A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion


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At a time when the American educational system is in crisis and the family is under attack, the tried-and-true principles handed down through the ages, herein called Thomas Jefferson Education, are fostering the revival of a culture of leadership and liberty.

As a result, the family is being restored to its rightful place as the basic unit of a prosperous and free society; and the prospects for American education are looking brighter than ever.

These incredibly helpful articles read, at times, like a letter from a friend, at times like an entry in a journal of Education or Child Development, and even, at times, like we’re overhearing a conversation. But in every case it is relevant, accessible, and empowering.

Product Details:

  • First edition, Published by TJEdOnline, October 2006.
  • Perfect bound (paperback), 241 pages.
  • ISBN 978-0967124636
  • Dimensions and shipping weight: 7 x 9 x 0.7 inches, 1 lb.

Click here to download a free pdf excerpt from A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion.

Chapter Outline


By Vicki Jo Andersen, past president of the Arizona State Charter School Board

“Thomas Jefferson Education as been a sensation–and a revolution. At a time when the American educational system is in crisis and the family is under attack, the tried-and-true principles handed down through the ages–herein called A Thomas Jefferson Education–are fostering a revival of a culture of leadership and liberty. As a result, the family is being restored to its rightful place as the basic unit of a prosperous and free society, and the prospects for American education are looking brighter than ever.

“These principles are being applied in public, charter and private schools with amazing success…”

Prologue: Have You Made The Choice?

Corporate Individualism * The Family * The Great Debate

America is currently making a decision. This extremely important choice will largely determine what kind of world our children and grandchildren will live in, yet few people even know about it. The question is this: Which Central Idea will our society adopt in the century ahead? By 2050 either the family or the corporation will stand triumphant, and the sides are being chosen today.

Chapter One- Off the Conveyor Belt

By Diann Jeppson
Ten Years of Practice * Learning Environments

“As a homeschooling mother of four girls, I am always interested in great books on education. The discovery of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century has, without a doubt, completely revolutionized my home. …I no longer walk into a library or curriculum fair and stand there feeling quietly overwhelmed….

“…It is truly fascinating to observe the methods employed on younger siblings by youth who have been raised with the leading hand in their own education. Being inspirational comes naturally….

“…When we lead out, and invite our children and youth along on the journey, we can’t help but positively impact the educational level of the next generation.”

Chapter Two- Time and Leadership

By Diann Jeppson, with Rachel DeMille
Core Phase * Love of Learning * Example * Frequent Exposure * Plentiful Choices * Accountability * Follow-through * Environment * Mastering Life Skills * Scholar Phase * Depth Phase

Strategies for the implementation of Thomas Jefferson Education are needed in our homes and schools. The gifts of Choice and Time.

The three things all Core Phasers should get are knowledge of right and wrong, true and false, good and bad. This knowledge needs to be more than just information; it must truly become part of the child. Examples of fostering Core Phase lessons from TJEd moms.

There are two areas where Love of Learners need to spend a lot of time: falling in love with all types of learning, and mastering a whole bunch of life skills. The six-point approach to inspiring love of learning. Music Education, Life Skills and more. The importance of “Time” in Scholar and Depth Phases.

Chapter Three- Free at Last!

By Diann Jeppson

In our fast-paced society, we find ourselves becoming slaves to either ease or expediency. This tends to arise at the onset of the teenage years. Thomas Jefferson Education youth face a unique challenge: in addition to choosing between the exciting social events and options, they also have to choose between myriad academic options. At the same time, TJEd youth face having to develop self-discipline and skills. The invitation, therefore, is to consider carefully the time and season of youth, and the far-reaching consequences of lack of adequate space for serious scholarship.

Chapter Four- Mentor Meetings Between Parents and Child

By Diann Jeppson

Mentor meetings are regular meetings in which the parent and child discuss what the child has been learning, and the parents assist the child in setting new goals for the next interval of time. If you watch your child carefully, you can determine when the time is right to begin holding mentor meetings. Signs of readiness; how to introduce the mentor/student relationship; how to conduct the mentor meeting. Ninety percent inspiration, ten percent perspiration.

Chapter Five- Book Discussions and Family Reading

By Diann Jeppson
Having a Successful Family Reading Time * Choosing Worthwhile Books * Evening Reading and Discussion * Holding Successful Group Discussions * Enjoying Discussions with Children * Facilitating Discussions Among Older Youth * The Adult Book Discussion Group * The Colloquium

Discussions about great books with your peers and your family members are some of the most satisfying and powerful facets of Leadership Education. These discussions open new avenues and take participants to new frontiers as they challenge one another’s assumptions, compare ideas, ask questions and articulate thoughts and conclusions about books read in common. New ideas spring forth as minds are opened to new ideas never before considered, and questions are answered, or left to be answered another day. Suggestions for discussion in family with large age range; suggestions for peer discussion among young children, youth and adults.

Chapter Six- Mom Schools

By Oliver DeMille, with Rachel DeMille
What American Homeschoolers Say They Want * What Homeschoolers Really Want * Mom Schools and the Future of America

The biggest educational trend in America is the growth of alternative schools. There are four major ways that people are deciding to do alternative schools: regularly established private schools, charter schools, home schools, and “Mom Schools.” Mom Schools are where a mom sees that her kids need something so she sets it up, offers it, and invites others to participate with her family. The most exciting thing about Mom Schools is that they promise not only a better education for the rising generation, but they are educating the parents’ generation in neighborhoods across America.

Chapter Seven- “Steel to Gold”: Motherhood and Feminism

By Rachel DeMille
It Takes A Mother To Raise A Village * Your Education Is Your Most Valuable Asset * Raising Children Is The Thing That Changes The World Most

There is a widespread myth that feminism came about in the 20th century, that–along with Civil Rights and Environmentalism–feminism is one of our great modern advances. The truth is that feminism has a much earlier origin. Three major schools of thought on the role and future of women: Modern Feminism, Reactionary Feminism, Anti-feminism. The power of women to shape society by raising twelve individuals for their future roles.

Chapter Eight- Seeing the Whole Picture

By Diann Jeppson
Family Work * Getting Things in Order * Eliminating Contention * Getting the Family Off to a Good Start * For Health and Strength * Language Arts * Creating a Master Plan for Your Family’s Education * Getting Vision * A Preliminary Briefing * Nine Key Elements for and Effective Master Plan * Putting Your Master Plan Into Play * Systems * Revision and Revisiting

“As a mother, I have frequently asked the woman in the mirror: How in the world can I inspire all my children to want to learn anything when I still have to do the housework, spend time with my husband, do the errands, pay bills, do the laundry, and all the other items on the endless list of tasks stretching out before me? …Waiting for the chores to end before I take time to teach, mentor, plan, prepare, inspire and study is like standing at the banks of a mighty river waiting for the water to finish going by so that I can cross to the other side!

This chapter gives a detailed view of Diann’s family organization, including family work, rest and play, and how it all fits with their master educational plan.

Chapter Nine- How I Created a Mom School

by Diann Jeppson
Liberty Girls * American Youth Leadership Institute * The Knights of Freedom * Young American Stateswoman Association * Statesmanship Clubs

“Mom Schools greatly enhance children’s learning, and are an ideal expression of what Rachel referred to earlier as ‘Maternal Ambition.’ Through group learning, children share their enthusiasm with each other, strengthen desire for knowledge and enjoy mutual inspiration and encouragement. Adults benefit from the combined strength, and pull each other up.”

This chapter will:

  • inspire your efforts to form your own Mom School
  • strengthen, sustain or repair an existing group
  • help you blend your Mom School with what you are doing in the home
  • provide examples of forms, processes and structures that work

Chapter Ten- Successful Group Learning

by Diann Jeppson
A Designated Leader * Clear Vision of the Group Objectives * Delegation * Structures and Forms * Communication * Do’s and Don’ts * Simulations * Student Leadership * and more…

One of the most important skills of Leadership Education is leading groups in learning environments. This chapter includes detailed suggestions for successful group learning.

Chapter Eleven- The Jeppson Plan

Morning Things * The Jeppson Family Study System * Adult Skills Classes * Household Skills and Advancements in Scholar Phase

The Jeppson Plan is a system designed to bring a child to the door of Scholar Phase and gracefully usher him in. This chapter describes in detail how the Jeppson family structure fosters characteristics for and facilitates engagement with each phase and level of Thomas Jefferson Education.

Chapter Twelve- Attention Span: Our National Education Crisis

by Oliver DeMille
Attention Span and Freedom * Five Fallacies About Education * How to Increase Attention Span

A great education and the resultant freedom of a people hinge largely on one thing: the ability to apply the work and focus necessary to gain a great education. In this chapter, Oliver enumerates Five Fallacies that impede effective adult education:

  • Learning must be fun.
  • Good teaching is entertaining.
  • Books, texts and materials must be simple and easily understood.
  • “Balance” means balancing work with entertainment.
  • Opinions matter.

“In the twenty-first century, it is time for people of virtue to also become people of wisdom. …Don’t let your habits of entertainment stop you from becoming the leader you were meant to be….”

Chapter Thirteen: Liber and Public Virtue

by Oliver DeMille
Liber Defined * Public Virtue Defined * Examples from the Lives of “Regular” People from the Founding Era

In this inspiring chapter read of the priceless American ideals of Liber and Public Virtue, as personified in the lives of Robert and Mary Morris, Thomas and Lucy Nelson, Samuel and Eliza Adams, Francis and Elizabeth Lewis, Roger and Rebecca Sherman, Abraham and Sarah Clark, and the great Teachers of Liberty: George Wythe, John Witherspoon, Benjamin Rush and Mr. Lovell.

How many homes today are training men and women of Liber and Public Virtue? In all our getting, is that even our goal? Should it be? How is it accomplished?

Chapter Fourteen- The Calm Before the Storm

by Oliver DeMille, with Rachel DeMille

“In a recent seminar, during a discussion about the writings of John Adams and how much we need to appply today the things he taught, one of the participants raised a poignant question: ‘So what do we DO about all this?'”

This question can be answered by studying the generations of history that were successful in meeting their generational crisis: What did they do during the calm before their storm to prepare for what awaited them? Therein lies the answer to what our generation, and our children’s, should do now. Using examples from history and sound insight, Oliver defines a call to action that might surprise you.

Chapter Fifteen- Mentoring Genius

by Oliver and Rachel DeMille
Vision * Scope * Method * The 5 Environments of Mentoring * The Five Pillars * Strength in Numbers * The Power of One

During Scholar and Depth Phases of Thomas Jefferson Education, few components have greater impact than the quality of mentoring. A widespread myth in modern education is that “bigger is better.” Ironically, for some practitioners of Thomas Jefferson Education, the myth is that “smaller is better.” The truth is much simpler: Better is better. And Better is defined in three ways: Vision, Scope and Method.

This chapter defines and elaborates on The 5 Environments of Mentoring:

  • Lecture
  • Colloquium
  • Group Discussion
  • Examination
  • Coaching

It also enumerates the Five Pillars of Statesmanship:

  • Classics
  • Mentors
  • Simulations
  • Field Experience
  • God

Compare and contrast the Leadership Education ideal with the “traditional” model of moving students along toward a goal. How does your mentoring measure up, and how can you improve it?

Epilogue: Educational Pioneers

by Oliver and Rachel DeMille

“Virtually ever day we see questions about Thomas Jefferson Education that, in spite of the different words and packages, really boil down to: ‘So, really, what’s the easy way to do all this?’ So far we have no answer to this question, except: ‘We don’t know of any, other than to do the hard work of getting a great education.’

“But really: isn’t it worth it? If we pioneer for our children, they’ll get to do it an easier way. If we don’t, if we let another generation drift further from the leadership path, it will just get harder and harder for our children and grandchildren.

“…We have illustrated in the foregoing chapters what it has required of those who engaged the challenge in previous generations. But our generation, with its culture of entitlement, struggles to conceive of such things being required of them. It seems wrong to them that individuals and fmailies should have to give so much for a true education–especially when they could seemingly opt a life of relative ease. Leadership Education will not likely come to their doorstep–they must purposefully choose to engage it. Why then, should they prefer the road of Public Virtue, of pain and excellence, of service and greatness, of trial and leadership–of Steel to Gold?

“Such are the mothers and fathers of this pioneering generation… If you are such a father or mother, we want you simply to know that you can do it. Your children need it, and, by the grace of God, you are up to the task. There is no more important role in the 21st Century than being a great parent.”


  • A: Adult Skills Classes
  • B: The Big List
  • C: Worksheet for Creating Book Discussion Group Bylaws
  • D: Book Discussion Sample Questions
  • E: Biblical Highlights for Young Children


Whether you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, legislator, professor or grandparent, this book is a must

“The core unit of society is the family, and it is in our homes that the principles must most deeply take root and flourish. Regardless of where your children sit to learn, your home can be transformed into a Leadership Education Home, a Thomas Jefferson Education environment. This volume offers something new, something which we all need: a view of Leadership Education from many angles, from the education of toddlers to advanced adult learning. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, administrator, legislator, professor or grandparent, this book is a must.”

Vicki Jo Anderson, co-Founder of American Heritage Academy

The only two books I needed to homeschool my children

“This book and A Thomas Jefferson Education are the only two books I needed to homeschool my four children. When I started this system of education I had no idea what I was doing, then Diann’s book came along as the ‘companion’ and all was right with the world. The forms, systems and processes in this book work hand-in-glove with Oliver DeMille’s original book. I recommend both books as the core system for homeschoolers wanting to raise leaders.

“Diann’s writing style and easy-going approach to homeschooling will leave you feeling totally in control and not wandering around in the dark forest of philosophy. Her systems are easy to use and her language is easy to read.”

Janine Bolon, financial coach, speaker, radio talk show host, & author of Money…It’s Not Just for Rich People!


Left me inspired and empowered…

“What an amazing tool! I am grateful for the practical suggestions and examples of Leadership Education. This book left me inspired and empowered to create a home that fosters Leaders! Thank you!”

-Nanette Baker

A valuable resource…


“…this book has proven to be a valuable resource in my efforts to better understand and apply the principles of a Thomas Jefferson Education. Every time I refer to it, I am once again amazed at the wisdom it contains and the answers waiting for me there.”

-Janiece Sloan

Save yourself some time and get this book

Save yourself some time and get this book to start applying principles and techniques of Thomas Jefferson Education that took me ten years to figure out!

“I first read A Thomas Jefferson Education almost ten years ago and since then have been incorporating techniques to apply it into my everyday homeschooling and personal education. Suffice it to say when I read this book I was nodding my head in agreement in several places.

“I love Oliver DeMille’s answer to the overwhelmed mom that empathizes with her and then inspires her (and the rest of us) in his response. Rachel DeMille and Diane Jeppson are inspiring and knowledgeable in their writing as well.”

-Chen Rui

I now feel like this is something our family could actually do…

“I have been educating myself on homeschooling methods and was directed toward Thomas Jefferson Education. I read the first book and was excited but very overwhelmed. I agreed with the principles but didn’t have a picture in my mind of what it could actually look like until I read [A Thomas Jefferson Education]Home Companion. A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion helped me focus my excitement.

“I have pages and pages of notes and now feel like this is something our family could actually do. We already were reading together as a family but now we will focus more on discussing the books in more depth. I am excited to start helping my 9 and 7 year old rediscover the joy of learning.”


A great addition to the TJEd Library…

“A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion is a great addition to the TJEd library. I love how the authors inspire us to be better and to inspire our children to be all they can be.

“I love that examples are given so that those of us who are the TJEd pioneers in our areas can ‘see’ how it can be done and hopefully spread the word and excitement where we live. I am grateful to all who made this book possible. The world will thank you someday!”

-Bente Rodriguez

I highly recommend this book if you are serious about implementing the TJEd lifestyle

“What I love about this book is that it really breaks down HOW to do TJEd by letting you look into the lives of a TJEd family and see how all the components are implemented. I HIGHLY recommend this book if you are serious about integrating the TJEd lifestyle into your family/homeschool life. It gives descriptions of everything from how to integrate chores into your daily life with your kids to transitioning to practice scholar to spelling and more.

“All these examples have really helped me give over more to my kids and allow them the opportunities to really take charge of their education and life.”

-Valerie Atwood

About the Authors


oliverdemilleOliver DeMille is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education, The Coming Aristocracy and other books on education and freedom. He 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.

Rachel DeMille

Rachel Pinegar DeMille is the wife of Oliver DeMille and his frequent collaborator. Rachel is the owner of TJEdOnline.com and the author of “This Week in History” educational supplements for the home and classroom.

Rachel’s educational history was rather the opposite of Oliver’s, but with similar outcomes: whereas he had learning disabilities that hindered his early progress, she began playing the piano at age three, and was reading fluently by the age of four. Her facility with learning extended from math and science to foreign language and the arts, and she spent her early years in gifted programs. However, as she grew, she found it difficult to “fit in” to the system, and increasingly found that her best educational experiences were outside of the classroom, either through personal study, or with the guidance of caring and challenging mentors.

The youngest of six children, Rachel observed the upbringing of her nieces and nephews, and was deeply affected by the philosophies of her next oldest sister and her husband, who were homeschooling their children through the classics. She recognized the pattern of classics and mentoring that had been her own ideal, and determined to pursue a similar course in raising her own family.

Rachel is also the co-author of Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning and the audio series Core and Love of Learning: A Recipe for Success. She is an accomplished musician, writer, literary editor, public speaker, consultant and momschool organizer.

Diann Jeppson

Diann Jeppson is the founder and past president of the American Youth Leadership Institute. She received a bachelor’s degree in statesmanship from George Wythe College. She has presented at numerous education seminars and conventions, including Utah Home Education Association, Thomas Jefferson Education Convention, Youth For Freedom, the Thomas Jefferson Education Forum and the Utah State Association of Parliamentarians.

She is the owner of TJEd Marketplace, a business designed to connect parents and educators to resources, mentors, recordings, events and organizations that support Leadership Education. TJEd Marketplace produces the Salt Lake City Thomas Jefferson Education Family Forum.

She is the owner of Leadership Education Family Builder, providing mentoring and consulting for parents in designing their own unique vision, master plan and systems for raising the next generation of leaders in their home.

She serves on the Board of Trustees for George Wythe University. For eight years, she and her four daughters performed as a family bluegrass band called The Wildflowers. She and her husband Adam live with their daughters in West Valley City, Utah.

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