than I am. By "machine/follower" I mean co-authors, authors of related books on TJEd, online 'Leadership' schools, many TJEd forum members, and online classes for TJEd moms. OK, I don't have hard statistics to back that up, but I think its safe to say by far the majority are of a VERY different religious background, and therefore different worldview. Why is this all a misgiving to me? Can't someone of a different faith than I create a new approach to education? Of course Of course!! But let's just say, I need to be more careful, more vigilant, ever discerning what I read and buy into of TJEd, in order to ensure it does not run contrary to my own belief system. Fair? Every author comes with bias of some sort, right? And as discerning readers we have to continually question and critically assess. Oliver deMille has written several books recently, not necessarily related to TJEd and homeschooling, and I see some elements I do not agree with. An example, in the book TJEd for Teens he and his co-author recommend a Teen Top 100 booklist. Some of the books on the list are ... his own. I'm sure he truly believes they should be there. But ... I don't necessarily buy in. In the same book, he defines "key mission areas" that we all fall into when we discern our purpose in life. He uses interesting categories, some of which fall directly out of the Catholic's Corporal Works of Mercy such as to 'feed the hungry,' but the list also includes 'to create wealth' as a personal mission. I'm not sure that creating wealth would qualify as one's *main* purpose in life from a Catholic perspective. I guess if you are "called to create wealth" for the benefit of others ... maybe a case could be made? But, from a Catholic perspective, I have read that prosperity is more dangerous than poverty, and this I believe to be true. So, in the end, as with everything, prayerful discernment is necessary for a Catholic parent and homeschooler. Always.
Another hesitation I have. DeMille has put together the "7 Keys of Great Teaching" and even added an 8th Key as TJEd has evolved. I love the 7 Keys. I use them to a certain extent, but not exclusively. Was Thomas Jefferson actually educated by his mom using the 7 Keys? Of course not. The 7 Keys were put forward by deMille based on his research, thoughts, and opinions. So TJEd, as a modern educational philosophy, has not *really* been tested scientifically to determine if in fact this approach creates "leaders" and "statesmen," other than the idea that some of the Founding Fathers of America would have studied classics and had mentors and would have taken ownership of their own education. But you know what? The 7 keys overlap other educational philosophies (such as reading and studying the classics). So I'm not all that fussed over the fact that TJEd is relatively new and untested. I do love so many elements of TJEd that I'm willing to accept the fact there are imperfections, and tweak it the way I want. My experience on the TJEd forums leads me to believe that others are doing the same - tweaking and modifying. That's okay.
But here's what I'm excited about today. I recently participated in a free trial class for moms through the online Abigail Adams Academy. We read and discussed a speech by Gandhi. It was WONDERFUL!! What a treat to bring together other women from different parts of the continent to have a scholarly discussion! I plan on being a regular attendee beginning in the fall. And that brings me to:
Key of Great Teaching #7: "You, not them."
(otherwise known as: don't ignore yourself in the process of home-educating your children)
One thing I know for sure about TJEd, it has inspired thousands of moms, in the trenches like me, in the thick of motherhood and homeschooling, to work on their own education and make themselves better people by studying and discussing the classics. Writing about them. Working on their own Core and Love of Learning phases. I am so grateful!! Another thing I know for sure? This approach to education, this TJEd stuff - its different than everything else I've used/seen/read about. It aspires to all the lofty ideals like character, virtue, relationship, true education. I like that.
Have a great week, God bless you.