Thursday, June 12, 2014

We Choose Virtues Review

 photo WechooseVirtues.jpg

      We Choose Virtues has created a set of Parenting Cards for $38.49  and a We Choose Virtues Download bundle for $7.99 to help you as parent to teach your children virtue in their early years, and to lay a foundation for further character education as they grow. Our family has had the opportunity to try out both and share our thoughts with you. 

Included in the download bundle:

  • Teacher's Handbook
  • Family Character Assessment
  • Coloring Pages
  • Butterfly Award

     I think character training is one of the most important jobs a parent has to do, homeschooler or not, particularly when our children are young and most impressionable.  The program asks you to start with the Family Character Assessment for each family member to see where you feel that you fall on a scale of 1-10 in each of the twelve virtues.

     My children were not able to read the Assessment for themselves so we sat and discussed it together outloud instead and each child got to give an opinion on where they felt they were with each of the twelve virtues. My 8 year old did well with this, however my 4 and 6 year olds didn't completely understand the concept, or all the terms that we used to discuss them.

The 12 virtues included are:

  • I am PATIENT
  • I am HONEST
  • I am HELPFUL
  • I am KIND
  • I am GENTLE
  • I am CONTENT

As a parent you have the option of purchasing the Parent Cards in either the KJV, which offers only the OT verses, or the NIrV (New International Version but with language easier for small children) which offers verses from the whole Bible. Both cards still have the same virtues with identical content other than the verse choice.

     These cards are printed on high quality cardstock and are sized 8.5" x 5.5".  They come in a reseal-able see-through zipper bag to protect them when not in use. They are recommended for use with children ages 3-11. I was able to use them in part or whole with three of my children ages 4, 6, and 8.

We Choose Virtues Review

     The front of each card has a “Virtue Catchphrase” on it, such as "I am Patient. I wait, and wait and wait with a smile." In addition they have the reverse of the virtue as well, so in the case of the "patience card" the card says "I am NOT...pushy, or controlling and I don't get frustrated or board when others are slow!" They also each have a cartoon figure and a Bible verse to go along with the virtue, which is usefully for memorization. These are easy for kids to learn and the little cartoon illustrations make them fun for children. Remembering the character quality children are working on in the context of positive language can help them feel successful and capable of achieve the goal of virtue and take ownership of the virtue. (although we will all, children and adults, never perfectly achieve these virtues, this side of Glory). =)

     On the back of each card, is a "teachable moments" for the whole family, giving some concrete examples of what each virtue looks like in action.  On the "Patience card", we practice patience during dinner while I read our nightly chapter of our family read-aloud book (which happened to be Prince Caspian at the time) Each child got one piece of chocolate on their plate and were told if they waited until the story was over they could have 2 pieces, but if they choose to eat it right away they could only have the 1 piece. There is also a section on What to say after “I’m sorry” as you choose to apply the virtue in future situations, and an explanation of “The Kids of Virtueville,” which gives a scenario similar to one common to most children and gives a question to stimulate further family discussion on the subject. 

     The cartoon characters are called the Kids of Virtueville and they are included in the coloring book pages as well. My children love to color so this was an excellent way to get them to concentrate and talk about each virtue further. The reason for the cartoon character's names are described on the back of each card (like Cake Jake or Piggybank Frank). The accompanying story identifies the meaning of the virtue by giving an associating story with the quality that facilitates better memory of the virtue.

 We Choose Virtues

     The download-able file also includes a butterfly award, using the idea of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly as a metaphor for the change that takes place in the child's heart as they start to change their behavior to exhibit these 12 virtues. This is a one-page file that has two 8.5 x 5.5 awards per sheet. The art work on the awards are well done with green and purple flare. These are presented to your children as they “consistently choose and use a virtue."

     The entire Homeschool Kit sells for $98.99 (which includes the cards and the download bundle.

     I found the teacher's handbook to seem to be meant for a classroom setting more than for a homeschool. Because I have very little prep-work alone time with four kids and a small house, I would have preferred something that is a bit more step-by-step and to the point. I struggled at first to figure out how the program was meant to be implemented.  These are intended to be short and flexible lessons, but some user intuition will be required to find a way to make this work.

     My overall impression of the program is that it can be a useful parenting tool to add to your children's character training, and a good way to introduce these character qualities to young children who may not be familiar with them yet. I think both my 4 and 6 year olds learned some new words and understand better the concepts of these virtues.

     We Choose Virtues is offering some monthly specials that you can take advantage of at this time.
MAY-JUNE: *Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off the set of twelve 11×17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters! They are intended for school classrooms, Kids Church, or your homeschool room. Kids love them for their bedrooms, bathrooms and kids’ hallways.

JUNE-AUGUST: *Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in the WCV Store. This includes any kit.

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