June 10, 2014

We Choose Virtues (A Curriculum Review)

I have always been interested in the We Choose Virtues curriculum. I love the concept behind it and have admired it from afar as my friends raved about it. Character training is very important when teaching children and I imagined that the program would be a great fit for our family, if I was ever able to use it. As you can imagine I was DELIGHTED to be able to review the Parenting Cards by We Choose Virtues with my family.
we choose virtues parenting cards review

What is We Choose Virtues?

We Choose Virtues was created by Heather McMillan in an effort to provide parents and educators character training for children. She designed the program to be fun, catchy and life changing for any child participating. The We Choose Virtues curriculum is available in many different types of kits. There are kits for a classroom, homeschool, and family as well as smaller kits for kids, teachers and parents...and much more! 

I was given the Parenting Cards (NIrV) to review with the WCV Download bundle to assist me with using the cards. 

The Parenting Cards are teacher cards for the home. They are full color and have cute illustrations of the Virtue Kids on each one. There are 12 cards in the set which sells for $38.49. You have the choice of purchasing the cards with either scriptures from the New International Readers Version (Old Testament and New Testament) or the King James Version (OT only). They are also available in Spanish. They are ready to use as is: everything the child needs to know is on the front and everything the teacher needs is on the back! This product is geared for ages 3-11, but it's a great resource for your whole family. 

Here are the 12 virtues that are taught in the curriculum (regardless of which one you purchase):

The WCV Download Bundle sells for $7.99 and contains:
*Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book (PDF Download)
*Family Character Assessment (PDF Download)
*Teacher's Handbook (PDF Download)
*Butterfly Awards for Kids (PDF Download)

I was additionally given the fun resource Sing-Along Virtue Songs ($3.00)--12 Sing-along Virtue Song sheets, putting the words for each virtue to popular tunes like "She's be Coming 'Round the Mountain" to help the children learn and remember.

How Did We Use The Product?

The first thing I did upon receiving the product was go through the Teacher's Handbook (in the download bundle) to get a feel for how to use the Parenting Cards. This was helpful to get an idea on what was expected. I printed off two copies of the Family Character Assessment (download bundle). I filled out one for Little Britches, but I also went ahead and filled out one for me. The assessment lists each of the 12 virtues and has you rank your child as to how well they demonstrate that virtue. There were some my son is very strong in...but some he definitely needs work.  I could say that same about my OWN assessment. It was definitely interesting to note when I was done that several of the Virtues I felt HE needed to work on, were ones that I too needed to work on. Coincidence? LOL!
Using the assessment as my guide, I pulled the cards matching the lowest ranked virtues as the cards we addressed first. I read each of the cards to get an idea of what was going to be expected and to think of ways to implement them.

It is suggested that the We Chooser Virtues program is just 10 minutes of your day, spending time discussing the cards, the virtues, their applications and then choosing to do some of the things from the back of the cards.

The back of the cards are sectioned out into things for YOU the teacher to use. The story introducing the Kids of VirtueVille that are on the front of each card is a great introduction to the card. It ends with an open ended question where your child can discuss their thoughts on the virtue being taught based on the story. I always started our new lessons with this. We had some great discussions as I guided him with each story.

Here is how our study on the virtues went:

Day 1:
Little Britches read the front of the card to "meet" the virtue and the scripture passage that goes with it. When he was done I would read the story of the Kids of VirtueVille that is on the back of the card and we discussed the open ended story. When this was done, I had him re-read the front of the card and tell me the name of the Kids of VirtueVille that went with the card.

Day 2:
Little Britches reads the front of the card aloud and then gives me a summary of how the Kids of VirtueVille on the card helps to remind him of the Virtue. I re-read the scripture and if I knew of a story from the Bible that went well with the virtue, we read that--for instance, I read the story of Jonah (again!) when we were working on the virtue Obedience. Likewise, with the virtue Attentive, we read the story of when Moses didn't listen and heed God's words and struck the rock to bring water for the Israelites rather than SPEAK to the rock as God had commanded. Once we finished this, he re-reads the front of the card again.

Day 3: 
Little Britches reads the front of the card aloud and then colors the matching virtue coloring page from the Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Book (download bundle).

Day 4:
Little Britches recites (for he knows it by heart now) the front of the card. We go over some of the items from the "Teachable Moments..." section on the back of the card. Sometimes it's just things to discuss, other times it is something that can be done--like with Attentive, we played a game from our collection that required attentiveness--BUG BINGO!

Baby Britches loved it when we played this because he can play it too. This game really helped them see why even in fun things being attentive is important--especially when Little Britches lost to Baby Britches because he wasn't being attentive to the game. LOL!

Day 5:
We really just went over the card one last time--if I had remembered that I had been given the Sing-Along Virtue Songs, I totally would have used them on this last day. (Something I plan on doing from here on out) But instead, we discussed how the week went and if we had seen examples of butterflies (using the virtues).

This routine is what I used for the cards each week. As we learned more cards, we continued to review the ones we had already covered and it was easy for me to keep them visible by just clipping them to my magnetic white board.
As we went along with them, we learned how they are all inter-connected. How sometimes you have to be self-controlled in order to be attentive and then you have to be attentive so you can be obedient. This really drove these virtues home on why they are so important.

Which one resonated more than any of the others for my Little Britches? Self-Controlled. This one is VERY hard for him and frankly, it's the one I need to work on the most myself. But I am seeing improvement (in BOTH of us!).

I have been really watching and waiting for a time to impart one of the beautiful Butterfly Awards (download bundle) and I was able to do that this week.
He demonstrated amazing gentleness in how he treated me after I learned of the death of my grandpa. He didn't think his actions were that big of a deal, so I spent time explaining WHY it WAS a big deal. I could tell he was pleased after it was over. I am going to continue to keep my eyes open for more opportunities to award him for the virtues we've been going over.

What Are Our Thoughts On the Product?

Little Britches: "It's okay. I don't really like that these are things I have issues with. Sometimes they aren't fun because you (as in me, mommy) point out that it's something I have to work on. But I like it when we color or play games."

Bwahahahaah. At least he's honest. As you can see, character training isn't always loved by the child...but then when do we love it when God works on these same things with us? 

I really like this product. The Parenting Cards are very simple to implement and are very colorful. The Kids of VirtueVille stories are short and easy to remember--and incorporate things that would be probable things children might experience. I like that there are scriptures for each card, that every card gives goals for the family, that every card has a section offering up ways to teach the virtue, and I love that each card also teaches how to apologize for times when a virtue is not demonstrated.

I like that the virtues to be learned are compared to butterflies and caterpillars...to remind the child (and parent) that anyone can change into something better. I reference this to Little Britches all the time. He will hear me say "Uh oh...is that a caterpillar I see?" if a virtue is not being used. He knows IMMEDIATELY what I'm talking about and it makes him stop and think. I also praise him for demonstration of butterflies...I am considering purchasing the 100 Days of Virtue Achievement Chart where he can visually see when he's changing behavior from caterpillars to butterflies.

I wish that each card incorporated stories from the Bible--or at least referenced some--instead of just a scripture. I added it on my own because I felt it was a perfect tie-in. I think the WCV Download Bundle helps teach the program and if we hadn't of been given it as an extra I would have had a harder time with figuring out what to do with the Parenting Cards. There is an "explanation" card for the teacher included with the cards, but I didn't find it that useful.

Would I Recommend We Choose Virtues?

Yes! I am very thankful that we were chosen for this review. Character education is such an important part of schooling and one that I've really wanted to implement beyond what we've already been doing. I think that these cards definitely helped me take a step in the right direction. They don't take up very much of my time, but the lessons can and are referenced by our family throughout the day. I think that if you wanted to start off with just a basic beginning into character education, these Parenting Cards ($38.49) would be just right!

We Choose Virtues is also running a big promo right now that my readers can take advantage of!

MAY-JUNE 2014: *Promo Code BIG50 for 50% off our amazing set of 12 11x17 Kids of VirtueVille Posters! This is the first time we have ever offered these posters at this price. They are great for school classrooms, Kids Church, or your homeschool room. Kids love them for their bedrooms, bathrooms and kids’ hallways.

JUNE-AUGUST 2014: *Promo Code BTS20 for 20% off anything in our WCV Store. This includes any kit. Let’s start School with Virtues this year!

These are both great deals and I hope you will visit We Choose Virtues to see their full line of products!

Want To See More About We Choose Virtues?

If you are interested in learning more about the We Choose Virtues programs, please check them out at these social media outlets:
*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wechoosevirtues
*Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/WeChooseVirtues/
*Blog: http://www.wechoosevirtuesblog.com/

Want to check out the KJV cards? Or how about the Youth Journal for the older kids? Check out what some of my fellow crew members thought of these items!
Click to read Crew Reviews
Crew Disclaimer
Thank you for joining me in another review! Don't forget you can see a list of all the curriculum and products I have reviewed on my Curriculum and Product Review page!
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1 comment:

Bethany said...

I love your point about how the same virtues your son needed to work in where the ones you needed too! I've found that so very often is the case. Maybe our kids are a reflection of us? That may be too deep for a blog comment. :)