[Community Education] Liberty Project

Liberty Project

Welcome to the Liberty Project! Our focus will be community building, common language of leadership education, and becoming active participants in our own government.  Whether you are new to the Liberty Movement, an active member, or have simply desired to get more educated about your government and principles of good governing, this community class will be full of great information for a great price!

COST:  $10 per Class (Please advise one week in advance if you will be attending: dawn@leadershipeduc.com)

$35 for each Semester (9/12/13 – 12/5/13 or 1/9/14 – 5/1/14), due the first day of each semester

TIME: 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

LOCATION:  Abundant Life Community Church, 72nd & Wadsworth, Arvada, CO

REGISTRATION:  Please send the names of those attending to info@leadershipeduc.com

This Project is associated with Auxano Statesman and Leadership Association of North Denver (ASLAND), A Thomas Jefferson Education Commonwealth that supports other home educators who are using the TJEd model of education in their homes.

*No childcare is offered for this project, and this project is open only to adults

Calendar and Overview:

September 12th -Leadership Education overview, How to Read a Book, Common Language, How to Lead a Colloquium

October 10th -Christianity and the Constitution – The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis  (colloquium)

November 8th- The Role of Education in America – The Autobiography of Ben Franklin  (colloquium)

December 5th- Practical Application of Government: letters, social media, state’s rights


January 9th – Sovereignty-The Declaration of Independence , The Allegory of the Cave by Plato

            Challenge: Recite the Declaration of Independence (minus the King’s transgressions)

February 13thAre You Liberal, Conservative or Confused?  By Richard J. Maybury (colloquium)

March 13th – The 3 Species of Government – Republican, Monarchial and Despotic (Montesquieu) ;       Humanist Manifesto, Communist Manifesto (colloquium)

April 10th – The Auxiliary Federalist Papers

Presentations: Local government meetings

May 1stConstitutional Convention

{Classics} Goodreads and leadership education

Though many people obtain a leadership education through traditional schooling, our family educates at home.  This means that the burden of cost for education supplies, including books, falls squarely on our shoulders.

Many of us are frugal–we have to be–and find our classics in the used sections of bookstores, or even in the local second-hand shop such as ARC or Goodwill.  Even better, certain days, or certain tags, are half-off books, so not only are you getting a bargain, but you are getting that bargain at half off!

The most difficult part of buying used is remembering what books are in need, or have already been purchased and read.  This is where the trusty free website Goodreads.com comes in handy!

I happen to be blessed to own a “smart phone” and have the Goodreads application installed on my phone.  But before I go into how I use it on my phone, let me say that it can be just as handy to print out a list of owned books before you go off to the store, or call home and ask someone to log in and check for a particular book on the goodreads account.   The basics will be the same, the only difference is that as a smart phone owner, you have access to the information at all times.

I have my own Goodreads account where I keep track of my own scholar education.  Each time someone mentions a book that would be helpful to my education, I log in to Goodreads on my phone and add the book using the search function.  There is a category called “to-read” where I put all books I am not quite ready to read, but do not want to forget.   Some find it daunting to see 100 books waiting in their “to-read” section, but I find it encouraging that I have so many amazing books waiting for me and when the time is right and I need it, I do not have to try and remember the title of the book.

I have also created an account for my Love of Learning student (a 10 year old girl).  I currently have one student transitioning to Love of Learning as well, but the rest are still in the Core Phase (see A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille for a further explanation) and will receive an account when they are fully in Love of Learning.  Once the account is created, I “friend” this account from my master account.  This allows me to see her bookshelves without co-mingling them with my own.  When she completes a book, we add it to her Goodreads account along with her rating of the book.

This is where having a Goodreads account for each child is handy.  When I am at the second-hand store and find a book I believe she will like, I can open my Goodreads on my smart phone and search through her read books to be sure she hasn’t already read the book.  I can also peruse reviews of the books by other members to be sure there are no red flags to reading the book at her age.  And even better, it will show any of MY leadership education friends who have read the book and what rating/review they gave it.  This is the best feature for me as many of my “LE friends,” as I will call them, have progressed further through the phases with their children and are much more likely to have read the books for which I am looking.

Once I purchase the book, I can put it on my own bookshelf as “to-read” to make a note that I have already purchased it, but it is not read, or I can put it on my student’s shelf as a “to-read.”  This assures I will not purchase the book twice.

BONUS: Out of pure curiosity last March, I explored the capabilities of Goodreads and found that if you click on “My Books,” then “stats” at the top of the page, you can see how many books or the number of pages your student read in a particular year!  My now ten-year-old was very inspired to learn that in 2011, she read 14,225 pages, which did not include the books she re-read for fun.

In the future, it would be advantageous if Goodreads added a capability for home educating groups to create their own lending libraries that would allow them to add their own books and track to whom their books were lent, and when.  We are definitely a frugal bunch, and the ability to list and lend books would get more home educating families involved on their website.

Yours in Education and Liberty,
Dawn, home educating mom to five girls

{Classics} Revol Writings of John Adams, Free Press

Need there be much more proof that although we want to believe that we are living in unique times and have a completely unique set of problems, we are simply encountering the same difficulties as generations before, exhibited by this passage from The Revoluationary Writings of John Adams:

“Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing with the utmost freedom, whatever can be warranted by the laws of your country; not suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice.”
A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, John Adams, 1765

This refers to our modern-day “Political Correctness.” Even then, Adams warned that the press needed to be free from accusations of slander and sedition so that it could serve as a check for our government.

But what about citizens in general? Is Political Correctness just another way to achieve a political gain?

When researching the term “Political Correctness,” I came upon this Santa Clara University website in the Silicon Valley California and found this quote interesting:

“Nonetheless, it is understandable why those afraid of losing power and legitimacy might overwhelm the media with cries of “political correctness” or “the tyranny of the left.” But no one I know wants to inhibit genuine free speech or an open exchange of ideas. We want anti-harassment policies to be carefully and narrowly drawn to avoid infringing on free speech or academic freedom.
Still, when offense becomes harm, when gender-based or racial epithets intimidate and silence and drive their Victims from the arena of academic freedom, then this discourse cannot be defended as free speech. Name-calling does not resemble or produce an open marketplace of ideas. Free play of ideas is not the same as a free-for-all of insults.”
When does an offense become harm and who decides? Adams suggests that “The true source of our sufferings has been our timidity.” When we restrict our words to what is accepted by the minority of our public, are we selling ourselves to timidity?

In the following article, the author suggests that our society must reason what is best for the greater of our society:

The Price of Free Speech: Campus Hate Speech Codes by Gerald Uelmen


As a society we reason that it is in the best interest of the greatest number of citizens to sometimes restrict speech when it conflicts with the primary purpose of an event. A theater owner, for example, has a right to remove a heckler when the heckler’s behavior conflicts with the primary purpose of staging a play – to entertain an audience. Therefore, if the primary purpose of an academic institution is to educate students, and hate speech obstructs the educational process by reducing students’ abilities to learn, then it is permissible to extend protection from hate speech to students on college or university campuses.
Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

At least, that’s what my mom taught me. And it worked. I never became a victim.

How is the freedom of the press serving us today?

{Traits of Statesman} Courage is a muscle

Just a note, this article was written in early 2011. If you are not familiar with A Thomas Jefferson Education, Traits of a Statesman are: virtue, wisdom, diplomacy, courage, inspires greatness in others and moving the cause of liberty.

“Courage is very important. Like a muscle it is strengthened by use.” ~ Ruth Gordon

In recent months, there have been several videos posted on YouTube and showcased on News Reports of brutal beatings and deaths occuring while people are watching, videotaping, and doing nothing about it. The most widely known is the transgender woman beaten in a McDonald’s while the employees did nothing. In fact, one employee warned the women perpetrators to leave before the police arrived.

The most horrific I’ve seen is a young father, about to become a father for the second time, in New York to visit relatives. As he is standing on the corner talking on the phone he is gunned down by a man so close, you can see him in the surveillance. It turns out, it was a case of “mistaken identity,” the reason for the murder. And yet, on the surveillance tape there are no less than five people interested in what happened, but for the first two minutes NOT ONE PERSON checks him, talks to him, calls 911, comforts him…he lays on the cold pavement, dying. His mother saw the video and could not believe that not one person helped him.

Is this who we are as a nation? Is this our level of courage? Compassion?

We all would like to think we can be courageous in the face of fear. What would you have done in that situation?

Courage IS a muscle that needs exercise. It takes a little courage, every day. The idea that you shouldn’t “get involved” is simply an excuse to bury your head and forget what we are responsible to LOVE our neighbor as we love ourselves.

I went downtown for a tax day “Tea Party” a year ago. As I was waiting by the Capitol building for my husband to pick me up, I heard an incredible crash. I looked over and two young men were climbing out of a car. I ran as fast as I could the 100 feet to help. One man who had exited the car kept walking, he was bleeding from the head and disoriented. I screamed to “call 911″ and another man started helping the second man while I attended to the first. He didn’t want to sit down, and I grabbed his arm and told him he has to sit down. I called another man over to help me. I whispered to the helper “He’s been drinking, he could have serious damage and is obviously in shock. Please help me sit him down.” About four of us finally sat the two men down and the police arrived, as did the ambulance.

I didn’t think about it at the time, I just knew I had to help. I didn’t notice who didn’t help, that wasn’t important to me. I also didn’t think about the fact I was almost five months pregnant.

Was it courageous? Not really. There wasn’t any real imminent danger, but I’d like to think that I exercised my muscle that day, and that if I need it in the future, it will be strong.

{Classics} Alas, Babylon

There is nothing like the book Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank to evoke the feeling that if any large catastrophe happened, we would all be immensely unprepared.  We all assume that a catastrophe might cause a hiccup for a day or two, or maybe even a week, but we can’t fathom a hiccup for…a year?  two years?

In the book, America is attacked by Russia with nuclear and atomic weapons.  A small town in Florida, Fort Repose, is spared while much of Florida is destroyed and contaminated.  Within 24 hours of the attacks, the dollar is worth nothing;  there is no gas left, no groceries, no essentials.  The run on the grocery markets and stations in the first day results in the individual small business rich in paper money, but poor in resources.  There are no shipments in and out.  There are two doctors, and one is killed within months.  Drug addicts steal the drugs in the clinic.  No running water.  No electricity.  Money means nothing, resources and products mean an ability to barter. And no hope for any of this to change any time soon.

  At the close of the book, a year has passed, and the first contact with someone outside of the town occurs.  A year.  And little is resolved or will be changed within the next year.

Just a big book of fear?  Something not possible to happen in our current day of technology and resources?

I spent much of my adult life believing such ideas were of the past.  We are America, with unlimited resources and so evolved that there’s no chance we’d end up back in primitive times.

And yet, this book really opened up the idea to me that though it’s unlikely, it is certainly not impossible.   We are seeing a massive uprising in the middle east that, if we are honest with ourselves, may not be as democratic as we believe.  Those who are not democratic, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Al Qaeda believe they must destroy America to bring on their second coming of their prophet, M0hammd.  We have people in our own country that believe capitalism is dead and the idea of revolution in America is a good one {watch a recent video of Bernadine Dohrn, wife to terrorist Bill Ayers and a part of the terrorist group Weather Underground, here}.  Is it unrealistic to believe we are an island protected by a magic force field and we will never see, in our lifetime, a change in our lifestyle?

If you study cycles of history, we are actually headed for another very big change, something equal to the first and second wars in America.  We believe we have escaped something similar to the Great Depression and World War II in recent years, but I believe we are headed into a Fourth Turning.  It is our own pride and narcissism as a country that leads us to believe things will not change.  And our individual lack of planning can decide whether we make it through adversity, or not.

She had small fear of death, and of man not at all, but the formlessness of what was to come overwhelmed her. Alice Cooksey, Alas, Babylon

This is my favorite quote.   The “formlessness of what was to come” is one of my own biggest fears.  Out of adversity, we find strength and resourcefulness, but without the tools we need, we can easily fail.  Without the skills and education required to take care of not only ourselves, but our neighbors and community, we will fail to thrive. Driving through the mountains a few weeks ago, I saw a rock perched at the top of a cliff above the road, just a small amount of its own body in contact with the rock beneath.  It appeared as though it could tip and drop to the road at any moment, yet it could be there for years before the water and wind finally weather enough of the base to cause the rock to tumble.  As a driver on said road, do you press the pedal down just a little faster to plan for such a tumble, or do you drive the same speed with the assumption that it’s always been and will still be there in our lifetime?

The most intense lesson I learned from this novel was the speed of which our entire lives can change.  When you boil down our existence, subtracting electricity, oil and gas, and running water, what is left?  Basic survival.  Food, shelter, Water, protection, Family, education and for our family, God and Love.  It reinforced that I have to be sure those basic needs are met always.

{Mentoring} LEMI SLC, Utah July 12-14

One of the most important Keys to Great Teaching is “You, not Them.”  Anyone who has taught a scholar project written by LEMI can tell you how invaluable their training and projects can be to the Leadership Education Mentor. It is asked, “why reinvent the wheel?”  In this case, you can apply the 8th key “Secure, Not Stressed” when you attend a LEMI training and prepare for a scholar project.

This summer, the Salt Lake City training is July 12-14, 2012.  You will have many options if you choose SLC:

Key of Liberty, Shakespeare, TJYC I and II, TJYC 3, Liber Community, Pyramid Project, and Sword of Freedom.

Remember, early bird registration has been extended until May 1st!   LEMI Trainings Link

In addition, Arizona is offering Key of Liberty June 7-9.

We are sending four mentors from our ASLAND Commonwealth, we hope to meet you there!

{Legislation} SB 130 killed in Committee

Good news,SB 130, which broadens the governments control over early childhood education was postponed indefinitely.
04/25/2012 House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Postpone Indefinitely
Senate Bill 130: Concerning Child Development Programs
Sponsors: Senators Newell and Hodge, Representatives Massey and Hamner

SB 130 creates the office of early childhood and youth development in the Department of Human Services (DHS), which would increase government control over early learning, child health, child mental health, and family support and parent education. Efforts to increase government control over early childhood education are often a precursor to expanding the compulsory school attendance age.

History: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/59D0685E3C7E3FEF87257981007E048C?open&file=130_ren.pdf


HSLDA Colorado Updates


{Classics} A Case Against Abridged Books

Several years back, I purchased a set of abridged children’s classics from Costco.  It was a set of 20 with titles such as Little Women, Treasure Island, Anne of Green Gables and Peter Pan.  They are rewritten and abridged, but keep the main story, with some deletions.  I started reading them with my oldest when she was 5 to spark her interest in the classics.

After my first Face to Face with Greatness seminar with Dr. Shanon Brooks, I remember calling a friend to ask if she thought the abridged classics for children were quality enough.  She said she didn’t see any problem with getting kids interested in the classics, and I didn’t see any problem myself.  After all, the main story remained the same.

My oldest is now nine and a voracious reader.  At last count, she’s read more than 80 books in 8 months (that we’ve remembered to log) and most of them rather meaty.  Some of her favorites are the Harry Potter Series, the CS Lewis Narnia Series, The Little House on the Prarie Series, the American Girl Books, The Happy Hollister Series….and the list goes on.  I’m so proud of how much she loves to read!

But I shot myself in the foot with the abridged classics.  She’s read most of them and feels as if “I’ve already read it” with those books, even though they are much more hollow than the full versions.   Inspiring her to read the true versions has been tricky and not very successful.  I did manage to buy a “spin off” of Little Women called Birthday Wishes that has now inspired my daughter to read the unabridged version of Little Women.  I thought it would be a book she could relate to as she has four sisters and might understand the dynamics of the characters.

My advice:  skip the abridged versions.    If you don’t find the family will sit long enough for the full versions, just wait a little longer and try again. Eventually together, or on their own, they will read it!  Especially if it’s a new story, not the same story with more detail.

And I must add, be careful of the classics you purchase.  There is a new push to abridge the classics (removing certain language or violence), and it’s not obvious!  Orion books and Penguin Classics are an example.


  From the Penguin website: “The series is to be composed of original translations from Greek, Latin and later European classics, and it is the editor’s intention to commission translators who can emulate his own example and present the general reader with readable and attractive versions of the great writers’ books in modern English, shorn of the unnecessary difficulties and erudition, the archaic flavour and the foreign idiom that renders so many existing translations repellent to modern taste”


In the bookstore a week ago, I noticed the only notation of the change in a Robinson Crusoe book was a small blurb on one of the first few pages saying it was abridged, so please be aware!


P.S.  The best way to inspire a child to read a classic is to read it yourself, tell little bits of the story that are exciting, and watch the curiosity in their eyes!

Update:  I wrote this article about a year ago for a different blog, and I wanted to include an update. Since this article, my now-ten-year-old is still a voracious reader and has, much to my delight, read many of the unabridged books she was introduced to as abridged stories.  It took effort convincing her she was missing a great deal of the story, and I still stick by my conclusion that abridged books can, in the long run, sabotage a child’s desire to read the unabridged version.

~Dawn, Leadership Educating Mom of 5, ages 1.5 – 10

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