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How was your day?


Recently, on our Facebook discussion group, I read the following comment:

“Today was an awesome homeschool day. With lots of reading, counting, math, science, art, history, even some helping around the house, cooking, and quality outdoor time. It would be cool if every day was like this. I’ve been worried about feeling like a failure, this gives me hope.”

When our kids were mostly young, my homeschooling friend/next-door neighbor and I used to figure: One perfect “school-ey” day in ten was about what we could expect, with varying degrees of progress and differing focus sprinkled in. I used to hang on those days for hope, like the commenter above. They used to define my success as a “homeschooler,” and be my justification for carrying on.

Not anymore.

Here’s the thing: I think we tend to celebrate the days that look the most “school-ey” as our greatest successes – especially when we’re starting out. But if you’re honest with yourself, every day can be a celebration of something:

  • She got past being “bored” all by herself next right thing
  • They played together so creatively
  • We worked together /or/ we just sat in the same room all day doing random handwork or quiet games – while listening to awesome music and audio books
  • He taught himself how to use an audio editing program and started creating with it
  • A project with dad turned into a rabbit trail of questions, answers and discovery
  • The kids got to serve each other all day while I slept off a rough night with the new baby
  • A visit from Grandma/Grandpa turned into several hours of “what was it like…” – one of the very best kinds of history lesson!
  • The kids and I fixed the vacuum all by ourselves, and learned tons about how it worked (and didn’t work)
  • We explored the chemistry of stain removal, the arithmetic of recipes, and the biology of food forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. For real. We actually learned about them!
  • They created a magic mailbox and wrote each other secret letters in code all day
  • We watched a butterfly come out of its chrysalis, and did an internet search of lots of things hatching and being born, with tons of questions and tangents
  • They played card games all morning that secretly honed their mental math skills
  • They holed up with their library books and only came out for food and drink, and I was able to finish a bunch of projects I’ve been putting off
  • We watched documentaries on Netflix
  • We found a local friend to mentor us on the subject of the documentaries on Netflix

Honestly, if we treat each day as a way to help train up great souls, the lessons will be rich and varied. The academics, truth be told, take way less time than learning to get along, learning to be responsible, learning to be creative, learning to serve joyfully.

The 10:1 ratio isn’t a bit skewed! It really works when 1 out of 10 days is heavy on school-ey stuff. Remember, school-ey stuff is happening, in one way or another, practically every day – even when it doesn’t look school-like. And the other stuff makes the school-ey stuff actually matter, it makes it relevant, it provides real-life application. It gives it context, makes it pleasurable, helps refine the character and detect the purpose of the individual who’ll someday wield that knowledge for good in the world!

And, it makes it so that those academics/skills-rich days are fresh, exciting and new when they come around, so all that type of learning is done “in the zone” – where they’re engaged and interested, eager and effective. Honestly: Why would you do it any other way?

How to Prepare

There is a difference between being prepared to take advantage of teaching moments, and over-programming your week and life, trying to “make” it be that school-ey, one-in-ten kind of day. A few tips can help you get on the right track.

  1. Lead out in learning.
    When you, personally, are doing things that interest you and bring you joy, you communicate in living color the value of self-improvement, education and applying what you do and know in ways that make a difference in the world.

    Whether it’s reading, practicing an instrument, hobbies, fitness, talents, entrepreneurship, spreading beauty, sharing love, expanding your awareness of others and your ability to serve or teach or share – all of these things enhance your kids’ lives and education!Invest in yourself as the model of self-education, the learning-leader in your home, and what it means to be an adult who loves life and education.

  2. Prepare your environment.
    individualized-learning-meme A. By de-cluttering your home, you spend less time caring for stuff, and more time exploring ideas and projects that spark learning.B. By investing in some simple basics for subjects you value (whether that be art/craft supplies, basic experimentation tools, manipulatives, raw materials for creating and building, kitchen science, music makers, technology assists, games that teach, etc.), having a closet of ready projects that require the kids to invest themselves and take initiative, rather than follow checklists and fill in blanks, will teach valuable lessons they can hardly learn in any other way.
  3. Simplify your time.
    One of the big deal-killers for homeschool is being over-commited in your calendar.Large blocks of time are necessary for kids to take initiative, to come up with questions and to follow curiosity and inspiration.

    If they are constantly being told what to think and do, there’s way to much work on the adult in the situation, and the kids are not really owning their role in their education.For example, most young children do best with only a couple of outings per month. Mid-age kids, maybe once per week. Teens a couple of times per week.

    If you find yourself or your kids never have time to sit and think, never have a moment when you wonder what you should do now, you probably have too much on your calendar. Simplify!

  4. Read together. Lots!
    DeMille-Almost nothing more powerful(1) I cannot stress enough how much of the heavy lifting in family education is done by reading quality stories and books together as a family.The lessons of life, the examples of heroism, of sacrifice, of forgiveness, of failure, of mediocrity, of wickedness, of joy, of service, of friendship, of family – are taught vicariously as we come face-to-face with greatness in the classics.They inspire personal excellence and effort beyond momentary self-gratification. They speak to each individual in their own language, and in the ways that are most meaningful. They provide a bonding medium where the whole family shares an experience together.

    Try it! You’ll be amazed at how the math just doesn’t equate – their learning will grow by leaps and bounds just a few months out when you start reading together from the great classics that have delighted adults and children alike for generations!


great education is inspired education

Own each day.

Be a detective: Know what each day is for!

Work with the natural rhythm that is coming your way to take advantage of teaching/learning/growing opportunities.

For help to know how to identify these, and how to utilize them, check this out.

For ideas on embracing the rhythm of life in your homeschool – consider a Family Reset >>

And above all: Press forward, mamma/daddy! You’re doing great!

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Many people struggle with feeling a sense of lost or wasted time in their education, or perhaps in their preparation to be a parent or a mentor.

They lament with myriad versions of “if only,” and torture themselves with guilt and anxiety over what they did or didn’t do as a youth, as a young adult, as a student, as a young father or mother, etc.

They make a detailed accounting of their inadequacies and grieve for their children having such an imperfect, unprepared parent.

I’d like to address this in today’s Inspiration Smoothie. I think of it this way:

There is nothing more powerfully inspiring than someone undergoing profound change.

next right thing Yes, there’s strength in getting everything right, every step of the way. I’m not saying that’s a disadvantage.

And yet, there is a special kind of strength in contrast, in opposition.

The Power of “Becoming”

Your kids are going to see your yearning. They’ll witness, close-up and firsthand, your effort, your vision, your optimism.

THOSE lessons– not just “getting everything right from the start”–are super important to your particular kids, for some reason.

The lesson of knowing what it looks like to deliberately change course, even thought it’s hard: Think about what that’s teaching them!

The power of conversion, the process of transformation, is really, really special. Be grateful you get to share that with them now, while they’re your witness, and the recipients of the gifts and challenges that it’s bringing to you and your family.

xoxo rd

What meaningful progress are you making right now? What is your “next right thing”? How can your idealism, and your embracing of this process, bless those you teach? Please comment below, and share!

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learning-garden-meme Q: How does your [learning] garden grow?

A: Not by force –  nor by accident!

Perhaps silver bells and cockleshells worked for contrary Miss Mary, but master gardeners do not “make” their gardens grow. And yet it is clearly not by chance or accident that they succeed! They know the principles that govern their success, and they understand their role in the process.

Homeschool Starter Pack from Leadership Education

Prepare your heart, home and family for homeschool success!

When your garden isn’t doing well, you don’t immediately think that the plants are doing it all wrong and need fixing. You assume that they’ll thrive when you have the environment right! Leadership Education can help you get the environment right so that a natural love for learning and educational excellence are blooming brilliantly in your home and family.

For only $15.75, with immediate electronic delivery worldwide, The Homeschool Starter Pack from Leadership Education includes:

  • How to Take Your Homeschool from Ordinary to Extraordinary (mp3, 29 min)
    In this short audio, Rachel briefly and lovingly shares how to get your new or existing homeschool on track /and/ have both academic excellence and harmony in the home. Sound impossible? It’s not! Listen for yourself….

  • The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers (PDF, 69 pp)
    Every homeschooling parent struggles with similar questions… [you won’t find the right curriculum; you don’t know enough; your kids won’t thrive; your relationships will suffer] And yet, some homeschoolers navigate these issues and have a great experience! What makes the difference? Can their experience translate to success for you? Yes! This beautifully illustrated e-book will show you the “secrets” of happy, successful, excellent homeschooling.

  • What’s So Great about the Classics: Homeschooling for Dads (mp3, 128 min)
    • The 3 Great Powers of Highly Successful Homeschool Dads
    • The 1 Big Thing That Makes all The Difference—in Less Than 1 Hour a Week
    • “But it Doesn’t Seem Like They’re Doing Anything!”
    • Dads as Heroes (and What to Do About It)
    • 35 Reasons the Classics are the Best Curriculum for Education, Career, Finances, and Family
    • Help Your Kids Get a Truly Excellent Education, including in Math, Science, and Career Prep
    • What Your Wife Needs to Truly Make it Work!
    • …and much more 

  • Introduction to the Phases of Learning/A Return to Simplicity (PDF, 29 pp)

    One of the most significant differences between Thomas Jefferson Education and other classical styles of education has to do with the belief that people, especially children, learn differently at different ages. Thus, there are different phases for learning certain lessons. When the The 7 Keys of Great Teaching are applied with the Phases in mind, it’s like hitting the sweet spot–-less muscle, greater outcomes!

  • A Thomas Jefferson Education in our Home (PDF, 40 pp)
    This 40 page pdf download is rich in examples and anecdotes from Oliver and Rachel’s early days on the path of homeschooling and Leadership Education, and contains an extremely valuable Q&A section.

    • Introduction to the 7 Keys of Great Teaching by Oliver DeMille
    • Discussion of each individual phase
    • Family Reading
    • Projects for Learning
    • How to simplify your time and space
    • How to share your passion for learning with your children
    • …and much more!

This product kit contains e-books that are graphically rich and beautifully illustrated, and inspiring audios that speak to both the mother heart and the common concerns that dads have. The Homeschool Starter Pack contains practical and inspiring tips from master mentors to help you create your ideal homeschool!

Get your Homeschool Starter Kit from Leadership Education >>

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Guest post by Jenny Loughmiller

Setting Out

Mountain Path My official homeschooling journey began with a panic attack. When my two oldest kids got into the car on the last day of grades 1 and 3 and we pulled away from school we pulled away from everything I knew, everything that was safe, everything that was routine. My vision narrowed, my heart raced, my stomach clenched, my hands shook. I had no confidence in myself. I had no real plan. All I had was a vision of a path towards an authentic life and superb education. I was armed with a few books about TJEd and I was praying that would be enough.

We spent that summer detoxing. Lots of reading outside, trips to the park and going to the pool. Nothing “schoolish.” When the kids’ friends started school that fall we started to get the itch to have a little more structure. I spent weeks agonizing over a school name (Columbia Academy), motto (Building faith, love, and wisdom through wonder and hard work) and mascot (Elvis, the river otter). I had school t-shirts made. I needed to feel a part of something because I was feeling very alone and very unprepared. I was filled with doubt and insecurities. Here is a list of questions from my journal on 7/21/13:

“I am back to doubting my decision to homeschool. What am I DOING? How can I possibly guide my children through all they should learn? How will I find the people they will need to mentor them in the areas they are interested in? What about the questions and assumptions the children will have to deal with? Will they resent it? Resent me? I want to them to have the best start to life that they can possibly have – is this right? Is my dream/vision too idealistic? Can the richness and inquiry and exploration and discussions REALLY happen? Can I really lead that or am I too preoccupied as a mother and the running of a household to create that kind of environment? What am I to do?”

Staying the Course

That first year was a rollercoaster. I moved through intoxicating highs and gut-wrenching lows. I was amazed at the blessings that homeschooling was bringing my family but found myself wracked with paralyzing fear and doubt at our path. I wondered over and over how I was supposed to teach what was “mine”? What did that even mean? I didn’t own any intellectual property. I was slowly reading classics but not really knowing what I was supposed to be getting out of them.

The winds that were blowing me toward the rocky shoals of doubt were getting stronger and more frequent. I wasn’t sure how much more sailing I was capable of in these conditions. I was pretty sure I was going to run the ship aground and take my family down with me. In a last-ditch effort to focus on “You, not Them” I signed up for Mentoring in the Classics.

When I heard for the first time a real scholarly and passionate discussion about a classic, I caught the vision of what a true education looks like, sounds like. The wind subtly shifted. Gradually, I began to have a desire to read more. Then I wanted to take notes. Then I wanted to keep track of my notes. Then I wanted to discuss what I was reading with others. I decided to take on additional study with the 7 Keys course. I felt like I finally had a GPS on board. I could see where we were going and I began to visualize the future and the open seas.

Reaching Destinations

next right thing When we began our second year I realized that I actually had a “mine” and began to teach it to my children. I marked off two hours each day that was my own study time. I guarded these precious hours fiercely. The kids learned to respect my need for time with my books and thoughts. I talked with them about what I was learning. I began to own my own thoughts and opinions. The desire for deeper study intensified.

I created a detailed study plan that broke down areas of interest into weekly tasks and I gave myself incentives for doing the hard work of completing the tasks. I felt like I was on fire! Then I realized I needed to take a week off from my studies to make my study plan match the calendar. It felt like I was asking myself to take the week off from eating. There was no way I could stop! The thought immediately dawned that I had arrived in my very own scholar phase. It happened. Just like the books predicted.

My almost two-year-ago self asked the question: “Can the richness and inquiry and exploration and discussions REALLY happen?” I can answer her with a confident, unequivocal “YES!”

It can. It will. It does.

The seas are still rough. I fumble with the rigging. Sometimes the boat pitches uncomfortably. But I can see where we are going. I know the course is true and I know that both the journey and the destination will be worth it.


Are you new to homeschooling? Check out our Homeschool Starter Pack >>

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by Oliver DeMille


canstockfixingcar There were several questions in response to my recent article about using Weekly Interviews with your kids and students in Love of Learning Phase. In fact, these were really good questions, and I think they’ll be helpful for everyone. Here they are, with answers:

Q: “Are these interviews best done by mom or dad, or the parent who spends the most time helping the kids learn each week?”

A: Actually, we’ve done it several ways. The most frequent is for both dad and mom to conduct the interview, giving the child or youth a chance to download whatever he or she wants to both parents. Sometimes dad does it alone with the student, other times mom runs the interviews for the week. But mostly we’re both present.

We often do our “Blank Page Brainstorming” alone, for each child. Then we talk together about what we wrote down and what each child needs. We do these things before the actual interview. But we let the child or youth lead out as much as possible, adjusting our earlier thoughts and plans to the needs and feelings of the student.

But if the student isn’t sure, or doesn’t have a clear plan for the week, we bring up the things we already thought about. Often we bring up these plans in addition to what the child brings to the interview.

We’ve found that it’s okay to mix things up—sometimes an interview with both parents, sometimes with one, and other times with the other. This tends to bring better results than always doing the same thing.

Q: “Do you discuss life topics, friends, extracurricular activities, spiritual goals, etc.” in the weekly interviews?

A: Absolutely! In fact, these things are the bulk of the conversation. Academics are an important part of the Weekly Interview, but we nearly always emphasize personal development, goals, spiritual growth, and upcoming life events first. And we usually spend time on what people normally think of as “academics.”

Q: “Do you only meet with those in Love of Learning Phase?”

A: No. We hold Weekly Interviews with all the kids, in all four phases. And now that many of our kids are adults, we still hold occasional “discussions” with them that are very similar to the old interviews. Of course we go easy with the adults, only helping where they ask for it and/or really want it. But we try to be there. And we certainly hold the weekly Brainstorming-A-Blank-Page for every child, even the married and other adult kids.

But the focus of this question was on those in Core, Love of Learning, Scholar, and Depth Phase. And we definitely hold interviews with all of them. Truth be told, by the time they’re in Scholar Phase and Depth Phase we don’t have to call for these meetings anymore—the youth come to us whenever they want an interview. And this usually happens more often than weekly.

If we ever do go more than a week without an interview, the youth always come to us with, “Hey! I really need a mentor meeting with you right way. Do you have time right now?”

With the Core and Love of Learners, we still do them weekly. We try to make the Interviews fun, informal, and substantive—so each kid will get what she really needs, and so she’ll keep coming back asking for more.


These interviews are really powerful. After a while they get less formal and just become part of the fabric of the week. Some weeks we literally have an interview every day with a certain child, not because she’s struggling, but because she comes asking for it—she wants more guidance, loves the personal attention, or just wants to bond and connect.

Indeed, the Weekly Interviews are a staple of family interaction. They start out more formal and follow a plan and a schedule (how else would we get ourselves to hold them consistently?), but over time they just become the natural pattern of the week.

This kind of communication makes all the difference in helping our kids learn, grow, and get an excellent education.

And don’t forget that the Blank Page Brainstorm is the key to the whole thing! Get that right, and the interviews are a breeze.

(Read more about the Weekly Interview in Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Ingredients 1-2, 6-8, etc.)

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by Oliver DeMille

Looking for Answers

Minute_Man_Statue_Lexington_Massachusetts If you’re an outdoor sportsman, this is one of the things that drives you crazy! At least at first, until you figure it out. And even if you’re not all that in to high-country sports, you can probably relate to this situation. Here’s how it goes:

You go to Cabela’s, or your other favorite sporting goods store, and you peruse new and used shotguns for sale. But you keep running into something weird.

Rifles, pistols, pump shotguns, semi-automatic shotguns—you can get any one of them for a reasonable price. But a double barrel shotgun costs 5-10 times as much as the others!

5-10 times! Why? It doesn’t make much sense. What’s so great about a double barrel shotgun that it’s worth so much more? After all, it only holds 2 loads—while the other guns typically hold a lot more. With this in mind, it seems like a double barrel shotgun should cost a lot less than the others. Right?

So you ask around, and nobody seems to know. “That’s just the way it is,” one store clerk tells you. “A lot of rich guys use these guns, and it drives up prices.” Another customer at the store counter adds his opinion: “It’s all supply and demand.”

“Probably true,” you tell yourself, but you’re not very satisfied with these answers. You keep asking, and nobody seems to know much about it. “One of those strange realities in life,” you decide.

Then, one day, you come across someone who is clearly an expert in the field. And even though you’re talking to him about something else, you think to ask him your frustrating question: “Hey, why do double barrel shotguns, and other double barrel guns for that matter, cost so much more—when they actually have a lower capacity? It’s crazy, right?”

“No,” he says. “There’s a very important reason for the higher price.”

The Why

“What is it?” you ask, incredulously.

He responds: “It takes a lot of workmanship and precision to get both barrels to line up and hit the same place. It’s quite a feat of engineering, actually.”

Wow! It’s like the clouds part and the sun shines through. Suddenly you understand. It’s one thing, you realize, for a craftsman or engineer to get a gun to shoot straight. But it’s a much higher level of difficulty to get two barrels to both shoot straight at complementary angles. Big difference!

This not only takes synergy (where 2 + 2 = more than 4), it’s actually even more complex than that. Getting two processes to consistently perform, and also to do them the same as each other—in opposite directions even—now that’s big. “No wonder…” you find yourself saying.

But what does this have to do with homeschooling dads?

Actually, everything.

Because if there’s one thing you can do to incredibly, powerfully, synergistically improve the quality of your homeschool—and of your family life, as well—it’s to get on the same page with your wife.

Building or Breaking

This is huge. Think about it: If you as parents are at odds about how you raise, teach, discipline, motivate, guide, talk to, or lead your kids, your results are going to suffer. You’ll be inconsistent. And the kids will realize it and bring even more chaos into the mix.

finger-gun_canstockphoto15677802 On the other hand, if you’re both aiming for the same thing—if you’re truly together—nothing can stop you from achieving a great family environment. Together you’re incredibly strong. Immovable. Powerful. Amazing.

Together…well, the results are going to be downright outstanding. Show me a couple who is fully together on the details of parenting, and I’ll show you an effective family. Show me a husband-wife team who is truly in concert on their goals and actions and I’ll show you a little bit of heaven, along with a lot of consistency, enthusiasm, laughter, fun, work, achievement, and excellence.

In contrast, show me a couple going different directions in their home and homeschool, and, well…it’s usually not very pretty…

If you will forgive the expression, you’ve got to be like two barrels truly working together. That’s the path to great homeschooling.

Oh, and there’s an easy way to start: just get on the same page with her. Since Mom is the one doing much of the day-to-day work in most homeschools, she’s the first barrel. Support her. Get on board with what she’s trying to do. Find out exactly what she’s aiming for and help her. Ask how you can best support her. Ask what she needs from you.

Then do what she asks.

Steps to Greatness

Once you’re doing this, you can take the time to talk things out—discuss different views or goals, and possible changes, etc. But there’s a world of difference between

  1. Having such important discussions and planning once you’re already supporting her and working together, versus
  2. Trying to make such plans when you’re both pulling in different directions—even unintentionally.

Support her first, then work together to improve.

That’s the way to hit the target, over and over. It’s much better than aiming at different goals or bickering over which is best.

It’s the “Double Barrel Principle”, and it really works:

  1. Support her first. Find out what she’s trying to do and help her do it. Whatever it is. Because the most important key is to be on the same page together. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Then, and only then, work together to improve. Discuss how to make things better. Brainstorm, dream, and plan. But do this once you’re working in tandem, not instead of it. Make supporting her priority one. Get the barrels pointed in the same direction first—then adjust details later as needed.

Do it this way, in this order, and you’ll get 10 times or more the positive results.

(Note: If you are an outdoor sportsman, this is how to get a Kreighoff K80 Trap or even a Browning Citori 725 level homeschool rather than an old Kmart Boito 151. Seriously. Your choice.)

Want help to get on the same page? We’ve got you covered:


Get 20% off all Oliver DeMille’s freedom titles during the month of July. [coupon code FM-LAUNCH715]


Oliver’s latest book, Freedom Matters!

This compact and highly readable new release takes you deep into the fabric of freedom to reveal the seven types of leaders that are necessary to perpetuate a free society. If you’re newer to our works, you may not realize that Oliver’s gift and purpose is to promote freedom. Come see why he’s been hailed as a modern founder father, as you read this deep, inspiring and highly practical roadmap to reclaiming freedom for your family and future. http://store.tjed.org/product/books/



Black Belt in Freedom On-Site Seminar

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Oliver DeMille is offering a rare all-day in-person seminar on Freedom in our Time.
The Seminar will be an intensive  event run by Oliver DeMille. Content includes current events, the great books on freedom, and classical application to current events—going deeper than his blogs or online mentoring permit, given the face-to-face, interactive format.

8-8:45am: Registration

9-10:30am: Session I

10:45am-12noon: Session II

12-1:30pm: Lunch Break

1:30-3:00pm: Session III

3:15-5pm: Session IV

Topics are intentionally left “to be determined.” Because this is a mentored seminar, the content will be highly interactive, and responsive to the most current and up-to-date issues. Participants who have attended this kind of event in the past will tell you that the content is amazing, deep, and extremely fun! Once you’ve attended one of Oliver’s high-touch mentored seminars, you’ll never want to go back to the rote, structure-topic model that you may have experienced before. Indeed, the very format and context will be a sub-level mentoring on how to deliver effective events and workshop instruction.
$385 per person
The Seminar will convene at the Crystal Inn in Cedar City, Utah. Inexpensive, quality lodging is available at many properties in town. Please feel free to contact us for suggestions.

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by Oliver & Rachel DeMille

The Key

Whatever you know about Love of Learning Phase, this one key will make all the difference. If you’re already doing it, you can do it just a little bit better—and get huge results. And if you’re not doing it every week, now is the time to start. You’ll see your Love of Learner child blossom and thrive.

Really. One little thing can make all the difference. Okay, actually, it’s not that little. It will take a bit of work on your part. But it’s not big either. It won’t take a lot of your time, or a bunch of effort.

It will take a little bit of planning and then some consistency. That’s it. And, like I said, it will make a huge difference. great education is inspired education

This magic pill really does work. It’s the Weekly Interview. If you’re not holding it every week, you’re not seeing the Love of Learning results you could be. Really! It’s that effective.

So, what, specifically, can you do to make the Weekly Interview so powerful?

Let’s break it down bit by bit in four simple steps. We feel pretty strongly about these steps, and some of them are down-right vital:

1. Make it a Priority

First, set aside a time each week to meet with your Love of Learner child. We tend to recommend Sunday afternoon, because we’ve seen this work extremely well with seven kids so far. But you know your schedule and the flow of your week better than we do, so if some other day will be better—say, Monday morning first thing, or Saturday morning, or Thursday evening, whatever works best with you and your family—go with that.

The key is to have a specific, set time each week, and always do your interview at that time. If you just can’t swing it one week, treat it like you would any appointment with an important person: talk to your child beforehand and reschedule, then be sure to hold the meeting at the newly appointed time.

Don’t miss a week. Make this happen, and you’ll see Love of Learning phase really flourish. Start skipping weeks, and things can deteriorate.

2. Make it Fun

Second, make it fun, and schedule enough time to really talk to your child about what he/she is learning, enjoying, struggling with, and thinking about. You want enough time to really get him/her talking. And then listen.

think read 1 For some Love of Learners, twenty minutes will be enough. But in our experience, that’s the exception. If you really invest in this and make it relaxed and fun, most kids this age will want to talk for a while.

About 30-40 minutes feels right for most young people, but some kids will want to go on a little longer. You know your kids. Schedule accordingly. And don’t be afraid to change the plan if he/she surprises you and turns all chatty. That’s great.

As for the “fun” part, you don’t want to turn the interview into “twenty questions” where you interrogate your youth. To really get this right, you almost have to tweak the definition of the word, “interview.” This is not about you grilling your kid. That’s not in keeping with “Love of Learning.” This is about you getting the Inner View.

Asking the right questions can be a great catalyst to gaining this “innerview” (see what we did there?), but keep in mind that it’s not the questions and answers, per se, that make this successful. It’s the process of dialoguing with your youngster and feeling her heart on the things that are important. It’s the “Diamond Dust” inspiration that whispers how you can do better, what you can do more of, what you need to do less of. It’s getting a view on that child-heart, and gaining a sense of what she was born to do, and what’s yours to do to help her prepare for it. Start by asking her what she is loving about her learning, and then sit back and enjoy listening.

If that doesn’t work, jump in and start sharing what YOU are passionately loving about your reading and learning right now. Keep at it until she catches the bug and starts talking. It will happen if your passion is genuine and you stay positive and engaging.

3. Do Your Homework First

Third (and chronologically this comes before the second item above), spend at least 15-20 minutes before each weekly interview Brainstorming on a Blank Page! This is so important. How do you do it? If you’re asking this question, closely study our book called Homeschooling: The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers.

BEWARE INSTITUTIONALISM-keep your focus There’s a whole chapter on Brainstorming a Blank Page (and we review it briefly here), and every successful educator (parent and teacher) needs to understand it.

This is vital.

To recap: before each Weekly Interview with every Love of Learner you mentor, take a few minutes and brainstorm.

Put the child’s name at the top of a blank page, and ask what they need from you. Any way you should be helping them.

Don’t make a list of assignments for them to do! That’s the wrong spirit.

Focus on what YOU should do/not do/purchase/organize/model/forgive/inspire/learn/cuddle/etc. Write down your ideas.

Then pick a few, circle them, and do them. Note that one of the most important things you can do (and must do if you want to be an effective mentor) is set the right example. Specifically, if you want them to truly love learning, you have to set the example of really loving learning yourself.

Depending on the logistics and season of your life, ideally you’ll have maybe two topics that deeply interest you and set the example of learning about them during the week. And do so passionately, with enthusiasm and excitement. Then, when you get to the Weekly Interview and your child isn’t very excited, you can just let your exciting learning gush and gush. It will turn the meeting to real passion for learning—if you do it well, authentically, and happily.

It might take two such Weekly Interviews to get them going (in truth, it hardly ever takes more than one), but when you go on and on about your passion for learning—and share a lot of specifics about what you’re reading and thinking about—it’s captivating. It rubs off. It creates enthusiasm.

Keep at it until this works.* It will, if you are genuinely learning things that excite and interest you. If not, find some. Set the right example. That’s mentoring! And it’s fun. Really fun.

4. Listen.

Fourth, when the energy is right (e.g. he’s talking about what he’s learned, and excited about it) ask him what he needs from you. And listen. If he wants to go to the library, make it happen. ASAP. If he says he needs more time to…whatever it is, consider how you can best help with it.

If he’s not sure, ask him what was the most exciting thing he’s learned about the topic so far, and how he learned it. If it came from his reading, perhaps you’ll feel you should help him get more books of the same kind. If it happened in a discussion with a friend, maybe you’ll feel you should set up another discussion opportunity. If it happened…whatever it is, consider doing more of it.

beware the anti-readers DeMille-Great Minds read, read, read And be open to trying new things as well. And, if all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask him what his most exciting learning experience was—and then do it yourself. “I want to read that book, too, Johnny. Do you have it, or should I get it at the library? I want to experience what you did. Do you have any other recommendations?”

When you get him “mentoring” you to “enjoy his learning passions as well”, you’re in a great place. You’ll both be loving learning—and this will naturally synergize. It will be more fun for both of you.

Each week, use some of your time in the Blank Page Brainstorming session to think of ways to make the Weekly Interview better and better. As goes the Weekly Interview, so goes Love of Learning Phase.

The best news in all this is that if you can get this one hour right every week—week after week after week—Love of Learning Phase will flourish and thrive in your home (or classroom).

This one thing will make a huge difference! Use it for greater success and fun for any kids in Love of Learning.

This article has a followup. Click here to read >>

(For more details on effective parenting and teaching for children in Love of Learning phase, see Chapters 3-6 in Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning, and Habit 2 in Homeschooling: The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers—both by Oliver and Rachel DeMille.)

*If you find that the relationship or the child is not thriving, you may need to reconsider whether he or she really is in Love of Learning Phase, or whether he needs to build a stronger foundation in Core Phase. Sometimes, doing a full-family “reset,” going back to the beginning, can heal relationships and hearts, and restore a love of life and learning for those who are healing from trauma, change or something that has hurt their confidence or enthusiasm. Click here for details on the Family Reset >>

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by Oliver DeMille

The Key

The Seven Keys of Great Teaching To begin, please make sure you’ve read Part I  and Part II of this Special TJEd Report. If not, Part III won’t make much sense.

Second, if what you got out of Parts I and II is that your kids should be seeking credentials, then I need to be more clear. That isn’t at all what I’ve suggested. Not even close. My point is that they’ll need a great education—not (necessarily) credentials. They’ll need a true, excellent, world-class, top-rate education—to compete in the new global economy. That’s learning, knowledge, wisdom, and skills. Education, not credentials.

The rising global competition is that tough. Only the real deal—a superb education—will do. Credentials are fine, too, they just aren’t enough without a truly excellent education.

Third, if you’ve read Part I and Part II of this report on the growing importance of higher education, and the powerful changes that are drastically rewriting the rules of successful higher education and careers, you might be a person who finds yourself facing a bit of inner skepticism.

“After all,” you may hear yourself saying, “the old college-major/career-and-perks system worked pretty well since the GI Bill sent flocks of young people to college after World War II. It’ll probably keep working even as the middle class growth economy shifts largely to Asia. It may not seem that way on paper or in the trends, but such traditions die hard. I’ll have to see the change to believe it.”

Sadly, by the time everyone pays attention to the shift, many in the next generation will be living mostly on debt. In fact, they already are. So are the majority of their parents, truth be told. But many people would rather just avoid these pesky details and facts and instead hope that things work out like they have for the past five decades.

I did my best to outline the most relevant new economic realities of college and career in Parts I and II of this report. If this made sense to you, please focus on the three types of great higher education outlined at the very end of Part I—for you and your youth. This is the key!

The Lock

If you’re still not convinced, I invite you to read a bit deeper. In fact, I’m including a list of recommended articles and books below. They don’t all arrive at the identical conclusions, some of them disagree with each other and with me on some of the details, and they suggest a number of differing and even competing solutions to our higher education dilemma. But together they form an overview of what some of today’s top thinkers are saying about the current education system, career environment, and new economy.

Clearly, the stakes are high. The financial difference between guiding your family into the “affluent” economy of the 2020s-2030s versus educating them for the “paycheck-to-paycheck” economy is on pace to be over a million dollars of lifetime earnings for each child’s adult household. This is an important topic. And the time and effort you invest in reading these books and articles will be an important choice with massive multi-generational financial returns if you make better, more informed decisions for your family.

Higher education is more important than ever before—not just for the financial and career reasons covered in this Three-Part Report, but for the moral, future of freedom, and family reasons I wrote about extensively in What’s So Great About the Classics?: TJEd for Dads. As for the financial/career focus in specific, higher education is changing in some fundamental ways that deeply matter. Parents should know about these shifts now, not feel blindsided by them in the years just ahead.

Option 1: Again, if you got enough from Parts I and II of this report to see the need for change, forget the list below and focus on 19 Apps: Leadership Education for College Students, or on helping your college-age youth (and/or yourself) find truly top-quality higher education internships and mentors.

Option 2: But if you’re still pretty sure that the old 1946-2006 system is going to work in the next three decades, it’s worth your time to read the following and really consider. Whatever you think when you’ve completed these readings, at least you’ll have done your due diligence on such an important topic.

By the way, even if you’re not going to read these articles and books, take a minute and read through the titles. They matter.

Opening the Door

Reading List:



The End of College:
Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere

(Kevin Carey)


College Disrupted:
The Great Unbundling of Higher Education

(Ryan Craig)


How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs

(Lauren A. Rivera)


Freedom Matters:
The Connection Between Career, Business, and Freedom

(Oliver DeMille)


“We Don’t Need More STEM Majors.
We Need More STEM Majors With Liberal Arts Training”
(Washington Post, February 18)


“Entrepreneurs Raising the Next Generation
of Chief Executives”
(The New York Times, May 27)



American Higher Education in Crisis?:
What Everyone Needs to Know

(Goldie Blumenstyk)


Excellent Sheep:
The Miseducation of the American Elite
and the Way to a Meaningful Life

(William Deresiewicz)

[Note: I loved this author’s description of the major current challenges in American higher education, and then disagreed with many of his recommendations. See what you think!]


The New School:
How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself

(Glenn Reynolds)


“The Thing Employers Look for When Hiring Recent Graduates”
(The Atlantic, August 2014)


“Becoming a Real Person”
(The New York Times, David Brooks, September 8)


“Young, European and Broke”
(The Wall Street Journal, August 9-10)



Turn the Page: How to Read Like a Top Leader
(Introduction by Chris Brady)

Is College Worth It?
(William J. Bennett)

[Note: Pay close attention to the final parts of this book, where Bennett outlines the different ways that higher education helps young people from different socio-economic backgrounds—and with different goals.

This individualized approach is excellent. Bennett shows that decisions about college and higher education should be personalized, not one-size-fits-all. And the way he does this is very interesting and thought provoking.]

College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be
(Andrew Delbanco)


College Unbound:
The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students
(Jeffrey J. Selingo)


The Higher Education Bubble
(Glenn Reynolds)



“The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite:
Brains Bring Ever Larger Rewards”
(The Economist, January 22nd)

[I love the title of this article: “The Rise and Rise…” Fun. And so true.]

These articles and books are just a few of the top writings on this topic, and you’ll likely come across others as you read. This is an incredibly important subject with direct and lasting ramifications for everyone in your family. Higher education is more important than ever. Emphasis on the words “higher” and “education,” not “hire,” or “credentials.”

Final word: Have fun with this!

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Compass-TJEd-meme Ever wondered why some families seem to do so well with homeschool? Why some kids just seem to take to stuff naturally, while yours are freaking you out?? Here are some questions to consider, to help set the environment and remove any needless obstacles:


Have you ruled out vision impairment or muscle imbalance that affects focus? Schedule an eye exam. Is hearing an issue? Find out. It’s worth it!


Have you ruled out nutritional issues, like sensitivities that create problems with mood, behavior, attention, emotional equilibrium, sleep, etc.? Common triggers are sugars, additives, grains, dairy, processed foods, etc.

Obviously, all of us do better when we make healthy choices; but some kids (and adults) literally cannot function normally with these things, and more “extreme” care must be taken to remove allergens and triggers from their diet and environment.

If this is an issue in your home, it’s life-changing to make the special effort for these accommodations!

3) REDUCE DISTRACTIONS Fairytale-Simplicity copy

Have you removed distracting/addictive elements from your home and schedule? Common issues include too much: TV, video games, friend time, scheduled classes/clubs/lessons/sports, etc. For some kids, some families, some years – ANY amount of these can be too much.

Consider a 6-Month “No” to clear your time and take back your family learning life! (For help in owning your life and time, see Phases of Learning, Ingredient #7 and “Start the New Year Right“)


Is your home environment somehow disruptive to the learning and family relationships you idealize? Common issues include: too many toys, too much clutter, too many dishes/clothes/belongings that take too much time to care for or don’t have a good place where they are stored.

Consider a 6-Month Purge to take back your space, time and peace of mind! (For help on how to carry out a Purge, see Phases of Learning Ingredient #6 and “Start the New Year Right“)


Are you trying to copy “school at home?” It’s really easy to rely on the habits and experiences that are familiar to us, especially when we’re under stress or trying out new things. And yet, family learning is ideally a place for a different form to flourish. Invest in your own learning to lead out, by reading a classic book alone and/or with the family.

Do your homework by daily seeking inspiration in TJEd books and audios to help you stay focused and gain new insight on how it can look, feel and be in your home. (For pointers on how to take the lead in your Leadership Education home, see “Kindling, Carrot Sticks and Kidschool” and “TJEd and Riding a Bike“)


Are you comparing your worst day with your concept of someone else’s best day? Are you trying to implement a vision that’s not compatible with your reality (new baby; caring for an elder; lots of little kids no big kids; health issues)?

Take stock of what matters most to you (Really matters. Not the things that nag you, or make you feel crumby, but the things that you actually are willing to go into the fire for!), and fashion a new ideal that you can actually succeed in. (For a nourishing and nurturing look at how to homeschool in a crisis, see “Chaos and Measuring Sticks; or, Gorillas and Cats. Whatever.”)


Have you and your family successfully reconnected and detoxed? As with Step 6, whether it’s a renovation in your school format, a new move, a new baby, an illness, a loss or a big change in any area of your life, reconnecting the family in Core Phase helps to synchronize your energy, re-define your ideals and help each individual thrive in their areas of needed focus.

This is sort of a healing time that brings back a more natural harmony in the home, and restores the child’s (and parents’!) natural love for life and learning. (For details and examples on how to detox and reset, see “6-Point Plan: Advice for Newbies”)

5-habits-cover 8) NEW HABITS

If you found these helpful, rest assured – these are just the beginning! Effective and happy homeschooling is absolutely within your reach. With all of the other stuff out of the way, you’re ready to cultivate new habits – 5 Habits, to be exact! These “secret” habits aren’t really secret – and as you cultivate them, your family and homeschool will thrive, your stress will diminish, and you’ll feel clarity and joy in your family education journey.

Download our e-book, The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Homeschoolers – normally $5.99, and available to our readers for just 99¢ when you check out with coupon code 5Habits-FIX at our Leadership Education Store. http://store.tjed.org/


If you liked this post, sign up for our free newsletter and get additional bonus gifts delivered to your inbox!


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by Oliver DeMille

(To read TJEd & College Part I, click here)

Needing Greatness

Der Untergang der Titanic Higher education is incredibly important for today’s rising generations. As the middle class dwindles and the divide between the affluent and others widens, many of the old education/career options are becoming less viable. Today’s parents and young people simply must understand what is changing and how it affects them, or they will likely fall behind.

To understand what is happening, we need to step back and look at today’s education/career economy for what it actually is, not what it was twenty or thirty, or even ten years ago. Consider the following:

  1. For most people in our current world higher education has become “hire” education. The idea of colleges as the place of truly great leadership education for our future community, national, business and cultural leaders has been almost entirely replaced with another view: college as career training, period. There are, of course, pros and cons to this change.
  2. College majors that train for careers certainly have an important place in a successful society, but now even “hire” education is experiencing widespread and increasing mediocrity. When over half of recent college grads find themselves jobless and need to move back in with their parents, the economic reality has clearly been altered.
  3. Some have argued that we should stop promoting higher education to most youth and instead emphasize tech training or simplified community college requirements with direct career prep rather than broad education. But this path will only hurt our nation. We don’t need such anti-college views to spread. Quite the contrary. We very much need “great” college views to spread. We need a lot more anti-mediocrity (and truly “great” higher education) views to go far and wide.
  4. This is more than just philosophy. It has a direct economic impact on young people and their careers.

Let’s spend some time understanding how this all shakes out. First, a seismic shift is occurring in the economy, though not everyone realizes it yet. Specifically, in 2009 the United States had 18% of the world’s middle class, but it is on pace to have only 7% by 2030. (“Globalization Bites Back,” The Atlantic, May 2015) This is causing some big changes. It also has important ramifications for what kind of education we should be providing for our youth right now.

How does this apply to your family? Let’s start from the beginning.

Setting Out

The American standard of living that became the norm after World War II is now disappearing. It increased between 1946 and 1996, but in the last two decades it has declined. Today the pace of this decline is accelerating.

To wit: where an average American middle class family in the early 1980s could make do with one bread winner, pay off their home well before retirement, and retire with a significant savings and company-funded retirement plan, today these things have changed for most people. Such a family now has both parents in the full-time workforce to cover the monthly bills, fewer children, higher expenses, little to no savings, vehicles financed by debt, and over $15,000 of unsecured consumer debt—not to mention a mortgage that would have made their parents shudder.

This isn’t even the same lifestyle as earlier generations. And it’s getting increasingly difficult every year.

All indications are that this trend will continue. But that’s only half of the issue. A second factor is just as significant: By 2030 China and its neighbors will have 66% of the world’s middle class (up from approximately 28% in 2009). (Ibid.) Europe’s share of the middle class will be down from 36% to 14%, and Latin America down from 10% to 6%. (Ibid.)

Many people don’t understand the ramifications of this shift, but they are huge. What does this all mean for regular people and their families? What does it mean for the future of colleges, universities, and higher education?

The answer is very important:

First, as noted, the current educational systems of the United States and Canada are based on an increasingly outdated model of “hire” education, one that prepares the majority of young people for middle class jobs with targeted college majors and career training in traditional sectors of the economy. This worked well in a steady high-growth economy where middle class jobs were expanding.

For example, in 1945 the United States had 6% of the world’s population but produced over half of the world’s goods and services. In such an economy, the demand for workers trained by universities in career specialties was high—and pay and benefits consistently went up over time.

But since at least 2006 the demand for middle class workers receiving middle class salaries is declining in North America, and the overall economy is weak or receding. All indications are that this will continue for at least the next two—possibly three—decades. Today the middle class standard of living is shrinking, and the middle class economy is funneling its members either into the “affluent economy” or the “at risk economy.” Most middle class families will move to one or the other—affluent, or at risk—during this generational shift between 2006 and 2036.

Yet few families realize that this is occurring. Nor do they understand what it takes to choose the affluent economy, or how to do it. They are acting as if the economy hasn’t shifted—a sure way to end up in the “at risk” economy.

The Iceberg

At the same time, national debt in the U.S. is high, so the government increases both tax rates and regulations on corporations. As a result, many businesses naturally move even more operations elsewhere—further spurring a growth economy in China and India while simultaneously increasing middle-class economic stagnation in the U.S. and Canada.

North American students preparing for nationalized tests, good grades, and graduating with “good” degrees will increasingly find that there are fewer prosperous jobs for them. The demographics are what they are. For many college graduates, unless they go on to additional professional education, their options will be much more limited than those of graduates during the last 60 years. The competition for fewer jobs will be much higher, and a lot more graduates will be left in the “at risk” economy.

Since 2010 a significant number of new four-year college graduates have been unable to find the kind of work historically available to those with university degrees. Many of those who do get jobs receive lesser pay and decreased (or nonexistent) benefit packages. They also have much higher student and credit card debt than earlier generations. And this is getting worse.

Europe is a decade ahead of us on this same downward trend, and the outlook for middle class jobs (anything demanding college degrees or paying the equivalent) is bleak. (See “Young, European and Broke,” The Wall Street Journal, August 9-10, 2014) In some nations—including Italy and Greece, for example—such jobs are almost nonexistent.

This is not what most parents want to hear. But the reality is the reality. The key is to respond wisely, not to act as if nothing has changed.

Second, as many of today’s parents persist in counseling their youth to pursue college training with the goal of career advancement, they should also tell them to either go on to quality professional studies, become skilled entrepreneurs, or to study Chinese as well.

Why? The trends are clear: there will plentiful well-paying jobs for the middle class in the years ahead—in the growth economies of Asia. But not so much in Europe, North America, or Latin America.

The Asian economy is now much like the U.S. economy of the 1950s-1990s: high growth, lots of middle-class jobs, increasing pay and benefits, and universities focused on job training to support the growth economy. In contrast, the U.S. economy is increasingly like the Riviera Economy (Spain, France, Italy, Greece) of the past twenty years: with a declining growth rate, and fewer high paying middle-class jobs.

This is leading to higher debt, fewer jobs that offer middle class wages, and less security or longevity in such jobs. To deal with this, we desperately need our colleges to upgrade. Instead, many colleges today are simply arguing that with increased demand, a college degree is even more necessary.

This is technically accurate, but a bit disingenuous. With the global middle class shifting rapidly to Asia, the percentage of North Americans who will get prosperous jobs in the low-growth or negative-growth U.S. economy is decreasing.

That does make a few top jobs a higher prize, and it makes professional studies beyond college, or entrepreneurial success, necessary for many of those who really want to compete in the globalized market. But what about the masses, the majority of those who now belong to the middle class?

Below The Surface

Parents and students need to own their responsibility to seek excellent higher education that truly empowers them to thrive in the actual economy (not what worked back when the American economy was in a sixty-year upswing where the demand for middle class workers kept growing [1946-2006]).

Third, the healthcare field is (partially) an exception to this sobering news.

On the one hand, in the U.S. jobs will remain abundant in the healthcare sector. The downside is that financial compensation will be relatively much lower than during the 1970s to early 2000s. The remuneration model of pre-Obamacare medical careers is largely gone, and compensation in many parts of the new healthcare system will significantly decrease.

3 economies 2 Fourth, entrepreneurship will be a major high-growth sector.

Few in the education industry are ready to hear this yet, partly because many education employees have carefully avoided the rough-and-tumble world of entrepreneurial competition. But like the Riviera Economy experienced during the past two decades, in the United States those who excel in entrepreneurial and business ownership will lead the middle class (and much of the upper class) from 2006 to around 2036. Most everyone else will fall behind.

In the new economic reality, nearly every sector is a growth sector—for entrepreneurs (but not for employees). There is opportunity for enterprising leadership in innovative business, education, health care, technology, service, law, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, entertainment, and many other fields. But in all of these, there will be fewer of the historical well-paying “jobs and perks,” and these will go to a few top competitors. Almost everyone else will entrepreneur or find themselves in the “at risk” economy. And—to be clear—truly successful entrepreneurs will do even better than top employees.

Which brings us to “Titanic Education.” Put simply: with a non-growth or negative-growth middle class economy, why do U.S. and Canadian parents keep educating for a high-growth economy that doesn’t exist any more? And why do many colleges and majors do the same?

Answer: most people don’t understand the difference, and they don’t realize the reality of a shrinking portion of the world’s middle class in North America. They see the economy struggling, but they don’t do the math.

Educating the current generation of youth and children for a shrinking market share based on middle-class careers in North America is like training farriers (who shoe horses) and coopers (who hand-make barrels) in the 1930s. Yes, there will be jobs in these fields during the 1950s thru the 2010s—but not as many as before, and they won’t pay nearly as well. As for benefits and perks, forget it.

New realities bring new forms. We need to educate today’s young people to succeed and flourish in the “affluent” economy of the 2020s and 2030s, not in what once worked during the middle class growth economies of the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and Bush years.

Moreover, we should educate them for success in growth sectors, not sectors in decline. Yet most high school level teaching and university career training is still channeling students into declining sectors and roles.


Seriously. Look at a typical university catalog, find the list of majors, and study it. As you think about each major on the list, ask yourself if those who work in the corresponding field are typically affluent in the newly emerging economy.

Then go deeper. Most of the sectors listed will have fewer resources to go around for at least the next twenty years, meaning either fewer jobs or lower paying jobs. Or both. To get the affluent careers in these sectors, young people will either need to distinguish themselves in professional education well beyond four years of college, or in entrepreneurial successes in the same fields.

The reality in all this is simple, and it’s worth repeating several times: A lower percentage of people will enjoy middle class wages in a slow- or no-growth economy. That’s the reality. With this increased global competition, quality higher education is more important than ever. And its importance is increasing.

There are at least three (3) excellent ways to get a superb higher education, as outlined in PART I of this report.

But global trends and increased economic competition have raised the bar. Those who rely on a level of college learning that passed for acceptable during the last sixty years, without reaching higher and achieving the new standard of quality higher education, or who stick with the old middle-class career/”hire” education system in declining-sector majors, will resemble the famous quip: “Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.” It may keep them busy, but it’s not going to work out well in the long term.

Americans who remain attached to the increasingly outdated 20th Century model will see their communities and families fall further and further behind economically. They’ll blame the system. They’ll blame Washington or Ottawa. They’ll wonder why someone doesn’t help them. They’ll blame their alma mater. But the decline will keep happening until their family embraces an education/career model that actually works in a flatter, non-high growth economy.

As these changes occur, too many Boomer and Gen X parents, grandparents, and advisors are “fiddling on the Titanic.” Despite the mixed metaphor, the truth is important: Many adults today are funneling their youth into a situation where they’ll eventually have to scramble for a place on the economic lifeboat. Meanwhile, the system itself is sinking.

The Raft

Sticking with “Titanic Education” isn’t a very good idea. Higher education matters now more than ever! Get a great one. Find truly high quality four-year and graduate programs, or great internships/apprenticeships, or working directly with great higher education mentors. Don’t settle for anything less. And focus on majors, internships, or mentors in high-growth sectors. Higher education makes all the difference.

And, again, higher education is very different than “hire” education. The first is part of the affluent economy, and the second is increasingly part of the paycheck-to-paycheck economy. Yes, a “hire” education will help many graduates get a larger paycheck than most of those with only a high school-level education, but it still isn’t going to be enough to make an effective path to the “affluent” economy for most people. It worked during the high-growth economy of the 1950s to the early 2000s, but the reality has shifted.

This is a major change to the middle class environment, and families/students who don’t realize it are in for a very unpleasant economic surprise in the 2016-2036 economy. Recommendation: Stop believing that the “Titanic” model will work. Right away.

But even more is needed. Get a higher education that will actually work in the new economy.

How? Let’s reiterate the three major paths to career/economic success in the increasingly global competitive 2016-2036 market:

1) Study hard in college, then go beyond four-year college and get a quality professional education as well. Then—and this is the key—add Affluent Economy skills using a post-school advanced internship (such as clerkships for law school grads or interning after medical school). Learn the vital entrepreneurial skills as part of this real-world internship.

2) Study hard in college and simultaneously apply the kinds of Affluent Economy supplemental study and skills acquisition covered in the ebook 19 Apps. Doing the 19 recommendations in this little book will very effectively upgrade your college training to top Affluent Economy preparation. Note that a great way to do this is to attend a college with an excellent entrepreneurial training emphasis—and immerse yourself in it.

3a) Work directly with a mentor or in an internship-based program that offers the same (or higher) level of education as a traditional university and also delivers the Affluent Economy skills, knowledge, and lessons.

3b) Or do an entrepreneurial apprenticeship with a proven entrepreneurial leader and simultaneously get an Affluent Economy education using the 19 Apps or equivalent. With the right mentor(s) or program, 3A or 3B can be incredibly effective.

Whatever you do, get off the Titanic, and get on a path that will thrive in the new economy.

(Click here for the final installment, Part III: Two Ways to Go Deeper, of the TJEd & College Report!)

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