19 April 2007

Gift of Identity

I am part of a online community that is studying the living scriptures, words of the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are currently studying the April 2007 General Conference Addresses. As we read the articles we are encouraged to highlight, make notes, write down thoughts and ideas, share our thoughts and impressions and really study and learn from the articles. Occasionally I will write a more formal response to the readings.

This is response to the article
Daughters of Heavenly Father by Susan W. Tanner

I have come to realize more poignantly recently the huge gap in understanding who we really are, Daughters of a Heavenly King, and how many people feel about themselves. As this subject came up for discussion with my friends recently they said I had been blessed with a "gift" in knowing who I was, in always feeling like I was a wonderful person, my Gift of Identity, of knowing that I am a Daughter of God, a wonderful and unique person in my own right.

I never realized what a huge blessing this has been in my life - and that others struggled with this issue, and probably don't even realize what a struggle it is. I must thank my Heavenly Parents and my Earthly Parents for this wonderful gift. I can't say that I remember any specific incident that taught me to be so self confident, but I'm sure that although it may have been a spiritual gift from Heavenly Father I was blessed to grow up in a home where I was always respected and treated like a Child of God.


It has been awhile (years) since I've thought about my young womens personal progress, but I remember loving the Young Women values, and how important it is to remember that I have divine nature. I look forward to the day when my daughters become Young Women and we can learn the Young Women theme together and I can teach them more about their divine nature.

Of course, that starts with teaching them that they are Children of God. We have been memorizing "My Gospel Standards" and it is a tough thing to memorize. I think it may be an even tougher thing to internalize. The June 2006 Friend Sharing Time has some great ideas on how to learn more, I'm excited to rev up our devotionals again and really learn about these great words for my Children, God's Children.Friend February 1997Friend October 2005 - Bookmarks

Sister Tanner says, "The Spirt gives us glimpses into who we are. Often the Spirit speakes to us when we pray, read the scriptures, ponder upon the Lord's Mercies to us, receive priesthood blessings, serve others, or feel loved and affirmed by others." Although I don't rmembe specific instances, I always remember feeling loved by my parents, and my family. Ok, yes, there were times when we fought, hard, and passionately, but we always loved each other. I also remember many, many priesthood blessings that I recieved as a young adult, by different priesthood holders, that stated, "Your Heavenly Father loves you." That always brought tears to my eyes and a wonderful feeling to my heart. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, and I know that it was important to him that I learned that and internalized that. I want to share that feeling of being loved, not only by Heavenly Father, but by eartly parents with my children and with all Children of God.

Sister Tanner spoke of Moses and his experience speaking with God and learning that he was a Son of God, and then afterwards being buffeted by the wiles of the cunning one. Our children need to learn to recognize the difference between good and evil to be able to resist tempation. How do we (as adults) learn this difference and then teach it to our children. We learn to feel the Spirit in our lives by going to the temple, attending our church meetings, having the Spirit in our homes and actively seeking to feel the Spirit. If the Spirit is only an occasionaly visitor we won't notice the buffetings of Satan in our lives. I am so thankful for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives as we are able to homeschool our children. I know that they will be able to resist temptation better, because they will recognize the lack of protection from the Spirit.

I am so thankful for the home and family that I was raised in that allowed me to feel the Spirit and the love, to learn and to grow, that taught me about Heavenly Father and his true gospel, that valued following our leaders, and listening to the Prophet so that I can now build upon that solid rock and continue my progression into the Celestial Kingdom by really studying, pondering, and teaching my family upon a sure foundation.

07 April 2007

A Thomas Jefferson Education Overview

I found this great overview of a Thomas Jefferson Education in my files and contacted Jody Jarvis. She was kind enough to give me permission to post it on my website. I love this educational philosophy. When I discovered the Thomas Jefferson Educational Philosophy and began to figure out what is was all about I was so excited to find that someone had put a name and some definitions to what I was feeling was how I wanted to raise my family. I am still just a beginner, so I'm so glad to have found Jody's overview that explains the very basics of what I am learning myself. I'm so excited to share it with you.
- Nancy

A Thomas Jefferson Education Overview By Jody Jarvis 2005
Every single individual born to the earth has the potential for greatness. Many do achieve greatness. How is it that household names such as Gandhi, George Washington, and Mother Teresa achieved this greatness and how can one duplicate the process? The answer can be found and it begins with education. In a nutshell, Thomas Jefferson Education is Leadership Education. For a more thorough understanding of this educational approach, I suggest reading the book ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ by Oliver DeMille, available now through the Nevada library system (there is a copy in Douglas County Library). Also there are articles available through George Wythe College: ‘A ThomasJefferson Education in our Home’ by Rachel DeMille, and ‘Core and Love of Learning: a Recipe for Success’ by Oliver and Rachel DeMille. You can purchase these publications, including the book, through http://www.gwc.edu;/ much of what follows is excerpted from Dr. DeMille's book.

Oliver DeMille named this approach, ‘A Thomas Jefferson Education’ because this is the type of education that Jefferson received through the mentoring of George Wythe. Wythe was a signer of the Constitution and a great leader of that time. Dr. DeMille researched as well, the education of other great leaders throughout time and found that they all had very similar educational experiences. He found this approach lacking today and so he founded George Wythe College, in Cedar City Utah. TJEd, as it is commonly referred to by those that follow this approach, is founded upon certain principles which can be applied to any educational method. They are known as the 5 Pillars of Leadership Education, namely:

1) Classics,
2) Mentors,
3) Simulations,
4) Field Experience, and
5) God.

This approach to education has trained great leaders from Washington, Jefferson and Abigail Adams to Lincoln, Churchill and Gandhi. There are seven keys to being a great teacher. Many of them are similar to the 5 pillars of a leadership education. These keys are:
1) Mentors,2) Classics,3) Inspire, not require,4) Quality,5) Structure time, not content,6) Simplicity, and7) You, not them.

With this approach, a person's educational journey is divided into phases. Whether a student starts on this journey from birth or finds this approach later in life, everyone still needs to go through all the phases. The phases are:

1) Core Phase,
2) Love of Learning Phase,
3) Scholar Phase,
4) Depth Phase, and
5) Mission Phase

Core Phase is spent at home, learning to work, play, and love. This is when a person's core values are determined. Character development is a priority, routines are learned and practiced, and relationships are developed. This is not to say that academics are kept totally out of the picture. If a student in Core Phase desires to learn to read or do math, etc., they may do so, but there is no requirement placed upon the student to achieve anything academically. Keep it simple.
Love of Learning Phase is just what it sounds like. The student develops their innate love of learning during this phase. Everyone is born with the desire to learn and grow. This phase fosters that desire by giving the student opportunities to explore life, academics, and their own possibilities, interests and aptitudes. Time is structured so that the student gets into the habit of studying, but the content of that time is determined by the student. It is often during this phase that a person may get a glimpse into what their personal mission in life might be. During this phase is when "inspire, not require" really comes into play. For a student to really learn something well, for them to internalize it, they need to be inspired to want to learn, to love learning.

Scholar Phase is the time for intense studying. By this point the student has developed good habits in their Core Phase so they can work hard on a task. Through the Love of Learning Phase they have gotten an idea of what they might want to do with their life, where their talents lie, what their abilities are. Now it is time to buckle down and study. A student may be found studying for 10+ hours a day because they want to learn and grow and fulfill their life's mission. Of course, they may find through this intense time of studying that they have a different path to follow in life than they originally thought. They might change lanes part way through and begin to pursue a whole new avenue. This is the time to expect quality work. It is either ‘A’ Acceptable or ‘DA’ Do Again. Mentors play a much larger role during this phase helping the student to reach their goals.

In Depth Phase the student has found their niche in life and is pursuing it with real gusto. This could be the time for college. The student has decided what they want to learn about and they go into real depth in their studies of it.

Mission phase is applying what the student has learned to life through such venues as a career or teaching others, etc.

Many educational philosophies, styles and approaches can fit into this model of leadership education. For example, the Charlotte Mason approach is wonderful for the Core and Love of Learning Phases. So is unschooling. The Well Trained Mind or text books such as Saxon Math can be utilized well for a student in the Scholar Phase. TJEd is not a curriculum, but rather a set of principles around which one molds their education.

One of the core principles of TJEd is studying the classics. Without classics one cannot get a good leadership education. What is a classic, you might ask. As defined by Dr. DeMille a classic is a work that one can experience many times over and receive something new from it each time. Classics are not limited to literature but also can be found in art, math, science, etc. A classic can assume the form of a movie, a piece of music, or even a person can be considered a classic.
Why study the classics? Classics teach us about human nature. They allow us to experience, in an intimate way, the greatest mistakes and successes, of human history. If we learn from these mistakes and successes, we will make fewer mistakes and have more successes. Learning how others think, feel, and act allows us to predict behavior, it helps us to develop empathy, compassion and wisdom in our relationships with others.

Classics bring us face-to-face with greatness. As we study the characters, real or fictional, in the classics, we are inspired by their greatness, which is the first step to becoming great ourselves. Who we are changes as we set higher and higher standards of what life is about and what we are here to accomplish.

The classics take us to the frontier to be conquered. Human beings need a frontier in order to progress. In the past the frontier was geographical; today it is internal. In classics we can often experience other people's characters more powerfully than in real life because the author lets us see their thoughts, feelings and reasons for and consequences of their choices. The classics help us see the quest in others to conquer a frontier and how their choices failed or succeeded. Classics force us to turn off the TV and computer, to quietly study, ponder, think, ask, cry, laugh, struggle, and aboveall feel, change, and become. Then, because we are better, we must go out and serve.

The classics force us to think. First we think about the characters in the work, and then we think about ourselves. Sometimes studying a classic can be difficult. But if we persist, one day all the exposure to greatness will awaken us and change us for the better. The classics can be hard work and that is exactly what is needed to learn to think. The classics make us struggle, search, ponder, seek, analyze, discover, decide and reconsider. The experience of doing something wholesome and difficult changes us for the better.

The classics connect us to those who share the stories. Each culture is different because it has different shared stories. Different stories define each family, each religion, and each nation. And members of each connect themselves with the stories – they make the stories part of their personal story. Our personal set of stories, our canon, shapes our lives. And the characters and teachings ofour canon shape our characters – good, evil, mediocre or great.

Thomas Jefferson was a great man as well as a great leader. He had what would be considered a liberal education. His education is what helped him and the other founding fathers of America to dowhat they did. He got his education through studying the classics with the assistance of his mentor, George Wythe, by practicing what he learned through simulations both in his mind and with hismentor. He then applied what he learned to life, with the help and guidance of the ultimate mentor, God. We have a need for great leaders today, too. Who will they be? Your children? You? A Thomas Jefferson Education is the way to help raise the leaders of tomorrow.
- Jody Jarvis

After reading the article you may be interested in learning more about TJED and Jody has some other great information on her website Jarvis Academy.- Nancy