In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

We Choose Virtues Review!

I have been "out of commission" for quite some time here in the blogging world, but for that, I do have a reasonable explanation (coming soon)...but long awaited We Choose Virtues review!!!   This review comes VERY late and for that I do sincerely appologize!  I am currently unable to post any pictures, but rest assured I will return to add them when I am able.

I came across We Choose Virtues in what seemed to be an endless search for a virtues program.  It seems my children have a difficult time learning these important lessons in life, so I wanted a program to help teach them these important life skills.  I was very impressed with what We Choose Virtues had to offer.  The program seemed to offer so much and one thing I especially liked was that it could be used for a wide range of ages...a definate plus in our house!  I also liked the variety of the materials that the kit included.  It appeared to be a very well rounded program that would keep my children excited and engaged in learning the virtues. 

In January we were given the wonderful opportunity to review part of the We Choose Virtues Program.  We were sent some great materials to review.  The kids were so excited for our packages to arrive.  We received a very colorful 100 Days of Virtues Chart and butterfly stickers along with a set of 12 Faith Based Parenting Cards

I was a bit confused when I received our materials about exactly how to use the program, so the Teacher's Handbook would have been a beneficial addition to the materials I received, to further explain ideas on how to use the materials I had at hand.  While the Parenting Cards did have helpful tips and teachable moments...I just wasn't sure what the best way to teach the virtues would be.  Do we do one virtue a week, a different virtue each day, how often do they get a sticker...each time they get caught practicing a virtue on their own or after we do the lesson?  The description states that the lessons could be taught in 10 minutes a day and that they can...but, I think my kids would have gotten more of a benefit of the program if they had a bit more than a a few minutes of going through the "teachable moments" on the backs of each card explaining what the virtue is.  We had no added activities or games in which to "practice",  "learn" and master the virtues.  My kids are multi-sensory learners mostly because I am a multi-sensory teacher ;)  They need to see it, hear it, feel it.....or they aren't going to excel in learning it.  I think that is why I was so drawn to all that the program offered, the flashcards, the games, the coloring pages, the posters and the chart/stickers!   

I decided to break the program down and focus on one virtue each week.  The first day we would discuss the virtue, read The Kids of VirtueVille and go over the teachable moments.  This took about 10-20 minutes.  Each remaining day we would discuss the virtue we were working on.  I decided to give the kids a sticker each time they were "caught" using a virtue.    

The cards were colorful, with enticing characters that caught the attention and interest of my younger kids.  I really liked the "What to say after I'm sorry" section on each card.  My younger kids enjoyed the Kids of VirtuVille stories, but they were a bit juvenile for my older three kids...though, the older kids could add valuable discussion to the Why is that questions so it was a great way for them all to join in the lesson.  My older kids were quite uninterested and it was hard to get them to focus on the teachable moments activities without making my younger kids lose interest.  So, this proved a very challenging program to teach to children of widely varying ages.

I personally found the system that we were using very difficult for our family.  It seemed that I was constantly punishing my kids for not using the virtue correctly and very rarely getting the opportunity to reward them for using the vitrue correctly but it was useful in finding which virtues we need to work on the most.  Often we were able to revisit a past virtue to try and reinforce it even more than the week we had worked on it, such as when our Guinea Pig had a litter of pups (we were able to revisit the virtue of being Gentle) or when Emu broke his arm and my mom broke her hip we were able to revisit the virtue of being Kind. I then felt like maybe I wasn't teaching the virtues correctly (by taking one a week)...however, to learn one a day seemed quite overwhelming.  I just seemed to enter a whirlwind of confusion about how I should really be teaching them. 

The use of our poster was short-lived because of the way we were teaching the virtues, it kind of became a forgotten treasure.  The older kids were again, a bit too big for this feature and the younger kids just didn't "get" enough from the 10-20 minute lesson to remember to use their virtues throughout the day.  I tried my best to remember to encourage the virutue throughout the day, but again, it seemed they were always being caught NOT doing the virtue than they were caught in the act of being good. 

All in all, I think if I had more to incorporate into the program it will prove more successfull for us.  I do see the potential of the program and would recommend it only if used as the full kit rather than just a bit or piece of the curriculum that you have to figure out how to use on your own.  I do wish that I would have had more time to come up with my own games and activities to incorportate throughout the day and that I could have made it more interesting for my older kids. 

I plan to reintroduce this program to my kids in the fall as I think at that time it will work out better for the younger kids I will have at home through the day and I am very excited about what I feel this program can do for my family.  Next year, Cardinal and Hawk will be attending private schools and I think that with some time to better prepare to use the program, it will serve us better.  What will I do differently?  Well, for starters...I hope to get the teacher's guide.  I work better having things laid out for me as in our busy household, I do not have the time to do a lot of planning myself.  I would also like to get the coloring book and utilize the freebies that are available.  I would like to find games, activities to go with each virtue whether it be through the flashcards the program offers or things I can come across on my own...again...time is an issue :(  and as a reward or motivator I think individual charts would be better for our family rather than one chart for everyone, though I do intend to incorporate the group chart as well. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to review the products that were sent to us and I do feel that this is a wonderful program.  I've done a lot of research and this program is the best fit for our family, but I just need to make it a bit more multi-sensory to better meet the needs of our family.  I had hoped that my older kids could help teach these virtues to my younger kids and sadly enough, I feel it would be better to have my younger kids learn and work on the concept and have them be the ones to "teach" the older kids.  The younger kids are more apt to say something along the lines of "please stop annoying me" as oppossed to my older kids being more apt to say "shut up you brat".  My older kids really should have learned these virtues earlier as now I have the challenge of myself being more in a position to say to them "that's not nice or that's rude" as opposed to getting the opportunity to say something like "that was really thoughtful of you".  So backwards as it may sound...I think instilling these lessons in my younger kids without the older two around would be more successful in our house!

No comments:

Post a Comment