Leadership Education for the 21st Century


While facilitating a parent’s homeschool support group, one of the members asked me if I had read Oliver DeMille’s “A Thomas Jefferson Education.” I admitted I hadn’t, but that it was on my “reading list.” Piqued by their question, I decided to purchase a copy of the book to read.

“Lay down true principles, and adhere to then inflexibly. Do not be frightened into their surrender…” Thomas Jefferson.
Homeschooling father Oliver DeMille gives the reader insight as to how Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson was educated and how to implement the principles of “leadership education” in the home, public and private school settings. DeMille begins by addressing our present educational crisis: “Teaching not education, should be our focus, because great teaching inspires students to educate themselves.” The reader is guided through the three major types of schooling: Conveyor Belt Education, Professional Education and Leadership Education. Next, DeMille breaks down “leadership education” into the “phases of learning” which consist of: Core Phase, Love of Learning Phase, Scholar Phase and Depth Phase. “The basic tenets of a Thomas Jefferson Education are classics and mentors, depth and breadth, quality and application,” which are covered in the remaining chapters of the book. There is an appendix which includes: 100 Classics, Classics for Children and Youth, Sample Discussion Questions, Where to Find the Classics, Recommended Readings, and Putting Thomas Jefferson Education to Work and Notes.
“A Thomas Jefferson Education” can be used as the primary philosophy of education or it can be combined with another.

leadership3Overall, “A Thomas Jefferson Education” is an excellent resource to prepare the children of today to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Kathy Alphs


Resource of the Week: Math is Fun


Let’s face it, our family loves the subject of math. My husband is a mechanical engineer, while my former profession before homeschooling was that of a respiratory therapist. Both of our professions have their basis in the subject of math. As parents we wanted to pass our love of numbers onto our child. During the preschool years, we played games, and read picture books which focused on math. By the time our child was ready to begin Kindergarten they were hooked on math.

However, I do realize not everyone who home educates shares our family’s love of this topic. Math is a complex subject and at times it can be down right confusing and frustrating. While doing an internet search I came across the website Math is Fun.

The purpose of Math is Fun is simple: To make math enjoyable and easy to learn from Kindergarten through Grade 12.  The website features curriculum for grades K-12, dictionary, games, puzzles, worksheets, and activities.
In our home school, Math is Fun has become a vital resource as our child has moved from elementary to higher order math.

Kathy Alphs

Blog of the Week


We want our kids to understand how best to treat their neighbor, follow God, and trust Him no matter what. We could explain the facts of why they should, have them memorize the verses, or lecture them on what will happen if they don’t.

Or we could tell them a story.

More often than not, the story will do more to help that child understand and respond to the truth than all the explanation you give. As author Steven James writes, “Humans are rarely interested in truth unless it’s wrapped up in a story.”

Dan Scott Teach Courage through Stories

 (Photo credit: Book sculpture by Wetcanvas Deviant Art.)

Peak with Books

peakwithbooks1Peak with Books  is a great resource for language arts Pre K to Grade 1. The authors have selected 40 titles in children’s literature many of them Caldecott winners/nominees to be read aloud which incorporate activities such as poetry, songs, finger plays, art, thinking skills, narration, vocabulary, drama, and cooking. There are also 500 storybooks referenced so you can expand on a particular story if you would like to. Dr. Ruth Beechick noted educational authority has commented on “Peak with Books”: “I think this book is topnotch. Any parent who used these lesson plans for awhile would be getting a good education in using books with children and building upon them to expand vocabulary, experiences and thoughts. For people who want to do the “living books” thing that Susan Macaulay has popularized, here is the kindergarten program all worked out for them.” This edition is the 3rd and has been rewritten to accomodate children from ages Pre-K to Grade 1. This volume is a great companion to Dr. Ruth Beechick’s “Language and Thinking for Young Children.”

Kathy Alphs

Blog of the Week


Renown child educator, Maria Montessori said “Play is the child’s work.” She meant that children are not just playing when they play, but they are working. Play is an important part of child development, and the types of toys that a child interacts with shapes their understanding of the world around them. Toys are the tools children use to accomplish their work, but it is best for the amount of toys that a child has to be limited.

Emily Wade Why Kids Benefit From Fewer Toys