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Get up to 41% Off Pre-print Orders

Our newest book, Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook for Teens, Parents and Mentors is now at the printer!

We are so delighted with the reviews we’ve gotten on this work, and the way it really shows, tells, illuminates and mentors an effective Scholar Phase – both for youth, and the adults that mentor them.

For example:

Reading Hero Education has helped me transform my understanding of Scholar Phase from a rough sketch to a detailed blueprint for action. It’s the clearest, most compelling work yet on getting an excellent scholar phase, and the critical skills our youth need for achieving world-changing results. This book is jam-packed with gold nugget answers to the practical “why” and “how” questions you have. Read it now! And inspire your youth to read it so they can catch the vision and take on what is theirs to do.

~Cherie Powell
Homeschooling mother of two

Hero Education will give you both a very defensible “why,” but a very doable “how” – to encourage discussion, dig for symbolism, understand principles, and write about all that you and your students are learning. Finally, the nuts and bolts of Scholar Phase! This book is an indispensable addition to the complete TJEd library.

~ Stephanie Harris
Homeschooling mother of eight


Hero Education clearly and effectively explains the simple-yet-rigorous aspects of Scholar Phase, serving as a road map for both youth and their parents/mentors. This book will be a go-to resource in the endeavor to achieve truly great education. I love how this book clearly spells out all of the details, answering so many of my own questions about Scholar Phase and how to capably implement it in our homeschool.

~ Sarah R. Smith
Author and homeschooling mother of two


Beyond the powerful content we’re anxious to unleash, we are absolutely delighted with Daniel Ruesch’s design (see below) and the quality production of Hero Education, so we’re offering a win-win to friends of TJEd…

  • You Win: More than 35% off retail – just $10.35 + $3.99 S/H –  for those who purchase before the books have arrived to our distribution location in just a few weeks!
  • More savings: If you buy more than one copy, your savings increase, up to 41% off! (That’s better than wholesale vendors get!)
  • STOCK UP FOR HOLIDAY GIFTING!!! Talk about the gift that keeps on giving….
  • We win: You help us defray the front-end costs of producing a new book!

The pricing below is for U.S. shipping only. Please contact us for details on international shipping.

Please note: you don’t need a paypal account to purchase. See image —>>>

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Remember: This is a pre-print purchase,
and the books will not ship
until late October or early November.
Just in time for Holiday gifting!!!

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All students who register for TJEd High! by 9/3/17 will receive a free e-pub copy of our new book, Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook for Teens, Parents and Mentors

Click here for a free sample >>

For more information/to enroll, click here >>

*This course begins on 9/11/17.

**Any who have already enrolled are included in this offer.

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All students who register for TJEd High! by 9/3/17 will receive a free e-pub copy of our new book, Hero Education: A Scholar Phase Guidebook for Teens, Parents and Mentors!

Click here for a free sample >>

For more information/to enroll, click here >>

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Part I: Flying Puzzles and a Whole Lot of Cuteness

One thing I love about children is how often they teach us about themselves. Seriously, they say kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and I totally see where they’re coming from. Yet, the more I pay attention to my little ones, the more I come to believe that they’re their own instruction manual.

Most recently, my little boys taught me how to raise them to be great men, and, shockingly enough, they did it by hurling blocks at my head.

Timothy’s Scheme

A few days back, I had a project I really wanted to get through so I went to the school closet to detect something that would—hopefully—occupy the boys long enough for me to make some real progress.

I decided on a large tote full of fun things and opened it up in the middle of the family room, before retreating to my corner to write.

It was fairly shallow tote, but not small otherwise, and within a minute, my almost-one-year old had climbed in and was sitting happy in one corner of the tote. It didn’t take long for his brother to see the wisdom in his decision.

I found myself slightly annoyed as I looked up from my computer and noticed brain games, blocks, puzzle pieces, plastic rings, etc. being thrown about without consideration for my freshly cleaned room or my own safety. Then I noticed what was happening.

Not five minutes after the tote came out—the tote that was filled with the funnest, the most exciting, the most “educationally stimulating for a two year old” things I could find for those boys—it had been completely emptied and converted into a perfectly serviceable boat, and both boys were sitting in it and sailing the seven seas to their hearts’ content.

The Kids Don’t Care!

They didn’t even care about all the extra work is put into preparing it, or all the really cool stuff I had stuffed into their lives. They went straight for the simplest fun and drank it up!

In fact, after they had worn out the fun to be had with the tote, they took up the lid and enjoyed it’s mysteries as a slide, a carriage, and a bed, one after the other before they decided they need the next thing in their lives.

This made me realize in full force that sometimes the simplest answer really is the best.

Sometimes, in trying to give our kids the best experience possible, we overshoot and forget what really matters most.

It’s almost scary how often this happens when it comes to our children’s education. From curriculum, to scheduling, to grades or milestones, we so often, with the best intentions, and a willingness to sacrifice any amount of personal comfort in order to make it amazing for them, miss the very point of education.

Making the Point the Point

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t seriously and prayerfully discuss and decide what they need next from us in their learning, or even that curriculum, schedules, and scoreboards don’t matter and can’t play an important role in the way we raise the next generation of husbands and wives, moms and dads, leaders and heroes. But they can’t just play a big role; they have to play the right role.

It’s not enough to fill up their schedules and dictate their study plans. In fact it’s often not even that helpful, and almost always a lot of work.

Sometimes the clubs, classes, study guides, and even study plans are just extra fluff—things that we as parents and mentors use to make ourselves feel fulfilled in the process, but which aren’t really important for a great experience.

This is especially true in Core Phase, but it remains very true and relevant in Love of Learning, and also has its place in the later phases.

When He’s Ready

Frankly, I know there will come a time when Walter wants more than just a tote-boat to keep him happy.

He will eventually prefer the puzzles and blocks, and even later he’ll want something more—books, math problems, music lessons, karate class, and a hands-on mentor to push him and help him to tackle the hard stuff that he doesn’t quite want to learn, but really wants to know. He’ll want more, and that’s okay. This is completely natural and so very simple.

And that’s the thing: when you leave the phases simple and let them happen naturally, they naturally lead to scholar phase and beyond. They really do.

When you get everything else out of the way, learning stacks upon learning until you find you’ve raised children who’ve gained a superb education, and who are ready to change the world with their unique personal mission.

Simplicity’s not Boring

Keeping things simple and using the blank page system to make sure you’re hitting all of the actually important milestones in your child’s development, is not only simple but truly fulfilling for everyone.

In all honesty, when it comes to learning, it’s actually a good thing to leave your child wanting more every time. In TJEd, we call this the right kind of vacuum, and when it happens, it’s truly powerful. It’s when this happens that they learn to go out and find their education.

That is great mentoring.

And it only happens when we keep things simple and let the Phases progress naturally.

We may go through times of complexity as we learn the new dynamics of each phase, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. There’s always simplicity on the other side of complexity. We just have to be willing to be persistent, stay constant, and trust the process.

At the end of the day, great education happens when we’re willing to let the puzzles be set aside, and watch the boys sail happily off into the horizon.

For more on the Phases of Learning >>

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(A Review of Two Books Every Family Should Read!)

Childhood Connections

Recently I shared the story of a lady who lived in the Orient for a time and noticed that children were frequently familiarized with math and science symbols and ideas the way most young people in Europe and North America receive a lot of ambient support for reading and writing. She noted that this surprised her at first, but over time she realized that such attention to math and science during the formative years can greatly help young people grasp and then master these subjects.

The last two weeks I’ve had the joy of reading a couple of books that can help our children do the same thing—connect with math in ways that are natural for young children, and a lot of fun for the parents as well as the kids. The first book is Math & Magic in Wonderland by Lilac Mohr, and the second is its sequel, Math & Magic in Camelot.

Getting Your Own Education

In fact, the author set out specifically to write novels that incorporate math in a way the really engages children. During the second grade, she got excited about reading the biography of her hero at the time, astronomer Maria Mitchell, and as a result wanted more than anything to learn long division. When she told her teacher, the response wasn’t what she expected. She was informed that she’d have to “wait until the fourth grade,” and instructed to be quiet during “reading time.” It reminds me of a story my wife Rachel shares of telling a teacher she wanted to read The House of Seven Gables only to be lectured that she wouldn’t understand it and should stick to the textbooks.

There are a lot of great teachers in the world, but some teachers can be downright dense. When a child is excited to learn, that’s the time great teachers sit forward and go to work. Quality education inhabits such moments. It’s what Connor Boyack calls Passion-Driven Education.

Even though Lilac’s teacher missed a great opportunity, the little girl didn’t just give up her excitement for math. She writes: “I felt dejected but not defeated and decided that if my teacher refused to teach me long division, I would have to simply teach myself. It was not easy (since I didn’t even know multiplication at the time), but with determination, I pressed through and mastered the skill on my own.”

Love of Learning for Everyone

This little story illustrates much of what is wrong with modern many educational institutions—they too often put schooling ahead of learning. Mohr continues: “Now, years later, I still recall my teacher’s rejection as the moment I realized that curiosity should not have age restrictions. I wrote this book [Math & Magic in Wonderland] with the intention of making the magic of math accessible to everyone regardless of age, gender, or background. All you have to bring on this journey is a love of learning.”

Guess what? She did it. Both of these books are engaging, fun, and chock full of math. They also throw in a lot of history, poetry, science and literature connections as well. Read them with your kids, and everyone will have a great time. These are excellent for family reading aloud, and stopping to discuss fun ideas.

One thing, though. With these books you’ll definitely want to read with pen in hand. In fact, you’ll want paper and pens for everyone who reads with you. Read aloud, and stop to play with the math ideas on paper as you go. The whole family will love it.


[Note: If your child is a teen, try the same thing with The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, then A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael Schneider. Still, have your teens read the two Math & Magic books on their own and discuss them with you. They’ll make reading Rithmatist and Beginner’s Guide even more effective.]

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Who’s it for?

  1. Youth, aged 13-18 who are prepared to do weekly readings and discussion at a basic level.
  2. A “Super-charged” honors level with additional readings and mentoring content is available at no additional cost for students who want to challenge themselves to even more depth and rigor.

What Does it Cost?

For Fall of 2017 only, we are offering the following low introductory rates, secured for the duration of your continuous enrollment:

  • $45 per month >>
  • $55 per month in the MIC-High Bundle >> (more than 20% off for those who lock in this pricing during the first semester of TJEd High!) This Bundle includes our award-winning parent training/family learning series, “Mentoring in the Classics”. We highly recommend this option for the family’s best success in Leadership Education, so that everyone is benefiting from a great learning trajectory!

[For families who have multiple students or who have financial concerns, please contact us here to inquire about special arrangements >>]

How does it work?

Participants in TJEd High! receive:

  • A study plan with weekly readings and assignments designed by Oliver DeMille, I an Cox and Emma DeMille Cox
  • Weekly video mentoring content (approximately 1-2 hours, pre-recorded so that students can view on-demand in any timezone)
  • Midweek Bonus video mentoring (a brief, up-to-the-minute check-in, with one of your mentors giving feedback on the online discussions, sharing an epiphany, relating the week’s studies to current events or personal experiences, sharing a “Transformational Model,”, and otherwise amping you up to help you stay focused, inspired, and effective in your studies)
  • Moderated online discussion throughout the week, in an exclusive environment accessible only to mentors and students enrolled in the course [THIS ONE IS HUGELY IMPORTANT! Watch for our videos on this topic in the TJEd Online Convention >>]


There will be weekly reading assignments for students, with additional, optional readings for those who want more rigor. Each Monday morning the week’s Video Mentoring Content [VMC] will go live in our private online learning environment. This VMC will present special insights into the week’s readings, and will include exposition of a “Transformational Model”. Then, later in the week, participants will receive a short Mid-Week Mentoring with additional content to feed their excitement, keep them engaged and add depth to their studies. Examples of topics for Transformational Models and Mid-Week Mentoring planned for Fall 2017 include:

  • Education for Career
  • Economic Symbols in Literature
  • How to Read Like a Leader
  • The Wall, and The Dip
  • When 1+1≠2
  • Great Learning Secrets 1-7

Click here to review the current Fall 2017 syllabus >>

What if I’m already enrolled in another program?

Students who are enrolled in public school, online high school, private or charter schools, Commonwealth schools, homeschooling co-ops, or other structured programs can use TJEd High! to be more inspired, study more passionately and effectively, and add increased depth and skills to their other studies.

Who are the mentors?

  • Ian Cox, Lead Mentor
  • Emma (DeMille) Cox, Lead Mentor
  • Oliver DeMille, Lead Mentor
  • Eliza (DeMille) Robinson, Mentor
  • Oliver James DeMille, Mentor
  • Missy (Nelson) DeMille, Mentor
  • Freeborn DeMille, Mentor

Ian and Emma Cox [aged 28 and 25] are young, energetic, and very much in tune with the experience of gaining a great education in youth. They are a husband and wife team who are both personally mentored by Oliver DeMille in their now post-graduate level of studies.

Ian and Emma are passionate about helping youth step up to the Love of Study, so that they spend their hours learning and refining their skills, broadening their exposure and deepening their understanding.

Subscribers to our Mentoring in the Classics series have raved at how their depth and insights not only speak to the parents, but motivate and inspire their children and youth! The TJEd High! online discussions will be moderated primarily by the Lead Mentors, with others from our TJEd team chiming in. The TJEd High! Video Mentoring content will be presented by our Mentoring Team.

Join us for TJEd High!

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TJEd.org is pleased to announce our biggest online convention yet!


Coming to you August 9 – September 15, 2017, you will have full, on-demand access to more than 25 hours of video and audio content* to help you on the path of Leadership Education!


  • Keynotes, Workshops, Q&A Panels
  • Adult and Youth Conference Tracks
  • Core & Love of Learning Track
  • Scholar Phase Track

Think about it: homeschool conventions usually cost a LOT more; and you only hear maybe seven presentations. This convention costs far less than most, and:

  • you can access it from the comfort and convenience of your own home
  • you don’t have the added expenses of childcare, travel, etc.
  • you can watch favorites over and over
  • you can share the experience with your family
  • you get more than twenty presentations

PLUS! Nowhere can you get this much content specific to Leadership Education, with its focus on developmentally-empowered, mission-focused, classics-based learning!

Click to see the list of speakers & presentations >>

To register, complete this online transaction using credit, debit or PayPal (from the button below) and then watch for an email to come to you with details on the convention. If you don’t see it, please check your spam filter, or “Promotions” tab (gmail). [Please contact us HERE if you don’t find the Welcome Email.]

Click here to register now,
and check to be sure that you
receive our Welcome email! >>

Contact us here if you don’t get our Welcome email >>

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What are you doing right now to both make it a better summer and a more successful homeschool in the fall?

[MIC is 1/2 off right now!]

Here in the Northern Hemisphere**, the traditional school year has just ended and families are gearing up for a new summer routine. For homeschoolers, the summer schedule varies widely. Some “do school” right through the summer. Some continue to have learning priorities, but the way they go about it shifts to take advantage of seasonal opportunities. Some follow a more mainstream approach and take a total break for summer months.

Whatever your plan, however you describe yourself, now is a perfect time to look ahead and make some preparations that will leverage your success for next year.

I’m not talking about ruining your summer by skipping it altogether, trying to get a jump on the next thing. I’m talking about using this time to its best advantage in a way that’s natural and works with the rhythms of family, nature and life.

What if…?

What if, just three short months from now, you had more clarity, more focus, more confidence, more depth to draw from, more inspiration to share….

Well, you can. You really, really can. Our Mentoring in the Classics subscription is 1/2 off right now (just $10/mo!) to help you have an amazing, soul-nourishing, heart-inspiring, mind-elevating summer, so that when Fall comes around again you’re in a great place to lead out in your family education culture and have the tools and resources to do it well.

Join Mentoring in the Classics right now and spend a few relaxing, delightful hours each month getting your heart/head/home primed for amazing progress right around the corner.

Here are some comments from our subscribers you might find interesting >>

Click here for more information on MIC >>

Click here to subscribe right now for 1/2 price >>

Here are some other comments (within the past week!) from some of our subscribers….

I loved the lively discussion between the group. I just want to climb into the speakers and pop out in the room where the discussions are recorded and be part of that! But, kidding aside, it so inspiring to hear the playfulness happening as the discussions take place, as well as the way new ideas are dug out and held up for everyone else to see and think about. I am so excited to keep reading, listening, and discussing!!


I have loved Mentoring in the Classics! I currently teach high school English online, and it’s changed the way that I teach. I find that I gain so much from listening to the MIC discussions, and I’m learning to be a better teacher as well.


I am sure I can not even begin to express the full emotions I feel on a daily basis toward TJEd and all it has done for me. I love all your words of inspiration. I just discussed (for the second time, with a different group) Gift from the Sea… Gearing up and helping inspire and prepare me, I listened again to the Debriefing of this book… It was just a few months prior I discussed this in our MIC group. But, wow, I think I *need* to read this book every month and listen to the debriefing… Such insight and such wisdom. As I walked into my home, following the discussion, a flood of emotions came to me of how truly grateful I am to have come across TJEd, and MIC. They have forever changed my life and continue to do so on a day to day basis. I can only imagine the whirlwind we would have been in had I kept going down the conveyer-belt homeschool style… oh man… don’t even want to think about that! THANKS AGAIN.

Ready to Inspire? Be Mentored?
Feast delightedly on the Classics?
Check out MIC  – 1/2 off right now!

**If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, the need for inspiration and “teacher prep” is no less significant right now. Hit the ground running with MIC!

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(A Review of an Excellent New Math Book that Every Family Should Read!)

By Oliver DeMille

A Start and A Stop

A while back I read an article written by a woman whose family moved from the United States to spend some time in the Orient. I forget which country they were in, but the woman was amazed at how much time and effort the people there spent on math. She compared it to the way our American culture focuses on reading for toddlers, children and young people.

For example, she noted how often Americans hear that they should read aloud to their kids, or help them with their reading. “Can you read yet?” is a frequent question for children, and parents discuss how to help kids learn to read. In the country this family moved to, she saw none of that. Instead, people were constantly talking about how to help children with their math.

When books were gifted on birthdays or other holidays, they weren’t children readers (like Dr. Seuss or Are You My Mother?), but beginning math readers—teaching numbers and early arithmetic, with fun pictures and stories. Mothers at the playground sat on benches and talked about how their kids were learning to count, multiply, and calculate—rather than read.

The mother concluded that it was a very different experience than what she was accustomed to, but she wondered why more cultures don’t combine these two—reading and math, instead of just one or the other. Reading child-level math books and stories aloud as bedtime stories, she recommended, just makes sense. And talking about numbers, not just the alphabet—well, why not?

I agreed with her article, and I shared it with a lot of people. Then I did what most of us do: I forgot about it and went back to old habits.

Until now.

A New Approach

It all changed when Rachel got an email from Shelley Nash, a long-time TJEder, who recommended a math book titled Avoid Hard Work!…And Other Encouraging Problem-Solving Tips for the Young, the Very Young, and the Young at Heart, written by Yelena McManaman, James Tanton and Maria Droujkova.

Rachel asked me to read it and tell her what I think. I did, and I was floored. This book is exactly what that article I once read was talking about. Avoid Hard Work is the perfect way to make math a part of every child’s daily life. It’s excellent. And it makes it easy to bring math culture into your home in a way that pretty much every kid will enjoy.

After I got really excited by the book, I went back and reread it—this time more carefully, considering each detail. When I gushed to Rachel about how great this book is and how every family should have it, she told me: “Go write about it.”

So here we are.

First off, I have to say that I don’t much like the title. I think “avoiding hard work” isn’t really the best way to inspire great education. But I do get that for a lot of people, this is the perfect title for a math book. Too much of math is presented as boring, rote, irrelevant to everyday life. Math is an art, and a joy, for those who learn it the right way. So, yes, in our current world, this title makes sense. Plus, I’m sure it will be intriguing to people—including children and teens—who think they don’t like math.

Overall, this book is a fabulous read—for parents, and especially to be read and talked about with the kids. If you have a youth who doesn’t like math, or is scared of it, or bored by it, this book is an excellent jump-start. And for those who love math, it will increase the fun. That’s the thing I noticed most about this book: it makes math fun. It really does.

Right = Right

If you come across things you don’t quite agree with, skip them. Or discuss them as a family or class. Just like with any other classic you read. But put this book at the top of the list for math classics that will help young people—and their parents—really get excited about math.

But enough of my commentary. I want to share some quotes directly from the book, so you’ll see just why I like it so much. Here goes:

1-“Do the improv exercise called YES, and…put up the giant YES on the table or the wall to remind you. Whatever it is the child says or does, (1) say yes to it (2) accept that it means something (3) brainstorm what you can add to the meaning. Maybe your child’s claim that 2+2 = 1 is an analogy, or a math joke, or a novel way to count. Exploring jokes, analogies, or funky counting will be more fun and will teach more math than the simple-minded, generic claim, ‘You are wrong.’”

I love this advice. It’s so TJEd, so “Inspire, not Require.” This is real mentoring, not rote lecture. To repeat: When the child gives an answer to a math question, don’t just say “right” or “wrong.” Say, “That’s right…” or “That’s right if…” Then use their answer to explain the situation.

This is a whole different way of thinking about math, and about mentoring. And it works. It’s the discussion model. Not the lecture model. It’s all about learning, not schooling. And that makes a huge difference. This is leadership thinking, not rote.

2-“Also, be prepared to change topics completely! Don’t force a problem or an activity if the mood of the room, the ‘feeling in the air,’ just isn’t right. Always keep a few extra activities ready, in case the original plan does not work. And make it clear, in a fun way, that you are changing topics, so that children learn this technique from you. You can always return to the original challenge at another time.”

Again, this is “inspire, not require.” It’s mentoring, not mere rote-lecturing-and-testing. Help the student get there by making it fun and exciting. This book is full of examples of how to do this.


A: Let the child do the teaching, so you are surprised and excited by the unexpected. Suggest they re-design math problems and teach them to you or other children or adults. Record their lessons and play them back to the child. Or take pictures of your children teaching and show them the pictures. Seek exciting math media, such as stories, videos, posters, or art….

“Read other people’s math stories, such as Alice in Wonderland or The Cat in Numberland. Invite children to create their own stories about math…in words, or in pictures, or by pretend-play with action figures and toy animals. Children often like to be heroes in the stories…. Only put math into stories with good reasons intrinsic to your story’s world. A hero may count friends and enemies, or prepare enough supplies for a quest. No hero ever wonders, out of the blue, what you get if you add two horses and three horses….

“Recount your personal stories too. What was the first mathematical activity you ever remember doing? Did you know it was mathematics at the time? Ask your friends and colleagues about their first encounters—before schooling!—with mathematics. People often have delightful first stories….

“Make it social. For a child, working one-on-one with an adult can be intimidating, but when kids talk about a problem with friends, they may become more confident. Also, encourage children to make up their own puzzles and problems and pose them for adults and other children to solve. This maker stance produces confidence….

“Problem-solving is like research or exploration: there are a lot of blind valleys! Make sure being stuck, trying wrong methods, and making mistakes is the norm in your daily math life…. But it’s okay to try and try again.”

Like I said, this book is fun. It gives advice like this, and then it shows you examples of how to do these things.

4-Once again: “Validate any mathematical comment, even if it looks wildly ‘incorrect.’ At the very least, say: ‘Oh, what an interesting idea! That makes me think that maybe if we tried…’ This way you give a nudge to the conversation, and also illustrate how all ideas, even wild ones, can inspire new routes of thought.”

This is just scratching the surface of what the book covers. But if you liked these quotes, you’ll love the book. In fact, Avoid Hard Work is even more fun than these quotes because it comes with examples, pictures, stories, and so on.

This is a book for the whole family! Use it to make math more part of your everyday culture. It’s easy, and fun. In fact, I believe it can be a cure to the modern math “blah’s” that infest so much of teaching about math—at school and at home. Give this book a try! It’s a life changer, an easy and truly fun way to bump your math learning to a whole new level.

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Giving Your Kids a Head Start

by Emma DeMille Cox

Listen While You Play

A few weeks ago, Ian and I traveled down to my parents’ house with our little boys, to do the month’s MIC recording on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

We spent several days there, and as you can imagine, there was a fair amount of discussion about the two young lovers, both during and outside of the recording.

Never once did we sit Walter (our two-year-old) down and give him a lecture on the various plot points, themes, and characters of the play.

In fact, as far as I noticed, he was too busy running around with sticks, rocks, and aunties to be interested in any deep thematic analyses or technical deconstructions, even if it was about one of Shakespeare’s most famous works. Frankly, he was being a typical little boy, and having a fantastic time doing so.

Naturally, we didn’t mind the reprieve, as it allowed us to indulge in some fulfilling adult conversation.

In any event, the week came and went and we made our way back home and began to settle back into normal life.

***Romeo and Juliet SPOILER ALERT*** (as if you didn’t already know…)

Weeks later, my sister and I watched a movie where one of the main characters was named “Juliet.” When someone in the film said the name, Walter came running over from the project he was working on, and exclaimed, “Yesterday [he’s in that stage where “yesterday” is any day before this one], Grandpa was talking about Juliet! She died.”

This last part he said with such a sorrowful yet matter-of-fact demeanor, that it really was something. Then he continued with a question:

“But what happened to Romeo?”

Core Phase and You, not Them

Trying to hide my laughter and adopt the seriousness that his somber voice demanded of me, I informed him that, sadly, Romeo died as well.

At the time, his only response was a slightly mournful, “Oh. Yeah,” and then we both moved on with our activities.

Later, as I told the story to Ian, Walter came running up again and asked, “Are you talking about Romeo and Juliet?” At our nod, he informed us with proper solemnity, “They both died.”(spoiler alert)

Going forward, it was somewhat commonplace in our home for several days, to see Walter perform an epic death scene, in the manner of young boys, followed by the announcement, “I’m Romeo!” or, “I’m Juliet!”

On many other occasions, I’ve been astounded at the knowledge he’s shown and the truth he’s taught regarding God, our family’s core book, other classics, and many other topics that deeply matter to us, many of them things we’ve never specifically sat-him-down-and-told-him, but which he’s picked up from our many discussions–many, at times we thought he wasn’t listening.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your kids’ education is focus on your own.

Realistically, when we put all our energy into our kids’ education, it’s very easy to neglect our own, while​ the opposite just isn’t quite true.

In fact, when we openly focus on our own education in the home, it’s almost impossible for our kids to not progress and benefit from it. They really do learn simply from our learning, as we discuss and share our thoughts and epiphanies. And, at the same time, watching us get excited about our studies will inspire them to find the same studiousness exciting and fun.

Growing up in this environment, they’ll have a natural desire to pursue their own interests​ and passions, and they’ll know they have an ally-in-learning in you, so they’ll continually come back with questions and thoughts for your guidance and mentoring.

Today: Greatness

Children are really good at watching the people around them and copying what they see. They smile when we smile. They want to eat, because they see us eating. They learn to walk, because we walk.

This is true even on a more intellectual level: they laugh, make noises and even learn to speak the language we speak, all because they’re immersed in that environment.

Fortunately for parents who want to raise kids who pursue top-quality, classical, excellent education, this same parroting-of-parents effect applies when it comes to great reading, writing, discussing, calculating, experimenting, innovating and learning in general, as well as knowledge of important ideas.

To put it simply, it’s amazing what your kids will naturally learn when your home is an environment of learning. And, the simplest, best way to create such an environment is for you, the parent, to start getting a superb education right now. Today.

Start learning great things, and let them experience you doing it. Great things, great questions, great ideas, and great education will follow.

This is powerful. This is real. And it is so worth it.


Emma DeMille Cox (age 25) is the second child and oldest daughter of Oliver & Rachel DeMille. She is married to Ian Cox, and they are raising their two boys (and counting?) – Walter (3 in June ’17) and Timothy (1 in March ’17) in Southern Utah. The Coxes are enjoying the thrills and advantages of entrepreneurship, as he is a mentor of liberal arts and leadership, and she is a full-time mother, part-time writer. You can hear both of them share their wit and wisdom on the Mentoring in the Classics audio series >>

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