Well, maybe education is not simply books but it is quite clearly learning to read books. Learning to read involves more than just phonics. I am still learning how to read. But Carlyle's insight into how education has changed over the years is very helpful to us.
Have a look at any home school curriculum guide or brochure. The shear number of materials is mind boggling. I am very thankful that having another option in education has produced such a vast array, if not dizzying array of educational materials. This is a good thing.
However, many home schoolers lose the forest for the trees in the same way that their local government schools do or even their well-meaning Christian school does. The result is a frenetic approach to education that can be a detriment to real learning as well as to home and church life.
What is the goal of education?
Carlyle says this, "If we think of it, all a University, or final highest school can do for us, is still what the first school began doing,-- teach us to read. We learn to read, in various languages, in various sciences; we learn the alphabet and letters of all manner of Books. But the place where we are to get knowledge, even theoretic knowledge, is the Books themselves! It depends on what we read, after all manner of Professors have done their best for us. The true University of these days is a Collection of Books." (emphasis his)