he’s just not academic

Hubby is reading “A Thomas Jefferson Education” and is enjoying it far less than I did.
He has already commented that he can see why I liked it – it’s jam-packed with validation of my chosen path for educating our children;-) But it’s simply too anecdotal and not scientific enough for The Hubby – it would appear I married a truly modern (as opposed to romantic or rennaissance or post-modern) man.

The statememts are too broad and sweeping.
I’ve been pondering this criticism.
Yes, DeMille says everyone is capable of getting a real education. Very broad. He reckons an individualised education for every student is the ideal. Even broader. He asserts most people will not get such an education as he is proposing. That sweeps most of us under the doormat, doesn’t it?
So, yes, he makes broad and sweeping statements.
But I wonder if it is any coincidence that we have been reading aloud about John Wycliffe this week. He argued *everyone* deserved to be educated – that “everyone” included serfs and females. SHOCK HORROR At least it was in the 1300s.
Thank goodness for his broad sweeping statement.

It’s not scientific enough.
We have come to revere the scientific method above personal stories or tradition or even(in many instances) divine revelation. 
DeMille could easily have quoted a raft of studies about how the American education system is failing (and we in New Zealand ought not to think we’re doing a whole lot better). The studies are out there, and I, for one, do not begrudge him not devoting book space to them. There are also studies that indicate very conclusively that home education (in any of the various forms it takes) is superior to public schooling. Those studies didn’t need to be in the book either – but they do exist for those who want to search them out and see numbers as proof.
Perhaps I am satisfied with the exclusion of such *scientific data*, because I am familiar with it. Perhaps I am just a bit more post-modern than my hubby.

An individualised education for every student is the ideal.
Why-ever-not? Of course, this is not the case in a conveyor-belt education. A truly individualised education is a bit wacky, extreme, perhaps even rebellious or lone-ranger-ish; it is certainly not an accepted societal norm. We like to think kids get to choose, but the choice between doing a project on polar bears or doing a project on panthers is not really an individualised education. But just because it has not or perhaps even can not be done in an institutionalised school, does not mean it is not a grand ideal. I would say it IS, even in its extreme-ness.
(Just a comment on the term *individualised*: I have heard people discussing this, obviously assuming it means kids get to do whatever they want all day long and and will therefore turn out very individualistic. I understand individualised to be more about finding out how God has created a person and tailoring their education to make the most of what gifts God has given them – there’s a huge difference in the two views)

Most people won’t get a leadership education.
Another broad, sweeping statement. But it is not lacking truth. Do I just not have problems with broad sweeping statements? heehee
Wycliffe believed every man, woman and child should be able to read God’s Word for themselves in the language that was most familiar to them. At the time this was an incredulous suggestion. Somewhat like suggesting everyone would do well to get a leadership education.
Again, thank goodness, for his wild and unpopular dream.

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One Response to he’s just not academic

  1. Billie says:

    I don’t think I understood TJed when I read it, but after studying it and reading the 5 pillars booklist over the past year-plus, I am beginning to. I am finding that the principles taught through A Thomas Jefferson Education are bits of truth found in many books and in research on child development and education.
    Although a leadership education is out of reach for many of us, and may be somewhat idealistic, I for one am looking forward to the adventure of being on that path and of leading my children to a place where higher thought is possible.
    This is where we choose how far we will go as individuals to educate ourselves. TJed asks us to take responsibility for our learning rather than depend on government institutions to educate us.

    Thanks for this blog. It is helping to bring these great ideas to light. I am still trying to absorb them but your way of applying them is helping.

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