Comment from one of our past members of Charlotte Homeschooling on other methods:

Great teachers and schools allow students to pursue whatever interests they choose during their study time.

Of course, this principle is applied differently at different levels of student development. There are 4 phases of learning: Core Phase, roughly ages 0-8; Love of Learning Phase, roughly ages 8-12; Scholar Phase, roughly ages 12-16; and Depth Phase, roughly ages 16-22.
Beyond this comes the Mission Phase, where we each set out and accomplish our unique missions in life.

During Core Phase work times and play times are scheduled, with children allowed to choose their own subjects of play during play time. As they get older, play includes reading, math and other subjects that students choose to engage for fun.

At the beginning of the Love of Learning Phase a student might choose a structure of 1-3 hours a day of set study time; it is important that the student choose it, and that the mentor then hold the student accountable for his choice. If the student won’t choose it, you haven’t inspired him yet-get to work. Don’t fall back into requiring. Pay the price to inspire. By the early Scholar Phase a student will likely be choosing 6-8 hours a day of intense study.
And the student chooses his own topics each day. During the Scholar and Depth Phases, the student increases the structured time and goes into more depth in the fields of his choice-with more intense feedback from a mentor and ever-increasing quality of work.

5. Quality, not conformity
Once the student is inspired and working hard to get a great education, the mentor should give lots of feedback and help. But the feedback should not take the form of grading or otherwise rewarding conformity. Great teachers and schools reward quality-quality work and quality performance.

In the Scholar and Depth Phases, anything less than high quality is not graded; instead, the student is coached on how to improve it and sent back to work on it-over and over again until excellence is attained. For example, at George Wythe College the two grades for student work are “A” and “DA,” which mean Acceptable and Do it Again. Great teachers inspire quality and demand quality; they shun mere conformity and expect their students to think and perform.

6. Simplicity, not complexity
The more complex the curriculum, the more reliant the student becomes on experts, and the more likely the student is to get caught up in the requirement/conformity trap. This leads to effective follower training, but is more a socialization technique than an educational method. Education means the ability to think, independently and creatively, and the skill of applying one’s knowledge in dealing with people and situations in the real world.
Great teachers train great thinkers, and great leaders, by keeping it simple: students study the greatest minds and characters in history in every field, write about and discuss what is learned in numerous settings, and apply what is learned in various ways under the tutelage of a mentor. Find a great thinker and leader in history, and you will find this method in their educational background.

7. You, not them
If you think these principles are about improving your child’s or student’s education, you will never have the power to inspire them to do the hard work of self-education. Focus on your education, and invite them along for the ride. Read the classics in all fields, find mentors who inspire and demand quality, structure your days to include study time for yourself, and become a person who inspires great education. A parent or teacher doesn’t have to be an expert to inspire great education (the classics provide the expertise), but he does have to be setting the example.

Here are a couple more links you can check out that I was referred to on an another list:

http://tjed.org/
http://www.curriculumconnection.net/thomasjeffeducation.htm

Another comment from a past member of Charlotte Homeschooling:

From the Living Math list:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LivingMathForum/

Ann asked: > What is a “Thomas Jefferson Education”?

It’s an educational philosophy originally written about by Dr.
Oliver DeMille of George Wythe College. He has a book of that title, and he and other lecturers from the college tour and speak to groups all over the US, not just homeschool groups. I heard it referred to as “classical unschooling” , which is over-simplied of course, but I did find that it reconciled the best of unschooling and classical education principles.

Because it is principle-driven, rather than method oriented, I found it easy to incorporate ideas in how I structure our home education environment gradually.

FWIW, the reference to Thomas Jefferson doesn’t necessarily refer to his politics or religion, but to the model of his education, particularly from adolescence on. George Wythe was Jefferson’s mentor, and Jefferson had a reputation of being a self-motivated and lifelong learner.

As with Charlotte Mason and TWTM, the quality of the education is a focus, however, TJE is more concerned with an older child / young adult obtaining a true liberal arts education required to be a leader.
However, there is an even greater emphasis on inspiring a child to self educate beyond CM, and there isn’t the rigidity of structure of TWTM. I find it very easy to blend these ideas with CM and my classical leanings.

In a nutshell, the principles are:

1) CLASSICS (not textbooks)-original sources;
2) MENTORS, not professors;
3) QUALITY, not conformity;
4) Structure TIME, not content;
5) INSPIRE, not require;
6) SIMPLE, not complex
(learn by studying/discussing classics, no curriculum dictates); and
7) It’s about YOU, not them; Show them how, change yourself.

This is probably way more than you need, but I cut and pasted this from an email I got that gives more detail on the principles.

The Seven Principles of Quality Education, by Oliver Van DeMille

There are seven principles of successful education-when they are applied, learning occurs. When they are ignored or rejected, the quantity and quality of education decreases. Whatever the student’s individual interests or learning styles, tehse principles apply. And whatever your role in education-home, public, private, higher education or corporate training-the application of any and eventually all of the seven principles will significantly improve your effectiveness and success.

1. Classics, not textbooks
Every subject is most effectively learned directly from the greatest thinkers, historians, artists, philosophers, prophets and their original works. Great works inspire greatness, just as mediocre or poor works inspire mediocre and poor scholarship. The great accomplishments of humanity are the key to quality education.

2. Mentors, not professors
The professor/expert tells the students, invites them to conform to certain ideas and standards, and grades or otherwise rewards/punishes them for their various levels of conformity. In contrast, the mentor finds out the student’s goals, interests, talents, weaknesses, strengths and purpose, and then helps him develop and carry out a plan to prepare for his unique mission.

3. Inspire, not require
This is perhaps the least understood and least practiced of the seven principles. Yet it is the key to all great teaching. There are really only two ways to teach-you can inspire the student to voluntarily and enthusiastically choose to do the hard work necessary to get a great education, or you can attempt to require it of them. Mediocre teachers and school