The Student Whisperer

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  • “My ‘epiphanal rate’ was off the charts.”
  • “I was moved beyond words.”
  • “…a guide book for all who want to truly mentor well and make a difference in the world.”
  • “…a classic! [It] will apply to the businessman and homeschooling mom alike.”
  • “…no matter what I say it would be an understatement.”

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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 understand the principles that govern their success, and they know their role in the process. Whether explicitly or intuitively, they understand natural law and they orchestrate circumstances to cooperate with it for an optimal crop.

Like a master gardener, a great mentor, a Student Whisperer, knows how to set the stage for transformational experiences—as often as they are needed. She knows how to create the environment where such feelings and experiences are frequent, how to use such experiences to help us discover and improve ourselves, and even how to repeat and reinforce such feelings so that our motivation and efforts are sustained. A great mentor cares—and she is effective.

This book is designed to help you become a great mentor—a true Student Whisperer and leader at the highest level. It will also help you work effectively with such mentors as you pursue your goals and life mission. This book is part deep teaching of the vital principles of great Leadership Education, part self-help workshop, part example through parables, and part exploration of the great ideas that make mentoring and quality learning most effective at all ages.

This book is specially designed and organized with a dual purpose:

  1. To help readers experience and recognize what it feels like to be greatly mentored
  2. To concurrently outline the principles of great mentoring and help readers turn them into personal skills and even habits

The first part of this book (Book One, covering Chapters 1-5) is told as a personal narrative, and immerses readers in a series of life events as a student learns from her mentors and grows in the process. The intent is for readers feel what it is like to experience working with committed and demanding mentors as they go through Book One.

The second part (Book Two, comprising Chapters 6-16) contains information that is vital to becoming a great mentor (and to working with great mentors), and guides the reader through several exercises that help turn the concepts and principles of great mentoring into personal skills and strengths.

The authors have worked together (first in a Mentor-Mentee relationship, and later as colleagues) for nearly two decades—as many of the stories in Book One show. Oliver used the methods taught here in mentoring Tiffany and many other people, and Tiffany has applied and expanded on the same principles and methods in her mentoring through (The Leadership Education Mentoring Institute) LEMI for well over a decade.

Over the course of these many years, they have learned what works (and what usually doesn’t) through direct mentoring, and vicariously through mentor-protégées. This book imparts what they have come to understand of truly great mentoring—what they call Student Whispering.

Chapters 6-9 provide foundational information valuable for all mentors and those who are mentored.

Chapters 10-13 help readers throw off past biases about teaching and establish a transformational foundation for great mentoring. Topics include:

  • The two major balances (first between the Manager and the Artist, and second between the Warrior and the Healer)
  • The various voices nearly all students listen to, and how to speak the language of each most effectively
  • Seven key questions Student Whisperers ask about each mentee
  • How archetypes are central to great education and Student Whispering, and how to apply this knowledge as a mentor

Chapters 14-16 deal with further transformation. This includes workshops on:

  • How to get the most from your mentors
  • How to become a great mentor
  • How to plan your strategy of becoming a Student Whisperer so that it encompasses life as a place of learning…and more

Product Details:

  • First edition, published by TJEdOnline March 2011
  • Perfect bound (paperback), approximately 270 pages
  • ISBN 978-0-9830996-1-1
  • Dimensions: 6″ x 9 ” x approx. 1″; shipping weight approximately 1 lb.

Chapter Outline


by Oliver DeMille

Inspire * The Lineage of Mentors * What, Exactly, is a Student Whisperer? * Neither by Force nor Chance * Three Levels of Mentoring * Inspiration * The Highest Level: Student Whispering * Two Books in One * Special Thanks

Book One

Chapter 1: Mentors

by Tiffany Rhoades Earl

The Call * The Mission Mentor * The Assignment * Roadblocks * Trusting the Mentor

Tiffany makes an appointment to meet with her old Liberal Arts mentor to request that he be her Mission Mentor–and it does not turn out as she expects. The challenges facing her family’s business. Flashbacks to earlier experiences with informal mentors.

Chapter 2: Beginnings

by Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Soul Mentors * Informal Mentors * Formal Mentors * Allegiance * Crossing the Chasm * A New Call

With stories from her youth, the author relates her experience with various mentoring types and situations, and the challenges that she met along the way.

Chapter 3: Depth

by Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Off to College * Commonplace Book * Shakespeare * Truth and Lies * Simulations * Independent Thoughts * Plato, Calvin, Darwin & Marx * Descartes * Hobbes * Rand * Dewey * Tolstoy * Suzuki * Klingler * Allison * Women in Modernity * Demosthenes * Argument vs. Debate * Poetry vs. Prose

Over the course of four years under the tutelage of a Formal liberal arts mentor, we experience the author’s evolution from an enthusiastic but untried scholar into a more mature young adult with the ability to participate in the Great Conversation with the classical works she reads, her peers and her mentor.

Chapter 4: Life

by Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Tolstoy * Systems * Tests, Trials and Traps * Seasons * A New Call * Becoming a Mentor * Forms * Business Mentor * Business Partner * Building Communities

After graduation from college, the author finds herself living the American Dream–happily married with great kids, home ownership, entrepreneurship–and feeling like she’s not on track with her mission. When the new Call comes, she finds that juggling her responsibilities and finding the right way pursue her mission requires the help of mentors.

Chapter 5: Freedom

by Tiffany Rhoades Earl

The Education of a Wandering Man * Trek to Hungary * A Near Miss * She Was There * Witness of a Revolution * Force, and Other Lies * Ugly American * The Museum of Terror * Purge the Leaders, Subjugate the People * Debriefing with Mentor * Yes, I Am.

The author visits Hungary with hopes of learning about the Revolution. With her nose in a book, she nearly missed the opportunity to speak with a woman who was there; the conversation deeply moves Tiffany, but does not nearly prepare her for her visit to the Museum of Terror, where she begins soul-searching for answers on what it all means for her Mission. A post-journey debriefing with her mentor takes an unexpected turn.

Book Two

Chapter 6: Student Whisperers

by Oliver DeMille

The Heart of the Matter * Sticks, Carrots and Love Affairs * Choices and Consequences * Teaching the Heart, Mind and Soul * The Student Whisperer’s Creed * Great Education * Time to Record: Your Whisperings

Chapter 7: Mentors

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Seven Mentors * Parent Mentors * Soul Mentors * Expert Mentors * Leadership Mentors * Mission Mentors * Gurus * Epiphanies * Time to Record: My Mentors

Chapter 8: Trail Blazers

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

The Path of All Success * Which Path Are You On? * The Blazed Trail * The Law of the Wall * The Path to Nowhere * Time to Record: My Challenges

Chapter 9: The Path

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

The Greats and Their Mentors * Test #1: The Call * The High * Time to Record: My Call * Test #2: Opposition * 4 Allegiances * Others * Self * Evil * God/Good * Time to Record: My Allegiance * Test #3: The Great Chasm * Time to Record: How Will I Cross It? * Test #4: Hard Work * Time to Record: What do you need? Whom should you ask? * Test #5: Endurance * Tests * Trials * Traps * Time to Record: My TTTs * Test #6: The Ultimate Test * Time to Record * Test #7: The Pressure Lets Up; Do You? * Time to Record: What were you born to fight for? * Blazes on the Path of All Success

Chapter 10: A Whispering Language Lesson

by Oliver DeMille

Inner Dialogues * The Critic * The Victim * The Judge * The Rebel * How to Tell the Difference * But, What About…? * The Real You * The Inspirer * Time to Record: The Real You, The Inspirer * Amazingly: Negatives are, well, Negative * Time to Record: Plan of Action * Listening Matters

Chapter 11: The Whisperer’s Dance

by Oliver DeMille

What are you teaching? * The Manager/Artist Balance * Time to Record: My M/A Balance * Time to Record: Whispering Exercise * The Healer/Warrior Balance * Time to Record: My H/W Balance * Time to Record: Whispering Exercise * The Whispering Quadrants * Manager/Healer Quadrant * Manager/Warrior Quadrant * Artist/Warrior Quadrant * Artist/Healer Quadrant * Mentoring the Prodigy * Time to Record: Quadrant Mentoring Exercise

Chapter 12: Seven Questions

by Oliver DeMille

What do Mentors do? * Whispering Questions * Time to Record: My Key Questions Exercise * Time to Record: My Mentee’s Key Questions Exercise

Chapter 13: Inspiring Archetypes

by Oliver DeMille

Jung and Personality Theory * “My Archetypes” Exercise * Time to Record: Whisperer Exercise

Chapter 14: Getting the Most from Your Mentors

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Eleven Lessons * #1: Take Responsibility * #2: Master the Mentor’s Style * #3: Trust the Process * #4: Keep the Mentor in the Loop * #5: Ask the Right Questions; Follow Through * #6: Act * #7: Welcome Correction * #8: Under Stress: Listen! * #9: Under Stress, Really Listen! * #10: Get Past the Myths About Mentoring * #11: Learn from Both Sides

Chapter 15: The Art of Mentoring

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Nine Mentoring Lessons * #1: The Warning * #2: The Contrast * #3: The Role * #4: Go With Your Gut * #5: Use the Classics: * #6: Be Educable * #7: Use Many Mentoring Environments * #8: The Challenge * #9: Know Your Mentee * Twelve Mentoring Improvements * Pass On a Legacy * Be a Mentor * Develop a Cadre * Teach the Path * Be an Advocate * Be Selective * “No,” and an Assignment * From Impossible to Mundane * Fish in Your Pond * Planning through Tests * Rigor Through Traps * Empathy through Trials * Stay the Course * The Work of Student Whispering

Chapter 16: Spirals

by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl

The Big Picture * Grand Spiral of Life * Iterations * Gurus * Spiral Lessons * Time to Record: Spiral Exercise * Conclusion


Appendix I : Student Whispering Questions
Appendix II: A Student Whisperer’s Guide
Appendix III: The Student Whisperer’s Creed
About the Authors

Reader Reviews

Here’s what some reviewers have to say about The Student Whisperer:

… engaging, elevating, and packed with insights. The epiphanies just kept coming from start to finish. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is either searching for a mentor, or striving to become one.

~Christine Taylor, homeschooling mother of four

“While reading your personal story, my heart soared with yours on that mountain top. I worried when Rick was sick. My memory raced back with yours as you mourned the loss of your friends and your place among your peers. I cried with you on those nights you cried yourself to sleep. My foot twitched with yours while you were sitting on that couch. My breath was held with all those students while waiting for your mentor to comment on your mission. You do make people feel it. You do make them taste, see, and smell it. You make it so real.”

—Merijane Bench, mother of six

“The night I sat down to begin reading your introductory chapters, it was already 10:30 p.m. I thought I would at least get started with it—at the most spend half an hour. Quite unexpectedly it ‘grabbed’ me and at 1:00 a.m. I finished it. When I went to bed I was alert and in deep thought. It led me to believe that if I follow these steps I will in fact have success in fulfilling my mission. Your stories portray real life difficulties and struggles with The Path and how you overcame them—showing the reader just what a mentor/mentee relationship looks and feels like. It is like seeing video clips of your experiences.”

—Angela Baker, mother of seven

Inspiring and pivotal. In a world where the focus of most teachers and educational organizations is on the curriculum, this work helps mentors focus on the student himself. Whereas most education today is from the outside in…or how to get the curriculum into the student, this work teaches a focus of inside out…finding and bringing out the greatness and talents in the students and using this to inspire and dictate the curriculum. If the root of the word “educate” is to “draw forth” or “bring forth”, then this work promotes education in the truest form of the word.

~Roxane Colburn, current Home Schooling Mother (15 years), and previous Elementary School Teacher

Extraordinary! I felt like I was taken by the hand and quided through a mentoring experience, the joy, the pain, and the growth. I found fresh clarity, inspiration, motivation and direction for my own development as a student and mentor. What other books merely talk about this one does. No matter what I say, it would be an understatement.

~Kelli Poll, mentor and homeschooling parent

This book was just what I needed! I’ve been wondering for quite some time about how to be a more effective mentor and what each kind of mentor really looks like. This book explains both in an informative and entertaining way. [It] has some wonderful exercises to help you become the mentor you have the potential to be. As with all TJEd books thus far, it has inspired me to reach for the next level of understanding and make myself a better person. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to improve their mentoring skills.

~Erica Michaelis

I have always known that my life has a purpose and I have spent most of my life waiting for that purpose to be made known to me. Three years ago, through the guidance of a mentor, I realized that I needed to find out for myself what my mission is. Since that time I have been earnestly studying, pondering, and praying about what my personal mission is, seeking guidance and counsel from a myriad of mentors.

The Student Whisperer is a godsend to me in my quest of understanding for it has provided greater understanding in how the mentoring process works. I feel validated in the choices I have made so far, the tests and trials I have faced, and I know that there will be more – but I also know that they will be worth the effort to see them through. I appreciate this culmination of time, effort, and experience and absolutely recommend these works to everyone who are seeking to fulfill their personal missions, and those who wish to help those who follow to identify and fulfill theirs.”

~ Angela Walters, Austin, Texas; homeschooling mother of 2, undergraduate student at George Wythe University

Your book has taught me soooo much. I can’t wait to go back with a journal and do the homework!

~Sarah Nuttall Hoopes

Thank you for The Student Whisperer. As we travel through this journey called Leadership Education we find that we can only be truly successful when we discover The Path. This book helps us to not only see the path for ourselves but to become guides and beacons of light that can direct others to travel the path as well. I love the writing assignments and found them very enlightening, helping me to see the types of mentors that I am seeking as well as opening me eyes to the places where I can improve with those that I guide.

~Emily Gray Clawson has been home schooling for ten years. She is a mentor with Thoughts Alive International and co-founder of Mastering Knighthood: Raising a Hero Generation

I feel a stirring inside me – an awakening of sorts. I have felt it before as well. I have met the roadblocks. I have let them overcome me. I feel overwhelmed as I read this, because I can’t stop thinking of the things I know I should be doing better. But at the same time, I feel a hope and a desire to change. To get out of the ruts. To really solidify my mission and to go after it whole-heartedly.

I want to share this book with so many people. As I continued to read, more and more ideas kept popping into my head. I really think that the more people who read this book, and apply the principles [it] is teaching, the faster we’ll be able to get our country and our lives back on the track that we were meant to be on.

~Kayleen Pemberton

The Student Whisperer is incredible! It has given me a clear vision of how to inspire others. It has given me tools and ideas I can use to be the mentor I want and need to be. Reading Tiffany’s stories was “the icing on the cake”. Tiffany’s own mentoring experience enabled me to see what the relationship between a mentor and mentee looks like. I feel so empowered. Being a great mentor won’t be easy, but now I know, I can do it!

~ Toni Miranda, Glendale Arizona

This is it!!! This is the book I have been waiting for. It inspired me, and I can see how it can make me a better mentor, and I am excited for others to read it and glean from the great ideas.

~Kathy Bruckman

The Student Whisperer is one of the most powerful and inspiring books I have ever read. [It] not only walks you down the path to greatness, it gives you real world tools to start applying in your life immediately. This book should be read by anyone who wants to change the world and make a difference to those around them! It is already becoming a classic for me.

~Karena Luerssen, homeschool mom of 5 and mentor to parents

This book should be considered as “The handbook” for anyone who mentors others. I will recommend it to everyone I know that is working to attain a great leadership education.

~Dan Owen is a husband, father, LEMI trained mentor, and self-employed contractor who is working on the liberal arts education he never got

The Student Whisperer reaches the depths of true mentoring, deep into the heart and soul of the matter, encompassing your whole life. This is the most complete guide to mentoring that all homeschoolers should study and implement, empowering not only their children to greatness but the whole family as well. I have no doubt that many Greats will emerge from these practices shared by Oliver DeMille and Tiffany Rhoades Earl.

I have seen great success in not only my six children but in other children as well by implementing the Thomas Jefferson mentoring practices. I highly recommend this book to all parents, teachers and students. The Student Whisperer will inspire you and your family on to greatness!

~Donna Vail, Founder and Mentor–

Reading The Student Whisperer was a unique experience – it is a transformational story, a guidebook for mentors, and a journey for the reader as well. It is a book I expect I’ll return to over and over, to learn how to inspire and to be inspired myself. As I followed Tiffany Earl along in her path of seeking and finding a mentor, to finding her mission and becoming a mentor, I was reminded of the times I have also felt The Call; my desires to learn and become and understand bubbled up vigorously inside of me. I could feel the struggle that went on within her, and the struggle and desire in me, too, to find a way to do the hard things, to be who I am meant to be, to seek out a mentor, and to do what it takes to be the mentor my own children need.

I imagine every person has a Call of their own, but most of us have pushed it to the background of our minds for lack of knowing how to answer it; for lack of a mentor or ‘Student Whisperer.’ Many of us have a sense that our children, and all people, for that matter, have a unique and vital purpose in life, yet are at a loss as to how to help draw it out, how to mentor and inspire them. This book not only addresses that missing piece, it beckons us to find a way to get on The Path ourselves, and it offers a beautiful taste of how it feels to be truly mentored.

This book made me feel and see – this is the education I need, the education my children need, and this is how it feels!

~Alysia Humphries, Homeschooling mother of 6 children

The Student Whisperer is an inspiring read. The principles offered here are applicable to anyone on either side of a mentoring relationship. Sharing from their hearts, the authors allow us a peek into their personal lives, with their various challenges and victories, as they’ve traveled The Path in pursuit of The Call.

Armed with concrete how-tos, the reader, upon implementation of these truths, will see drastic improvement and direction of not only his own life but the lives of those he mentors.

This book is a classic and will apply to the businessman and homeschooling mom alike.

~Sarah Coke, Alaska

I was moved beyond words and can’t wait to implement the authors’ strategies, passion and faith into my life, my family and my community service efforts.

~Karianne Lisonbee

I had always hoped against hope that as my children got older, I could just be the mentor they needed–like if I closed my eyes and thought hard enough about it, I could just will myself into being a good mentor. I’m so glad I read this book! Now, I have the confidence and the tools to become the mom and mentor my children need me to be, and that makes me feel like I can take on the world.

~Stacy Nelford, Mother of 3

Thank you for finally putting into words what I have been feeling, reaching for, even catching glimpses of but never quite understanding. I have always felt like a deer in headlights concerning mentoring and this book is gives me the wherewithal to reach the nagging and unrelenting callings within my heart. This book has become such a powerful and immediately hands-on tool in my life that I recommend it to anyone with a Mentoring heart.

~Verena Beckstrand, Ashford University Online Teaching Assistant and TJEd mom of 6 kids

Honestly, I wondered if I would be disappointed by this book. I had great expectations. You see, I have known about this upcoming book for years and have greatly anticipated it. I have had many questions, I have sought for more explanation of The Path, more understanding of mentoring, I have been stuck, I have desired to see more of the picture. Could this book really hold what I was looking for?

Happily, this book not only met my expectations, it exceeded my expectations! My epiphanal rate was off the charts. I am anxious to return to its pages. I felt and understood so much more about myself, the process of education, The Path and the function and importance of not just mentors, but Student Whisperers. I appreciate in a new way where I have been, where I am and have a clearer vision of where I am going.

As far as becoming a Student Whisperer, this book pulls no punches. It is going to take time, dedication and work. But it is going to be worth it, so worth it; for the world needs Student Whisperers and as it turns out, anyone can learn to be one if they are willing to go the distance.

~Janiece Sloan, mother of two and beneficiary of Student Whispering

I first heard about the possibility of this book 3 years ago and have been waiting anxiously ever since. I was one of those ‘impatient’ people Dr. DeMille talks about in the book. As I read I was moved by Tiffany’s stories and her writing to share more of my own stories and to write in a different way. Then I started into Book 2 and was confused because it was all about finding out about me instead of mentoring others, and then the light came on. It was “You, Not Them” and I realized first that I needed to understand me before I could mentor others. What a wonderful and paradigm changing experience. It was well worth the wait! I look forward to many read-throughs and many more Whisperer Journals.

~Heather Hansen, wife and homeschool mom

About the Authors

Oliver DeMille

bio_oliverOliver DeMille is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, The Coming Aristocracy and other books on education and freedom. He has taught graduate courses on the complete writings of Thomas Jefferson, The Federalist Papers, Aristotle’s Politics and other great classics of liberty. Oliver is a popular keynote speaker, writer and business consultant.
Presently, he is active as a founding partner with The Center for Social Leadership and he devotes a majority of his time to writing. Oliver is married to the former Rachel Pinegar. They have eight children.

Tiffany Rhoades Earl

Tiffany is the author of SayGoBeDo, Mentor’s Guide, Parent Mentoring, Making Connections (previously published as Inteligro Math), and The Thomas Jefferson Planner, as well as other books and audios on mentoring, education, and impact.

She is the co-founder of Leadership Education Mentoring Institute (LEMI), which develops Commonwealth Schools, promotes families, and mentors others along The Path. Tiffany and her husband Rick (her partner in LEMI) are the parents of five children.

Tiffany’s works, including resources on key topics taught in this book, are available at

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