Scholar Phase

As the student nears the end of a successful Love of Learning phase, he naturally begins to transition towards more scholarly pursuits, until he enters the Scholar Phase, the first of the more serious and grown up Educational Phases. Within Scholar Phase, there are a number of different levels built one upon another. During the scholar phase years, the student develops and changes so quickly, that what works for a child in the beginning of Practice Scholar will not necessarily work for the serious Self-Directed Scholar.

In all of Scholar Phase, parents need to be careful to not rob their scholars of study time. Chores and other duties in the home are needed, but these responsibilities should be lessened by degrees to give the scholar more time for his or her chosen studies. Parents also need to realize that the amount of time a scholar spends alone in their room is an indication that the student is studying. Pulling them out of that solitary time to play, socialize, or have fun sends mixed messages about the importance of study. Parents sometimes forget that our scholars are doing their best to begin the hard work needed in order to get a superb Thomas Jefferson Education. Because of a nurturing Core Phase and a carefree Love of Learning Phase, these scholars experienced a great childhood, and are now ready to dig in and do the adult work needed for Scholar Phase.

Scholar Phase (often, but not always, from ages 12-16) typically ensues with the onset of puberty and is marked by a change in the student’s physical, emotional and social expression. With these changes come a readiness to apply a new level of effort to personal and academic achievement through a process of commitments and accountability. …[It] is a time to study “everything under the sun,” to read, study science and math, practice art and study the great artists, and cover every topic and subject in a spirit of passion and excitement for learning.
Oliver Van DeMille, A Thomas Jefferson Education, 2nd Edition, page 34

Practice Scholar

This is the time of life when children re-learn everything they’ve been taught, but now as their own person, rather than as an extension of their parents. They are coming to the realization that they have a unique mission for their life, even though they do not yet know what that mission is. They are beginning to spend real time studying, their attention span is increasing, and they are learning to be more responsible.


Apprentice Scholar

Apprentice scholars are taking the next steps needed to move forward in their educations. They realize that they truly do have something unique to offer the world, and have a greater desire to find out what that entails. They are more committed to, and have more self-initiative in, their studies. They can more easily inspire themselves, and begin to lead out more among their peers and siblings.

Self-Directed Scholar

These scholars have experienced personal change from exposure to many classics, and are ready to have real impact in the world. These students begin to feel a strong pull in one direction of study, and realize that they want to sink deeper in this chosen subject. They are creating their own plans for their studies, and have solid self-discipline to follow through and answer to their own plans. They begin seeking a mentor outside the home, and are ready to make the full commitment needed for a full mentorial experience.

He [the scholar] has watched you (and maybe older siblings and your spouse) study math, science, history, literature, government, writing or whatever else you think everyone should learn, and so he makes these part of his Love of Learning study. He anticipates that in Scholar Phase he will gain further knowledge in most, if not all, of these areas.

…And because of the way you have studied and shared and involved him, he is familiar with, or at least aware of, the subjects you are sure he will need…

If this does not describe your child, more time in Core or Love of Learning is probably needed. Relax; it is still “You, not Them.” Or, more accurately, stop relaxing and get to work—on you, not them.
Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Leadership Education, page 198

Young adults in Scholar Phase (who have had a solid Core Phase and Love of Learning Phase) will:

Study 8-12 hours a day in subjects that interest them.

Willingly submit to a demanding mentor.

Feel passionately driven by a sense of “mission,” even though they are not yet sure what that mission is.

Immerse themselves deeply in subjects of their own choosing that the they feel will help them in their life’s mission.

Need time to study and read on their own.