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The Case for Classical Christian Education

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  456 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Crossway Books
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Megan Larson
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all Christian parents and educators
Recommended to Megan by: church school committee
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 ...more
Scott Guillory
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any Christian parent or grandparent.
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.
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Even if "classical" is not your thing, every Christian educator should read this book.
Zach Wilke
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, culture, family
I'm in.
May 16, 2009 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Donald Linnemeyer
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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.
Mar 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
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.
Wendy Friess
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
While I agree with the sentiment of this book, this author is extreme to say the least.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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
Nathan G.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Tabitha Roberts
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
Ben Palpant
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for all Christian school admins and parents who are battling the continued secularization of religious education.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Very thought-provoking and compelling.
Sean McGowan
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Viktor Kalm
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Adam Calvert
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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 p
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Wendy Rabe
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling
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 ...more
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 the rejecti
Brad Belschner
I liked this book. Doug Wilson begins by setting forth the need for better schooling today: the government schools are a train wreck, Christians need to bring up their children Christianly, etc. Then the discussion progresses to what sort of education might be best, or in any case, what has stood the test of time: classical education. In this regard, Doug Wilson is strongly influenced by Dorothy Sayers. This book does what it says on the cover: it makes a case for Classical Christian education. ...more
Dan Winnberg
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Anthony Alvarado
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
A great overview of what is meant by "Classical" and then giving it a Biblical influence. Wilson centers more on setting up a school as opposed to homeschool. This is book is worth the first 8-10 chapters alone though because of how he absolutely crushes the public school system and all it's failings and systemic problems. He addresses homeschooling a little saying it can work and he tries to encourage and build up those doing it but his leaning is to establish an ideal Christian Classical schoo ...more
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
Wilson argues that Christians are told to educate their children "in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord" and that necessarily means a Christian education to the exclusion of any other. He demonstrates that all education is inherently religious, and the fallacious arguments of those Christians that would relegate their children's education to pagans.

He then lays out the traditional mode of education that Christian's subscribed to until around the nineteenth century, when newer methods became e
Sean Higgins
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, audio
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 Logo ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Unfortunately, it seems as though our country is turning out poorly educated children. Wilson is an educator who proposes a return to the classical christian education model. This model focuses on teaching children according to their developmental stages. It is rich in literature, steeped in discipline, and based on the principle that God is the Creator of all that exists, and therefore all knowledge is interrelated and points back to Him. Wilson believes strongly that classical education offers ...more
Chris Comis
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderful updated treatment of Wilson's previous books on education. Great resource for anyone looking to fill in the blanks when it comes to starting a new school. I wish though that he would've addressed the debate over church-based vs. board-based approaches to school leadership, vision-setting, financial planning, etc.

I also think James Jordan has brought up some important issues and criticisms regarding the "Classical" in Classical Christian Education. Wilson does interact with some of Jord
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I write in order to make the little voices in my head go away. Thus far it hasn't worked.
“Education is fundamentally religious. Consequently, there is no question about whether a morality will be imposed in that education, but rather which morality will be imposed.” 5 likes
“ of the glories of education is the opportunity to hear the truth come out of a human being with blood in the veins and air in the lungs, and not just off a printed page.” 2 likes
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