Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Character education is a long-term project. For many of us, it’s one of the reasons we homeschool–to be a guiding force in our child’s character development. Personally I hope my children will become young men and women of character ready to take on, challenge, and change the world around them when the time is right.
Much of character training has to do with modeling, being an influence throughout the course of our child’s entire lifetime.
But there are certain occasions when you may want a tool to point you in the right direction or provide a launching platform from which to discuss virtues with your child. At other times we may notice specific behaviors that we’d like to address in a creative (non-nagging) manner.
Resources our family has found helpful:
- The Children’s Book of Virtues – a collection of stories, poems, and fables categorized by virtue
- Fairy Tales – One of our sponsors, Oak Meadow, includes fairy tales as part of both their kindergarten and first grade curriculums. Fairy tales are generally viewed as one of the best ways to introduce young children to the concept of good and evil and the character qualities that heroes represent.
- Two of our favorite fairy tale collections are The Tall Book of Nursery Tales and Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales – though there is at least one story in each book I’ve skipped for various reasons. I’m always looking for collections with the classic stories but without frightening illustrations.
- A Children’s Bible – I’ve found it challenging at times to find a Bible to read with my children that doesn’t include dumbed down, cartoon-type illustrations. Our favorites so far have been Children’s Everyday Bible and Egermeier’s Bible Story Book.
Other Resources to Consider:
- KONOS Character Curriculum – This unit study curriculum includes topics based on character traits including generosity, courage, and wisdom.
- Drawn into the Heart of Reading – A Christian literature guide that incorporates character-building exercises
- Further Up and Further In – A unit study based on The Chronicles of Narnia
This week, even as you may be making plans for the upcoming homeschool year, keep your priorities balanced and remember that character training is also a foundational part of our children’s educations.
Do you have any character education resources to recommend?
I just purchased “Everyday Graces” by Karen Santorum…it teaches manners through literature and I’m really excited to start reading it with my girls. I’ve seen several recommendations for it online, so we’ll see… 🙂
Ashley’s latest post: Sharing
I just ordered CQLA – Character Quality Language Arts. It looks great and focuses on one character trait a month. It incorporates lots of writing, grammar, etc.
For children’s Bibles, the Jesus Storybook Bible is hands down my favorite. It’s unbelievable.
absolutely my favorite, too!
I really like the Jesus Storybook Bible as well, but after reading some negative reviews, I realized that it does take some liberties with Scripture and kind of downplays sin and repentance, so I’m going to be careful not to gloss over those things and to read from the regular Bible as well.
Sharing a post from The Homeschool Classroom with more ideas on the same subject: http://www.hsclassroom.net/2010/07/creating-a-culture-of-virtue-learning-in-your-home/
Kami’s latest post: An old favorite- sand painting
I’ve been working through Rebecca Manor’s guide entitled, TEACHING CHARACTER THROUGH LITERATURE (Beautiful Feet). It has extensive lists of rich literature for both Primary and Intermediate Grades and questions that coincide. Honestly, these works most often speak for themselves. We rarely move through the questions formally, as my daughter comes up with plenty of her own. She’s captured by these books (and honestly, so am I).
Cari’s latest post: Common Ground
Yes! Thanks for addressing character education. It’s woefully absent much of the time in curriculum planning.
We’ve enjoyed using “family time” materials from the Center for Biblical Parenting, specifically the Kids Honor Club and the Hero Training Camp materials. http://www.biblicalparenting.org/
We recently purchased The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande. It teaches children (grades 3-8) how to deal with conflict God’s way. We are excited to incorporate it into our schedule this Fall.
Our son will be 5 in September and we are starting to “officially” teach him this year. The two things I put on my list of goals for the year are character development and reading readiness! I was excited to see this blog post covered character. I don’t have any resources to share yet, but one idea I had is to graph good and bad characters from the movies he likes to watch. After the movie I will ask him to tell me about the movie and name good characters and why he or she was good, then do the same for bad characters. We can then print an image of the character (hopefully!) and place it on a Good vs Evil graph or maybe godly and not godly qualities. That puts CD into pre math and reciting what he has learned.
Thanks to previous posters for the additional resources!
Thanks for some great reviews of different curriculums. I am homeschooling my Kindergartener and may do so for my other 3. I am really looking for a great science curriculum. We use the curriculum provided by our school district (homeschool charter school) but I find it very uninspiring. I have looked into the Sonlight but am wondering how heavy it is with the religion/evolution dilemma. We are Christian and I like that focus in the rest of our areas but am not sure how to proceed with science. Any thoughts?
You might just check out pinterest for a lot of different science activities for kids your K’s age. I’m doing preK homeschool with my son right now and I’ve really focused on science heavily at this age because there’s so much out there that’s really fun. We just now wrapped up a unit on butterflies complete with the Insect Lore butterfly kit, butterfly books, hands on toys that show the butterfly life cycle, and lots of fun videos talking about butterflies. We wrapped up the unit with a butterfly picnic out front where we released our butterflies. He LOVED it. Now we’re doing an ocean unit. Again, I’m relying on Pinterest for tons of crafts and activities to get us rolling.
Kat’s latest post: Simple Sensory Starfish Craft
I’m a homeschooling dad who has created a “fun for the whole family” card game that teaches virtues. Please take a look:
I am so happy to have found this site/there is a lot of useful information I have discovered here you might want to look at this site I have found also on the same topic
Lee Ann Rubsam
My husband and I are former homeschooling parents (our children are grown now). We have a character education curriculum which might interest you and your readers — Character Building for Families. It’s a topical Bible curriculum which is really simple to use. It’s laid out in an outline format, for parents to read Bible verses on particular topics together with their children, discuss them, and apply them in practical ways to life. Some people use it for a Bible class, some for a separate character class, some for family devotions.
We’ve received excellent reviews in the past from Cathy Duffy and Mary Pride’s Practical Homeschooling. We’d love to have you stop by the website. I also write a blog for homeschooling parents on character issues, which can be accessed from our website.