“If your children know Saxon Math better than the Proverbs, they are not being properly educated.” -Kevin Swanson
And right about here we say, “Yeah, I know…Proverbs….teach them the Bible. OK so we read the Proverbs but that isn’t going to make them smart or “successful” in the world.”
And we all admit that as Christian homeschoolers, though we understand the theory of a solid, biblical education, we want them to be competitive in the work force, academically savvy, and often we just don’t know what to do or what to teach.
Swanson recounts his wife calling him from home one day.
“I can’t do this (homeschool) anymore.”
“What?! You can’t just quit! I’m the executive director of the Home Educators of Colorado!”
“Then YOU come home and do it.”
She relayed her frustrations about coming home from a homeschool vendor exhibit where 300 curriculum vendors claimed to be “the best.”
“If only God could have written a curriculum.” she said.
Kevin answered, “He did. (And it’s not A Beka.) It’s the Proverbs.”
I don’t believe Swanson is saying that the book of Proverbs is the only curriculum we should use. I believe he is suggesting that the principles from Proverbs, when studied, learned, internalized and put to practice, will give our children tremendous advantage as students as well as in their life endeavors. Like sharpening a saw before cutting a tree, the life-principles will put them ahead in all they do.
Some of the wealthiest men in the country were asked the “secret” to their success. I looked up a few myself. Answers included:
- Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised.
- Work hard–don’t be lazy.
- Be honest.
- Don’t borrow money.
- Find a good wife.
- Be diligent in your work….pursue excellence.
- Plan well.
- Be teachable.
Every answer is straight from Proverbs.
Academics are important only to the extent that we equip them with the character behind it to use their knowledge for the glory of God.
Our homeschool will be more heavily focused on studying Proverbs this year.
How to teach the Proverbs
How do we teach the Proverbs? Reading them is good, memorizing them is better, but studying them and applying the principles to daily situations is where life-habits are internalized. This is where our “motherhood-rubber meets the road”. Study the traits, study the meaning of the words, give examples to illustrate the principles, then be ready, in every situation at home, to apply them personally.
Are your children speaking unkindly? It’s not enough to say “Stop that!” Give them a reference from Proverbs (e.g. “pleasant words are like a honeycomb“). All motivation for behavior should ultimately come from “Thus says the Lord”.
His ways ARE right and those who follow them will be blessed! Let’s believe that!