“Our unalterable resolution should be to be free.” ~Samuel Adams
We’re heading into a three-day weekend! Memorial Day was set aside as a federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorated U.S. soldiers who died in military service, and was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers that had fallen in the Civil War. Eventually it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars. Over time, this weekend has come to signify the start of summer, with Labor Day being the weekend that marks its end. Memorial Day now serves to recognize all relatives that have passed on and is a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, trips to the beach and even the Indianapolis 500!
I can’t help but think that this progression offers great insights into some current definitions of education and attitudes towards it. It also serves to shed light on how we can do our part to perpetuate freedom in our time. If the above paragraph is true, we’re a long way from original intent!
When I began home educating, I did so by applying methods and ideas that I had learned in a classroom. My then-5-year-old innocently inquired, “Is this how all of my days will be? Because you are really, really boring.”
There was little question that if I didn’t choose to change, we wouldn’t survive kindergarten!
I needed to focus on true education and not a culture of academia.
I made the wisest decision I could at the time. I chose to focus on educating myself.
While I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way during this adventure in home educating; I am humbled and thrilled with the results that my focus has not only produced, but continues to cultivate within my home.
Education has served three purposes throughout history.
1. To provide opportunity for the poor that would include job training, so that the productivity of a society is elevated.
2. To offer professionalism that trains and educates to a specialized job, teaching when, what, and how to think as it relates to that profession. These individuals become deep in a few things and socialize within their professional structure and culture.
3. To produce leaders who are entrepreneurs, artists and statesmen, who know how to think and are trained deeply in many and varied areas, so that when problems and serious situations arise that threaten liberty and freedom they can be called upon to provide input and experience that helps preserve them.
I had to put first things first, understanding what kind of educational purpose I was going to pursue modeling for my children. Knowing how to do this took considerable thought coupled with no small amount of effort. I knew what I wanted was something that involved a way of life, didn’t separate education from it, or our family from learning and growing together. Clearly, this wasn’t about a specific curriculum.
I needed to have a clear-cut definition and focused pursuit that involved being open to a huge paradigm shift if necessary.
I read a book by Oliver DeMille entitled, “A Thomas Jefferson Education” that solidified what I was attempting to do.
This 141-page treasure helped to rearrange my thinking, while at the same time served to affirm what I had instinctively known to be true.
Today, when education is spoken about, it is referring to the training that is necessary to get a job.
If we are to secure freedom for future generations, we need to understand what education is and personally pursue it.
A true education is one that becomes internalized into the heart and soul of an individual, clarifying for them their reason for being on this earth. It is so deeply ingrained that it becomes a way of life and daily living.
It transcends worksheets, rote memorization and fill-in-the-blanks, challenging each individual involved to ask the tough questions and to think and write deeply.
In order to fully embrace this truth, I had to understand and own these things.
1. No one can educate someone else. Only the student can “fix” education, by choosing to educate his or her self.
2. What I need to concentrate on is great teaching, because when I do, the student will be inspired to that self-education that I desire.
Rather than spending copious amounts of time on curriculum choices and worry regarding whether or not others will see my efforts as successful; I’ve tried to the best of my ability to educate my children towards the perpetuation of freedom by modeling what needs to be done in order to be effective in that teaching goal.
You would be pleasantly surprised at how simple pursuing this really is! Notice I didn’t say easy. To pursue and own your own education takes diligence, lots of hard work, and the willingness to change. It will involve seeing temporary failure as a friend. One also needs to accept the fact that popularity and mass appeal aren’t tied to decisions such as these. However, the privilege I have to influence and bring about change on a daily basis is the heart and soul of what this country was founded upon. When you pursue liberty and freedom, they show themselves to be faithfully present in daily life. Countless opportunities present themselves to reinforce their tenants and keys.
Many individuals throughout history have practiced or are currently practicing modeling these tenants in their personal lives, making them great examples and tools for reference. True, effective change doesn’t come from the top down in our great republic, but begins its season of growth and effectiveness at the grass roots level. Wow. It’s given me a whole new outlook on the influence and power within the home! I want to be a facilitator of making the complex simple, while celebrating the individual gifts and callings of each child God has entrusted to me. It brings me great joy to sprawl across my bed at an ungodly hour while my former 5 –year-old talks with me about the truths he’s gleaned from reading “Nichomachean Ethics” and how difficult it is to comprehend some of those organic but tremendously deep concepts.
The next day, that very same bed may serve as a foundation for viewing interchangeable Spider-Man lenses on a flashlight of the same name, on the ceiling with my 9-year-old!
Because immeasurable sacrifice has been offered so that I can be free to guide, inspire and mentor individuals and their personal passions; I want to remain true to observance and original intent, while honoring greatness. It’s the least I can do for both others and my country.
That way when the call comes in whatever way, shape and form; I, along with my children, won’t be standing with nothing but shopping bags, barbeque tools, sunscreen, and worksheets to show for my efforts; because we took the easy road rather than embracing the simple and organic by digging deep in order to own accurate, intentional, life changing truths about preserving liberty and freedom.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
For further information on the Keys and Phases of Leadership Education please visit www.TJEd.org and www.OliverDeMille.com.
If you desire to work on your own education in simple, doable chunks while raising your children and managing your own home, visit www.monticellocollege.org where opportunities that cater to your needs and level of commitment abound!
Oliver and Rachel DeMille and Dr. Shanon Brooks have dedicated their lives to the perpetuation of liberty and freedom and helping others realize what it takes through principled living to maintain them. I am forever grateful.
Teri Helms lives in Southern California with her husband and their five sons. She invites you to join her on TommyMom where she blog three times a week regarding her own family’s struggles, successes, laughter and tears as well as celebrating and highlighting great individuals in every walk of life, who practice Leadership Education principles. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.
I have never really considered the three purposes of education. That was very thought provoking for me. It gave me pause to consider my role in the whole process! Thanks