I have recently discovered Leadership Education (also known as Thomas Jefferson Education). I am reading the book Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning (aff.link). I am loving the concepts taught in this book. Some of them, I have been practicing for years. Others are very new to me and I can’t wait to incorporate them in my homeschool. I feel like Leadership Education is something that is going to take me years and years to study, there are so many ingredients. But the following list is the first few I am loving or love the idea of and am going to add to my homeschool.
14 Concepts to Love About Leadership Education
1. Structure–The book outlines what the authors believe should happen during different times of day or the year. Some of this happens naturally, swimming in the summer would be an example. But I grew up in the public school system. What do I do with my children in the afternoon? We are done with school and frankly, I need alone time. Right now our schedule includes watching movies during this time, but after reading this book I have some ideas on what else it could look like.
2. Freedom–The book suggests activities for the different times of day, but they leave it up to the parent/child to decide what exactly is done during that time. I like having both structure and choice. An example: we might have a reading time during the day. Everyone is required to read but left to themselves to decide what to read.
3. Inspire not require–I think I could spend my life studying how to inspire my children to learn. Right now I am working on finding their interests and scheduling the time for them to pursue them.
4. Different stages of life–I love that there is a place for everyone. From infants to Grandparents, everyone has a role. Everyone has a place in this education. A person doesn’t quit being a productive member of society because they retired, they don’t stop pursuing education because they have a degree. I like knowing what my role is now and that I will have a meaningful one in the future.
5. Mom is the manager–Children are encouraged and required to contribute to the family tasks (i.e. chores). Apparently many families following Leadership Education have even moved to farms so that there would be more meaningful work. Ha! I feel like I barely have a handle on managing the house. I don’t need more to manage, maybe if my children were older…But I have long since required my children to do chores. At this point (ages 8, 6, 5, and 2) the laundry, dishes, bathrooms, garbage and toys are their responsibilities. I’m in charge of everything else and encouraging them to finish their chores in a timely manner.
6. Low maintenance–Education is either student directed and independent or in a group setting with the younger ones. In fact, all of my children are in the first stage, which means little, if any, formal school. So much less planning on my part.
7. Student led, mom structured–following Leadership Education doesn’t mean that the children will suddenly become well behaved geniuses, they are still children. As manager, I choose when we “do school”, they choose what they are going to learn. Sometimes with a reminder from mom, “You were really looking forward to reading _____”
8. Less pressure–the whole purpose is to raise children who enjoy learning. A person cannot enjoy learning if they are stressed. There are no tests, grading, or time constraints. Will there be holes, yes. There will be gaps in a person’s education no matter what that education is. But you can be assured that a student will get the education they need for their mission in life and probably a bit more.
9. Formal education starts later and naturally–Given the right structure and encouragement students will naturally move from love of learning to structured purposeful learning.
10. Play is work–I have believed this for years. It’s one of the reasons we homeschool, so there will be more time for play. Children learn social skills (sharing, conflict resolution…). When given hours of play time, they will actually “play” school. Especially as they start moving into love of learning stage. One of my favorite ‘side effects’ to the love of learning stage is a love of teaching. My 8 year old wants to teach her siblings the things she has learned. She learns how to communicate information and they learn the content. And when my 6 year old rattles off multiplication facts, I look awesome!
11. Possible with large families–with the birth of our 5th child, I have accepted it, we are a large family. I believe leadership education is not only possible with large families but better with large families. Helping each other is encouraged, spending lots of time together is encouraged. Children become close knit and so does the whole family.
12. Mom can be more than mom–one of my favorite parts. One of my missions is to raise godly well-educated children. But that is not my only mission. With children doing many chores and directing their own education I can pursue other missions. Like my own education or this blog for example. Not only is that possible with Leadership Education but it’s encouraged. I am my kids role-model. I can show them that education is lifelong and what it means to live out a mission.
13. Learn about your child–I was a public school teacher and expected homeschool to look like school. Thankfully, I was given a child who challenged that image. I have been deprogramming myself for the last 3 or so years. In that time I have periodically kept logs of what my children were interested in. I have learned so much. Not just about their interests but about their personalities and learning styles. I am much closer to my children than I would have been had I continued teaching like a public school teacher.
14. A role for the husband–i’ve found it challenging to find a meaningful contribution for dad to our homeschool when dad is working most of the week. In the book, they call it Family Executive Committee (FEC). They outline the whys and hows in the book. I can’t wait to start doing this. I have felt alone educating the children for quite some time, now I know how to keep dad in the loop, theoretically anyway.
First Steps in Implementing Leadership Education
I have decided to start by working on the following things:
- Make a compass for each child and gather resources (books) on their interests
- Work out the blocked times I want in my schedule and where I want them
- Be consistent with Morning Time (the book calls it kidschool)
- Make an action plan for the FEC meeting and meet weekly
- Meet with each child weekly discussing their compass
That’s plenty! I will let you know how it all works out. If you found this post interesting, please share!