Books

NEW! Every December, Christians are given new reasons to not take Christmas seriously. We are told that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday, that Jesus was not born on December 25th, that Christmas traditions have all lost their meaning, and that Christmas has been snowed under by hedonistic commercialism. While the enemies of the Church are all too happy to have Christians believe such nonsense, in The 25th, Joshua Gibbs argues that none of it is true. Rather, Christians have every reason to robustly celebrate Christmas with the confidence they are participating in one of the oldest, deepest, and greatest mysteries of God.

Includes:

  • - On Grinches

  • - A Better World

  • - In Defense of Santa Claus

  • - When to Start Listening to Christmas Music

  • - In Defense of George Bailey 

  • - Meditations on the Creche

  • - What if Christmas Is Exactly What It Purports to Be?

  • - Death at a Party: December 28th, Feast of the Holy Innocents

  • - The Leavetaking

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Once upon a time, Joshua Gibbs was a disinterested slacker who, despite attending a classical Christian school, learned little and cared even less for his studies. He was more interested in pop culture than Great Books and performed only the bare minimum to pass.

 

By age 27, however, he began work at a different classical institution, teaching the same literature he merely skimmed as a student. Ten years later, Gibbs has become a popular blogger and frequent speaker at education conferences. In this series of frank reflections on an unlikely career, Gibbs contemplates what it means to be a good teacher, how Great Books can change lives (and how one particular book, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, changed his), and why effective education is primarily concerned with the acquisition of virtue.

 

One part literary guidebook, one part personal memoir, and one part teacher’s manual, How to Be Unlucky presents a one-of-a-kind case for ancient ways of thinking about teaching in our contemporary world.

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Every teacher has suffered the demoralizing realization that most students quickly forget the content they are taught. While most teachers are too embarrassed to admit this, their students know it is true, which leads many of them to think school is ultimately pointless. If a missed class period can be made up with five minutes of homework, isn't every hour-long class a fifty-five minute waste of time? This is not only the state of American public schools, but many classical schools as well.

But what if there was another way of conducting class? What if every class was vital, necessary, and worth going to? What if students no longer had to admit they couldn’t remember much of the material they studied in previous years? What if teachers could make the most of every minute of class time, including the first five minutes, when students are chatty and their brains are still stuck in their last subject?

In Something They Will Not Forget, Joshua Gibbs lays out a solution to these problems which is both elegant and effective. His solution caters to classical beliefs and presuppositions but is easily implemented in any classroom— elementary or secondary, public or private, traditional school or homeschool. If you have struggled with classroom management, dull exams (which you dread grading), or a feeling of helplessness when confronted by how quickly students forget, help is here.

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Selected Articles

01 | CiRCE Institute

Soul-Crushing, Family-Friendly, Inspirational Trash

Modern Christians have an unfortunate tendency to trust things which are labelled “family-friendly,” despite the fact most things marketed to children are ugly, glitzy, and banal. A few simple questions are proposed by which parents can evaluate the spiritual value of their children’s books and toys. Read more.

02 | CiRCE Institute

Is It Too Late For My Child To Become Classical?

Many parents who discover classical education late in the game fear their teenage sons and daughters are simply too set in their ways to change. In this piece for Circe, Gibbs converses with a parent whose teenage son has just enrolled in a classical school and quickly decides he does not like it. Read more

03 | CiRCE Institute

Is Classical Education About Rest And Nurture? Yes and No.

Words like “rest” and “nurture” are frequently used when describing the spiritual context of a classical education. Nonetheless, papers come due, tensions rise, grades fall, and parents are liable to protest their sons and daughters are under a lot of stress. What kind of rest does a classical education offer, then? Read more

04 | CiRCE Institute

Before You Give Moral Advice To Teenage Crowds: 7 Tips

Reflections on spending a decade trying to convince American teenagers to do what is right, not what is fashionable. Read more

05 | CiRCE Institute

Flattered Parents Raise Flattered Kids

Social media has popularized feel-good articles that blithely absolve readers of responsibility for all their mistakes and instead offer platitudes about self-worth, self-care, self-love, and the beauty of brokenness. Parents steeped in such foolishness demand their children be coddled, as well. This essay for Circe offers several exhortations on how (and why) to quit reading clickbait flattery. Read more

06 | CiRCE Institute

Getting Practical: How To Teach Virtue When You Teach History

When most students (and teachers) think of history as a subject, they think of names and dates and chronologies, none of which inspire students to draw close to God. However, history is not simply an objective transfer of knowledge. History must form the soul, as well. In this essay for Circe, Gibbs explains how to teach virtue when covering names and dates. Read more

07 | CiRCE Institute

Classical: A Word In Need Of A Common Sense Definition

A good deal of confusion exists among classical educators about what the word “classical” means. In this conversation, Gibbs explains that when referring to classical education, the word “classical” means exactly what your average person thinks it means. “Classical” means “old and good.” Read more

08 | CiRCE Institute

College Prep: At The End Of The Day, I Need A Job

Some parents want their children to get a classical education because it will look good on transcripts, then discover after enrolling their children that classical educators don’t really care about AP classes and SAT scores. This leads to terse conversations between ambitious students and teachers, like the one Gibbs records in this piece for Circe. Read more

09 | CiRCE Institute

Why We Need Frog And Toad More Than Ever

What has happened to children’s books in the last forty years? Contemporary children’s books have no plot, no drama, but lots of celebration. What can parents learn about child rearing from older children’s books? Read more

10 | CiRCE Institute

Getting Practical: How To Teach Virtue When You Teach History

Everyone is entitled to a political opinion, but not everyone is entitled to have their opinions taken seriously by others. On what grounds do we judge another man’s political opinions worth of serious consideration? Read more

11 | First Things

Our Misguided War on Legalism

In this article for First Things, Gibbs argues that American Christians are flattering themselves if they truly believe legalism is a problem they might possibly have. Read more

12 | Front Porch Republic

Brass Spittoon: Classical Education

A Front Porch Republic interview with Joshua Gibbs and several other educators about the crisis besetting humanities departments across the country. Read more

13 | CultureFeed

Character in the Classroom

A Culture Feed interview with Joshua Gibbs about teaching virtue through the teaching of old books. Read more

14 | ClassicalU

Teaching the Great Books

Joshua Gibbs’ ClassicalU class for first- and second-year teachers about how to teach great books. Read more

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Ancient Wisdom

for Modern Man

On every episode of Proverbial, Joshua Gibbs explores a single proverb, some old bit of wisdom, and tries to discern what it means for modern men.

Find it wherever you listen to podcasts.

Podcast

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