Sunday, February 24, 2013

How We are Applying Leadership Education for All Ages and Stages



Leadership Education easily applies to all aspect of our lives.  It affects what I do as a mother, it affects how I communicate with others, and it applies to what I purchase, how I apply the principles of the Gospel, and how I educate my children.   At the writing of this article we have been doing home education the Thomas Jefferson way eight years with nine unique children.  I’ve learned so much along the way and feel much more confident in this stage of home ed than how I felt eight years ago.  

Oliver DeMille says you should start preparing for Scholar Phase when your child is in Core phase.  You need to always been thinking very far ahead.  When the child is in Scholar Phase you should be thinking about Depth phase.   When we started I had pulled my older three kids out of school and they were ages 9, 8, and 7 and I had three other kids ages 5, 3, and a baby.  Fast forward to today those kids are in Scholar Phase: Self-Directed, Apprentice, Practice Scholars.  The next three kids are in Love of Learning phase and I have three other kids who are all in Core.  I guess you could say I’m knee deep in Leadership Education.

Remembering the KEY YOU not THEM, I’ll start with moi.  

I run several home businesses because that is part of my mission to “help the sisters”.  It is also very fulfilling for me to have something larger than myself that I am working on.  I run the HomemakingCottage, the Enrichment Cottage online, sell Essential Oils, and help heal emotions with Energy Healing.  I’m also working on my scholar phase and taking several courses whenever I can to education myself.   How does this look?  Tuesday’s and Thursday’s are my “work” days and I spend 6-8 hours with breaks in between working.  The internet happens mostly in the evenings when I can squeeze it in and that goes for the Essential Oils business.  I also spend several hours a day reading or listening to books.  I listen to books or my favorite podcasts (Alex Jones, Nothing But Truth, Focal Point) in the car.  I read when I wake up and before going to bed.  I take many snatches of time throughout the day to read as well.  I also take time to exercise and I get to the gym four times a week.

The classes I’m currently squeezing in are Foundations of Liberty with Dr. Shanon Brooks.  He comes to Colorado every other month for a day long lecture.  My kids are in Founder’s Commonwealth school on Wednesdays.  I’m taking the adult Scholar class there.  I take Oliver DeMille’s online classes whenever possible.  My husband and I head an Emergency Preparation group and we have classes related to this once a month.  I’m involved in two book groups a month and I enjoy doing a Great Courses class when I can.


Our Home Library---one view
Classics Not Textbooks

When I first began Leadership Education I had no idea how many classic children’s books there were.  Well, I had no idea how many CLASSICS there were.  Within the first couple of years, I found a Book Mentor.  She is still my book mentor even while I mentor others in creating their own home libraries.  She is still several steps ahead in that area.  Additionally, I also use the book The Well-Trained Mind as a guide for classic books for kids.  We have two libraries for our family, a children’s area upstairs and the main library downstairs.  

When I want to focus on music, we go to books, not textbooks.  When I want to teach the children grammar, there are many great books, not textbooks.  Math books are bounteous and when they are older they read from the mathematicians.  We do use a few textbooks for math, but they are the side note not the focus.

Here are a few books in each area for the different phases for examples:


Musicians:

All: The Fandex Family Field Guide Composers

Core and Love of Learning:

Mozart by Ann Rachlin
George Handel by Mike Venezia
Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss

Scholars:

Reinventing Bach by Paul Elie
A Taste for the Classics by Patrick Kavanaugh
Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers

Grammar

All ages:

Up, Up and Way: A book about Adverbs by Ruth Heller
Mine, All Mine: A book about Pronouns by Ruth Heller
A Cache of Jewels and other Collective Nouns by Ruth Heller

Scholar:
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Math
Core and Love of Learning:
Monster Musical Chairs
All of the Sir Cumference books
The Action of Subtraction by Brian P. Cleary

Scholars:

String, Straight-edge and Shadow by Julie E. Diggins
The Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe
The Golden Ratio by Mario Livio

Because classics also define other media besides books, we enjoy Kahn Academy online or on the ipad app as well as TED talks. (Like this one:)


We have about an hour a day (and it’s not always first thing in the morning, although that is ideal) when we do Power of an Hour (see Donna Goff’s site).  I spend time reading from our Core Book (scriptures), we do the Pledge of a Allegiance, sing songs, say prayer, and read one or more of these books as well as a classic and another educational book.  Right now we’re finishing the Hobbit and the book Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made by Bill Slavin.

Mentors Not Professors

Based on the interests of my children and our family’s vision, the children have several mentors aside from me.  They are for: cello, violin, viola, and piano, sign language, math and science, and two of my children have a reading mentor, ballroom dancing mentor, and several other mentors.

As much as it sounds inviting for me to want to go back to school for a degree, in all reality that isn’t what I really want.  I think about Nat Bowditch in the book Carry on, Mr. Bowditch and his passion for learning and teaching himself so much.  Whenever I want to learn something new, I don’t register in college, I find someone who can teach me or look online to find a course (via internet, DVD, or tutorials) that can teach me.  

My daughter Charisa sorting receipts with Dad.

Stay tuned for Part two…

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