Chad Roach: So what we're talking about here is your book, "Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education for Your Child." And in the book you really just go through what are some of those time-tested, scriptural principles of educating a child, and you walk through them and you just ask the question, "What is a good education and how do we get there?" The preeminence of character, one-on-one instruction, the principle of individuality, the principle of having relationships in all of education. And you really look under the cover, you pull up the hood and you look under the cover, and you say, "What does it take to make a successful education?"
Kevin Swanson: I think a lot of teachers and a lot of parents that homeschool or public school or private school, they're surprised when they see these things. They know they're important. Everybody does. I've never had somebody come up and say, "Relationships? That's stupid. Character? Not interested."
Daniel Craig: Except your college professor.
Kevin Swanson: There is a few exceptions, but most people think these are important. The problem is we lose contact with the ball. We forget the things that really matter because they're not emphasized, they're not brought into play. And so if you can keep your eye on the ball and keep these principles in front of you, in the end God blesses that. So let's get back to these principles. Let's keep an eye on the preeminence of character. You're teaching algebra. Nine times out of 10 that parent or teacher is gonna forget the importance of character in the lesson. If they keep their eye on the ball and realize their major purpose in this algebra lesson is not to teach how to factor a trinomial but how to train character in this lesson, then now you're catching the vision for what it is to educate a child, whether in the home and private school or public school.
Chad Roach: And in a world where the people who have designed our educational systems aren't thinking according to these principles, this is a manual where parents can actually keep their eye on the ball of what is important and what to really focus on with their children as they educate them.
Kevin Swanson: And we don't tell them what kind of curriculum. We don't tell them exactly how to do it. We just say, "Here are the basic principles, if you can maximize on these factors, the rest of it just falls into place." And there is a lot of principle of individuality here too, because every family, every child typically will have a different, a slightly different approach to that education, that curriculum that's chosen and the teaching methods employed in teaching their child. However, there are these broad-based principles that you absolutely must incorporate in the education of a child, whatever the context.
Daniel Craig: Perhaps one of the most neglected principles of education, in modern education today, is the principle of life integration, and one of the areas you see this is the total cluelessness that often we as young people have in terms of what we should do with our life. You have 80% of kids graduating from college who end up doing something completely different than the area of their major, after they change their major an average of two to three times. They don't know what to do with their lives, largely because they've never done anything before. So this principle of life integration, what does it look like, in a real world situation of learning how to ride a bike?
Kevin Swanson: Well, 95% of education seems to be useless, because you're getting all these facts but you never know how to plug the facts in. Education involves two aspects. Number one, you get the fact, you learn something, but it's not over yet, you're only halfway done with that education process. Now you have to show them how to plug that fact into something. That's life integration. And sadly, most education avoids that life-integrating element, and I think the best way to do it is to continually bring that exercise into a real life scenario, and there are hundreds and thousands of ways to do that.
Daniel Craig: So no matter if you're gonna do public school, private school, homeschool, you've gotta get this book, because anybody, any parent can work on integrating these principles into the education of their child.
Kevin Swanson: We've had public school teachers say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for this book." I think it brings every teacher back to the fundamentals. Of course, one of the very, very best ways to implement the principles God has given to us is in the homeschool environment. It may not be the only way, and certainly is not the only way for every parent, but what you'll find is, as we talk about life integration, oftentimes it works best within the context of the home. Talk about the preeminence of character. Typically that parent is the right one to really focus on those character lessons. We talk about life integration and we talk about principle of individuality. Wow, that's very difficult to do when you've got a one-size-fits-all big public school system where you're trying to rush 40 students through the same process in the same year, the same classroom.
But in a homeschool context, much easier to bring a tailor-made approach to curriculum teaching method and all of that within the context of the homeschool. So home education can be a great way to bring these principles to bear. Of course, the most important is the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Extremely difficult to bring the very foundation of all of knowledge into a public school classroom today. I recommend homeschooling, Christian schooling, as a very good way to bring about this essential element, absolutely essential element brought out in Proverbs 1:7, the most basic lesson for the education of a child. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Do not, do not teach a child without that.
Chad Roach: And the principles you're talking about here, they're gonna be essential for a parent who's thinking through education with a two-year-old, for somebody who's slogging through it with an eighth grader, or for the parents that have an 18-year-old and they're trying to figure out, "What now?" Because these principles don't stop in high school. They continue on to higher education and really lifelong. So if parents have a child between the ages of one and 100, this is a good book.