Thomas Jefferson is a classical method of homeschooling. This method entails the child being “self-led” in their learning. The curriculum uses books from the great thinkers in history such as Benjamin Franklin and yes, Thomas Jefferson.
Like the Socratic method, Thomas Jefferson method is about reading, writing and discussing. The theory behind this is that students seek out information, process it and then share it with others while brainstorming.
Along with reading books by these great thinkers in history the method includes reading of the classics of literature. The method does not encourage homeschool curriculum as most would know as text books. The method teaches that these texts are dumbed down and that children do not need their education watered down.
With the reading, the students are expected to express themselves in writing. They are to write about what they read, debates they have, ideas they want to present, or observations that they have. The parent or guardian is not to critique these writings. It is not a book report or essay to be graded, corrected or otherwise. It is strictly a means by which the child freely expresses themselves without the fear of doing it wrong.
Thomas Jefferson method can be considered similar to “unschooling” in that normal texts do not apply and the child leads themselves to what interests them. Some see this as a natural way of learning without being “dumbed down” or structured which some believe inhibits creativity and independent thinking.
Parents may want to consider the fact that this method requires a lot of time on their part. The fact of the matter is that the discussion side of things takes a lot of time. This is a wonderful thing in both learning as well as building relationships. It is just a factor that parents will want to take into consideration when thinking about using this method of teaching.