Quote of the Day

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


NOTE: The following is a cross-post from the comment section of the "Why I Don't Do TJED" blog. The comment was posted yesterday by someone who says they recently graduated from George Wythe.

As I was never home-schooled and was not introduced to LDS culture prior to college, I like to think that I have a unique viewpoint from other readers and posters on this blog.

I recently graduated from George Wythe, a promoter of TJE. It's the sad truth that they've made some horrendous errors in judgment (finances being only one and the others being already listed in your blog) but it's also truth[sic] that I enjoyed my time there and learned a lot.

Is all that I learned immediately practical for making a living in today's world? Heck no! I knew that before I applied. I had decided that I'd rather try a college focused on classics and discussion rather than a 'normal' college which would only give an exaggeration of high school.

It all depends on what we want and expect. If I'd been looking for a career in the sciences, my time and money likely would have been wasted. Philosophy (the basic[sic] of the college) is great to think about and consider, but it's never been practical.

No-one in my family expected the college, or TJE in general, to be the final word of authority. How can we completely rely on other fallible people and their very new theories and ideas? Take what works and leave what doesn't based on your own personal experience. That's what I learned from my grandfather, an intelligent man who never had more than a 6th grade education.

Perhaps part of this problem is the advertising; it's more philosophy in general than only Thomas Jefferson's (likely) education.

Also, it's not for everybody and they shouldn't say it is. Some people like and want/need that kind of education, others would hate it. Some people need and want a vo-tech and nothing more. We as a society and world need those kinds of people too.

Maybe TJE would work out better if issues such as have been addressed here would be addressed by proponents of that education style. I'll be in front of the line to admit they're elitist and loathe (like other normal humans) to admit being in error.

[whyidontdotjed.blogspot.com] is a good blog. You make good points, good arguments and good sense. Thanks for being polite and reasonable about your opinion.

Photo: George Wythe University


Anonymous said...

TRGW, this sounds like something you would write. Sadly there is no way to prove you didn't write it is there?

Anonymous said...

I actually liked the comment on JLL's blog just above the one you quoted here.

The Real George Wythe said...

The comment above the one quoted illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding reflected in many comments on this blog.

The commenter says the dad doesn't understand TJEd. Yet he is able to clearly articulate the tenets to the point that true believers are left with two defenses: personal attacks and dismissive claims that "he just doesn't get it."

Like I've said before, that line from Hoosiers describes the purpose of this blog (and what I think is the intent of the homeschooling dad's blog):

"Look, mister, there's two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with."

If all this learn-calculus-by-reading-Newton baloney were happening in a vacuum, with no kids or new homeschooling parents involved, then I wouldn't give a darn.

Same goes for George Wythe College.

But it's not happening in a vacuum, so real peoples' lives are being impacted in real ways.

I'm not sure why a truly on-the-ball parent would dismiss clearly articulated criticism of an educational method they've adopted for their children with a personal attack or a "you just don't understand."

If the response were a thoughtful counter-argument, then okay, I can respect that.

But I rarely see thoughtful counter-arguments.

Anonymous said...

As an on-the-ball mother, I invite you to come see for yourself the fruits of this learn-calculus-by-reading-newton baloney at the TJED Forum in March. You’ll have to admit there is something special about the caliber of youth that attend the adjacent youth conference. Sit in your bubble and criticize all you like, but I’ve been there and it’s real. As an on-the-ball mother I find that I get further on awareness than denial. You might also want to check out...


I grew up with Exhibit B, but I prefer Exhibit A in my living room. Thank you.

The Real George Wythe said...

On-the-ball Mother, I read the article. It is a typical TJEd straw man job.

The DeMilles claim that schools create these ideas in kids:

School isn’t fun
Leave your studies until the last minute
Math is boring and irrelevant
Do the bare minimum in your school work so you can focus on things you really like
Little brothers and sisters are pests
Big brothers and sisters aren’t reliable like your friends
Parents, ditto
Parents just don’t understand me
Teen culture is real life
Deep study of academic topics isn’t cool
Hard things aren’t fun
Textbooks are the source of knowledge

That's bull. I have kids (and am certainly not in a bubble). My kids attend a public school, and although they may exhibit some of the above characteristics, I do not attribute it to their schooling--I attribute it to them being (1) human and (2) kids.

Aside from that my kids are very bright, love learning, do their chores on their own, etc. etc. And we do not "do TJEd."

Little brothers and sisters are pests? Big brothers and sisters aren’t reliable like your friends? Really? The DeMilles REALLY think public schooling teaches this to kids?

And of course they got their (completely indefensible) dig in at textbooks.

Look, the DeMilles list a lot of good things. Hard work. Not overburdening kids. Obviously that's good stuff. But they're articulating not only what others have already taught; they're articulating common sense, ala Captain Obvious.

But they also talk about their TJEd "principles." (I put that in quotes because I believe a principle must be true and solid to really be a principle.)

It's their implication that these "principles" are the only way to make your kid Exhibit A that is highly disturbing. And their method of bashing to get to that point--by creating a strawman public school experience and then attacking it--is something I cannot respect.

Engaging in a free exchange of ideas is commendable. Basing an entire educational method on fallacious reasoning is not.

Bob said...

So TRGW, your argument is that the hundreds of amazing and dynamic youth walking around and participating in the TJED conference this March will be neither 1) human nor 2) kids.

I don’t think that Anon or the DeMille’s are implying that TJED is the only way to get Exhibit A youth. It just seems remarkable to see the high ratio of TJED youth that turn out that way.

The Real George Wythe said...


No that is not what I am saying. I didn't realize you or for that matter the DeMilles believed every TJED kid exhibits the positive (or does not exhibit the negative) qualities listed in the article.

For example, it appears you believe all the kids at this conference:

-do not procrastinate studies
-don't do the bare minimum in schoolwork so they can focus on what they really like
-think hard things are fun
-love to study math
-are happy to help out with housework
-and so on

Is that correct? Is that what I'm hearing you say? (And please respond to my question with something other than (a) a personal attack or (b) telling me I just don't get it.)

Well if this is truly the case, you have a panacea on your hands and you must get the word out.

This dovetails well with your statement that "It just seems remarkable to see the high ratio of TJED youth that turn out that way."

That may be. Let's see your data. Let's see something other than loose anecdotal evidence or strawman attacks on other methods of education.

If you or DeMille or someone else really want to put the critics to rest, why don't you set up an empirical study. Put together a survey of parents which asks (1) where the kids attend school, or if they homeschool what method(s) the parents follow; (2) which of a list of attributes their children exhibit; (3) what specific topics their children struggle with; (4) what age the children are; and so on.

You get the idea.

Do an empirical study that will show a statistically significant correlation between doing TJED and having Exhibit A kids.

That is a study I would read. And if you showed statistical significance for doing TJED, I would shut this blog down and become an advocate of your cause.

But right now, all any of us has is (1) analysis of the theories and (2) our own anecdotal evidence.

Bob said...

You can’t possibly believe that your second hand guesswork can credibly compete with my personal experience. I echo the invitation of the mother above for you to come and see for yourself. Until you’ve done at least that much, I hold to my previous statement that you are unqualified to even have an opinion about it.

Bob said...

And regarding, "That is a study I would read"... if there's one theme you've proven over and over again in your blog, it's that you are not so big on reading. Why don't you take the time to personally objectively read the information already available to you? Start with Thomas Jefferson Education. Then consider the 5000 Year Leap. You might then consider DeMille's newest book FreedomShift. Then come back here and bash away. At least then you'll be a bit more qualified to do so.

Bob said...

Until then you'll be about as qualified to keep critiquing TJED as you are to critique the Russian national Board of Education.

The Real George Wythe said...

Bob, I'm disappointed that after all that you still responded with personal attacks and "you don't get its".

I have read DeMille's A Thomas Jefferson Education. I have ready many of his other writings. I think I do "get it."

I'll restate. All either of us can go on is (a) our own analysis of TJEd and (b) our own anecdotal experiences.

My analysis is in harmony with JLL's on his "Why I Don't Do TJED" blog.

I have interacted with many TJED and non-TJED homeschooling families and have therefore gathered my own anecdotal evidence about its effects.

So there we have it. Analysis and anecdotes.

We clearly interpret our anecdotes through the lens of our analysis. Therefore I would venture that my attending your conference would be the last thing you would want, because based on my analysis and past experience it would do nothing but confirm what I already believe. Just as your attending will likely confirm your beliefs.

Let's see some empirical evidence.

Anonymous said...

Bob & Trgw, I don’t think you are in disagreement here. Bob, you are saying that the TJED teens you know are for the most part “Exhibit A” teens. Trgw, you are saying that your own children and other normal human kids, who don’t use TJED, manifest “Exhibit B” characteristics.

Bob claims he has satisfactory empirical evidence for his beliefs and has attended a TJED forum. Trgw says he lacks empirical evidence and has never attended a TJED forum.

Sounds to me like you are both saying the same things.

The Real George Wythe said...

Let me help you out Anon.

I have interacted with many TJED kids. Not one has lived up to "Exhibit A." My own kids are much closer than these TJED'ers.

How about this list:

- superiority complex
- poor grammar
- very poor writing skills
- heavy use of fallacious reasoning
- inexplicable desire to hear the prophet, DeMille, in person
- validated by having Rachel DeMille in Facebook friends list
- overburdened with housework, under-burdened with schoolwork

I could go on.

This is your Exhibit C. And yes the TJEDers I interact with largely manifest these characteristics.