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Newspapers are filled with stories about poorly educated children, ineffective teachers, and cash-strapped school districts. In this greatly expanded treatment of a topic he first dealt with in Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson proposes an alternative to government-operated school by advocating a return to classical Christian education with its disci Newspapers are filled with stories about poorly educated children, ineffective teachers, and cash-strapped school districts. In this greatly expanded treatment of a topic he first dealt with in Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson proposes an alternative to government-operated school by advocating a return to classical Christian education with its discipline, hard work, and learning geared to child development stages. As an educator, Wilson is well-equipped to diagnose the cause of America's deteriorating school system and to propose remedies for those committed to their children's best interests in education. He maintains that education is essentially religious because it deals with the basic questions about life that require spiritual answers-reading and writing are simply the tools. Offering a review of classical education and the history of this movement, Wilson also reflects on his own involvement in the process of creating educational institutions that embrace that style of learning. He details elements needed in a useful curriculum, including a list of literary classics. Readers will see that classical education offers the best opportunity for academic achievement, character growth, and spiritual education, and that such quality cannot be duplicated in a religiously-neutral environment.


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Newspapers are filled with stories about poorly educated children, ineffective teachers, and cash-strapped school districts. In this greatly expanded treatment of a topic he first dealt with in Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson proposes an alternative to government-operated school by advocating a return to classical Christian education with its disci Newspapers are filled with stories about poorly educated children, ineffective teachers, and cash-strapped school districts. In this greatly expanded treatment of a topic he first dealt with in Rediscovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson proposes an alternative to government-operated school by advocating a return to classical Christian education with its discipline, hard work, and learning geared to child development stages. As an educator, Wilson is well-equipped to diagnose the cause of America's deteriorating school system and to propose remedies for those committed to their children's best interests in education. He maintains that education is essentially religious because it deals with the basic questions about life that require spiritual answers-reading and writing are simply the tools. Offering a review of classical education and the history of this movement, Wilson also reflects on his own involvement in the process of creating educational institutions that embrace that style of learning. He details elements needed in a useful curriculum, including a list of literary classics. Readers will see that classical education offers the best opportunity for academic achievement, character growth, and spiritual education, and that such quality cannot be duplicated in a religiously-neutral environment.

30 review for The Case for Classical Christian Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Shane

    To my personal surprise, the chapter I found most convincing was probably the one arguing that schools should have uniforms... yep. I enjoy reading Douglas Wilson, because he has a way of making you think (even if you disagree) by stating forthrightly ideas that would initially strike most Americans as crazy... not because we have considered them and rejected them, but because they are so built into the assumptions of our culture that we haven't even considered them. "You know what the problem is To my personal surprise, the chapter I found most convincing was probably the one arguing that schools should have uniforms... yep. I enjoy reading Douglas Wilson, because he has a way of making you think (even if you disagree) by stating forthrightly ideas that would initially strike most Americans as crazy... not because we have considered them and rejected them, but because they are so built into the assumptions of our culture that we haven't even considered them. "You know what the problem is with America? DEMOCRACY" (by which he seems to mean, the belief that all humans are or should be absolutely equal). That isn't a direct quotation but... that kind of thing. (Wilson would say - he isn't a radical, he's a moderate who didn't move when the culture moved.) This book is both philosophical and practical, and quite comprehensive. Essentially - what are humans and what is education? Why and how are the public schools failing at it? What is the classical Christian alternative? How would I practically set up, and then operate, such a school? An enjoyable read with lots of data and pointers to other resources... actually, I'll have to give the referenced "The Seven Laws of Teaching" by John Milton Gregory a review and see if it is worth incorporating into a class I teach.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    I don't think I'll invite Mr. Wilson to dinner any time soon. His didactic, uncharitable, and certainly unpastoral tone place him firmly at the end of the invitation list. Despite this, he does present compelling arguments for Christian's educating their children in classical Christian schools (and his own heritage also is a strong commendation). It would have been exceptionally helpful if after presenting his case, he addressed the practical hindrances (accessibility, financial, etc.) to doing I don't think I'll invite Mr. Wilson to dinner any time soon. His didactic, uncharitable, and certainly unpastoral tone place him firmly at the end of the invitation list. Despite this, he does present compelling arguments for Christian's educating their children in classical Christian schools (and his own heritage also is a strong commendation). It would have been exceptionally helpful if after presenting his case, he addressed the practical hindrances (accessibility, financial, etc.) to doing this in the latter portion of the book and saved his operational instructions for another book geared toward administrating said schools.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Megan Larson

    This is a really good book. In my opinion, it's a must-read for Christian parents, and certainly for any Christian educator as well. The reason for such a strong recommendation is that the arguments of this book--that true education is for the whole person and is fundamentally religious, that parents are biblically responsible to 'inculturate' their children into a thoroughly Christian world view through Christian education--have very important implications. Whether or not a parent would agree w This is a really good book. In my opinion, it's a must-read for Christian parents, and certainly for any Christian educator as well. The reason for such a strong recommendation is that the arguments of this book--that true education is for the whole person and is fundamentally religious, that parents are biblically responsible to 'inculturate' their children into a thoroughly Christian world view through Christian education--have very important implications. Whether or not a parent would agree with all of Wilson's assertions, he ought to be willing to challenge his thinking in this area. I believe that the majority of Wilson's arguments are quite well-grounded. I cannot possibly outline here all of the reasoning and explanations Wilson gives, but some of my favorite elements were: 1. understanding the shift in late 19th century America to more democratic philosophies which brought about socialized education, contrasted with the historical belief in Christendom that parents and the church are together responsible for the education of children 2. understanding that, as we are image-bearers of God, an education that attempts to marginalize Him, even when parents are attempting to counteract that teaching at home, results in confusion and compartmentalized belief and devotion 3. seeing the Trivium (the three stages of learning employed by the classical model) in the Biblical context of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, realizing that true knowledge in a Christian world view makes us worshipers of God, not of our own intellects 4. understanding that a thoroughly Christian and a classical education need not be at odds with one another, as some have argued. "Therefore the seven liberal arts, like maidservants, have entered into the sacred and venerable dining-room of their mistress, Wisdom, and they have been redeployed, as it were, from the lawless crossroads to the strict and severe superintendence of the word of God and they have been bidden to sit down" --Rupert of Deutz. Also, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof" (Ps. 24:1). 5. recognizing that the ultimate goal of the classical model is borne out in the rhetoric stage, in which knowledge and understanding come together and are tempered by wisdom, in which true imagination and creativity are expressed. "True creativity assumes a foundation of imitation. Spurious creativity wants to assume that no outside influences can be permitted and that the freer an artist is from influence the more creative the person is. But such a person (could he or she exist) would be autistic, not artistic." 6. realizing that this goal of providing a thoroughly Christian Classical education (especially at home) IS overwhelming, but the devoted Christian educator and/or parent is walking in grace. My least favorite elements had to do with Wilson's strong stand in "covenant theology," which is prevalent in several chapters of the book. So, if you have a dispensational understanding of the Church, just know that for many of the arguments for which he reasons covenantally, one could just as easily argue dispensationally (with one or two minor exceptions).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Scott Guillory

    I walked into this knowing next to nothing about classical Christian education other than what my pastor friends told me. I walked out with the conviction that there isn't a more God-honoring way to educate covenant children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and might than Classical Christian education. I learned a lot. I walked into this knowing next to nothing about classical Christian education other than what my pastor friends told me. I walked out with the conviction that there isn't a more God-honoring way to educate covenant children to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and might than Classical Christian education. I learned a lot.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    If I could give a book six stars, this book would get such a rating. Outstanding! Douglas Wilson speaks with wit and clarity on a topic that is very misunderstood by many Christian parents. This is a MUST READ for any Christian that has children or grand-children. A clarion call to abandon an anti-Christ education and seek the best for our children, all for the glory of God.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Even if "classical" is not your thing, every Christian educator should read this book. Even if "classical" is not your thing, every Christian educator should read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anda P

    I picked up this book because Douglas Wilson is one of the founders of the christian classical education movement and the schools he founded, Logos and New Saint Andrews, have excellent reputations. He is extremely well read and you can tell he draws on a lot of different writers as he synthesizes their ideas. One minor critique I have is that I'm pretty positive he never read Charlotte Mason. At least, he doesn't incorporate her ideas. I also consider her a classical educator so this is surpri I picked up this book because Douglas Wilson is one of the founders of the christian classical education movement and the schools he founded, Logos and New Saint Andrews, have excellent reputations. He is extremely well read and you can tell he draws on a lot of different writers as he synthesizes their ideas. One minor critique I have is that I'm pretty positive he never read Charlotte Mason. At least, he doesn't incorporate her ideas. I also consider her a classical educator so this is surprising. One of the chapters that makes this evident is his summary of the Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory. Gregory's second law is a "learner is one who attends with interest to the lesson". This is exactly Charlotte Mason's principle of attention. His fifth law is "teaching is arousing and uses the pupil's mind to grasp the desired thought or to master the desired art". This is Mason's "all education is self-education". Mason says "the mind can know nothing but what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put by the mind to itself". Gregory says "learning is thinking into one's own understanding a new idea or truth or working into habit a new art or skill." Mason says "As a child grows we shall perceive that only those ideas which have fed his life, are taken into his being; all the rest is cast away or is, like sawdust in the system, an impediment and an injury.” I feel that Mason went way further than Gregory in her philosophy. His discussion of the differences between Mortimer Adler, David Hicks and his own views of what a classical education is were clarifying for me. For Adler, it was all about the dialogue or conversation (not necessarily about finding truth, dogma or reality). Adler placed his faith in democracy and in man, every man has a right to an education as a matter of justice. Wilson's view is that all people should get an education as a matter of grace and kindness because all people are sinners that need salvation and to "grow in their gratitude to God for His grace." David Hicks believes, as many classical authors believed, that the end goal of education was virtue. Wilson believes the end goal is worship, to glorify God. His idea that one of the false gods America worships is Demos (democracy) was interesting. I found his critique of homeschoolers very helpful(even though I plan to be one!) If there was a school like his nearby, I would send my kids. 1. "Despite what many claim, it is not possible to do in two or three hours what it takes people in a classroom eight hours to do." I totally agree with this! I see so many homeschoolers of older children falling short because of mother's exhaustion, disorganization, lack of high standards or not utilizing outsourcing. Wilson agrees this is not a problem under 3rd grade. 2. Some homeschool children learn to read so their verbal scores are stratospheric but their math scores are abysmal. 3. familism- where the family because self-sufficient and not part of a larger community. 4. large families that do not give attention to the younger siblings or the girls help out so much they are giving up school time. 5. Boys that are in the home can be attached to the home in an unfortunate way. At the end, I love his critique of some of the classic works. Especially Plato and Aristotle. Plato: Had people tried to put Plato's ideas into practice, the world would still be talking about that totalitarian hellhole.” Aristotle: The pernicious influence comes more from the basis of the standard (reason versus revelation) than it does from what Aristotle praises or blames. When Paul asks, “where is the wise man?” He is almost certainly talking about Aristotle.” This where I diverge from St. Thomas Aquinas, a big Aristotelian. I side again with Charlotte Mason. The use of reason is two fold. 1. To do math 2. To justify and reason from an idea already accepted by the mind. He argues from the Shema in Deuteronomy 6. After the Shema in Deuteronomy v 4 we proceed to loving God with all a person has (v 5), to the law in the heart (V6) to instructing children (v. 7). He says “Love for God that does not result in Christian education for Christian children is not love for Him at all.” This is a MAJOR PROBLEM in the American church today. They are focused on all sorts of other flashy things and the children are lost.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Bennon

    What do the scriptures say concerning the education of our Children? How should we view the governmental school systems? What is a Christian education? This book, in normal Wilsonian fashion, answers these questions w/ spunk. I'd be remiss if I didn't comment how sad it is that this topic seems to be off-limits for evangelical churches (of which I have been a member for the last 17 years). I've never-no exaggeration- never heard the topic discussed publicly even though it is undeniably of great What do the scriptures say concerning the education of our Children? How should we view the governmental school systems? What is a Christian education? This book, in normal Wilsonian fashion, answers these questions w/ spunk. I'd be remiss if I didn't comment how sad it is that this topic seems to be off-limits for evangelical churches (of which I have been a member for the last 17 years). I've never-no exaggeration- never heard the topic discussed publicly even though it is undeniably of great importance for every Christian parent. I must ask, when was the Word of God determined to have dominion and relevance over all areas of life EXCEPT for education? I strongly encourage all to reject this notion and instead, read this book as an introduction to thinking through educating the children that God has given you to shepherd.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I think that what made this book amazing for me-and what will prompt me to pick it up again- is that it asks excellent questions. I need to ponder and reflect on what I am doing. What am I hoping to accomplish? How are these goals/hopes being pursued in our day to day living? I have found many books to be tremendously encouraging and inspiring on this journey of homeschooling. They help to equip me for this calling God has placed on my life. They remind me of what's truly important and help hone I think that what made this book amazing for me-and what will prompt me to pick it up again- is that it asks excellent questions. I need to ponder and reflect on what I am doing. What am I hoping to accomplish? How are these goals/hopes being pursued in our day to day living? I have found many books to be tremendously encouraging and inspiring on this journey of homeschooling. They help to equip me for this calling God has placed on my life. They remind me of what's truly important and help hone my long-term goals- to maintain my focus. This book will definitely be added to the group that I return to periodically. Highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Worth finishing this just so I can rate it one star.

  11. 5 out of 5

    J. Rutherford

    I am very interested in the subject of education, specifically, with the training of pastors and leaders for the Church. I have read extensively and thought deeply on this subject for a while now. Ever since I found out we were going to have a child two years ago, that interest in education has broadened to the topic of education throughout life, teaching children and adults. I have had serious concerns about the nature and very concept of state-run and secular education, so I have spent much ti I am very interested in the subject of education, specifically, with the training of pastors and leaders for the Church. I have read extensively and thought deeply on this subject for a while now. Ever since I found out we were going to have a child two years ago, that interest in education has broadened to the topic of education throughout life, teaching children and adults. I have had serious concerns about the nature and very concept of state-run and secular education, so I have spent much time studying alternative Christian approaches to Childhood education. I first encountered Classical Christian education on thegospelcoalition.org, and then became concerned through the brief discussion of the movement in the book Media, Journalism, and Communication. ((Read Mercer Schuchardt, Crossway 2018)) Since then, I have been looking for the opportunity to read more on the movement. Wilson's work seems to be highly influential, and the whole approach is closely tied to a book I am currently writing on Christian living in Western culture, so now seemed as good a time as any to give it a shot. In this review, I will offer a summary of the contents of The Case for Classical Education and then provide an evaluation of its content. Summary Douglas Wilson has written several books about education and the "Classical Christian" approach. The Case for Classical Christian Education brings together the themes of these books into a single volume offering a broad overview of Classical Christian Schools and offering a programme for their implementation. Through a critique of the current state of education and a presentation of the Classical Christian Approach, Wilson hopes to offer "a call for continued reformation of education in our country." ((The Logos Edition I read does not have page numbers)) Overall, I think that Wilson fails to demonstrate why his model is Biblical and an acceptable Christian alternative to the contemporary crisis of public education. There is some value in his critique of contemporary public education and the occasional practical insight for teaching from a Christian perspective. Still, overall, the book is ineffective for its stated goal. Furthermore, the argument and outline are not clear and, as I have observed in a previous review of Wilson's work, the rhetoric Wilson uses is not persuasive or becoming of Christian charity and clarity. ((https://teleioteti.ca/2020/04/12/revi...)) The Logos edition I read was divided into 30 chapters and seven parts. The first eight chapters, making up the first part, present a broad criticism of government schools and the ideology that drives them. The next three parts (chapters 9-19) outline the Classical Christian School approach, in contrast with the government system. The final three parts (chapters 20-30) seem to offer a call and programme for implementing the Classical Christian approach in a local setting. Evaluation Though there are helpful insights throughout, and the critique of the public education system is often right on the mark, I did not find The Case to a balanced, persuasive, or carefully argued book. For example, the first comments Wilson makes about the public-school system are a broad condemnation of its use of "drugs." This section lacks any citations or research backing it, so it comes across as anecdotal and not considered. The topic itself is a large one; there is undoubtedly a problem, but it is a lot more complicated than just blaming drugs. As a student, I was prescribed a significant behaviour-altering medication (Dexedrine) and had a negative experience with it; in hindsight, this was surely a case of over-prescription. Yet, can we be sure that this is the case every time? Like many issues in our contemporary culture, this topic takes far more sensitivity and nuance than Wilson offers. This lack of sensitivity and nuance is characteristic of Wilson's rhetoric throughout the book. For example, I largely agree that public schools (in my own country, Canada, and in the USA) are a mess and I think it is unwise to trust them for our children's education. However, it is equally unwise—and highly unpastoral—to say that putting your child in public school is a sin. As leaders, we can counsel our congregations in wise action. However, if in good conscience they put their children in the public school system, I see no clear Biblical reason to identify this as sin. His comments about God's ordering the world hierarchically, such that each person has a fixed station, and desire to see a high tuition charged to parents suggests that his "Christian" approach to education is only for a small portion of the Christians. That may be okay, but it seems to be pastorally irresponsible to call public education a sin, reject homeschooling as problematic, and suggest that the best alternative ought to be put out of reach for the average Christian family. One gets the impression that the education intended to equip Christian, covenant children for life before God should be reserved for the upper classes of such children. I think the exegetical warrant for such a position is lacking and the rhetoric employed highly unhelpful. Examples such as these could be multiplied. Lack of Exegetical Warrant This brings us to the biggest issue I found with the book, the lack of exegetical warrant for Wilson's proposal. One the hand, there is not a lot of actual Biblical argumentation for the "Classical Christian" approach to education. Wilson's argument for it is largely based on historical precedence. When he does turn to the Bible, his exegesis is not strong. For example, "nations" (εθνη) in the great commission does not refer to "nation" in the modern sense of the word, so it cannot be used to justify the conversion of culture in Christendom. ((cf. https://teleioteti.ca/2020/04/12/revi...)) The commission refers to the evangelization and discipleship of all sorts of people, not nation-states (whatever it might mean to baptize and teach a nation-state). Also, it is exegetically irresponsible to import the whole concept of ancient Greek παιδεια (paideia) into the use of this word in Ephesians 6:4. This passage cannot on any reasonable exegesis of its context be used a call for formulating and providing a particularly Christian "παιδεια" (on analogy with the Greek concept). Instead, the ESV is right to translate the word "discipline." Also, even if one concludes that the promise cited by Paul here (Eph 6:1-3) is still in effect—which is not the only possible reading of this passage—the life promised is the New Covenant promise of Eternal Life, not possession of the earth. It is also exegetically irresponsible to suggest that the Proverbs 22:6 can be used in a modus tollens syllogism, such that if a child does depart from the way, it is the parents' fault. This neglects the nature of a proverb (it is not a promise but a generalization of life in covenant before God) and neglects personal responsibility, a clear Biblical teaching. Lastly, the concepts of "knowledge," "understanding," and "wisdom" in the Proverbs cannot be neatly correlated with the Trivium's "grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric." This brings us to the final point of evaluation I want to offer, on the overall proposal and its theological foundation. General Issues with the Proposal Apart from clear exegetical support, the primary theological justification for Wilson's proposal is Postmillennial eschatology. If God's will is for an earthly Christendom and this is guaranteed through the progressive spread of the Gospel and Christian civilization on earth, then it makes sense that training Christians to live for God involves training them to live in and transform culture. Furthermore, on such a theology, the appeal Wilson makes to providence—such that the relationship between the West and Christianity is normative—is justified. However, if the reader rejects Postmillennial eschatology, as this reader does, then there is no good reason to accept Wilsons' proposal. If you do accept a postmillennial vision of reality, I would still ask if we Reformed Christians should be content with a proposal that is consistent with our theology but has no clear exegetical foundation? If the Bible is truly sufficient for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17), should we not expect the Bible to clearer on these matters? I think the Bible has a lot to say about education and the parent's responsibility for it; I believe it would point in the direction of homeschooling for at least part of a child's education. ((Wilson addresses homeschooling briefly but does not address the exegetical warrant for it, namely, that the Bible identifies a child's education as the parents' responsibility)) As for the overall proposal, to fully address all the possible issues I see with this approach would take a book arguing for an alternative proposal (maybe I will get to it one day, or someone will beat me to it). However, I will raise three concerns. First, Wilson seems to reject all Enlightenment and post-enlightenment culture as bad, calling for a return to the pre-enlightenment culture of Augustine and the early Church. However, as much as we can respect Augustine and the early Church, it must be recognized that they were heavily influenced by Greek thought, thought that is as pagan as modern thought. There is no consistent reason to accept their Christianized Hellenism and reject Christianized modernism or postmodernism. Instead, what is needed is careful, Biblical interaction with all of these movements. We live in a Postmodern world, so we as Christians need to address Postmodern issues. Many Postmodern writers help us do this. Modern thought and Postmodern thought also have given us great insight into the way God has created us and our minds; thus we can learn a lot about education from the last 300 years of philosophy and science—even psychology. ((if I am right in identifying Van Tillian presuppositionalism at the root of Wilson's approach, it should be observed that Van Til is more in line with Postmodern thought than Modern or Premodern thought.)) We must tread with care and submit all things before the Bible. We need to be thoroughly Biblical, but we need to be Biblically prepared to answer the questions and concerns of our age, not Augustine's, lest our children be unprepared for the world in which they actually live. Second, Wilson argument for Latin is unpersuasive and misses a huge opportunity. Latin is a beautiful language, but if we are teaching our children responsible language use, it won't help them master English. ((E.g. "nescius" will not teach you the meaning of "nice"; "ambulo" won't help you understand "ambulance"; simply, etymology is not a good way to learn most languages, especially when they have a complicated history, as English does.)) Many great books in Church history are in Latin, yet only a handful of scholars will practically use Latin in this way (confession: I am a PhD student in theology with some training in Latin; I don't use it much and don't see myself using it much more than I do). Latin is also not better suited for logical thinking than English: the case system allows some precision in communication, yet English word order suffices for this. Furthermore, the case system does not give any ontological insights into the nature of reality or logic (such that knowing the ablative case would allow you to know the true meaning of prepositions). Indeed, English is more precise in some ways because of the use of the definite and indefinite article (Latin does not have an article). All of Wilson's goals could be met if his school taught Koine Greek and Biblical Hebrew. In this way, the student would be exposed to different ways of expressing concepts and stories and thinking about logic, and they would be equipped to read the Bible in all the richness of its original languages. From this point, if the student wanted to specialize in Latin, Ancient Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, or Modern Hebrew, they would have a broad foundation for doing so. Lastly, Wilson's provides no more than anecdotal evidence for the use of the Trivium in education: is this adequate justification for using it? It seems to me that it could be as much a case of fitting the foot to the shoe as it is fitting the shoe to the foot; that is, the system may work because it is merely adequate and not because it is the ideal or best way to teach students. Linguistics offers a similar threefold analysis of human communication that may offer different insights, and some information theorists offer a five-fold analysis: either approach may work better than the Trivium's threefold analysis. However, it seems to me that all these levels interlock even in a child's understanding; could we be missing an opportunity by postponing analysis and presentation until Junior or High school ages? All this to say, there is no good philosophical, empirical, or Biblical reason to believe that the Trivium is better than any educational insights we might glean from the Bible or contemporary thought. It is not hard to beat contemporary education, but merely doing better than what we have been doing should not be our goal. Doing the best to equip our children for life before God in this world should be the contemporary Christian educator's goal. Towards this end, a lot more thinking can be and should be put into the nature, goals, methods, and content of education aimed towards training our children for kingdom living. I am thankful that people are thinking about these matters but let's not be content with retrieving the past; looking to Scripture, let's do our best to meet the needs of our children in the present and the future with all the tools God has given us—including the insights of Modernism and Postmodernism.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    This is one of the earlier treatments of what is now a fairly significant movement - classical Christian education. My dilemma is that I like the idea of teaching kids how to think logically, and I think most intellectual development follows the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric), but I can't stand some of Wilson's holier-than-thou rhetoric - not elsewhere and not here. Wilson is connecting good parenting with this kind of education which I don't think follows. And I'm all for teaching kids abou This is one of the earlier treatments of what is now a fairly significant movement - classical Christian education. My dilemma is that I like the idea of teaching kids how to think logically, and I think most intellectual development follows the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric), but I can't stand some of Wilson's holier-than-thou rhetoric - not elsewhere and not here. Wilson is connecting good parenting with this kind of education which I don't think follows. And I'm all for teaching kids about their heritage, but Western Civilization is no longer limited to just the European experience. If you don't offer a course on the blues, then you're not classical enough. I-IV-V is as good a form as the sonnet. Period.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donald Linnemeyer

    Exactly what you'd expect from Douglas Wilson: readable, well-argued, and very pastoral. The chapter on sin was great, and grants more time to the potential problems with classical education. I'm still not convinced about centering so much on western great books, but the "totalitarian hellhole" comment leveled at Plato's Republic was nice and refreshing. Oh, and the curriculum thought experiments were fun. Exactly what you'd expect from Douglas Wilson: readable, well-argued, and very pastoral. The chapter on sin was great, and grants more time to the potential problems with classical education. I'm still not convinced about centering so much on western great books, but the "totalitarian hellhole" comment leveled at Plato's Republic was nice and refreshing. Oh, and the curriculum thought experiments were fun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Seth Goodale

    As a pillar to the first book, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Mr. Wilson provides updated statistics and arguments on why a distinctive Christian education is needed in such a statist/socialistic agenda in schools today. Great for Christian parents who want to take up the responsibility of educating their child instead of the state.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah

    I love classical education with a passion and had high hopes for this book, but the author had other plans in mind. This book had a few bright spots but for the most part fizzled.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Friess

    While I agree with the sentiment of this book, this author is extreme to say the least.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    Public education is flawed because it is PUBLIC. Also, the idealization of the beginnings of universal public education in America is unrealistic, as the movement was radical, pro-state, and anti-intellectual from its very beginnings. The founders of American public education as it began in the mid 19th century were motivated by political philosophies directly at odds with libertarian and Christian ideals. I appreciated the contrast between modern American teaching methods and traditional classic Public education is flawed because it is PUBLIC. Also, the idealization of the beginnings of universal public education in America is unrealistic, as the movement was radical, pro-state, and anti-intellectual from its very beginnings. The founders of American public education as it began in the mid 19th century were motivated by political philosophies directly at odds with libertarian and Christian ideals. I appreciated the contrast between modern American teaching methods and traditional classical methods. Sayer's treatise "The Lost Tools of Learning" is also included as an appendix. In addition to classical format, methods, and content, a Christian must demand that every aspect of education be Christian - that is, to be united in realization of Christ in all things. A favorite idea of Wilson's: Because we believe in a Creator of all, we see all "subjects" not as separate molecules floating in a chaotic and disconnected "mutliverse," but rather as understandable, orderly, and harmonious components of a universe, which ultimate points to its Creator.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    My favorite Wilson book so far. At well over 200 pages, he has a lot of space to work with. The result is him at his clearest. I normally take issue with Wilson when he is confined to a sub-100 pager, as those works tend to read like his blog, which I've described as the printed equivalent of listening to a recorded conversation of five Doug Wilsons talking at the same time. Lots of nuggets and insights and hilarious musings, but unless you already agree with Wilson and sort of know where he's g My favorite Wilson book so far. At well over 200 pages, he has a lot of space to work with. The result is him at his clearest. I normally take issue with Wilson when he is confined to a sub-100 pager, as those works tend to read like his blog, which I've described as the printed equivalent of listening to a recorded conversation of five Doug Wilsons talking at the same time. Lots of nuggets and insights and hilarious musings, but unless you already agree with Wilson and sort of know where he's going from the first word, you tend to walk away thinking, "I think I got it, but I could never repeat it in my own words." Of course, Wilson here is still very much a hyperthreading Intel CPU, but again, there's lots of runway to work with, enough canvas to paint on, enough distance between it all and your seat. If anyone is interested, I've written a summary of what I think is the "meat" of this book, which is too long to post here, but could still be read in one sitting. It's a summary I plan to return to in the future when I want a refresher. Just direct message me and ask for a copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nathan G.

    Perhaps the chapter on the trivium best sums up the problematic nature of this book: the trivium, Wilson argues, should be adopted by Christian educators not because it conforms to the nature of a child's development, but because the book of Proverbs makes a three-fold distinction between "knowledge, understanding and wisdom" and these somehow correspond precisely with the ancient division between grammar, logic and rhetoric. Tenuous at best, and revealing of the ultimate incompatibility between Perhaps the chapter on the trivium best sums up the problematic nature of this book: the trivium, Wilson argues, should be adopted by Christian educators not because it conforms to the nature of a child's development, but because the book of Proverbs makes a three-fold distinction between "knowledge, understanding and wisdom" and these somehow correspond precisely with the ancient division between grammar, logic and rhetoric. Tenuous at best, and revealing of the ultimate incompatibility between a presuppositionalist-based pedagogy and true classical education.

  20. 4 out of 5

    amanda gardiner

    Really loved it (though I read it over many months). Quite a lengthy section is a call to (and instruction manual on) setting up and running a classical school (which did not apply to me since I homeschool). I was troubled by his chapter on flaws in the homeschool movement...but in a righteous sort of way. I saw his criticisms As legitimate and, even see some of them in my own home. My one critique is that it seems financially impractical for most families, but definitely a lovely and lofty idea Really loved it (though I read it over many months). Quite a lengthy section is a call to (and instruction manual on) setting up and running a classical school (which did not apply to me since I homeschool). I was troubled by his chapter on flaws in the homeschool movement...but in a righteous sort of way. I saw his criticisms As legitimate and, even see some of them in my own home. My one critique is that it seems financially impractical for most families, but definitely a lovely and lofty ideal that we ought to strive towards IMHO

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha Roberts

    I found Wilson's arguments for Classical Christian education compelling. However he has clearly boxed in what it looks like in a very legalistic way that is off-putting. His writing did inspire and encourage me as an educator and my choice to leave public school to teach in a Classical Christian school. I found Wilson's arguments for Classical Christian education compelling. However he has clearly boxed in what it looks like in a very legalistic way that is off-putting. His writing did inspire and encourage me as an educator and my choice to leave public school to teach in a Classical Christian school.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I'm a fan of classical education. I just didn't find this book compelling. It seemed more like Doug Wilson's thoughts on public schools and classical Christian schools than a tight case being presented. There are some gems where Wilson's wit and style come through but overall the book was middle of the road. I wouldn't recommend this to others. I'm a fan of classical education. I just didn't find this book compelling. It seemed more like Doug Wilson's thoughts on public schools and classical Christian schools than a tight case being presented. There are some gems where Wilson's wit and style come through but overall the book was middle of the road. I wouldn't recommend this to others.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ben Palpant

    A must read for those who observe the current educational landscape and despair. There is hope and there is a way. Wilson does a wonderful job of casting vision while addressing practical questions. This book is a must for administrators, teachers, parents, and onlookers of every stripe.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Henry

    A helpful argument for a Christian Classical education as well as a guide on how to start a school. I appreciate his willingness to say hard things, especially in how too often we have become practical atheists or isolated in how we view learning.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Harris

    While this book provides a broad-ranging overview of Classical Christian education and has some pieces of good advice, these strengths are overshadowed by numerous straw men and incomplete, outlandish arguments.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Outstanding book. I would recommend this book to every Christian parent who is wanting to raise their child up with a Christ centered worldview. This is another book that I plan to review yearly and use as I guide as we make decisions about our children's education. Outstanding book. I would recommend this book to every Christian parent who is wanting to raise their child up with a Christ centered worldview. This is another book that I plan to review yearly and use as I guide as we make decisions about our children's education.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hudson

    Should be required reading for all Christian school admins and parents who are battling the continued secularization of religious education.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Very thought-provoking and compelling.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matthew C

    Great book! Helpful book by Doug Wilson. It gives an overview of the problems in public education and the solutions in the classical Christian approach.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Berkholder

    When one doesn't want to abandon the discipleship of one's children to god hating pagans, one must do something. This is the book to start with. When one doesn't want to abandon the discipleship of one's children to god hating pagans, one must do something. This is the book to start with.

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