Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Classical Education

A Thomas Jefferson Education (see link below) was the first book I read after becoming a mother that got me thinking about the possibilities that only are available through educating my children personally.  It was a turning point for me. 
The book gives an overview of the history of education specifically in the United States.  Our founding fathers were all home schooled.  Only the poorest families would send their children to public schools because it simply wasn't as good.

The argument of the book is that our current educational system doesn't produce leaders.  To meet the challenges of our time we need leaders who are thinkers and public schools don't provide any leadership training.  This book talks about how to incorporate that training.

The book also uses the theory that the best education can be attained by going right to the source by teaching directly from the best books and mentors.  Educate your children with the classics that were created by the masters of the genre.  
"Find a great leader in history, and you will nearly always find two central elements of their education - classics and mentors. From Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington to Ghandi, Newton and John Locke, to Abigail Adams, Mother Theresa and Joan of Arc - great men and women of history studied other great men and women." p. 37

One of the most refreshing ideas to me in this book is the idea of mentors.  I don't have to be an expert on EVERYTHING.  I can find opportunities and people who can also inspire and mentor along with me.

You can read more about the book, as well as other people's thoughts on it on Amazon-just click the link below.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Real Revolutionaries-The Parents

READ This Article

Deep down, doesn't it seems that we really knew this all along?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How it began at my home: about a book

My parents were continually searching for the "right" education for their children.  It was a bit of a trick because each child is unique.  The book was a major turning point in the way they viewed education.  I read it in jr. high as well, which is when they discovered it.

The book will persuade you that real learning comes from the desire within the individual, and that given the chance to pursue his course, the student will choose to learn.

It is a type of schooling that only the bravest of parents will take on.  Because you truly have to trust your child and believe that the world really is a classroom.  As a teenager I ached to have a school like this to go to.

 this reviewer said : Many additional books are available through the school's website at There, one can subscribe to an active discussion list regarding this philosophy. Info about similar schools and startup groups is available at the SERN website,

You can get a larger sense of the philosophy of the book by reading more reviews at Amazon.  Just click the link below:

This book is as good a place as any to begin the process of re-thinking what you assume education is.

"There can be no freedom without learning and learning without freedom is always in vain"-JFK

Learning Journey

I feel truly inspired in my quest to learn how to teach my children.  It is a marvel how one thing leads to the next.  I never really intended to or considered myself a "home schooler."  

Now, looking back, it seems like I have been learning about the art of education my whole life.  I was not home schooled, at least not exactly.  But I realize now that I had an unusual educational public school/home school experience.  My Father taught high school from the time my parents met.  He was an educator.  It was his job.  He pursued teaching for 10 years until he gradually switched to developing curricular software for the school district he worked in.  

During this time my Mother was very involved with our public school experience.  She was responsible for leading various committees of parents that even chased out a few teachers and principals to keep the education of her children at the level she expected.  Then in sixth grade, when problems at the school we attended persisted despite her efforts to solve them she moved us to a different public school.  Moving us meant that she would have to shuttle us across town every morning and afternoon.  This is not a small thing for a young mother of 6 children.  My Mother is a passionate person.  When she feels something is right she pursues it regardless of the sacrifice involved.  My siblings continued to attend that school even after our family moved  further away from that elementary school.  

When I entered junior high school my "radical" mother continued to strive for my educational experience.  When she felt the school fell short she removed me and substituted extra-curricular and home learning.  My friends thought I was so lucky to get to "leave" school early.  They didn't understand that when I got home I was still LEARNING and that my mother often  expected A LOT more than my school teachers.

I DID NOT ATTEND SCHOOL FULL-TIME from 7th grand in jr. high until I graduated from high school.   My mother and councilors made arrangements for me to leave and take college classes or receive credit for what I was doing elsewhere to make up the difference.I received the education that was tailored to me because my mother was willing to fight for it and because others were willing to concede that there is more than one RIGHT way to educate a child.  While in junior high my parents encouraged me to start my own business.  I did and I owned it for 13 years (when I had my first child I decided he was more important than the business).  While in high school I performed in China on a piano concert tour and participated in an international piano competition and was a member of multiple competitive dance teams.  I repeat: I never went to school full-time in all that time.

I went on to be admitted into a competitive university (funded by the revenue from my business and some minor scholarships) and receive a four-year degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy as well as 2 minors: one in Business Management and one in Folk Dance.  While in college I received an "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award and even gave a few lectures about entrepreneurship and received a business-related scholarship.  I continued to grow my dance studio and piano studio business that I had been running since I was 13 years old.  I also performed in Europe representing the USA for weeks and took my own students to perform in Hawaii, Florida, the Jr. Olympics, California, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics.

In short, I believe I received a uniquely tailored education that would never have been possible were it not for my parents: parents that new the public educational experience can fall short of reaching the needs of every child.  My parents took their stewardship seriously to make up the difference.  I feel so very blessed to have been given this gift.  I consider my educational story a success for this reason: I LEARNED TO LOVE LEARNING.  Without that very important key I would never be where I am today.  

And that is what my mission as a Mother is today:  To teach my children to love to learn.  Teaching your children is so rewarding.  Hard work, yes.  But so worth it.  It is the thing I find myself so passionate about doing.  LEARNING is how we GROW.  Children innately WANT to learn.  My job is to feed their fire.

But it is only possible to teach those things which you have taken the time to learn.  This blog: "A Family Academy" is a chronicle of our learning journey.  Right now my children are "too young to be in school."  But you are never too old or too young to learn.  So I teach.  And they are learning.  They are exceeding all of my expectations.  And I am trying to learn all that I can so that I have the tools I need to feed their fire.  That is my job, as I see it:  To advocate for and provide the best educational experiences that will feed their fire of learning desire and keep it burning bright so that the light of learning lasts.

Next to life itself and faith in their Savior, a love for learning is the greatest gift I can give them. For me, it's a vital and meaningful learning journey!