Hot Best Seller

The Case for Classical Christian Education

Availability: Ready to download

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.


Compare

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. 4 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.

  2. 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 th 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.

  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. 5 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.

  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. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

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

  7. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

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

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Wilke

    I'm in.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Friess

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

  13. 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 traditi 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Derek Wright

    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.

  15. 4 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.

  16. 5 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 5 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.

  21. 4 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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Very thought-provoking and compelling.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sean McGowan

    Great!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Viktor Kalm

    In my view, Doug Wilson maybe the next "C.S. Lewis" of our time - Lewis on steroids. Lots of helpful insight presented in an unabashed and winsome manner. A great read for any parent interested in providing a quality education for their children. Below are a few highlights from the book. On the current state of education, Wilson points out, rather deftly, why public schools are a mess. 1) Undisciplined children, mostly due to a lack of parental care and love, ultimately lea In my view, Doug Wilson maybe the next "C.S. Lewis" of our time - Lewis on steroids. Lots of helpful insight presented in an unabashed and winsome manner. A great read for any parent interested in providing a quality education for their children. Below are a few highlights from the book. On the current state of education, Wilson points out, rather deftly, why public schools are a mess. 1) Undisciplined children, mostly due to a lack of parental care and love, ultimately leading to a widespread use of chemical discipline (i.e. administring of ADD related drugs) 2) Unavoidable pressures to please the teachers, instead of parents - the real customers 3) A lack of a fixed moral reference point In regards to the latter, christians often get criticized for brainwashing their offspring. However, in a healthy Classical Christian school, students would get exposed to a variety of views evaluated from a single reference point - the living triune God of the Bible. Wilson argues, one can learn more views in Classical Christian school (CCS) than in a public school. The word "classical" is intimidating to a lot of people, because it somewhat implies (falsely) teachers will overwhelm students with old and daunting books, stripping learning of anything exciting. To this point, Wilson offers a few helpful tips. First, do not let pious killjoys (those who kill joy with their piety) take over. And second, make sure you're nourishing children in the "classics" versus cooking them in it. Instruction can be compared to a goat's milk from Det. 14:21 ("You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk"). In other words, whatever is meant to be life-giving, do not turn into an instrument of death. And finally, on being a "Christian" school, I appreciate Wilson's emphasis on cultivating a community of teachers, parents, and students where confession of sin is a regular practice. In a school where sinners spend five days a week together for eight hours a day for nine months, lots and lots of mess is expected. But if people are aware to pick up after themselves, i.e. the sin is being dealt with, we can enjoy the school air to be filled with pleasant aroma. On the other hand, refusing to deal with sin will make the whole place stink.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam Calvert

    I'm convinced. Douglas Wilson makes a powerful case for a classical, Christian approach to education. He lays out for the reader how and why the government educational system is broken, and then shows how and why it cannot be fixed. Building from that, he proposes that the best solution for this problem is a classical Christian education. After giving a brief review of how his school got started, he explains what Classical Christian education is. Having everything point to I'm convinced. Douglas Wilson makes a powerful case for a classical, Christian approach to education. He lays out for the reader how and why the government educational system is broken, and then shows how and why it cannot be fixed. Building from that, he proposes that the best solution for this problem is a classical Christian education. After giving a brief review of how his school got started, he explains what Classical Christian education is. Having everything point to Christ as the unifying principle of education, the classical model is used because of its natural link of the Trivium (Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric) to the stages of child development (Wanting to know what things are - Grammar, to Wanting to know why things are and how they fit together - Dialectic, to Wanting to know how to express one's self - Rhetoric). His later chapters are more about how to start a classical Christian school. The only problem is that they seem out of place in a book set out to simply make 'The Case for Classical Christian Education'. They give some details on how to start a classical, Christian school, but not nearly enough details if one wants to actually start one. In my opinion, it would be best if these chapters were expanded on and put into a separate book. While I'm sure there are minor things I probably don't agree with, this book is certainly a must read for anyone who is curious about why the classical approach to education is the best. I am completely convinced of the classical approach to education, and just as convinced that any true education must be a Christian education. (For more on this, I also highly recommend 'Foundations of Christian Education' by Berkhof and Van Til.) Foundations of Christian Education

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    The Wilson family is stolid, and what I've read so far of this book is impressively unbending. Douglas Wilson holds no punches in this fight for establishing the right system of education for our children. It's that important.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Rabe

    This book helped me to see better how to sharpen -- rather than merely shelter -- the young minds in my care so that ideally they can go anywhere in the world and be safe and effective arrows for the Kingdom. Reading Scripture, learning sound doctrine and logic, exercising minds and memories with rigorous studies are the beginning. Then the author advocates forging a Christian worldview by taking children by the hand through the best works of Western Civilization --and asking: Does this agree wi This book helped me to see better how to sharpen -- rather than merely shelter -- the young minds in my care so that ideally they can go anywhere in the world and be safe and effective arrows for the Kingdom. Reading Scripture, learning sound doctrine and logic, exercising minds and memories with rigorous studies are the beginning. Then the author advocates forging a Christian worldview by taking children by the hand through the best works of Western Civilization --and asking: Does this agree with what God says or does it disagree? As children learn to think this way in studying the cultures of the past, it is easier for them to be discerning about the culture in which they live --where the sins are ones with which we have become comfortable. Our own children have benefited over the years from our feeble attempts to follow this educational pattern, and I thank God that we have children who are not easily fooled. This book did a good job of explaining how and why to study subjects such as Latin and Logic and pagan literature, subjects I would not have otherwise dreamed of touching with a 10-foot pole. I greatly appreciated the chapter on educating the imagination, as well. A large portion of the book is aimed at someone starting, running or attending a private Christian classical school, but homeschoolers too can benefit greatly from its wisdom.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruth E. R.

    This is the update on a book I read 20 years ago, called Recovering the Lost Tools of learning (an elaboration of Dorothy Sayers famous essay). Recommended reading for every American, whether or not you have kids or plan to have them, whether or not your interests lay in educational pedagogy. Education is NOT morally neutral. It matters where it's done and how it's done. Western civilization stems from Judaism and Christianity. Wilson promotes a return to our Western roots rather than This is the update on a book I read 20 years ago, called Recovering the Lost Tools of learning (an elaboration of Dorothy Sayers famous essay). Recommended reading for every American, whether or not you have kids or plan to have them, whether or not your interests lay in educational pedagogy. Education is NOT morally neutral. It matters where it's done and how it's done. Western civilization stems from Judaism and Christianity. Wilson promotes a return to our Western roots rather than the rejection of them currently practiced in our government schools. In his own words, the "father of modern education," Jean-Jacques Rousseau, sought to eliminate Judaism and Christianity from education to bring about an "enlightened" age of secular humanism. (This from a man who sent several illegitimate children to live and die in orphanages.) Centuries later, his philosophy appears to have succeeded. One of the ways we can rescue education is to restore the foundations of Western civilization. Wilson includes the influence of the Gospel of Christ in this, which has brought aid to the entire world. Classical education involves hard work, discipline, loyalty, love for children, satisfaction, and hours of prayer.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sean Higgins

    Alright, I didn't actually read this book. I listened to it. It is, by far, the best audio book I've heard. The reading is excellent, not too dry or too dramatic. The content was so exciting that I'm turning right around to read the hard copy. Starting tomorrow. In some ways it's better than Wilson's first book on classical Christian education, The Lost Tools of Learning. Both are necessary reads, but this one ups the rhetorical presentation and offers Wilson's perspective after 20 years of Logos School.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan Winnberg

    Excellent book on classical education. The section called “Antithesis” alone is worth the price of the book. It properly defines what a Christian worldview is and is not. There is no distinction between the secular and the sacred, Wilson notes. He says (quoting from one of his other books), “…we cannot protect and preserve any truth by isolating it from the rest of God’s world. To do so kills it. The division is not between the secular and the sacred, between theology and literature. The antithe Excellent book on classical education. The section called “Antithesis” alone is worth the price of the book. It properly defines what a Christian worldview is and is not. There is no distinction between the secular and the sacred, Wilson notes. He says (quoting from one of his other books), “…we cannot protect and preserve any truth by isolating it from the rest of God’s world. To do so kills it. The division is not between the secular and the sacred, between theology and literature. The antithesis is between seeing the entire world the way God says to see it, or refusing to see the entire world the way God says to see it.” (p. 97) Of course (p. 98), antithesis was introduced as a result of the fall (Gen 3:15).

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.