We Choose Virtues takes a different approach to character development in children. Instead of focusing on discipline and the negative side of behavior it introduces virtues by having children state them in the affirmative with catch phrases that make memorizing them attainable and fun. Children are not only expected to know each virtue and what they mean but they are encouraged to "choose them and use them" each and every day!
We Choose Virtues focuses on 3 rules:
2. Be Kind
3. Be a Helper
Under those three rules fall the 12 virtues that children are taught.
I am obedient
I am attentive
I am self-controlled
I am honest
I am kind
I am forgiving
I am patient
I am gentle
Be a Helper
I am helpful
I am perseverant
I am diligent
I am content
Notice how each virtue is not just listed, it's stated as something I already am.
I am gentle.
I do not hope to be gentle, I do not wish to be gentle, I am making a choice to actually be gentle. To reinforce how to do that each virtue has a catchphrase that tells what it means to be that virtue.
I am gentle.
I speak quietly and touch softly.
They also explain what it means to NOT be gentle by adding the antonym in the negative.
I am gentle.
I speak quietly and touch softly.
I am NOT...rough, harsh, or loud, and I don't destroy things or hurt people!
We Choose Virtues has several ways to help implement this method in your homeschool or classroom environment. We received the Virtue Clue Cards along with the Teacher's Handbook, Family Character Assesment Chart, Kids Memory Verses and Bible Heroes list, and Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book for the purpose of our review. With all these helps, I had everything I needed to help introduce virtues to Gess.
The Virtue Clue Cards are a small pack of cards that lists each virtue, it's catchphrase, and antonyms. On the back of each card is a "challenge" for the child to practice that virtue throughout the day. For instance, the I am Gentle card has you "choose to go the whole day without anyone needing to say anything like 'You hurt me' or 'you're too loud!' " They also come in a plastic carrying case to make it handy to throw them in your purse or bag so you can take them with you where-ever you go.
They have also made a cute character for every virtue that you will find on the front of the cards. These characters are also featured in the Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book. This gives the child a sense that kids can and do practice that particular virtue. Here is Chuck with his Duck, he's the diligent kid.
The Teacher's Handbook offers many helps for not only how to teach the virtues to kids in a positive and rewarding manner but it has many activity suggestions, especially if you are going to teach them in a classroom setting. In fact, they offer classroom, church, and homeschool kits that can be purchased with or without the faith aspect of the virtue.
We have, of course, used these in our homeschool. As I posted at the start of the year, we made a morning devotional as a way to start our day, so these were a perfect fit for that. I would first have Gess choose which virtue card she wanted to work on for the next couple of days. Having her choose the virtue kept me from trying to pick ones I felt she needed therefore making them a struggle. We will eventually do all of them anyway.
So here is how we would do each virtue. After Gess chose a virtue (she chose I am Gentle for her first one) we would use the Kids Memory Verses and Bible Heroes chart to find our bible verse and passage that focus on that particular virtue. On the first day we might read the "hero" passage for the day as well as memorize the catchphrase. For gentle the hero passage was "Jesus Christ and the children" (Mark 10:13-16). The next day we would work on the the memory verse, which for gentle was Proverbs 15:1 and then she would color her VirtueVille Kid picture from the coloring book.
By then we were usually ready to work on the next virtue. Once we had several virtues memorized (for now Gess is only memorizing the catchphrase, I plan on going back through and having her memorize the antonym later) we would review them by playing games, or matching the virtue to the catchphrase. I also randomly drill her on various virtues during opportune moments like when we are driving down the road.
It has really helped us in dealing with behavioral issues with Gess, in fact Gess has responded really well to them. We have always used key words with Gess and this pretty much gave us some more "keys" to focus on. For instance, sometimes when she gets upset she will speak to us loudly in a rude manner and tone. Now we will say, is that being gentle? Once she realizes it isn't she tends to calm down a little and we can talk about it. Sometimes when she does something wrong we will ask her, what virtue do you think will help you with that? We then pull out the cards and let her go through them and choose the proper response herself, without being told what to do.
I think the key is learning the virtues and discussing them when their behavior is good. It is also really important to acknowledge it when you a see a virtue played out correctly. Gess just started making the bed the other day and my husband informed her that he was happy to see her being virtuous. He went on to say how nice it was to see her "find something that needs to be done and do it." (That implemented the catchphrase into the praise we gave her for demonstrating the virtue of being helpful.) It's so great to see Gess light up over doing something good. The next time she doesn't want to make the bed, she will be more likely to respond to the reminder to practice the virtue if she has had positive experiences doing so. Virtues should be positive things, so we shouldn't only focus on them when they are absent in a child's behavior, they should be mentioned all the time!
I think We Choose Virtues is something we will keep using in our house for a very long time. I will even share this with our Sunday School teachers at church. My husband and I also think these are important for every age group to learn, especially the youth, so we were pleased to see that they offer a version specifically for them. They even have a Youth Mentor Handbook to help you teach teens how to choose and use virtues too.
Right now, the We Choose Virtues Clue Cards are 25% off making them just $5.99, but even at full price they are a handy tool for any parent to have. The other resources I reviewed are also very reasonably priced as well. The downloadable Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book is only $3.00 while the Teacher's Handbook is $4.99 and the other helps like the assessment chart and memory verse card were absolutely free to download. I do think that their poster prices are pretty high which makes the actual teacher and church kits pricey, but they offer a mini-set which is much more reasonable and all a homeschool probably needs anyway.
You may also use these coupon codes for more discounts (you may only choose one)
VIRTUE15 for 15 % off your total purchase
SHIPFREE for free worldwide shipping.
Through February they are also offering 100 Days of Virtue Poster and Stickers FREE with any Homeschool Kit purchase.
To learn more visit the We Choose Virtues website or see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say.
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received a free copy of the "Virtue Clue Cards" (plus the other materials listed above) for giving my honest opinion and assessment of this product in my review.