Most parents fear that they might harm their children by making the wrong choices concerning their education—and with good reason. Making the correct choices requires experience and wisdom. Experience is obviously lacking in parents with young children. It's like the conundrum of applying for your first job only to discover that companies want to hire only those who already have experience. Wisdom, on the other hand, is available from those who have already been through the process and thought long and hard about the essentials of education—people like author Kevin Swanson.
A homeschooling father of four, a second-generation homeschooler himself, and executive director of Christian Home Educators of Colorado, Swanson draws upon a wide breadth of experience to present this very practical guide for parents in educational decision making. He presents ten key concepts that parents must both understand and apply with their children if they want to raise godly young men and women who are truly educated as well as equipped for future occupations. One hint: the list does not include researching your local schools to find out which one produces the highest test scores or percentage of students accepted by prestigious colleges.
Swanson draws heavily upon Scripture as well as upon educational research to support his ten principles. Unlike most books, I thought UpGrade became more interesting as it progressed. I suspect this is because Swanson shares more of his own and his family's personal experiences, including both mistakes and successes, especially beginning with the fifth chapter. As I got into the middle of the book, I found myself frequently searching for a likely audience I could grab to "Listen to this!" as I discovered particularly insightful or well-said points.
I very much appreciate Swanson's guarded advocacy of homeschooling. Some of the ten principles can only be fully implemented in a homeschool setting. However, Swanson acknowledges that there are situations where other forms of schooling are better choices for a particular child or family. In such cases, families can still apply the ten principles to whatever extent they are able since the principles themselves are really based on timeless wisdom rather than any particular form of education.
Parents with young children who are considering various educational options, as well as those who have already begun the educational process but who want to make sure they are really choosing God's best for each of their children should read this book.