Top Ten Book Reviews

with Dr. Christopher Perrin
Dr. Christopher Perrin reviews two “Top 10” lists—one designed for new classical educators and the other for intermediate classical educators. Also included is a brief description of a recommended lifetime reading plan for classical educators. For more reviews like these, please see Dr. Perrin’s course “Introduction to Classical Education,” at the end of which he reviews his top 55 books on classical education.

Three Presentations

Top 10 List for New Classical Educators—The 101 List

  • An Introduction to Classical Education
  • The Liberal Arts Tradition
  • The Great Tradition
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization
  • A Mathematician’s Lament
  • The Abolition of Man
  • The School We Need
  • Desiring the Kingdom
  • Only the Lover Sings
  • The Seven Laws of Teaching

Top 10 List for Intermediate Classical Educators—The 102 List

  • The Liberal Arts Tradition
  • Norms and Nobility
  • On Christian Teaching/Doctrine
  • The Great Tradition
  • A Mathematician’s Lament
  • The Abolition of Man
  • Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform
  • Desiring the Kingdom
  • Leisure the Basis of Culture
  • The Seven Laws of Teaching

Recommendations for a Lifetime of Reading

  • Great Books Sets: Harvard Classics, Brittanica Great Books
  • The Loeb Classical Library
  • The Church Fathers

Chris at 11-14 d 150Dr. Christopher Perrin is an author, consultant, and speaker who specializes in classical education. He is committed to the renewal of the liberal arts tradition. He cofounded and serves full-time as the CEO/publisher at Classical Academic Press, a classical education curriculum, media, and consulting company. Christopher also serves as a consultant to charter, public, private, and Christian schools across the country. He serves on the board of the Society for Classical Learning and as the director of the Alcuin Fellowship of classical educators. He has published numerous articles and lectures that are widely used throughout the United States and the English-speaking world.

Christopher received his B.A. in history from the University of South Carolina and his M.Div. and Ph.D. in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, PA, for ten years. He is the author of the books An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for ParentsThe Greek Alphabet Code Cracker, and Greek for Children, and the co-author of the Latin for Children series published by Classical Academic Press.

View and Download Reading List (PDF)
View Reading List (HTML Format)

Classical Educator’s Reading List—Top 55 Books

Created by Dr. Christopher Perrin for ClassicalU.com Subscribers

Introductory Books
An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents (C. Perrin)
“The Lost Tools of Learning” (Essay by Dorothy Sayers)
Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (Douglas Wilson)
The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (Susan W. Bauer & Je Wise)
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain)
Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education (David Hicks)
Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning (Charles Evans & Robert Littlejohn)
For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)
Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America (Andrew Kern & Gene Veith)

History of Classical Education
The Republic (Plato)
Politics (Aristotle)
Institutes of Oratory (or The Education of an Orator) (Quintillian)
Early Christianity and Greek Paideia (W. Jaeger)
A History of Education in Antiquity (H.I. Marrou)
Education in Ancient Rome (Stanely R. Bonner)
The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture (Jean Leclercq)
How the Irish Saved Civilization (Thomas Cahill)
The Rise of the Universities (Charles Homer Haskins)
A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century (Oliver DeMille)
The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being (Richard Gamble, editor)

Modern Education
The Abolition of Man: How Education Shapes Man’s Sense of Morality (C.S. Lewis)
Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform (Diane Ravitch)
The Transformation of the School: Progressivism in American Education, 1876-1957 (Lawrence A. Cremin)
The Schools We Need: Why We Don’t Have Them (E. D. Hirsch, Jr.)
Reforming Education: The Opening of the American Mind (Mortimer J. Adler)
American Education: A History (Wayne J. Urban & Jennings L. Wagoner, Jr.)
The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills our Children Need–and What We Can Do about It (Tony Wagner)

Philosophy of Education
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain)
The Abolition of Man: How Education Shapes Man’s Sense of Morality (C.S. Lewis)
De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine or On Christian Teaching) (Augustine)
Great Ideas from the Great Books (Mortimer Adler)
Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (Stephen Turley)
Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator (David Diener)
The Idea of a University (John Henry Newman)
Ideas Have Consequences (Richard M. Weaver)

Mathematics & Science
A Mathematician’s Lament (Paul Lockart)
Measurement (Paul Lockart)
Innumeracy (John Allen Paulos)
The Divine Challenge: On Matter, Mind, Math, and Meaning (John Byl)
Beauty for Truth’s Sake: On the Re-enchantment of Education (Stratford Caldecott)
The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy (Nancy Pearcey & Charles Thaxton)

Virtue and Embodiment
The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (A. G. Sertillanges)
Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life at a Christian College (James W. Sire)
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation (James K. A. Smith)
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (James K. A. Smith)
Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classical Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination (Vigen Gurioian)
John Milton: Classical Learning and the Progress of Virtue (Grant Horner)

Scholé and Contemplation
Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation (Josef Pieper)
Leisure the Basis of Culture (Josef Pieper)
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace (Sarah Mackenzie)
Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series: Home Education (vol. 1) (Charlotte Mason)

Pedagogy, Art of Teaching
De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine or On Christian Teaching) (Augustine)
The Art of Teaching (Gilbert Highet)
Begin Here: The Forgotten Conditions of Teaching and Learning (Jacques Barzun)
The Seven Laws of Teaching (John Milton Gregory)
Why Students Don’t Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about How the Mind Works and What it Means for the Classroom (Daniel T. Willingham)
Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education (James Taylor)
Socratic Circles: Fostering Critical and Creative Thinking in Middle and High School (Matt Copeland)
Teach Like a Champion: Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College (Doug Lemov)

Dr. Perrin’s Top 10 List: 101 Version
An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents (C. Perrin)
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain)
The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being (Richard Gamble, editor)
How the Irish Saved Civilization (Thomas Cahill)
A Mathematician’s Lament (Paul Lockart)
The Abolition of Man: How Education Shapes Man’s Sense of Morality (C.S. Lewis)
The Schools We Need: Why We Don’t Have Them (E. D. Hirsch, Jr.)
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation (James K. A. Smith)
Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation (Josef Pieper)
The Seven Laws of Teaching (John Milton Gregory)

Dr. Perrin’s Top 10 List: 102 Version
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Kevin Clark & Ravi Jain)
Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education (David Hicks)
The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being (Richard Gamble, editor)
De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine or On Christian Teaching) (Augustine)
A Mathematician’s Lament (Paul Lockart)
The Abolition of Man: How Education Shapes Man’s Sense of Morality (C.S. Lewis)
Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform (Diane Ravitch)
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation (James K. A. Smith)
Leisure the Basis of Culture (Josef Pieper)
The Seven Laws of Teaching (John Milton Gregory)

Outline of Session
Discussion Questions
Assignments and Action Steps
  • Reading is best done within a community of learners. Consider starting or joining a classical education study group and begin with one of the texts reviewed above.
  • For reviews of Dr. Perrin’s Top 55 Books on Classical Education, categorized by topic, see his course An Introduction to Classical Education.

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