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12 Books on Classical Education to Read This Year

We’re a few weeks into the new year and if you’re anything like me you’re probably already overwhelmed with your resolutions. You might be asking yourself things like, “why did I think I could/would do that?” Or maybe, “That’s cute that I wrote that down”. Or even, “I should really add some more books to my annual reading list”. Well if you asked that last question then you’re in luck.

I asked several of our staff members to recommend one book on classical education that they would suggest reading this year. Get your resolutions out and get ready to start writing, because here are their answers:

Andrew Kern ( President) recommends
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education
by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain, with a foreward by Peter Kreeft
published by Classical Academic Press

Andrew’s comments
We needed this book and now it’s here . . . once you’ve read a book or two to introduce you to classical education and have started to ask the deeper questions about its history and nature, get this book and use it as a permanent reference.

Brian Phillips (Director of the Online Academy and CiRCE Consulting) recommends
10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
by Anthony Esolen
​published by ISI Books

Brian’s comments
Esolen, in his typically funny and biting style, draws attention to the most common mistakes we make as parents and teachers. I consider this worth reading and even re-reading for anyone with children and anyone working with children.

Chuck Hicks (Operations) recommends
The Everlasting Man
by GK Chesteron

Chuck’s comments
A gentle, ironic, and at times humorous rebuttal of H.G. Wells’ The Outline of History — the latter being a monument to evolutionary Progressivism — and upholding the eternal things and the Lord of them.

Deb Sugiyama (Finances) recommends
Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning
by Jacques Barzun
published by University Press of Chicago

Deb’s comments
“The truth is, when all is said and done, one does not teach a subject, one teaches a student how to learn it” (pg 35).
He has a fabulous grasp on the history of education and what true knowledge is (and the sharing of it) and writes about it in a thoughtful, scholarly yet humorous way.

Cathy Rape (Apprenticeship Director) recommends
The Once and Future King (particularly books 1 & 2)
by T.H. White

Cathy’s comments
White beautifully illustrates sound classical teaching in the relationship between Merlyn and young King Arthur.

Leah Lutz ( LTW Director) recommends
Poetic Knowledge, The Recovery of Education
by James Taylor
Published by State University of New York Press

Leah’s comments
I am challenged and inspired every time I read even parts of this book. Poetic Knowledge explains the poetic mode of education, provides a great history along the way, and inspires you to reconsider your own approach to education immediately.

Peter Vande Brake (consultant) recommends
Bonheoffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
by Eric Metaxes
published by Thomas Nelson

Peter’s comments
In this book, Metaxas narrates the life of a man who was classically educated in the best sense who lived out what he knew to be the good life. There was no separation for him between what he knew to be the good and what he did. As I read it I was constantly convicted of what it means to live out the Christian life in any circumstance as a person who is classically educated.

Debbie Harris (consultant) recommends
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
by John Piper
published by Crossway

Debbie’s comments
It is not particularly on classical education but it is about the link of mind and heart in thinking as God would have us think. Really rich reasoning for a deeper education and a frank assessment of the treasures and possible treachery of thinking well.

Cindy Rollins (Blogger) recommends
Beauty in the Word: Re-thinking the Foundations of Education
by Stratford Caldecott
published by Angelica Press

Cindy’s comments
Simply the best attempt to pull Classical Education back towards its true roots, and a philosophy that is not only logical but beautiful. Profound and refreshing. I plan to reread it this year.

Josh Leland (blogger) recommends
Metaphors We Live By
by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
published by University Press of Chicago

Josh’s comments
This book is an excellent introduction into understanding our reliance upon metaphors–not only how pervasive they are in our language, but how metaphors structure and organize meaning itself.

Joshua Gibbs (blogger) recommends
Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and It’s Fashionable Enemies
By David Bentley Hart
Published by Yale University Press

Joshua’s comments
A history book, but also a philosophy-of-history book, but also an apologetics book. In truth, there are few non-fiction genres Atheist Delusions doesn’t glance, at least for a moment. Hart is a generous interpreter of the prejudices and convictions of past epochs. He sets facts in motion without predetermining where they will land.

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