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Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Method

What is a Thomas Jefferson Homeschool and How Can You Bring Leadership Education into Your Homeschool?

Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Method

By Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

As a new or veteran homeschooler, you may have realized two things about homeschooling: 1. You will never stop learning about homeschooling styles and terms you have never heard about before, and 2. Homeschoolers have latched onto so many good ideas about education that determining just what to include in your homeschool can be overwhelming. Consider “leadership education.” Why wouldn’t we want to educate our children in a way that encourages leadership? Enter the Thomas Jefferson homeschool method, which is based on—you guessed it—the life and qualities and philosophies of the third president of the United States. Discover what you need to know about this leadership-based homeschooling method here!

What is the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Approach?

Pros and Cons of a Thomas Jefferson Education for Homeschool Tips for Incorporating the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Style
Support for Families Using the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Method Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Curriculum and Resources

Thomas Jefferson Education Book List

*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although many of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.


What is the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Approach?

As one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson is known for his leadership in a time of great transition. Thomas Jefferson’s educational theory has become the basis for a style of education that focuses on leadership and individuality while keeping in mind certain tenets about value and knowledge, human nature and society, transmission and opportunity, and consensus. Because the approach is based on the classics and is built on the classical framework established by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, it can be considered to have a rather religious basis, but secular homeschoolers can enjoy the power of the methods while modifying the reading materials, etc., to fit their family’s goals.

The Thomas Jefferson educational approach is focused on these seven keys to teaching: classics (not textbooks), mentors (not professors), inspire (not require), quality (not conformity), structured time (not content), simplicity (not complexity), and you (not them). An updated version also introduces “security” and “standing for something.” You can listen to a 90-minute audio about “The New 7 Keys and the Phases of Learning” or check out these resources to learn more!



Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd)
This is the official Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) website. The introduction compares “conveyer belt education” (described as “education where every student is expected to conform to a pre-established system of schooling designed by some politician or other type of authority… a one-size fits-all model of education”) to “leadership education” (described as “education where parents, teachers and other mentors help each individual student discover and refine his/her unique, innate genius and get an education to prepare for life success… the focus of TJEd”). Request your free video series that includes an introduction to Thomas Jefferson education, a six-point plan for family reset, and the phases of learning.

What is Thomas Jefferson Education and Homeschooling? | HubPages
Learn about the three methods of schooling, the seven keys to teaching, and where to find more resources. Watch a video of a lecture presentation, by Dr. Shanon Brooks, introducing the Thomas Jefferson education method.

What is Thomas Jefferson Education Homeschooling | Hess Un-Academy
Read a basic overview of the method and learn about the seven keys of great teaching, the role of parents, the mission of Thomas Jefferson education, and the phases of leadership education.


Pros and Cons of a Thomas Jefferson Education for Homeschool

One of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is choosing a method that works for your family. Now that you know a little about Thomas Jefferson education, you may wonder, “Is this method right for your family?” The answer requires a consideration of the pros and cons in light of your family’s goals and needs. The Thomas Jefferson method obviously supports the development of leadership in your child, and you and your child may love the fact that there are no textbooks. All of that may be motivating for your child and infuse in your child a love of learning. As parents, you may enjoy your role as mentors and bask in the development of your child’s individuality.

However, as parents, you will also see that the Thomas Jefferson method requires a lot more of you as you become a mentor and do not rely on textbooks. You may want more resources beyond the official TJEd website, and you may find that creating a secular education for your child is more challenging in this format. The good news is that there are other homeschoolers who are willing to share experiences and ideas, and there are lots of resources for inspiring leadership in your child. You may be more on your own than in other, more structured homeschooling methods, but you are definitely not alone!


Tips for Incorporating the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Style

Sometimes hearing from homeschoolers and homeschool organizations is the best way to decide whether a homeschooling method will work for you. Here are some places to start:



Design Your Own Thomas Jefferson Education | Design Your Homeschool
Discover the steps to planning your Thomas Jefferson Education, including setting educational goals, creating your classics list, setting up a rich learning environment, reading to your children, and much more!

Podcast: Give Your Child a Thomas Jefferson Education | Homeschool.com
Joining us is Dr. Oliver DeMille, author of A Thomas Jefferson Education. Dr. DeMille explains that this model of education is about leadership. In his research, he found that many great leaders throughout history have had this type of education, which is about training leaders, not specific to job training. Leadership education is designed to train an individual to take virtue and leadership into life. Learn more here!”


Support for Families Using the Thomas Jefferson Homeschool Method

Directly connecting with homeschoolers who use the Thomas Jefferson method can help you get started and stay motivated, making your homeschool as effective as it can be. Try to find families in your local homeschooling network or join one of these online homeschool support groups specifically focused on leadership or the Thomas Jefferson educational approach:

The Global Leadership Academy for Homeschoolers
The Global Leadership Academy for Homeschoolers (GLA) is a fourth through twelfth grade educational youth organization for homeschool students. It is our mission to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, service, and leadership. Our goal is to provide a solid extra-curricular program that develops leaders who will make a positive contribution to the world.”

Leadership and Character Development for Homeschooling Families
“This group is a forum for discussion and collaboration on leader and character development for homeschooling families. All parents, regardless of the schooling path for their children, are welcome.

Leadership Education Homeschool Discussion (TJEd)
Leadership Education (“TJEd”) is a philosophy/methodology designed to promote excellence in education and achievement of a personal mission. This group is for: 1) Discussing implementation of TJEd; 2) Support for other lifestyle things (pretty broad!); 3) Sharing things that delight/inspire.”

Mentoring our Own
“Helping moms to succeed in homeschool, family, home, and life!” This page is led by Donna Goff, a mentor, speaker, author, and homeschool curriculum developer.


Thomas Jefferson Curriculum and Resources

Now it’s time to explore where you can find Thomas Jefferson curriculum and resources. Leadership education books and ebooks, videos, courses, conferences, and even camps are available. You simply need to know where to look. Here are a few suggestions to start your research:

Envision – Junior National Young Leaders Conference $
The Junior National Young Leaders Conference (JrNYLC) is the premier leadership development program for middle school students. To ensure that students attending JrNYLC have the most impactful experience possible, the program is divided into two separate age groups”: 5th and 6th graders and 7th and 8th graders.

Leadership Education Mentoring Institute $
Scholar projects involve both parents and children and are focused on V-MASK principles: Vision, Mission, Abilities, Skills, and Knowledge. Find leadership education books, ebooks, and student manuals to support the scholar projects, too.

Monticello College – Micro Semesters $
“Monticello College has one goal: build new American Founders. In the same way that ‘True North’ is required for precision navigation, America needs to return to her ‘true North’ which requires Americans built from the same stuff as our forefathers.” Monticello College offers three separate micro semesters (26 days each) for your child of at least 16 years of age to experience. “We are a work college. We are a liberal arts college. We are a leadership college.”

Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd or Leadership Education) | Pinterest Collection by Homeschool On
Thomas Jefferson Education is a homeschool method that essentially teaches through classic literature, discussion, and writing. Also referred to as TJed or Leadership Education, this homeschool style is revolutionizing the conveyor belt education model! Thomas Jefferson Education Homeschooling!” Browse this collection of materials pinned by Homeschool On.

Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) $
Explore the courses available through TJEd, including “Mentoring in the Classics,” “TJEd High!” “This Week in History,” “TJEd High Advanced,” “How to Mentor,” and more. Other resources are also available through the TJEd Shop.


Thomas Jefferson Education Book List

If you are looking to infuse leadership education in your homeschool, you may want some help finding leadership in education books. Start with these fundamental leadership education books to help you understand the Thomas Jefferson method, and then create your own “great books” list (making it as secular or as religious as you want).

Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning $
By Oliver DeMille (Author), Rachel DeMille (Author), Michelle Smith (Editor), Daniel Ruesch (Illustrator)
Oliver and Rachel DeMille’s Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning is the manual that every person who aspires to be an effective leader, or to raise one, needs. […] This book will help any family find the direction they are looking for when pursuing leadership education. This book teaches not only the theories behind Thomas Jefferson Education but also the practical application of these theories for you and your children, with great detail on the features of Thomas Jefferson Education-modeled home, parenting, family, education, leadership, and life’s mission.

A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion $
By Oliver DeMille (Author), Rachel DeMille (Author), Diann Jeppson (Author)
At a time when the American educational system is in crisis and the family is under attack, the tried-and-true principles handed down through the ages, herein called Thomas Jefferson Education, are fostering the revival of a culture of leadership and liberty. As a result, the family is being restored to its rightful place as the basic unit of a prosperous and free society; and the prospects for American education are looking brighter than ever. These incredibly helpful articles read, at times, like a letter from a friend, at times like an entry in a journal of Education or Child Development, and even, at times, like we’re overhearing a conversation. But in every case, it is relevant, accessible, and empowering.

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century $
By Oliver Van DeMille (Author)
Is American education preparing the future leaders our nation needs, or merely struggling to teach basic literacy and job skills? Without leadership education, are we settling for an inadequate system that delivers educational, industrial, governmental, and societal mediocrity? In A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century, Oliver DeMille presents a new educational vision based on proven methods that really work! Teachers, students, parents, educators, legislators, leaders, and everyone who cares about America’s future must read this compelling book.

Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens, and Every Adult Who Wants to Change the World $
By Oliver DeMille (Author)
“This latest addition to the TJEd library is written to youth and adults wanting to accomplish a successful Scholar Phase academics, personal development, and mission preparation. It includes How to find the Real You, The Teen-100 List, How to study the classics, How to make the most of your mentor, Sample Simulations… plus lots more!


Are you familiar with the Thomas Jefferson method of homeschooling? What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips or resources? Please share in the comments below….

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