Two nights ago my daughter’s Thomas Jefferson Youth Certification III class had their supreme court simulation. It was fun to watch. The kids dressed up and the mentor got adults, including my attorney husband, to be Supreme Court justices who grilled the kids on their mock law briefs.
It was 18 years ago this summer that I was pregnant with baby #1. In September of that year I got to give birth to my long awaited for baby. I asked my sister in law to help at the birth. She had been to a small liberal arts college for a year and now had decided to attend midwifery college. I remember hearing about this small liberal arts college she had attended. It was in Duck Creek, Utah and was a place where students studied the classics and discussed them. Frankly, that sounded a little weird. Could students learn just by reading classics and talking about them? I had a degree from BYU. I took some classes that did exactly that but a lot of my classes involved textbooks and listening to professors lecture. I was skeptical at the time that a real education could take place in such a relaxed way but looking back, I realize now that my favorite class, an Honors class, involved reading classics and discussing them.
That small liberal arts college was George Wythe College and that baby I was pregnant with will now be attending that college this fall. One of the classmates of my sister in law was Tiffany Earl, the founder of LEMI, Leadership Education Mentoring Institute. LEMI is really cool because it teaches parents how to create a school in their own community that they own and control, and how to mentor youth in learning about early American history, Shakespeare, world history, classics, worldviews, freedom, the War Between the States, and leadership. Parents learn how to run a school, how to mentor youth to be scholars, and how to use the five environments of learning in the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJED) book. Tiffany’s daughter has been taking the TJYC class with my daughter by Skype and was there at the simulation, following in her mom’s steps of leadership education.
When I was about 13 or 14 I had this daydream of running a school in the basement of my home for youth in my community, including my own children, who would want to study really hard and not be distracted by the social circus of public school. I’ve never had a basement big enough to do that. I realize now that that daydream I had has been fulfilled by LEMI. LEMI has trained the parents in my homeschool community to create a school for my children 12 and over who don’t have to deal with a social circus and are studying classics. That school is a commonwealth school. A commonwealth school is owned by parents and is made to last even when those parents have kids outgrow. It passes on to the next set of parents who want the same thing for their children.
I’ve been involved in another “co op” type school for homeschooled youth and it wasn’t the same. The school was controlled by one mom, not all the parents, and what that mom said was the rule. I much prefer the commonwealth school model for scholars.
After six years of being involved with a commonwealth school I finally got to go to LEMI training a few weeks ago. Here’s what I learned:
– it would be helpful for new to TJED people to have a glossary of terms. I’m going to work on that and post it on my tjedlibrary.com site.
– Salt Lake county finally has a thriving commonwealth school
– a commonwealth school is sprouting up in the Eagle Mountain Utah area
– part of being a scholar is learning to submit and finish work that you are excited to start as a love of learner
– I really did not have the vision of what a commonwealth school was six years ago when I sent my son to it. I wish I had been able to take this training sooner. I didn’t think I could mentor a class because what would I do with my other children? I can see now that I had blinders on. I could have worked out a babysitting trade with another mom.
Just who are these lovely ladies? From left to right, Kathy Mellor of unleashingyourvoice.com, Amy Bowler, and Brenda Haws. They are all trainers for LEMI, teaching parents how to teach the classes, or “scholar projects” as LEMI likes to call them. Sorry the picture is not that great, I took it with my cell phone camera during the time my nicer camera was lost.
– LEMI training has different break out sessions. One of them is called the New Commonwealth School Builder. That is what you would want to attend if you are new to LEMI and commonwealths.
-It is actually fun to have an oral exam.
-You can have 9 people read the Inner Ring by C.S. Lewis and have 9 people have totally different reactions.
-The inner ring of the TJED world is not a fake inner ring but one that is based on friendship. If there is something that seems “exclusive” about the people in TJED, start asking around how you can be involved and you will be able to find a way into the inner ring. It’s not that hard and it’s not exclusive.
-LEMI continues to mentor the mentors through the year through monthly conference calls. Each commonwealth school is also supposed to have a monthly conference call among its members. I can’t wait for the new school year to participate in these.
– teaching writing is not as hard as it’s made out to be. Aneladee Milne has developed a fun way to teach writing to youth.
– I am grateful that my mom lives relatively close and that she was willing to watch my four younger children so I could go to this training as my two older boys went camping and my older daughter came to the training
– Diann Jeppson was there and she taught that parliamentary procedure is important to learn so that we can return to our ancestors’ way of speaking through the language of contracts and freedom.
– Aneladee’s daughter doesn’t mind walking around all day in high heels while pregnant.
– if I didn’t have a commonwealth school handy I would create one. I would get the book by Aneladee and Tiffany about it (see http://shop.lemimentortraining.com/The-New-Commonwealth-Schools-by-Aneladee-Milne-and-Tiffany-Earl-105.htm), read it, share it with other parents, and have them each chip in $20 to $30 so I could go to the training.