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A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,341 ratings  ·  587 reviews
Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, O ...more
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by George Wythe College Press (first published 2000)
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Andromeda Edison We definitely read a lot more, as well as try to start more regular read aloud time with my kids.

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4.20  · 
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 ·  3,341 ratings  ·  587 reviews

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Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, so I have been reading a lot of reviews about this book. It seems that either you hate it or love it. Well let me say that on a very deep level this book has changed my life. I am a twenty-three year old woman, and I was home schooled using this method. If it is done properly I think it is the best way to raise a child. From the freedom I experienced when I was young to the long hours of study that I did when I was a teen, I loved it all. This book is a jewel and anyone who tells you diffe ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Charyce by: Darren and Sarah Brown -LOVE you guys!

I began reading all the parenting books I could in an attempt to gain the skills I needed to manage the behaviors of our youngest daughter who suffers from ADHD, Impulsive and Anxiety Disorder. My brother recommended I read A Thomas Jefferson Education, insisting that it was the source from where he gathered his knowledge of how to properly care for his family and prepare them for these Latter Days. I bought it that day. Read it. Wept.

Though it is a book about education, I found it more to be an
Jan 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read "A Thomas Jefferson Education" for a book club. I had never heard of the book and didn't really know what to expect...except that when I got it from the library I was surprised at how short it was - for some reason I had expected it to be longer.

I was immediately turned off by the first chapter - the story about the child that goes to kindergarten and has all this creativity and then it is sucked out of him by the merciless kindergarten teacher, leaving him colorless and un-creative. I n
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've read a lot of reviews on this book, some negative and some positive. Mine will be positive.

I've read of many criticisms regarding flaws in the educational program that Dr. DeMille has presented in this book. I would like to argue that Dr. DeMille is not really presenting a program of education, but a philosophy of education. The philosophy is basically this: The only person that you can educate is yourself. The only TRUE education is self-education. I suppose this goes against the philosoph
Nov 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: homeschooling
I desperately wanted to like this book the second time I read it. When I read it for the first time about four years ago, I felt surprised that so many people liked it, and in the ensuing years, I continued to find that many of my friends were impressed by it. My rereading was an attempt to give it a fair chance. However, I rediscovered the same problems: the author's points were either poorly argued or regurgitated from other sources. Everything he wrote that was original I disagreed with, and ...more
Aug 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Although I was a annoyed by the propaganda in this book, didn't agree with many of his opinions, and found him repetitive, I was able to weed through and find things that I thought could improve my children's education. This book is a big proponent of homeschooling, but I feel these suggestions can be used to improve any form of education.

Here are my notes:
--read great books (classics) with your children and discuss them together
--ask good questions and let your children figure it out...encoura
Feb 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This book annoyed and disappointed me in so many ways.
First, he holds up George Wythe College as the end-all of the best possible education ever (according to his non-research-substantiated ideas). Having had some interaction with people who went to George Wythe, I have to say I'm underwhelmed.
Two, he recommends not starting to get serious about educating your child until they're seven or eight. What a waste of their early years, the years when they'll actually listen to you! And I doubt there
May 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Disclaimer: To any and all people who think TJed is the greatest and newest idea since sliced bread: Carry On! This is only a BOOK review.
My hope is that the critical thinkers who gave this book such good ratings had already embraced the idea of TJed before reading this book. Perhaps they are rating the TJed system, and not the book as it stands alone. It was painful for me to read the first thirty-five pages of this book, where Van DeMille tries to make a convincing argument that: Firstly, "Ed
Andrea Young
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was fabulous!! My friend Julia, a homeschooler, recommended it when she found out I was going to be homeschooling Miriam next year. It discusses our current educational system as compared to the education of the founding fathers, especially the most educated of the bunch: Thomas Jefferson. Basically, the author says that the best education is gained through reading books that are deemed classics because they contribute to our knowledge of human nature and right and wrong. After you rea ...more
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
This is the book that inspires to me read better books, to read more often, and to continue my education. If anyone says you are just born either liking to read or not it is not true. We can all improve our study habits by improving the books we read. Leslie says this theory could also be known as a "Louis Lamour education" as Louis Lamour also was an avid reader. (Which reminds me of another great book --Louis Lamour's autobiography.) But this book is more than just about reading. It's about ou ...more
Reread: July 2012.

Reread: May 2012. I think I got more out of this book this time around than any time so far. I absolutely love this book!

Reread: July 2011

Reread again: 11/26/2010. This book continues to empower and inspire me.

I just finished rereading this book for the fifteenth... thirtieth time? I don't know.

I first read it about five years ago. It all started then. This book has had a profound affect on my life. The first thing it did for me was to i
Tyler Hochstetler
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An alternative solution to the modern day education dilemma, this book dives into what type of education a future leader should receive. Radically counterculture, Oliver DeMille portrays an excellent vision for a proper education.

Read the classics. What books have stood the test of time? Why have they? The timeless insights from authors such as Plato, Confucius, and Kant provide a deeper understanding of the world we live in. Through out history there are men and women who have escaped their cu
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-book-list
The biggest idea I took from this book was the importance of immersing your children in great books... classics... this book has become a foundational one in our homeschool. Amazing.
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in education
Recommended to K. by: Kelly Rogers in 1999
To be read over and over and over. These are true educational principles to be applied to any method of education.
TJEd Review June 2011


(view spoiler)
Dec 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
I find it somewhat funny that I lived in Utah for three years and didn't finally read this book until I'd moved to Massachusetts.

The book takes a fairly strong stance about public education, and it's clear that DeMille holds the political view I think of as Utah Libertarian, but looking past those strong convictions, his assertions sound solid, and I plan to implement some of his ideas into my own homeschool curriculum.

This is basically a variation on a Classical Education as outlined by Jesse W
Sep 13, 2008 rated it liked it
TJed Captain's Log - Reached the Final Page on this day, 7/17/8.

Thomas Jefferson - now he had it tough!

Dr. Oliver Van DeMille likened coming off "the conveyor belt" of public education unto a detoxification process (as for recovering substance abusers). Here the family goes through the struggle of adjusting to being a unified family in which parents are responsible for their children and the family does activities together in the stead of public school time. I can imagine that it is only too ap
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: homeschooling
I'm currently on a quest to explore a number of homeschooling approaches so I picked up this book to learn a little about this "Thomas Jefferson" approach. I definitely agree with DeMille's basic tenets: classics and mentoring customized to individual students (hence the two stars). But beyond that I find this book pretty much useless.

DeMille's own educational background is shady. He has "degrees" from unaccredited Bible colleges and diploma mills. He does have a bachelors degree from a respect
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!
Everyone should read this book. Many will agree our education system is messed up and this goes into the best way to fix it. But it's not only for those still in school, it's for everyone. Life is about learning new things, constantly, everyday, and when we're not learning wearing really failing. Our entire lives should be spent learning more and more. So let's get to it!

I've read some of the critical comments about this book from readers who didn't like it and all I can really say is they total
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Save yourselfI'm going to stretch myself and give this an extra star because I do agree with the overall premise of the book: you cannot force anyone to learn; they have to choose to learn. I also agree with using primary sources as a learning tool which is what most of the classics are. If nothing else, this book inspired me to read more of the truly great works of literature. That's it for my positive. So my first issue with Demille is listing Covey's 7 Habits as a classic. Seriously?! Dr. Zhi ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all parents of school-age children
Recommended to Roxanne by: found it on a library shelf
This book describes the foundation of the education I am trying to provide for my children (and myself as I prepare for the children).
I studied for a master's degree in public education and spent two years as a substitute teacher of grades K-4 in 48 different schools. From this I learned what I did NOT want for my children.

One of the questions I get asked about homeschooling is "what about their social life?" DeMille's response on page 28 gives voice to what I have felt but didn't know how to de
Aug 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book when I was considering alternative education for my kids. It gave me a vision and inspiration for the educational experience I wanted my children to have, one that they love. DeMille stresses the importance of an individualized education, of teaching children to think for themselves and question things, and the importance of mentoring your child in a way that inspires them. He also stresses the importance of reading the classics, and notes that there are "classics" in every fiel ...more
Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, nonfiction
I give this three starts, instead of two, because the first chapters of the book are inspiring. As a veteran home schooling parent, reading it motivated me to take a look at the classics with more commitment than I have before. For years I've used literature-based unit studies in our home school but haven't really thought about the education the Founding Fathers received. I liked the springboard to thought DeMille offered, though I thought the book could have been an essay for a lot cheaper--it ...more
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I feel so inspired to read the classics and to help my children to do the same. It's overwhelming, but like everything else, one day at a time. My children are currently attending public school, but I'm thinking hard about pulling them out and exposing them to this awesome concept.

I love the discussion of what is lacking in education today and it all really resonated with me. I learned how to work the system, walked away with A's but not much by the way of critical thinkin
May 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every parent and future parent
This book has changed my life and improved the way I see parenting and gave me a conviction on the importance of homeschooling. It was so inspiring and good I bought it for my brother-in-law and best friend. Guess what the rest of my family will be getting for their next gifts? I recommend it to EVERY parent and future parent!
Dec 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents who want to homeschool
I think the principles behind A Thomas Jefferson Education are generally sound. Classic works are deemed such because they have stood the test of time, have valuable insights into a specific area of study or into human character, and/or have broken new ground and are a useful study into the process of identifying ideas that have changed the world. I think we all should spend much more time with the classics, in all subject areas. Classics can enrich, teach, inspire, and help us re-examine our li ...more
Tiffany Cook
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I bought this book earlier this week, and initially I was excited to read it. The early chapters were interesting to read as they explained his foundational ideas for what he would call a "leadership education" but his subsequent chapters on the application of his ideas were, in my opinion, lacking.
One disclaimer for this review, I faithfully read chapters 1-7 and all of the end materials, but skimmed chapters 8-9 because I was rather annoyed with the author by that point. Here are my take aways
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
After deciding that I would begin homeschooling my children this fall, I bought this book and several others as to better understand various educational/homeschooling styles. This one resonates with me the most. It defines several characteristics of my "conveyor belt" education that I hadn't before put a finger on as bothersome but now agree that they needn't have been a part of my education. I still consider myself an educated person, but I definitely learned to do the bare minimum for the A (o ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned, homeschool
Well, I had high hopes for this after reading reviews highly praising it. Although there are some things I do agree with (read classics, children who love learning with educate themselves, etc), I cannot handle the elitist mentality of the classical method (or any one method in particular) being THE BEST way to educate your child. Fastest way to turn me off in a book on education. This idea that one must use only old methods used by historical personnages centuries ago to have truly educated chi ...more
Laura Icardi
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really readable, inspiring book on homeschooling and education in general. I find myself encouraged and excited to dig into the classics for myself, and allow my excitement to bleed over to my kids. Education is about teaching children how to think, not what to think. This book is so full of good truths about education, love of learning, etc., without being pretentious or hard to digest. Highly recommend!!
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Oliver DeMille is the founder and former president of George Wythe University, a founding partner of The Center for Social Leadership, and the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century.

As a university student, Oliver went on a search for a truly great education — experiencing private and public universities, technical and religious schools, corpo
“Thinking is like exercise, it requires consistency and rigor. Like barbells in a weightlifting room, the classics force us to either put them down or exert our minds. They require us to think.” 15 likes
“Since the purpose of reading, of education, is to become good, our most important task is to choose the right books. Our personal set of stories, our canon, shapes our lives. I believe it is a law of the universe that we will not rise above our canon. Our canon is part of us, deeply, subconsciously. And the characters and teachings in our canon shape our characters--good, evil, mediocre, or great.” 5 likes
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