If my children only learn one thing from our homeschooling, I want them to get a solid character and values education. Of course advanced math, English, and Sciences are important, but if they don’t have the foundation of good character when they leave home, I will consider my homeschool a failure. Success in life is built on good character. That’s why I always keep my eyes open for a good character training curriculum.
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I’ve been eyeing a program called We Choose Virtues for a long time and recently decided to take the leap and try it out. I’m so glad I did!
We Choose Virtues: Character Training Curriculum for Families
For many years We Choose Virtues has offered character coaching tools for children age 3-9. They’ve recently added new character coaching tools for youth age 10-16. We have been using their King James Version of the “Homeschool Kit” and this is the kit I will be showing you today. (They also offer their resources in the more modern NIV version).
The Homeschool Kit focuses on teaching 12 virtues: Perseverence, Diligence, Self control, Obedience, Helpfulness, Attentiveness, Contentedness, Kindness, Patience, Honesty, Forgiveness, and Gentleness. Each virtue is color coded and has a corresponding illustration of a child that consistently appear on the various posters and flashcards.
Although there is a downloadable teacher’s manual inluded, if you tend to skip reading manuals (like I do!), the basics that you need to teach this program are on the parenting cards! This is a brilliant approach because the parenting cards are super easy to pull out and use! In this blog post I will use the virtue “self-control” to demonstrate the We Choose Virtues program. Here’s a peek at the front of the “self control” parenting card:
Like the cards for the other virtues, this card includes the name of the virtue, a little catch phrase (“I make myself do the right thing”), and a concrete example of what this virtue looks like in real life (“I am NOT wild, rowdy or disorderly and I don’t expect others to control me!”). There is also a corresponding Bible Verse (In this case it is Proverbs 25:28 which says “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Finally, there is an adorable illustration of a child somehow illustrating the corresponding character. In this case, we see Stop Sign Madelaine smiling at us.
Everything is ready for the parents to use! Simply flip the card over and the back of the card gives the information you need. First, there is a section called “Teachable Moments for Self-Controlled Families…” This section gives a little pep talk about what this virtue involves and then 2 activities for families to do together, helping everyone develop the virtue.
Next, there is a Virtue User Challenge… an assignment for each family to practice that lesson’s virtue in real-life, by trying to go an entire day either doing or not doing something related to that virtue. In this case, the entire family is told to “choose to do something that you usually get in trouble for not doing!”
I really like the section called “What to say after ‘I’m sorry.’” We aren’t going to learn all the virtues perfectly the first time around, and this section gives a plan of action for how to respond when we make mistakes. It specifies how family members should apologize for not demonstrating a particular virtue and how the receiver of the apology should respond.
Finally, there is the Kids of VirtueVille section. This is a little story that relates the virtue to the illustrated child on the front of the card (which is the same illustration that appears on the flashcards, posters, etc). Continuing the example of Self Control, we meet Stop Sign Madeline. She is the little girl holding a stop sign on the front of the card. The story is that she likes to help the crossing guard in front of the school. She tells other children when to cross the street but she tends to run a little wild, herself. Her teacher reminds her that she must make herself do the right thing before she tries to tell others what to do. Cute, right? But as soon as my children see the picture of Stop Sign Madelaine on the flashcards or posters, they are instantly reminded that we must have control of ourselves before worrying about other people’s behavior. The pairing of these illustrations and stories are very, very effective!
We Choose Virtues Flashcards
The included set of flash cards has the virtue on the front along with the adorable Virtue Kid for each virtue.
When you flip the card over you find the corresponding catchphrase, real-life application and Bible Verse. This not only makes it super-handy to review the virtues on the go, but there are also 3 game suggestions to make practicing the virtues extra fun!
Virtue User Review
Most schools give children report cards and We Choose Virtues does too0! There is a tear-off pad at a parent can use to show their children where they are doing a great job and where they can still use improvement. There are only 25 Virtue User Reviews included on the pad, so large families may have to do what our family is doing. We are laminating the cards and then using a wet-erase marker to write on them and make them reusable.
Finally, there is also a set of 6 11”x17” posters to display and help reinforce the values we are teaching.
3 posters each feature 4 different virtues with the name of the virtue, an illustration of the corresponding Virtueville Kid, the catchphrase explaining the virtue, and real-life examples of how to demonstrate that virtue. This is the information that is contained on the flashcards, but in a format that is easy to display. Repetition, repetition, repetition!
The 3 Rules poster teaches children to obey, be kind, and be a helper.
And then there are the practice posters! One poster includes an overview of all 12 virtues with the name of the virtue, an illustration of a child demonstrating the virtue, the catchphrase and the examples.
The final poster is called “100 Days of Virtue Chart.” Each virtue is listed followed by 9 caterpillars. As your family practices the virtues, you place a butterfly over the caterpillar on the chart. Caterpillars symbolize the possibility of change and growth. “I don’t have to stay the way I am! I am born to change, and change I will!” Butterflies represent choosing “to use virtue and become strong and beautiful on the inside.” When there is a butterfly sticker covering every caterpillar your family gets to reward yourselves for all your hard, character-changing work!
Downloadable Tools To Help You!
There are also some additional, downloadable and reproducible tools included in the Homeschool Kit:
- The Homeschool Lesson Plan pdf helps parents keep virtues interesting and effective all year long
- The full-color butterfly award pdf can be printed again and again as your children grow in their demonstrations of the 12 virtues
- The Family Character Assessment PDF is a tool to allow you to measure your child’s character growth
- The Kids of Virtue Ville Coloring pages are also included
- NEW Bible Resource Cards to complement the virtue lessons
- The Teacher’s Handbook PDF to help every parent be a better teacher
We Choose Virtues has generously offered to give one Happy Unconventional Life reader a We Choose Virtues Homeschool Kit. Simply enter your information below to be entered to win!
Everyone’s A Winner! (Discount Code!)
Not everyone can win the complete kit, but We Choose Virtues is making sure everyone gets something. Use the code SUMMERSALE25 to receive 25% off anything in the entire We Choose Virtues Store this week!
I really love the We Choose Virtues program and appreciate all the hard work put into creating this. I think your family will enjoy it as much as mine does. Good character doesn’t happen by accident and We Choose Virtues offers the tools that will help you build good character in your children in a fun, stress-free way.