Kerry Beck Blog
About the Becks
by: Kerry Beck
was amazed to learn that most Americans receive a "conveyor-belt"
education! After reading
A Thomas Jefferson Education,
I realized that I was one of those who received this type of
education. What do I mean by "conveyor-belt" education? Oliver Van
DeMille states there are three types of education.
1. Public education (or conveyor-belt education) - A public
education prepares everyone for a job, any job, by teaching them
what to think. Public education
historically existed to teach the poor so they could land a job. The
poor had no other option, but public education. Today, most of America
only receives a public education. Their education is set up like a
factory: everyone in the class gets the same education at the same age
from the same textbooks, and they are tested the same and graded based
upon the same scale regardless of their individual talents, goals,
interests, personal mission. Conformity is the name of the game in
2. Professional education - Professional education is anything
from apprenticeship & trade schools to law, medical & MBA schools.
These programs create specialists by teaching them
when to think. The professional
system is similar to public education, but on a competitive level.
Standards are set by the highest 10-15% to enter these programs. But
once you are in the program, you must hop back on the conveyor belt
for several years until you receive another diploma. Of course this
type of education is mandated so you can really learn the profession.
Any of this sound familiar??
3. Leadership education (Jefferson education) - Leadership
education teaches students how to think
and prepares them to be leaders in their homes & communities,
entrepreneurs in business, and statesmen in government. ***This is the
type of education that I want for my children and I would guess most
of you want for your children. It encourages thinking outside the box,
which is difficult for most Americans (not as difficult for
Throughout history, leaders have been homeschooled by mentors and
tutors. Then they move on to prep schools and study the classics by
using the mentors approach. It is the mentor system that creates
leaders. Unfortunately the leaders in America have been trained to be
professionals and specialists - not leaders. Most of our nation
consists of followers who do not have a problem with the system at
hand. If our children are to overcome this dilemna, we must train them
to be entrepreneurs and statesmen by the historically-proven methods
for training leaders.
Keys to Leadership Education
Students need time to
adequately learn. To have adequate time, one must have structure
throughout the day and week. For most parents, they revert back to
their school days and "structure" their day according to public
education (you know, that conveyor-belt). Please realize that setting
up public school is a great source of frustration for most homeschool
parents and it does not train your children
how to think. Students will never become leaders by
following the model of our current public education system. Structure
is necessary to give your child the time he needs to adequately learn.
If you set a structure in your home to study 5 days a week for 5 hours
a day, your child will have adequate time to read and study.
Obviously, this particular schedule is geared more for older students.
Younger students do not need 5 hours a day to study.
Mentors and classics can not be
separated in leadership education because learning
how to think is accomplished by
discussing the classics with a mentor. Mentors may not always be
physically present while studying, but they must interact often.
Mentors read the classsic that the student is reading. Both student
and mentor keep a reading journal, writing about key concepts from the
classic. In a homeschool setting, a daily discussion of the classic
can occur. A typical day may include math study the first hour, essay
writing/discussion with a mentor the last hour of the day and time for
free study in the middle of the day. Students need freedom to read,
study and experiment. For centuries this type of education has
provided the necessary knowledge, traits and skills for leaders. It is
by far the best training for leadership roles, professional training
and life itself!
As DeMille discusses leadership education throughout his book, he
encourages you to find or be a mentor to your children as you read the
classics. Most of us are familiar with the history and literature
classics, but classics can be found to deal with all subjects in life.
Classics are available to learn all necessary subject areas. As
Americans we are worried about learning the sciences and technological
information. Well, there are classics in science - Newton's Principia
Mathematics, for one. I would not suggest starting with that one, but
know it is there when the time comes to study mathematics classically.
After reading A Thomas Jefferson
Education, I am inspired to become that mentor for my own
children. We read classics all the time, but we do not always discuss
them at the level I believe is beneficial for my children to learn
how to think. DeMille outlines a
program to help parents get up to speed. It is the adult's education
that must come first. YOU must become a good teacher and mentor before
affecting your child's education. Since most of us did not receive a
leadership education, we must provide one for ourselves. This summer
is the time I have chosen to begin my leadership education. Summer is
the PERFECT TIME to begin leadership education. Why don't you start
your leadership education this summer, as well? Begin by reading
A Thomas Jefferson Education.
Then follow the two-month plan for parents as outlined in the back of
the book. By the end of two months, you will be ready to start with
© Kerry Beck, 2007
may reprint the above article as long as you don’t make any
changes and you include the following bio with the article.
Beck is a homeschool mom and wife! She is the author of Raising
Leaders, Not Followers, which encourages parents to train their
children to be leaders who lead wisely. She would like to give you a
free report about Leadership Education in Homeschool Curriculum
To order your own copy of A
Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver Van DeMille,
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