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Repairing the Ruins

Repairing the Ruins

The Classical and Christian Challenge to Modern Education

by Douglas Wilson (Editor), Tom Spencer, Chris Schlect, 3 othersJames Nance, Tom Garfield, Douglas Jones
Publisher: Canon Press
Trade Paperback, 269 pages
Current Retail Price: $19.00

As parents, it is easy for us to look back and see the shortcomings of our own education. Since many of us were taught in public schools, we often have a pretty good idea of what we don't want our children to learn. But what exactly should we give them instead?

The authors of Repairing the Ruins, a group of experienced teachers and school administrators, faced this same question when they first embarked on the journey of education. They found a tried and true answer in classical Christian education. Divided into three major sections, the book first sets the framework of Christian worldview thinking. The second section develops the more practical side of the classical model, focusing on specific disciplines. The final section explains how to make the model work in this century.

The authors explain what makes classical Christian education different from modern methods and why it offers a distinctly Christian alternative. Building upon this foundation, the authors provide parents with the "Whys and Hows" of the Trivium, tips on planning curriculum, wisdom in designing education to serve the heart as well as the mind, and advice on starting up schools. For all who have ever wondered where to begin with their children's education, Repairing the Ruins comes alongside with words of comfort and direction.

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  Not As Helpful As It Could Have Been
Amy of Oregon, 5/10/2011
I found this collection of essays on classical education a bit disappointing. I had recently finished The Case for Classical and Christian Education by Wilson, which I found a very helpful book both in making the case for classical education and understanding what the leaders of ACCS mean by it. I learned good information on education and the classical Christian ideal by listening to that book on CD and was excited to hear more, which is why I picked up Repairing the Ruins. Repairing the Ruins had some very helpful sections, and probably would be even more interesting to someone interested in actually starting a classical school themselves. The reason I didn't find it as useful was that many of the essay seemed formulaic and not very well written. I think the issues they were trying to address were probably not suited to the short essay format. It seemed to only superficially touch on most of the topics being discussed. The book authors did understand that is all they would be doing and said so, but it did make it a bit less interesting and thought provoking. I found myself thinking more, "Yah, yah, I got that part. What else?" than I had hoped. I also thought some of the rhetoric in the Wilson pieces was a bit strong without the space for backing, explaining or following up his strong language. As I just finished it today, my initial response is that I'm mostly glad I read it just to hear what these men had to say, but don't feel like I got further down the road of understanding the classical Christian education idea by doing so.