Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Choose Virtues- TOS Crew Review

Gentleness, patience and self control.  OH, I how long to teach my children those and so much more. Thankfully, with We Choose Virtues you can!

We Choose Virtues is a company dedicated to helping parents instill positive character traits in their children.   We received their Parenting cards ($38.49) for ages 3-11 and have been working our way through them, one a week.  The parenting cards are 13 double-sided, heavy cardstock cards with one character trait per card.  They are available in NIV or King James as well as Spanish.

We also received the Downloadable Bundle ($7.99) which includes
  • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book
  • Family Character Assessment
  • Teacher's handbook
  • Butterfly Awards for Kids
Here's what you will see on the cards

Front of a card-

We Choose Virtues Review

On the front of each card a specific character trait is listed along with a cute little guy or gal that goes with that trait, in this example Cake Jake.   The card starts with a positive statement of that characteristic and then is followed with the negative side of it, the thing we DON'T do.  Each card also has a Bible verse to go with it.

Back of a card

We Choose Virtues Review

On the back of the card you will find a family challenge or activity to do that helps you practice that trait, plus an example of how to apologize to someone when you have broken that rule.  In addition, there is a teachable moments section that gives you starter ideas to help teach that virtue and a little backstory to the character that will help your child remember the virtue.  Virtues include:

Why we love We Choose Virtues In my humble opinion, virtues are something our whole culture could stand to learn.  Imagine how much nicer our world would be if we treated everyone with kindness, respect and patience!  But, honestly, those are not things that come naturally to kids.  They need to be taught and they are worth taking the time to do so.

Our goal as a family was to go through the cards one a week, having fun and letting CJ pick which cards he wanted to do.  Yeah, best laid plans, right?!  The reality is that there were a few cards that needed a few more dedicated minutes hours. 

Meet my favorite cards

Self control and obedience.  Yes, we needed to review them all, but these are the two that needed the most work in our house right now.  And so we concentrated on these for a few weeks.  While I think the cards are fun and can be used in that way, for these two specific virtues we used them in a slightly different manner.  For most cards we sang the songs, reviewed the child's name and their story, and had fun playing games and doing the challenges. 

But for these two - well, another story  After a slightly frustrating day and time in prayer, God led me back to these cards and a way to do them differently.  And so each time a behavior issue came up, my son was required to get the card off the fridge, read the front and then ask for forgiveness as directed on the back.  Afterwards we would pray together and ask not only for forgiveness from God, but for guidance to do better.  This. Was. Hard.  

A child asking a sibling for forgiveness is often easy with a quick "I am sorry."  To ask forgiveness  from God is much harder.  But, boy is it fruit producing.  It was not a quick fix.  It was not easy.  But it did work.  It allowed me as a mom to remove myself from the equation and make him responsible for his own behavior AND for fixing it.  

Once we felt like we got a grip on those (notice I did not say mastered) we moved on, adding another card to the fridge.  I love that location as it is central in our house and allowed the other family members to participate in the fun parts.  

The virtues on the front of the cards are catchy and simple to remember, as are the songs.  Beware, they will get stuck in your brain and you may or may not find yourself singing in the car alone.  The teacher's handbook is a good guide for parents.  It is not a day by day curriculum, but rather a resource to inspire you with ideas.  It encourages you to:
  • Expect Excellence
  • Explain with Enthusiasm
  • Emphasize Everyday
  • Examine Everything
I chose to do the self assessment for my son as I felt like he was too young to fully comprehend it.  We did use it as a jumpstart to a few conversations of "what do you think you are good at" and "what do you think you think you need to work on most?"  Hard questions for a 6 year old, but a good self assessment for slightly older kids as well as adults!

The coloring book was not a huge hit with us either, but I suspect this is because it was being used by a boy who is not very interested in coloring.  He did color a few while I was reading, but we found it to be a distraction rather than a help.  We had better luck when his older sister offered to help him! I have no doubt that a child more interested in art would love them as they are so cute!

And the butterfly awards?  Not really a motivator for my son, but he did like the concept of being a caterpillar and learning and growing and then changing into a butterfly.  He did ask several times if he was a butterfly yet, so I know he understood it, but I was careful to tell him that just because you were a butterfly in one area did not mean that you could not go backwards and be a caterpillar again.

Let's face it, character training is HARD.  I am thrilled that We Choose Virtues has made a product to help parents in that training process.  It may seem like a slow process at times, but I do believe it is getting through.  I would highly recommend it to parents of kids of all ages.  We are never too old to learn, right?!

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  1. I really enjoyed reading your review! We tried out this program and loved it as well.

  2. your boy isn't a colourer either eh? And mine is even artsy. :) I am wondering if this would be a decent fit for my almost nine year old...


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