Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: We Choose Virtue

Character is, in the long run, the decisive factor in the life of individuals and of nations alike.
Theodore Roosevelt
As I mentioned in my last post, one of the top reasons for choosing home schooling is the ability to include religious and/or moral instruction.  While I have scheduled Bible Study and made sure our text books are written from a Christian worldview, I have never considered teaching virtues as their own subject.  Our latest review product is designed for just that with early childhood through elementary students.
We Choose Virtue sent us the following:

A set of Virtue Clue Cards (normally $7.95 on sale now for $5.99)  These twelve cards come in their own plastic case with Velcro closure, perfect to stash in Mom’s purse.  Each card begins with “I am” and lists a virtue with a picture of a corresponding character (e.g. Oboe Joe for Obedience).  Then comes a catchphrase to help kids understand what they should be doing to demonstrate the virtue (again starting with I am or I choose).  Finally there is a list of things the child should no longer be doing if they want to demonstrate the virtuous trait “(I am not distracted”  when trying to be attentive.  On the back side of the card is a activity challenge for the day.  Can you go all day doing things people normally have to tell you to do?

  The Kids of Virtueville Coloring Book ($3.00, free with any kit purchase)  This is a downloadable item.  Each page features on of the virtue characters, the name of the virtue they represent above them and their name at the bottom.  Each character also has an object associated with them.  I can understand the piggy bank for patient, as in patiently saving coins to make a big purchase.  Others, like an airplane for attentive make no sense except they start with the same letter.  In addition to the coloring sheets there are three puzzle pages.  My son doesn’t like to color so we didn’t use this product.  You do have permission to make copies for everyone in your family.

The Teacher’s Handbook ($4.99 download, $19.99 hard copy, included in many of the kits)
This full-color, 56 page handbook is your guide to introduce virtue to your children, daycare or class.  It all begins by expecting excellence from yourself, the parent or teacher.  If you a not modeling these traits yourself you cannot expect little ones to pick up on them and use them too.  (I was reminded of that in vivid detail this week when I did not maintain self-control in the car.  Little ears in the back seat picked up on my angry words and started to emulate me). The handbook has short stories, activity suggestions and detailed descriptions of all the We Choose Virtues tools.

The Family Character Assessment (free download)
This tool will help you see where you’re starting on your virtue journey and help you track your progress.  Each virtue has a scale of 1 to 10 with a brief description on each side showing the extremes of displaying or not displaying the trait.  I let my son fill this out on his own and was surprised by his honesty on some of the virtues.  Other virtues though showed me that he doesn’t see or is unwilling to admit his weak points.  (I’m sure that my own assessment would have the same issues).  At one point during the weak he did act out in anger.  When he had settled down, he took an eraser and lowered his score for self-control.   The next night at basketball practice the same set of circumstances arose and this time he kept his cool.  Again he went to the assessment chart and raised his score this time.
Can I say that we have seen some fruit from these lessons.  My Schnickelfritz, aka Mr. Competitive does not take well to coming in second place.  He has been known to sulk, pout, yell, and cry because his Upwards Basketball team is “just terrible.”   We missed last week’s basketball game, but there was a contest in Sunday School and Fritz’s team placed third.  The winners were the kindergarten class and Fritz’s class has been instructed to be encouragers for the younger kids.  Rather than react inappropriately to the loss, Fritz clapped and cheered for the little winners.  His Sunday School teacher made a point to tell me how pleased she was by his response.  Maybe it’s that Self-Control card we’ve been looking at?
In addition to buying these products a la carte, they are available in kits for family, homeschool, church and classroom.  Kit prices range from $69.99 to $244.99.  Most kits are available in a faith-based  or (I presume) secular format.  I have to wonder though at how successful a program can be to teach obedience, forgiveness and honesty without the absolute standard and example we have in Jesus Christ.
We Choose Virtues is running a few specials this month.  You may also be notified of future specials by liking them on Facebook.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY-The 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers will be included FREE with any Homeschool Kit purchase during these months. 
  • 2011 Kids Virtue Poster $9.75 (from $14.99, 35% savings)
  • 2011 100 Days of Virtue Chart and Butterfly Stickers $11.99 (from $14.99, 20% savings)  
  • 2011 3 Rules Poster $7.75 (from 11.99, 35% savings)
These are the only active promo codes. Please make sure your readers know they can use only ONE at a time. 
  • VIRTUE15 for 15 % off the shopping cart is still available
  • SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping
You can see what others on the Homeschool Crew think of We Choose Virtues by clicking here.
Disclaimer:  I received free copies of the Virtue Clue Cards and free downloads for the purpose of completing this review.  There was no other compensation for my honest opinion.

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