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Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) Paperback – April 1, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Wilson (MA, University of Idaho) is a pastor, a popular speaker, and the author of numerous books, including Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning and The Case for Classical Christian Education. He helped to found Logos School in Moscow, Idaho, and is currently a fellow of philosophy and classical languages at New St. Andrews College.

Marvin Olasky (PhD, American Culture, University of Michigan) is the editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times by the national media as the developer of the concepts of compassionate conservatism and biblically objective journalism and is the author of twenty books.


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Product Details

  • Series: Turning Point Christian Worldview Series (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; SOFTBOUND edition (April 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891075836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891075837
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Phil Wade on September 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wilson has delivered a great book for anyone who sees nothing wrong with public education and wonders why some schools don't measure up or why the education reformers are complaining. He also challenges every existing Christian school to a high standard. First, he establishes his belief that public school is pitiful and brief addresses suggested reforms, and then he writes at length about a thoroughly Christian education. He says that a cleaned-up "public school" education within an environment where prayer and chapel is allowed does not make a Christian education or even a good secular education. We must raise the bar dramatically in order to allow all students to learn the most they can. What does that mean? It means teaching a classically structured curriculum or the Trivium. Wilson advocates training our students to engage "the great conversation" of the past by reading the Great Books of the Western Canon, as recommended by Mortimer Adler.
Personally, I think he's exactly right, but this book didn't scratch my inch as parent wanting to teach my children a classical education at home. In fact, Wilson doesn't think homeschool classical education is an achievable goal for the average family; but he doesn't advise against it. He warns that while it may be better than public school, it may not be as good as it should be, considering historical standards of education, not measuring it against currently failing public schools. For my needs, this book helped me only a little. The greatest help to me would have been in its appendices which can be found online at ... There are three: Dorothy Sayers article on the Trivium is of great help; a description of Logos School's classical curriculum provides good details on what to teach; and a history of education.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Adrian C Keister on August 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first read this book as a sophomore in college. I got so excited about the idea of classical Christian education, that I resolved on my future career: teaching mathematics and physics at a classical Christian school.
Mr. Wilson's comments about public school seem very accurate. They closely correspond with the few comments I have had from people who "survived" the public school. There seems to be a prevailing anti-intellectualism displayed amongst the graduates of the public schools. I especially enjoyed Mr. Wilson's critique of the "look-say" method. I have a friend who went through look-say, and to this day he cannot read out loud in anything like a natural manner.
Mr. Wilson's book represents the close of the public school system, yet in contrast to purely sarcastic negative articles and books, Mr. Wilson has given us a solution. This solution makes so much sense.
I have discussed the idea of classical education with other Christians. I tend to get two answers: either they are afraid of what the Greek philosophy will do to young Christians, or else they see what Mr. Wilson saw: that studying Greek philosophy is not to commend it, and that the primary purpose of doing so is to understand the world at the time of Christ. This will facilitate an understanding of the historical context of the Bible, which we are obviously commanded to study.
I did have one criticism, however. In his argument that foreign children are out-performing American children, Mr. Wilson fails to realize that the statistics are incorrect. The samples that the scores from foreign countries represent are taken from the elite: the best from foreign countries, whereas the scores from American children represent a much wider sample. Thus any argument about averages will fail at this point.
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87 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I appreciate many of the Logos School curriculum materials, along with the overall philosophy of the school. I looked forward to reading founder Douglas Wilson's book.

At the beginning, the book was very interesting, mostly discussing what goals the Logos School has and how the school implements various curriculum to teach its students.

The author continually vaguely slams Christian schools that are basically secular but just add in Bible study/prayer time. I think it's fair to say that most people would not want this type of Christian school, but other than bashing these schools, Mr. Wilson did not give any advice to the reader as to how to identify these schools or help to bring about change.

When I reached the chapter on homeschooling, Mr. Wilson lost all credibility with me. Being an educator at a Christian school, I would assume he is also very familiar with homeschooling, and he in fact claims that he and his wife would choose this option, if "a good Christian school were not available." Reading his book, the reader begins to understand that Logos School is one of the few schools in the nation that might meet this criteria.

He then goes on to say that parents teaching at home in the early years who then place their children "in a Christian school to continue their education" have fundamentally identical education principles as the Christian school. BUT "if a home schooling family maintains that children can be given a complete education in the average home (say, K-12), then frankly there is an important difference in educational philosophy." Boloney. I began to see that the "difference" might have more to do with the funding of Christian schools, not the educational choices among each family.

The logic Mr.
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