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Successful Living: Studies in the Book of Proverbs Review by Donna Campos

By John and Jan Walsh
International Learning Solutions
2905 Gill Street
Bloomington, IL 61704

Successful Living: Studies in the Book of Proverbs is a course that covers the first nine chapters of Proverbs. A thorough explanation as to why the author chose only the first nine chapters is included at the start of Volume 1. The course includes consumable workbooks for units 1-12 and four additional books that include the answer keys. Each unit is designed to take three weeks, making the entire course appropriate for one 36-week school year. A test for each unit is included in the center-stapled binding of each workbook, while the answers for the tests are included in the center-stapled binding of the answer key books. The four answer key books are three-hole punched for easy storage in a binder.

This in-depth Bible course is appropriate for older students and adults. Topics include a proper attitude toward God and authority, a proper attitude toward money and wisdom, levels of commitment to God, education, marriage, work ethic, temptations of life, and more. The author has scattered plenty of history throughout the study, with Scripture references and information about life at the time of the writing of Proverbs. Lessons feature the Scripture text being studied as well as "Think about it" boxes within the lesson text to encourage deeper thought. There are fill-in-the-blank questions and writing assignments for the reader. Some of the writing assignments and activities require time away from the workbook. For instance, the student might be asked to interview someone, write a journal entry, or do memorization work. A "Teacher Check Points" checklist is printed on the inside front cover of each volume, with space to check off completion of various assignments. Quizzes are fill-in-the-blank, while tests include fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and true/false questions. A Pre-test of 50 questions in also included in each volume.

We feel that mature students and adults could complete one workbook per week, making for a much shorter study. You might choose to design a program of one volume per week with additional weeks built in for writing assignments and tests, to total an 18-week course. We especially appreciated the "Teacher Check Points" in each volume, as they made keeping track of the extra assignments very easy. We do wish all of the books had been three-hole-punched for use in a binder, but at least the answer key books are, which is better than nothing. Overall, the study is a "no fluff" zone, with no word search activities, crosswords, and the like, making the study equally inviting to adults or a small group Bible study. The cost of $2.95 per workbook may seem costly when there are 12 workbooks to buy, but you could spread them over time when completing the study.

This study is definitely thought provoking, and we feel it is as pertinent to adults as it is to high school students. I would encourage parents to move through the study themselves before using it with their children. From the definition of words like "froward" and "highwayman" to the discussion of mentors (using Moses and Joshua as examples), there is a wealth of information within each volume. Our 18-year-old has been through many Bible studies, personal journals, and mentorship programs. She has a deep thirst for meatier material, and this study certainly fits the bill! Successful Living: Studies in the Book of Proverbs is an incredible tool for families seeking a better understanding of the word of God.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010