I’m looking for opinions on the formal curriculums out there on character development. I’ve yet to actually implement one (other than the teachable moments of parenting that are a natural result of being with your kids all day!), but am very interested for next year. Any recommendations?
We are using Heart of Dakota this year. There is a different character trait that we learn about each week. Some of them can be a little far fetched and hard to explain to the kids, but overall I really like it and my kids really like it too.
We start with a character trait and I have one of my kids look up the meaning in a dictionary. Next we read a bible verse that goes along with it and we talk about how they relate to each other. Then we talk about ways we can try to practice that throughout the week.
We will be using Character Concepts Preschool curriculum for the 2016-2017 school year. I did not purchase everything, only the Hands-on Character Building, Mom’s Guide, Crossroads of Character, Leading Little Ones to God and Character Trails (older son). There are hands-on activities for character building, learning to make wise choices (must needed for my older son) and learning bible doctrine through a collection of stories. We haven’t used it yet, but I have looked through the curriculum and I really like it. I actually may just start it this summer.
We used Crossroads of Character by Character Concepts last year with my kids (then K and 2nd Grade) and just read one story every week. Even my 2nd Grader enjoyed it at her age! This year we moved into the same company’s older curriculum, Character Trails. We focus on one character trait over the course of three weeks because for each trait there is a Bible story, a story from a person from history, and a story from the real-life cousins (who you meet in the first book Crossroads of Character if you start there)–all three stories reinforce the same character trait. There is a verse card with a Bible verse for the character trait and a definition of the trait and then some follow-up questions/ideas at the end of each 3-story segment. We like it a lot! Next year we will have finished this so we’ll be using the Light for the Trail Bible Supplement for our Trail Guide to Learning curriculum and it is mainly Bible verse memorization and it also focuses on a character trait of the explorer we are studying every 6 weeks. I think it will be a good transition from where we have been so far
We have learned a lot this year! And we have put the traits to good use at home! Whenever I need help with something and the kids grumble I can say, “Remember what Availability means? Being willing to attend to a need when I am called to help.” And last night I overheard my husband talking with my son about him being impatient as he wanted his time to do something fun for that evening and my husband said, “What is patience? Waiting with a . . . " and my son answered " . . . happy heart.” (and that was from our first year of the study!) So we really have put these to use in life which is what I think the goal of character study is! I hope this helps! Here is a link to what we purchased for this year: http://characterconcepts.com/store/product.php?id_product=3260
Check out the blog - Not Consumed. She has a few studies that are great for working on character.
I’ve also used parts of the following :
The Character Corner has Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue AND Lads and Ladies of Wisdom
The Road to 31 offers ABC’s for Godly Girls/Boys
Reluctant Entertainer has Balcony Girls
There are also several out there based on the Armor of God
Also a popular option is We Choose Virtues
Doorposts has a lot of character building guidance
Simply Charlotte Mason sells a book and DVD called Laying Down the Rails
The first ones on this list are easier to implement, and the latter give more guidance and let you decide how to teach. I have focused a lot on character building in the early years.
We have used Character First. http://characterfirsteducation.com/c/shop-detail/1998143 There is a guide for each character trait. Each guide has a lesson about an animal that shows the character trait, stories about people in history that are good examples, some projects, and hands on activities. There also free printables at their website that go along with each trait. And the best of all, it is not expensive. I have an older edition, but this new edition looks more suitable for little kids.