We are often asked to recommend books that will assist with an introduction to and understanding of the Catholic classical liberal arts educational tradition. These are the works that have guided and inspired us and many others.
The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB
A summary and synthesis of modern Church documents on education. This would be the ideal place to start. Ask faculty to read it, then to discuss it chapter by chapter in faculty meetings or a retreat. As you educate parents, it would be good recommended, and simple, reading for them.
The Case for Catholic Education
Ryan S. Topping
He does not speak extensively about “classical liberal arts education” but he is describing in easily accessible terms why Catholic education must be different. This is good for both teachers and parents.
Beauty in the Word:
Rethinking the Foundations of Education
This and its companion (next on list) are two of our favorite books on Catholic education. Very inspiring and theological. This focuses on the Trivium, the arts of language and their significance; the next illuminates the Quadrivium, the arts of number, in the same beautiful way. Definitely a deeper dive, but when your teachers and parents are ready for it, very worthwhile and formative.
Beauty for Truth’s Sake:
On the Re-enchantment of Education
Demonstrates the beauty and order of the universe created by God. Especially gives math and science teachers a better lens.
The Liberal Arts Tradition:
A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education
Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark
Not specifically Catholic (and therefore missing the Eucharistic aim of the effort) but very helpful in explaining each of the seven liberal arts, but also the sequence and context of their use. We are not just minds. We also need to nurture piety, story and music, physical grace. All of these combine to lead us to the truth of man and God (philosophy and theology) — which lead us to a life of virtue.
The Educational Plan of St. Jerome Academy
St. Jerome Academy
Firmly grounded in a holistic Catholic vision of education, St. Jerome Academy’s Educational Plan offers the most complete curricular guidance for Catholic elementary schools available. This second edition is enriched by the experience of SJA’s first decade of renewal.