We Choose Virtues

Monday, January 23, 2012

In the past year, I have noticed a decline in our attitudes of kindness and respect toward other family members- particularly during school . Surely, it has not been helped by the amount of stress we have been under recently. To say we have had a stressful year is a major understatement, but I have tried to teach our children we shouldn't be controlled by circumstances.


Through all our current experiences, we know  prayer has uplifted us. Nevertheless, nothing brings out  true heart attitudes the way stress and unexpected changes can. What I saw in myself and some of my children was not pretty, and it really hit home what I brat I could be. Of course, we truly  love each other and if things go as planned and our routine stays routine, all is well. Yet, we have a unique combination of very strong and different personalities under one roof and many of us share a common desire to have the final say. Since we have not changed our schedule in quite a long time, I didn't even realize my children wouldn’t be able to deviate from it or respect other adults who were stepping in for us while we were away- until we were suddenly faced with that need.


The timing of this review was excellent, and I jumped at the chance when offered.


We Choose Virtues is designed for use in secular or faith-based settings-  as materials are available with supporting scripture passages or not - making it suited for  children in any public school , private schools, homeschool, Sunday School, etc.


I received a set of small cards called Virtue Clues ($5.99)  for use  by my family. The virtues included are:  I am Honest, I am Self-Controlled, I am Attentive, I am Helpful, I am Content, I am Attentive, I am Forgiving, I am Kind, I am Obedient, I am Perseverant and I am Diligent.  I also received  downloads for the Kid's of Virtueville Coloring Book ($3 download), a handbook  ($4.95 for download and $15 for print ), and a Student's Character  Evaluation Tool (available for free for anyone).  If you are considering this Virtue based curriculum, you might find it handy to look at the comparison chart offered on the website to choose what works best for you. You can also take advantage of one of these codes:

We Choose Virtues also has a Facebook page.

Incorporating the cards during our  daily school reading time took very extra effort. After reading each card, we spoke briefly about each trait. My children immediately identified with certain ones  without prompting. Naturally, they were full of suggestions for their siblings as well, but it didn't take too much time to redirect. Interestingly, I didn't realize how much I need to work on!


Once sure we all understood each trait, we each filled out a personal evaluation sheet. Then, I followed up and ranked each child as well. Surprisingly, my children took this very seriously and - for the most part- graded themselves  the way I expected. Occasionally, we disagreed, but instead of over grading, it seemed the kids would often grade lower than deserved. My 8 year old struggled a little, but even he did a pretty good job of evaluating. He was very discouraged starting out and he needed some assistance in filling it out. He definitely struggles with impulsiveness and we have many conversations about this. Yet, he is very helpful and kind- even if he doesn't stick to anything for more than a few minutes. 


Was this program magic and are we now living in perfect harmony with each other ? Certainly not (as anyone who sat near us tonight at church would know). However, with just a short time of talking through the character qualities during this review period - as well as an extra  focus on my part to "catch" my children exhibiting positive qualities, seems to have made an impact already.


In fact, it seems so simple and has made such a difference already, I am surprised it took me needing a tool like this to think about it. I realize I had fallen into a rut of just getting exasperated and reacting to the problems that cropped up. Now, I find myself anticipating a frustration or anger speed bump and we talk through how to have self control or diligence before it happens.  Also, it became clear when I used a term such as "self-control" previously, I never explained to my children what I meant by that. Now it seems obvious, but with a short explanation and a quick story to illustrate, all my school age children are now on the same page with me and know what is meant when I ask them to have self-control or be diligent. The cute characters on the cards are helpful, too. Even though I haven't used the stories, the kids know that Jake Cake has something to do with contentment.


The NIV is not a version of the Bible we have ever used before and honestly, we prefer to memorize out of the New American Standard (NASB).  So, that is sort of a  negative for me. Yet, we also aren't stuck on only one version of the Bible either. It just would be nice to have the option. Some items seem expensive to me. However, the quality and presentation is quite nice on the small cards we have already received and I believe the price for those are reasonable. Plus, clearly a lot of time has gone into developing the entire line. I will see if I feel differently once I receive the items I purchased. I am pretty much on the cheap side, but don't mind paying more for convenience and quality when warranted.


I just  purchased the homeschool kit- even though some is a repeat of what I was given to review. I hope to build on the current momentum and eagerness all the children show toward working on their virtues. My 7 year old doesn't seem quite able to grasp all the concepts, but it seemed like a relief to my 14 year old to have a checklist of sorts for the various virtues. With everything we have had going on this year, I feel almost like this month is the true start to our school. Since we homeschool year round and get our longest break around now, it also seemed appropriate.


As a disclaimer, I was sent several items for free in exchange for my review, I also bought the homeschool faith based program and signed up for the affiliate program as a result of how much I liked the concept. Now that we all speak the same virtue language, I believe we are going to be helping each other reflect the virtues we all truly wish to have and hope to be a family that has a better testimony for God.


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