Frequently Asked Questions
What's a "Lead Soldier"?
The name "Lead Soldier Lessons" is based on a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "Give me 26 lead soldiers, and I will conquer the world."
Franklin was referring to a printing press, the first machine that allowed people to publish numerous copies of books, fliers, or newspapers without handwriting each one. In other words, the machine the allowed people to harness the power of the written word to influence society broadly and effectively.
The printing press used hundreds of letter blocks, each formed of lead. The printing press operator would arrange the letter blocks to form words and sentences to fill one page. Next, the page blocks would be covered in ink. Lastly, the rectangle of inked blocks would be pressed onto individual sheets of paper, like a gigantic stamp, to create a printed page.
Franklin called these letter blocks his lead soldiers. Using all 26 letters of the alphabet, transformed into a printed medium that he could disperse throughout society, he had a powerful tool for influencing the hearts and minds of people throughout the United States and throughout the world.
Don't you think it's weird to give traditional classroom classes for homeschoolers?
I’m a huge fan of homeschooling: I was homeschooled all the way through, and I’m now homeschooling my own daughter. I think it is a wise parenting decision and an infinitely powerful tool for social change. But “homeschooling” doesn’t have a strict definition; it doesn’t mean children are taught only in their own homes, only by their own parents.
Rather, it means the freedom to choose your curricula. The flexibility to tailor essential subjects to your children’s passions. The ability to let your children study according to their individual learning styles. It means personal attention and personalized guidance.
It means we can lead our children toward studying what matters and learning what is true. We can prevent them from accepting lies or wasting their time on meaningless pursuits. We can make sure they learn in a healthy environment that fosters diligence, wisdom, and godliness. And those are Lead Soldier Lessons' goals.
So how do your classes fit into the traditional homeschooling lifestyle?
I’m not here to change the definition of homeschooling or take away your privilege, as a parent, to control your children’s education.
Instead, think of me as an interactive, personalized curriculum. I follow your values and teach the essentials, but I’m more multidimensional than a textbook. I teach your children lessons, then make sure they comprehend the concepts. I give them homework, and I grade it personally to provide insightful, customized feedback. I have them fill out worksheets and take exams, but I make sure they understand the concepts and know how to use them. And, I hope, my passion helps them see why the lessons matter—and how the lessons can empower them personally.
Not everyone gets excited about a well-placed comma’s small but powerful role in influencing people’s minds and changing society. That’s probably a good thing! but if you want your children to learn from someone who loves and lives the subjects she teaches, then here I am. Interacting helps students comprehend the material more thoroughly and remember it better. And if you don’t always enjoy long discussions about dangling participles or effective thesis sentences, I would truly love to join in.
If my child does well in your class, would you consider writing a college recommendation letter?
Absolutely! I write killer recommendation letters, and I love helping talented, ambitious homeschool students follow their postsecondary goals. I would be pleased to write a recommendation for any student who shows potential, talent, skill, or diligence.
How would homeschool students benefit from a classroom format?
Some subjects and some students benefit from livelier, broader forms of study.
In these classes, students benefit from learning in multiple ways, through a carefully crafted process. Students hear about concepts (in person), discuss the information (with their peers and with an expert), ask questions and receive answers, watch (and participate in) interactive examples of applying the concepts, practice applying the concepts independently, demonstrate their comprehension and skills, receive tailored feedback, and then learn more advanced ways to use the skills they continue cultivating.
Homework includes worksheets to drill rules, exercises to practice applying the rules, and essays to use the rules in real-life situations. Students even help control some homework assignments, based on what topics they find interesting, what methods they find helpful, and what concepts especially challenge them.
The exams, similarly, use a broad range of testing techniques: multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, rewriting passages, and writing new prose. This way, each assessment provides a well-rounded evaluation of each student’s range of skills.
The student's final grade is based on multiple elements of the class: homework assignments, quizzes, exams, main papers, and class participation. This doesn't overload your student with work—the class just meets the standard CA guidelines for credit hours per class—but it makes sure each student's final grade reflects his actual progress and effort, regardless of where his skills lie.
For example, if your child works diligently at assignments but struggles with testing, he still has a chance to earn a good overall grade. (Also, each class focuses on study skills, such as preparing for tests, in addition to the class's specific subject area.)