Quote of the Day

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Great Comment

The following comment was posted at whyidontdotjed.blogspot.com, a blog maintained by a homeschooling father:

Thank you for this blog! I was involved with TJEd from 2003 - 2006. It's VERY popular where I am, although most people I've spoken to feel quite lost on how to actually *do* it (despite the seminars, books, and articles they have purchased). Trying to do TJEd with my family was a very frustrating and unproductive experience. I nearly quit homeschooling because of TJEd! I know an alarming number of TJEd families whose older children attend schools rather than continuing to homeschool until graduation because the children were not getting what they needed at home. If TJEd works as an educational philosophy, I'm concerned as to why so many older TJEd children end up back at school or have gaping holes in their education (math, anyone?).

I am still upset over the lost years (and money!) we spent trying to make TJEd work. I know several other families who abandoned TJEd because it didn't work for them, either. I didn't read this blog until about six months ago (years after I stopped doing TJEd). Most of what you say here is spot on with the reasons I left TJEd. In some ways TJEd feels like a religion. I felt like I was renouncing a faith when I switched to something else (which really concerns me as I look back). I felt weird about telling anyone that we were doing *gasp* structured time and content, math textbooks, and history programs, etc. I got over the sense of failure and guilt left over from eschewing TJEd principles because my children and I were FINALLY loving to learn! My husband and I chose homeschooling because we want our children to love learning *and* have a solid foundation in academics. TJEd was supremely unsuited to help our family come anywhere near those goals. I'm glad we realized this before it was too late. I hope this blog prevents other families from wasted time and money as well.

Reading The Well-Trained Mind in late 2006 was like a breath of fresh air. It very clearly outlined *how* to give a classical education to my children. We have tweaked The Well-Trained Mind to suit our family. The authors, in fact, encourage this. They give more information and suggestions than anyone can really use because that allows parents to tailor the program to meet the needs of their family. I greatly appreciate having "too much" in TWTM rather than the too little included in TJEd's publications. With TJEd I always felt lost and my children were begging for more structure. I have met the DeMilles and many others at George Wythe and I have attended many lectures as well as their annual conferences (“forums”). They are nice people, even though I have misgivings about their methodology and business practices. My family's education has greatly improved since we stopped doing TJEd in late 2006 and started following TWTM in early 2007.

The Well-Trained Mind's approach to chronological history, reading the classics (love the book lists for each grade/time period), and studying Latin are things my family especially enjoys. Jessie Wise homschooled her children decades ago. Susan Wise Bauer (Jessie's daughter and co-author) currently homeschools her children (I think her oldest has graduated). Susan has a PhD from the College of William and Mary (2nd oldest university in the country), where she has taught writing and literature since 1994. My kids and I love her history program (The Story of the World). I think Susan Wise Bauer is great and her methodology is sound. She *also* happens to have excellent, legitimate credentials as well as real-life experience both as a homeschooled student and homeschooling mother. I hope other parents do more research than I did when I first started homeschooling and that they find an approach that actually works to educate their children. :-)


Anonymous said...

It’s been my experience that for every one (loud and outspoken) family that can’t seem to make TJED work in their home, there are dozens of families that are quietly and successfully raising future leaders in theirs.

I am a public school Jr. High teacher, but my wife and I have decided to homeschool our own children. I try to implement TJED principles in my classroom. Some of my students do really well. Some don’t. I find it interesting that for the most part, the students I have that do well in my class do well in their other classes also. Some teachers just call them “gifted.” I also find that those that do poorly in my class do poorly in the others too. Some teachers just call them “special.” In my experience it is the parents of the “special” kids that are always in the principal’s office complaining about my unorthodox use of TJED principles.

My guess is that parents of “special” kids are the parents saying negative things online about TJED.

Bob said...

Now that's a "Great Comment"

Thanks Anon

Durango said...

I think that Anonymous' comment (Nov 24) is insensitive. The conclusion I come to is that he thinks his kids who embrace TJEd are smart, yet those who don't are dunces. I thought that all kids were geniuses according to DeMille. In fact, the DeMilles have a special needs child who does both traditional education and TJED.He's doing just great, but according to Anonymous, he's a dunce. Seems to me that maybe this Jr. High teacher in his attempt to be hurtful has put his foot in his mouth.

R.C. said...

Anonymous 11/24, 10:44 - you show some problematic reasoning. First you say that you implement TJED principles in your classroom. Then you say that the same kids who do well in your class do well everywhere else, and the kids who struggle do so everywhere else. If this is the case, why use TJED at all?

If TJED doesn't improve academics for all children, then it is a worthless system. Unlike research proven programs like direct instruction, TJED does not do anything for kids who apparently learn different.

Why am I not surprised that a public school teacher doesn't have the tools to teach children on both ends of the spectrum - sure you can teach kids who are smart anyway, but you write off children who struggle.

Here's some advice: you are employed by my tax dollars. Don't come on a forum like this and denigrate children who have disabilities, or who learn different. You are probably crossing an ethical line by doing so.

Anonymous said...

Oh, don’t get me wrong, the students themselves really appreciate my use of Leadership Education principles. They understand that they are responsible for making commitments and following through on them, each based on their individual abilities and desires. They know their grade depends on their integrity instead of merely reaching minimum standards that their teacher sets. My students a fully aware that if they don’t keep the commitments they individually choose to make, their grade suffers.

The children love the system. By giving them responsibility it makes them feel respected. When they fall short of the grade, they know it was by choices they made. It’s the parents who come to my office making excuses for the ones who don’t do what they say they’ll do, usually to the embarrassment of the child. These parents unknowingly teach their children dependence immediately after I just taught them self government. I notice these are the same parents making excuses for their kids in other classes using other methods of instruction as well. There might be a connection.

It’s always a relative or an uncle or someone who has no first hand experience with what or how I teach in the classroom that thinks that perhaps it must be my methods that are flawed. Meanwhile the parents of the kids that are doing well sing my praises as if their kids’ integrity is somehow my fault. Over and over again, I tell them it has nothing to do with me. My role is simply to inspire. It’s the students themselves that have to do all the hard work. And the hardest work of all is maintaining the desire to learn, something they lose when their parents come around asking for easy A’s.

Happy Thanksgiving by the way.

Anonymous said...

And I’m not talking about students with disabilities. In my district, those kids actually go to a different school. Which is sad really, because I could probably help many of them.

Durango said...

Why the dig, Anonymous 11/25, of calling some children "gifted" and others "special" if you weren't disparaging children with disabilities. These terms have a specific connotation in education which I'm sure you're aware of.

If you are indeed teaching leadership. Where is the diplomacy in your comments? All I sense is sarcasm and bitterness. Definitely not the leadership way to encourage people to your point to view.

R.C. said...

Anonymous (self-identified teacher) -

Your job as a professional teacher is not to inspire. Your job is to teach. If children aren't learning, then you are not teaching. As a public school teacher it is your responsibility to assess learning and make instructional decisions based on assessment. This is what the law says. If you don't like it, find another job and inspire children elsewhere. In a private school setting you have more freedom to do what you want.

Felidae said...

Since GWU is fundamentally just a liberal arts school with a traditional Great Books program, is not a TJED school, and DeMille is no longer even associated, I don't see how this conversation is relevant here. Plenty of more fitting blogs exist for such topics. I'm sure this would generate a much more lively discussion on any of them.

R.C. said...

Felidae, TJED is still taught in the Master of Arts program. Apparently "A Thomas Jefferson Education" and "Leadership Education" (both DeMille titles) are still required reading, even though DeMille doesn't like to require. The entire framework of the school is TJED. I think the topic is related and relevant to this blog.

Felidae said...

Perhaps you missed the announcement back in July, RC, that all degrees are under review and being revised. When that was announced, DeMille had already been removed from the undergraduate curriculum. Notice also that he's no longer found in the main MA program (Political Economy) which appears to be the first graduate degree to complete the revision process. We're still waiting for official new releases of the remaining graduate programs, but I think that as day follows night, the pattern looks quite predictable.

R.C. said...

Perhaps the web guy who used to be able to update the website within a day to change quotes missed the announcement as well:

ST6710 Philosophy of Education (2 credits)

In this course students will read and discuss several of the major classics in elementary and higher education.

Oliver DeMille, Thomas Jefferson Education
John Holt, How Children Learn
Rousseau, Emile
John Dewey, Experience and Education
Jacques Barzun, Teacher in America
Alan Bloom, Closing the American Mind
EG West, Education and the State


Felidae said...

Good eye, RC. I originally noticed that DeMille and Skousen had been replaced in the undergraduate curriculum, as well as in the required courses for the Political Economy degree. I didn't worry much about the electives though. Over 3/4 of them would never need to be chosen anyway. The one you found looks a bit like a mistaken crossover from the education degree, but either way it's still not a requirement for Political Economy. I'll be curious to see what survives the next round of curriculum revisions. From what I know of Schulthies, I'd be willing to bet that the pattern we're seeing is real.

R.C. said...


What led to all of these changes? Why isn't DeMille a classic there anymore? According to other posts, Schulthies doesn't seem to hold a negative view toward DeMille, so what really happened there?

What really happened to Shanon Brooks?

I am really curious. While I am happy to see these changes, I still feel a little skeptical that the change is for real. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that DeMille and Brooks are just waiting until the school has accreditation.

There doesn't seem be any problem from the TJED folks (i.e., on message boards) that GWU has abandoned DeMille. Why is this the case? Or, am I wrong? Are homeschooled TJED children still attending GWU?

This is why an honest history would be welcomed.

Felidae said...

All fair questions, RC. For the best answers, I suggest calling Schulthies himself. He's quite accessible and as forthright as they come. My own opinion, even as a student, will still just be my perspective. That said, here's my take:

DeMille and Brooks are gone for the same reasons this blog thinks they should be. The truth is what it is, and the consequences of their irresponsibility were inevitable. If you read the current board bios, most of them are experienced in other businesses, some even in government. As the board grew, it seems to have evolved out of the founders' control, which is actually pretty common for non-profit boards.

As for the post you're referencing in which Bob claimed personal knowledge of Schulthies' "positive" view of DeMille, my bet is that "Bob" is actually Rachel DeMille attempting some damage control. Compare writing styles, motives, etc... just a hunch. I'd take Bob with a grain of salt. If you're serious about knowing, maybe ask Schulthies directly.

For speculation over Brooks and DeMille somehow returning after accreditation, remember that once started, accreditation never ends. It's constant. You agree to let them know you inside and out and they are privy to everything forever and ever. Any slip up and you're instantly under the microscope. My hunch is that's another reason DeMille and Brooks are gone but it's also not something that can be undone when nobody's looking. I imagine that everybody who's looked at what it takes to maintain accreditation realizes this too.

As for the TJED folks, I don't know how many of them are even aware. Either way, I don't know too many homeschooled GWU students anyway. It's probably way less than half, so I don't think it matters.

Bob said...

I’m honestly flattered that someone would mistake my “writing style” with that of Rachel. Though I do immerse myself in anything written by her, I am hardly at her level of excellence and clearly not even close to her restraint and diplomacy. It is irony that Felidae thinks that I am Rachel, when I am convinced that “she” is TRGW. Perhaps we are both wrong, but I can attest to the fact that “she” is.

Her unsure comment that homeschoolers at GW are “way less than half” casts doubt on her claim to be an actual student there. She is right about one thing though, Dr. Schulthies is quite accessible and forthright. My advice to any truth seeker would be to call the source, not wallow in this 3rd hand gossip and speculation. If anything should be taken with a grain of salt, it would be this entire blog.

The Real George Wythe said...

Felidae -

Rachel DeMille has posted here before under her real name. I'm sure she would do the same with any future posts.

Don't forget that in her post she acknowledged that although I have "an axe to grind" (read: accurate GW history), I present facts fairly:

"Although my experience with Oliver is obviously different from yours and you clearly have an axe to grind, I looked through your links regarding Bill Doughty and noted that you shared not only the unfavorable ones but the responses to them.

"Also, you acknowledged publicly your finding that the Classic Books and Gifts is a separate entity from Classic Books. These two 'details' lead me to believe that it is not your intention to be inaccurate or unfair. I applaud you for your honesty."

That contradicts the statement by "Bob" to take this entire blog with a grain of salt.

Moreover, Mrs. DeMille comes across as straightforward in her style. "Bob" comes across as passive-aggressive. Therefore I highly doubt that "Bob" is her sockpuppet.

Bob said...

So whose sock puppet are you?

Bob said...

TRGW, It is obvious that in that post Rachel was applauding your effort to correct the misunderstanding that you yourself had created about the ownership of the bookstore.

Trying to umbrella her comment to somehow include all your posts prior or since is a new level of deception for you. With tactics like that you should be writing speeches for Obama.

Love your new blog headline by the way. It really adds to your credibility.

Anonymous said...

This blog is beyond propaganda; it’s ad nauseam.

Of all the quotes you could have featured from your blog, I’m surprised to see you went with the one from Mrs. DeMille. I would have thought you would go with…

“Your so called ‘facts’ all seem to be laced in half truths, wrapped in conspiracy theories and shrouded in personal opinion.”

That one seems to better portray the overall flavor of your little pet project here.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas by the way.

The Real George Wythe said...

12/4 Anon -

Name one half truth I have written on this blog.



The Real George Wythe said...

Bob -

Name on "deception" I have written on this blog.



The Real George Wythe said...

Bob, you missed Rachel's point. Based on the bookstore issue and her perusing of the Bill Doughty links, she concluded that "it is not [my] intention to be inaccurate or unfair."

Her conclusion was correct.

I encourage you to immerse yourself in this statement--written by her--and take it to heart.

I haven't written deceptions or half truths on this blog; I stick to the facts and my opinion of them.

Perhaps that's why this blog may come across as "ad nauseum"--I keep harping on the same facts.

My goal is to get the GW board to lay out an honest, factual history and to repudiate the actions of the past--particularly the granting of life experience degrees.

As I have also previously stated (ad nauseum?), GWU can become a strong force for good in the world. It just needs a solid foundation to move forward on.

Thanks and Merry Christmas,


Kevin said...

This is an interesting new development TRGW. It’s almost like you are reaching to validate yourself or something. Rachel’s quote is your Farquaad’s Castle.

Bob said...

Anon, I have to admit, I had to look up what ad nauseam means and now that I have it actually fits really well. Think about it TRGW. This past year you’ve written 12 posts; 3 about former GW president’s bios, 2 about authors of books written before George Wythe’s founding (neither of which is taught at the school), 2 about degree recipients of more than a decade ago, 2 about other colleges and 1 about TJED, a philosophy no longer even affiliated with GW. The 2 times that you mention what is currently going on at the school you are complimentary.

I think the accurate history you keep asking for has more to do with Oliver or Shanon and less to do with the school. I think your beef with Ann Tracy’s degree has more to do with her than with the organization that issued her degree.

The outdated negative tone of your blog doesn’t really reflect the “Real” institution of today, which in your own words you claim can be “a strong force for good in the world.” Why would a decent person stand in its way? Aren’t there other forces for good in the world you could spend your time on?

And yet when good and innocent people google something as simple as “George Wythe bookstore” or “Is Oliver Mormon” they get brought over here to read all this irrelevant overly-negative obsolete ranting.

Don’t you think its time to stop stubbornly standing in front of those who are trying to move the cause of liberty? Even if their approach doesn’t yet exactly match your personal standard?

Let it go man.

End the campaign and move on with your life.

That would be the best Christmas Gift you could give yourself, let alone so many countless others. Allow the check and balance torch to pass to people who are more currently and personally involved.

Anonymous said...

Once again you make some good points Bob.

TGRW, I enjoyed your new featured quote. Here’s a better one from the same author:

“There are thousands who have been positively effected by GWU and its message and yet you never seem to mention them or their experiences. How is that ‘constructive?’”

Durango said...

To whom would you suggest that the "check and balance torch" should be handed? GWU? Give me a break! Keep doing what you're doing TRGW. Apparently, GWU has cleaned up its act because of you.

Bipolar Attorney said...

In reply to Bob's comments, I only offer the following.

1. An accredited classics based college would be a valued addition to Utah education.

2. To get there, GWU must clean up its act. I'm certain GWU supporters think this means going on the assembly line. It means nothing of the sort. GWU can keep its unique qualities but it must prove that it is giving education reflecting its stated objectives.

3. The Academy is never going to support life experience degrees and no one is impressed with Coral Ridge Baptist.

4. Whether you like it or not, Ann Tracy is the face of your university. If you are starting over, the academic fraud of the past must be addressed. Otherwise,GWU does in fact support Scientology.

In other words, just admit the mistakes, clean up the act and move forward. The reputation of the School and the value of the earned degrees will never improve unless, the school comes clean, admits its errors, makes restitution (repentance), ceases to allow its name to harm the mentally ill and demonstrates that which you claim, i.e.; the degree is worth something.

If in fact the University does this, I will pull out my checkbook.

Anonymous said...

Bipolar, I'm beginning to think Ann Tracy is the only graduate of GW that you are aware of. To claim that Ann Tracy is the face of GWU shows the limit of your exposure? I've been following the school for 15 years and I honestly have never heard of her prior to this blog. If you are looking for a poster child look no further than its current president. Or if you are looking for a prodigy you might consider Andy, Nels or Julie. I'd say that a good portion of those that personify the school went into alternative education.

Bipolar Attorney said...

If you are not aware of Ann Tracy it is just because you haven't paid attention to mental illness issues. She is very self-promoting. goggle her name and see how many times she has been on national radio. She is all over the place with her "PhD" Regardless of who else has come through that place, GWU and Coral Ridge created a person who is the world's expert in SSRI drugs and atypical antipsychotics all without ever doing a double blind study or qualifying herself in the lab.

Did Mr. DeMille read any classics on mental health before he issued the degree?

My suspicion is that the founders of GWU were so anti-intellectual that they granted a degree to someone who was not credentialed because they reject all earned degrees believing themselves to be the font of all knowledge.

I don't care about your constitutional views. That is your business. But Scientology? Come on. If GWU stands behind Tracy, just say so. That way there is no doubt about how far out the school will go to prove that it is not on the treadmill.

Until this mess is taken care of, everybody else that is awarded a degree is suspect. And yes, if you go outside Southern Utah, Ann Tracy is the best known product of GWU.

Anonymous said...

Maybe everyone needs a reminder that Mark Siljander, a former congressman holds a phd degree in "international business" from GW. Who is Siljander? He was convicted in July of several crimes that were related to providing financial support to terrorism.

GWU must repudiate these degrees.

J.L.L said...

Somewhat off topic, but I couldn't find a better place. Have you heard of Headgates? You can read a PDF on it here: www.headgates.org/resources/1.%20Headgates.pdf.

This is way worse than TJed in my opinion. It's Fundamental TJed. It takes things to such an extreme you have to read it to believe it. I know people personally doing it, and I am very disappointed.

I sure don't want to write any blog posts about it, but I wanted to mention it here because it is in the TJed\GWU sphere of influence. I guess some people will just believe anything.