Training Up Children the Way They Should Go: Character Education Review


As a mama of three little ones, it is my desire to raise up children that are loving, respectful, kind, honest, happy... full of  good character.  It is in these early years that lays the foundation for how they treat themselves and others down the road.  I think we all can agree that character training is not always the "fun" part of raising up children, however it is one of the most rewarding.

We choose Virtues Character Education Review from School Time Snippets

Thankfully, a mother with similar goals for her children created, We Choose Virtues; character training tools for teachers and parents to use with their children to help "inspire character that lasts."

"Just think about it! 
At the age of 16 we hand a drivers license over to a person who must know how to obey every law, be patient on the road, be attentive to other drivers, be honest about his or her mistakes, and use self-control at all times... all while under pressure from their friends (and themselves!) to do the opposite" (Teacher's Handbook pg. 17)

Character Education 

Thankfully, we aren't nearing that stage in our life anytime soon, but that is just one example of why character training is so important!  To help us create a culture of character in our household, we were blessed with the We Choose Virtues Download Bundle and We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards (NIrV).  The We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards were created for children 3-11 years old.  I used this program with my 6 and 3 year old.

The WCV Download Bundle retails for $7.99.  Although not essential to the program, it is a great supplement tool to the Parenting Cards.  The Bundle contains:
  • Teacher's Handbook:  50+ pages that share the why of the program and includes 4 Simple Steps for Teaching Virtues and extension activities to implement the virtues in a fun way.  
  • Family Character Assessment
  • Coloring Sheets for each Virtue: Both my kiddos loved the coloring sheets.  My son often colored it to match the Virtue Card!
  • Butterfly Awards
  • Virtue Sing a-longs: The sing a-longs were very cute and sung to classic nursery rhymes.  Warning! They are "catchy" tunes; I often had them stuck in my head for the rest of the day!
we choose virtues character education review from School Time Snippets

I actually have a love/hate relationship with downloadable products.  At first I was not going to print out the Teacher's Handbook, but because of all the "nuggets" of wisdom I was finding while reading from my computer, I decided to print it out.  My blue highlighter has since graced over many lines and pages.  I printed the whole handbook out in booklet form, but feel it is only worthwhile to print out Section 1 that details the 4 Simple Steps of Teaching Virtues; section 2 details the other products they offer.

I loved that We Choose Virtues doesn't make character training into something mundane and/or complicated.  In fact, they kept the steps very simple and easy to understand and implement:
Step 1: Expect Excellence --and it all begins with you,
Step 2: Explain with Enthusiasm --being virtuous does not come naturally so explain it in a fun way.
Step 3: Emphasize the Everyday --good character is a lifestyle, not just a one day thing.
Step 4: Examine Everything --don't miss the teachable moments!

We Choose Virtues Character Education Quote

So now that I am going to instill character in my children, just how am I supposed to do that?

Here's where We Choose Virtue's Parenting Cards come in-- they are the heart of the program.  They retail for $38.49.  The set of 13 cards includes 12 cards that highlight a specific virtue.  The cards are vividly appealing and contain everything you need to teach each virtue.  On each card you'll find:
  • One of the Twelve Virtues highlighted with an "I am" statement.
  • The Catchphrase: a positive action statement
  • Antonyms of the Virtue: examples of what the virtue is not; these help identify the problem.
  • On the back you'll meet one of the kids of VirtueVille; their names are very cute and identifiable like "Cake Jake" and "Airplane Betty Jane."  Each character has a little story of how to apply the virtue being highlighted and a token item that helps you easily remember them.
  • Teachable Moment activities and/or explanations
  • What to say after I'm Sorry
  • Virtue User Challenge
Character Education Virtues Cards

They way these cards are set up and how they were designed to be used, teaching the virtue of the week should only take 10 minutes each morning.  However, the virtue is also to be emphasized throughout the day.

The Parenting Cards are not a curriculum or a list of "What to do," but rather a tool that lends you the freedom to take the lead.  Which leads to a very important point-- whether your children acquire virtue is largely on you.  But thankfully, you don't have to do it alone.  We Choose Virtues is the perfect guide to lead you on your way to instilling character in your children.  It is age-appropriate, engaging, and easy to use.

We've been introduced to 5 kids from VirtueVille over the past few weeks.  As suggested by We Choose Virtues, we focused on one virtue per week.  Once we cycle through all the virtues the first time, we'll revisit each of them again.  Choosing the virtue to focus on is up to you; I had my kiddos rotate who picked one of the cards each week to focus on.  Each week we would choose a card and then it would be placed in our photo magnet holder on the refrigerator so everyone could see it.

I introduced the virtue with the I am... statement and had my kiddos repeat it as well.  It's important that they take ownership of the virtue, too!  It was very easy to implement-- usually just a simple reading and then on with our day, repeating the catchphrase throughout the day.  Day 2, we read the front of the card again and the kiddos usually colored the coordinating coloring page.  Day 3-5, were spent reading the card again and doing an activity on the back of the card.  The Teacher's Manual included some activity ideas, too, but I thought a lot of them weren't relevant for our homeschool; they were geared more towards a classroom setting with more children. 

I Am Content Virtue Card

The first virtue we were introduced to was, I am Content.  We met Cake Jake and read about how his parents own a bakery with 20 kinds of cupcakes, but Jake wants more!  A teachable moment exercise given on the card was to give your child a simple toy and tell them they had to play with it for a few minutes-- this was a great activity for encouraging being content with what you have!  

To add to the Virtue User Challenge, my son and I made bracelets with alphabet beads that read "Content" on it-- if one of us complained we had to take off our bracelets.  Surprisingly, my son kept his bracelet the whole day!  It was during this week that I thought reading some sort of story highlighting the virtue would be a great addition to the program.  So, the following week, we met Oboe Joe and learned about Obedience and picked up the book, The Poky Little Puppy to read during the week  We Choose Virtues has a small but growing list of books to illustrate each virtue on their website.  I do hope they continue to add to their list--  I think it would be a great resource for families and teachers!

Character Education Coloring Pages

The one thing I especially appreciate about the program is the box, "What to say after "I'm Sorry" on the Parenting Cards.  Sometimes I feel my children say a quick/retailiating "sorry" as a quick and easy way to 'get out of trouble,' but wonder if my children really understand why their behavior was wrong.  This box gave us the chance to expand on why they were sorry by including the unacceptable behavior and saying that they CAN change their behavior.  It also encouraged me to make sure the other person was saying, "I forgive you" to move forward.

I also enjoyed the Kids from VirtueVille and their stories; it really appealed to my children when someone was acting or saying something opposite of the virtue to say, "Now remember {VirtueVille Kid}..." instead of saying, "Don't do that because I said so."  I often wished I had a small set of cards to keep in my back pocket so I could remember the Catchphrases; my son enjoyed having an outside example to learn from.   

Currently we are focusing on being gentle-- something that is important with little ones in the house!  A teachable moment to reinforce the virtue is baking cookies-- you can be sure that we are excited for that!

Interested in We Choose Virtues, enjoy these promo codes! 
April-May: Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off our amazing set of 12 11x17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters!
June-August: Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. Welcome Back To School!
{Only one promo code per order}

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