While many have chosen to homeschool because of lax academics or dangerous conditions in public schools, the authors of the Pearables character curriculum homeschool because the Bible instructs parents to teach their own children. For them, it is godly character which should be our primary focus in the education of our children, and The Narrow Way is intended to help parents in this often daunting task.
146 lessons spread throughout eight units cover eight positive character traits: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Each lesson is brief enough you could use this as a daily family devotion during the school year, but since there is no calendar or schedule included parents are free to implement as they see fit.
Lessons are fully scripted for the parent, along with Bible references to have kids read aloud and definitions of unfamiliar words. Most lessons conclude with discussion questions (with answers) or an activity, often both. Activities are generally easy to implement, ranging from picture-drawing to simple discussion of topics. Every unit ends with an original parable illustrating the virtue taught in the foregoing lessons.
Some of the lessons require looking words up in Strong's Concordance, and parents are encouraged to let kids do all the looking up of Bible verses, both of which provide simple introductions to personal Bible study, a lifelong pursuit every Christian parent should inculcate in their children. All the material included points both toward Christian theology and godly behavior, demonstrating how each is essential for the existence of the other.
Authors Paul and Miriam Annon are evangelical Christians with no stated (or obvious) denominational background. While denominational doctrines aren't the point of this curriculum, some parents may wish to interject their own doctrinal instruction. Because lessons are short and straightforward this should be no problem, though you will probably want to plan what you'll include before beginning the lesson.
This program is designed to be used by the entire family simultaneously, regardless of the range in your children's ages. It is ideal for younger children, but the basic nature of much of the content, as well as the age-level of the writing, may make this unsuitable for older kids. The emphasis on godly character, however, makes it pertinent to each member of the family.
Christian virtue is certainly one of the most important things we will ever teach our offspring. The Narrow Way starts kids on the path to a godly lifestyle and Bible study at a young age, and establishes habits of asking and answering questions that are invaluable tools in personal devotions and Bible study at any level. The Annons do seem to hold academic pursuits in low regard, and while we agree that knowledge of God is foremost in importance, it is important to provide kids a good secular education in everything from writing and math to history and music. Also, this text is written at a fairly young level, and though you can certainly adapt the course, it can be a hassle to have to supplement each lesson. Overall, this is a good character course, but a little shortsighted in terms of audience and scope.