"Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things."--Jefferson

Founding Principles


What is a "Vanguard Group"?

A Vanguard group is a formal group, typically for youth, that implements all the different principles and ideas outlined below.  They may be implemented using methods and techniques that are as unique as the group needs.  However, the methods and techniques a group uses should always honor the founding principles to be considered a "Vanguard Group."  It is up to the individual member to decide if their group that has been identified as a "Vanguard Group" supports their individual needs in a manner that satisfies their family's needs or is true to the name.

What is the Vanguard Method?

The Vanguard Method is a collection of principles and truths I gathered with the help of others to achieve the following vision for my family's education, which is to:
(1) Encourage faith in God as a student’s ultimate mentor and source of truth through the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ
(2) Help a student find value in their own unique mission, introduce them to various communication styles, and encourage them to gain the skills, talents and gifts necessary so that they may communicate that mission to the world
(3) Help a student come face-to-face with greatness as they study the world, history, people, &  science, and in the process teach the student how to make connections with light and truth around them and apply them to themselves and in their missions.
(4) Creating an environment of love, respect, decency, trust, and confidence
(5) Teach service-oriented leadership and principles of liberty and self-government so that they will be able to protect their ability to express their missions.
The principles and truths that have been put together under this umbrella term of "Vanguard method"  are universally available yet uniquely combined.  That is why I have distinguished this collection of ideas by a name...not to claim exclusivity or rights to them, but rather just to allow for a term to identify them by.
Founding Principles and Methods

As with all true principles, I know that there are more resources and scriptures not referenced here that support the following ideas.  Please feel free to contact us or comment below to add resources that lend further clarification. 
NOTE: I have included below references found in scriptural text from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for those of that faith.  Feel free to add references from pastors, saints, and ministers of other faiths to expand our perspective.

1. Principle: To live higher, happier, more fulfilled lives, we first seek principles and evidence of their truth through our and other's revelation, reasoning, experience, observation and experimentation. We then obediently apply those principles to all areas of our lives. This is the purpose of education, the ability to provide for a family will be one of the outcomes but not the aim.
Method: We focus on one principle each month and see evidence for that principle throughout our studies that month. Core class includes a book each month and memorization of a scripture and/or poem/thought that helps us get a deeper understanding of the principle. We seek to apply that principle to our lives and find evidence of its truth as we do so through a monthly project or personal goal.  As we progress, we also learn how to find our own principles in our study and test their validity. 

-Scriptures: 2 Tim. 2:15, John 8:32, D&C 6:7-8, D&C 130:18-19, 1 Sam. 15:22, John 17:17
-Books and Articles: Norms and Nobility (Hicks), "Ourselves" by Charlotte Mason, Teach the Children,

2. PrincipleChoosing an education blessed us with the Spirit and we will desire to gain more. The light and truth we gain will cleave unto the light and truth we have.  Force often creates resistance to this process.  The light that others share helps this process.
Method: We choose to become members of the scholar group when we are ready to challenge ourselves to get the education we need. Once we are in the group we choose our level of engagement beyond the "core" class by preparing for and attending Journeyman and Master classes. The purpose and content of these levels should be prayerfully considered by each group each year. Experienced/older youth will help mentor, inspire and lead others through serving in the core class.

-Scriptures: Abraham 1:2, Matthew 7:8, 2 Nephi 2:26-28, Luke 22:32
-Books or articles: TJEd for Teens, Teach the Children: An Agency Approach to Education. Norms and Nobility, An Invitation to the Pain of Learning (Adler), Leadership Education (DeMille), "Unschooling" (DeMille)

3. Principle: We are each is blessed with gifts, talents and potential strengths in our weaknesses that enable us to fulfill our unique work on this earth.

Method: We practice using our unique voice by choosing from a variety of inspirements for a way to share our insights.  These inspirements give ideas for sharing that include a variety of communication styles such as writing, music, art, logic, speech, activities, visual presentations, etc. We may also write our own inspirements.  We challenge ourselves to gain the skills, talents and gifts to be able to share our message in a way that will change hearts. 

-Scriptures: D&C 6:11, Daniel 1:17, Ether 12:27
-Books or articles: Ken Robinson's: How school kills creativity, Multiple Intelligences, The Element (by Robinson), How Children Learn (Holt), Pudewa’s article: "Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather (By Be Building Forts All Day" (Pudewa), Teach the Children, Oliver DeMille's address from the TJEd 2007 Forum: "The Eighth Key and the Four Levels of Leadership"

4. Principle: Putting forth effort to prepare for class invites the Spirit to teach us as we share our insights and listen to others share theirs. The Spirit is the ultimate teacher.

Method: All are expected to come prepared to class having read, listened, watched or observed the material assigned for that week's discussion.  Mentors rarely lecture, but rely on the Spirit to teach the youth while they guide the principle-centered activities and discussion as the youth share what they learned and applied with one another. 

-Scriptures: D&C 130:20-21, 2 Corinthians 9:6, D&C 84:110
-Books or articles: Norms and Nobility, How Children Learn, Increase in Learning (Bednar), BYU-Idaho Learning Model, Dumbing Us Down (Gatto)

5. Principle: Agency allows the knowledge given to us to turn to understanding if we choose to act to invite the Spirit to take that knowledge into our hearts.  That understanding turns to intelligence as truth is applied to our life and becomes part of our character.

Method: Inspirements are invitations to act on the knowledge we receive. They include ideas for applying those truths to our personal lives. Actions such as raising our hand to contribute or taking notes in a way of our choosing (drawing, writing, symbols, graphs) during class and in preparation for class, we show our willingness to be taught and the Spirit is invited to personally teach us what we need to know.  We also have a reflection journal and are given time each class period to write and reflect on what we learned that day and how we might apply it. As we make and keep any of our personal goals, we are given the opportunity to report the evidence of our personal experience with that truth when appropriate. 

-Scriptures: James 2:14-26, D&C 93:36, 2 Nephi 28:30, D&C 88:40,
-Books or articles: Agency Education (Flinders), Increase in Learning, Norms and Nobility, How Children Learn (Holt), Pudewa’s article: “How to teach boys and other kids who would rather be building forts all day”

6. Principle: Exposure to true principles in a variety of disciplines prepares us to find truth in everything around us and we become life-long learners who are interested in truth wherever it is found. Context and connections are essential to productive learning. We should use our limited time and resources on the best books, media and other sources, containing concentrated truth for our profit and learning

Method: We are exposed to four schools of thought that allow us to see the world through those different lenses and experience a holistic view of ourselves, others, God and His creations. We call these lenses Leadership Academy (principles of government and self-government), Geo-Conquest (principles in history and geography), Imaginative Arts (Principles in imaginative literature, music and art), and Eureka (Principles in math and science). We use classics (books, people, art, nature, other media) to learn in these areas. We also discuss the 7 Pillars of a God-led life and society to help us give context to the principles to help us apply them to our lives and support our freedom to carry out our missions.  

-Scriptures: D&C 88:78-80, 118, D&C 93:53, John 8:32
-Books and Articles: "A School in Zion" by Holland, Teach the Children, Norms and Nobility, 5,000 Year Leap (Skousen)

7. Principle: Learning and inspiration flourishes in an environment of love, respect and service.

Method: We teach and exemplify love, respect and care for each individual.  We seek to invite the Spirit through prayer, music and devotional in class. We serve one another by coming to class prepared to teach and edify each other through sharing thoughts and insights through an inspirement of our choosing. We may plan service projects for those inside or outside our group.  We also serve one another by being aware of and thoughtful with each other. 

-Scriptures:  1 Peter 4:10-11, Galatians 5:13-14, John 13:34-35, D&C 88:119-126, D&C 136:32,
-Books and Articles: "Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire" (Esquith), How Children Learn, Teach the Children

8. PrincipleStewardships help us grow through strengthening our characters with the weight of responsibility.

Method: Mentors and youth are given leadership and mentoring responsibilities in the group.  We are given training to succeed and freedom to learn from our mistakes in these stewardships. Leadership operates on the principles of prayer, council and trust.  

-Scriptures: Alma 17:2-3, Mathew 25:23
-Books and articles: "Leadership Education" (DeMille), Charlotte Mason series, How Children Learn (Holt), Teach the Children

9. Principle: The Word of God is the measuring stick with which to measure potential truth.

Method: We seek to apply the Principle Approach to education by using the 4R method, Word Studies and Timelines to teach the youth to measure all theories against the Word of God and to see things from a Christian-history perspective while also seeking to understand and learn from other perspectives through original works.  

-Scriptures: 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Nephi 9:28-29, D&C 11:22,24 Bible Dictionary: Education
-Books and Articles: Teaching and Learning America's Christian History, American Heritage Schools, LDS talk T-Charts

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