Monday, June 9, 2014

REVIEW: Parenting Cards by We Choose Virtues

We had the opportunity to review the Parenting Cards (NIrV) from We Choose Virtues.

 

WHAT IS IT?:

We Choose Virtues has created a wonderful set of Parenting Cards, available in either NIrV or KJV format, that help you teach your kids about 12 different virtues, what they mean, how those virtues are demonstrated in their lives, and what the bible has to say about them.

The virtues included are:

  • I am PATIENT
  • I am DILIGENT
  • I am HONEST
  • I am HELPFUL
  • I am FORGIVING
  • I am SELF-CONTROLLED
  • I am KIND
  • I am PERSEVERANT
  • I am GENTLE
  • I am ATTENTIVE
  • I am OBEDIENT
  • I am CONTENT

These are printed on heavy cardstock and are approximately 5’'x7” size.  They come in a handy resealable zipper bag to protect them when not in use.

These sturdy cards are recommended for use with children ages 3-11 and are available for $38.49.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

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Before beginning the program, I had the kids sit down and fill out a Family Character Assessment, which is a survey for assessing their own perception of how they are currently exhibiting each virtue.  This is a printable freebie available on the vendor’s website.  They started out unsure of how to evaluate their own behavior, but then they were on a roll once they got going with it.  They had a tendency to ask me for my opinion, but I just kept gently reminding them that it was supposed to be a self-evaluation and that they should put down what they think about themselves.  Their completed forms offered me a lot of insight as to the differences in the behavior they actually display vs. how they perceive their behavior.  Let’s just say there were some big differences! Winking smile  This was definitely a good place for us to start.

After reading through the Teacher’s Handbook so I could better understand the purpose of the program and how to implement it, I randomly selected a virtue card to display for the week.  I selected “I Am Patient” for that first week.  I considered how to best display the card in a prominent place so we could be readily reminded of the virtue throughout our week, and I decided to display it in a clear page protector taped to the wall so we could all see it regularly, but I wouldn’t have to damage the card by putting a pin through it or sticking tape directly to it.  Hanging it in this way also allowed us to flip it over to the other side if needed for a reminder.

On the back of each card, the program offers teachable moments for family members who display each virtue, a user challenge, what to say after “I’m sorry” as you make a vow to apply the virtue in future situations, and an explanation of “The Kids of Virtueville,” which gives a scenario similar to one in which your children might find themselves in the future, and it asks them a question about why the situation should be handled a certain way.  This gets your kids thinking about why the virtue is important and what its positive effects can be.  We discussed all this before I hung the card up on display.

I also hung up a sheet of paper for each child on either side of the card so there’dDSCF1758 be a place to award them with stickers whenever I observed them exhibiting the virtue throughout the week.  You can purchase a pack of 108 ready-made butterfly stickers for $3.99, but I just made my own at home by printing butterfly images on sticker paper and cutting them out.  I’m thrifty like that!  The kids loved the idea of possibly earning stickers for good behaviors, and it turned out to be a real motivating factor for them.  They saw it as a race against each other (they are quite competitive), and it got them looking for opportunities to exhibit the virtue all week long.

Next, I gave HaylDSCF1756ee the Kids of Virtueville Coloring Book I’d printed at home from a digital file.  I printed it on white cardstock so that I could print on both sides and she’d be able to color without it bleeding through, and I printed it booklet style (4 pages to a sheet of paper) to save on paper and ink.  That way, each picture was the size of half a sheet of paper, which was plenty big for her, and I was able to fold the pages over and staple them down the middle so it would make a little booklet.  She really enjoyed coloring the picture that went along with the virtue of the week.

I also printed up a little song book of Sing-Along Virtue Songs from a digital file I received, using the same booklet format I used for the coloring book.  These were really cute little songs that gave new words relating to the selected virtue that were set to melodies that everyone would know already.  That’s why it’s not necessary to have an audio file…it uses basic tunes we all know as children.  I caught my daughter singing these songs at various times on her own.  They were pretty catchy and would get stuck in our heads!  It was another great way to reinforce the virtue of the week and keep the kids thinking about them.

We repeated this process each week, selecting a different virtue card to discuss and display on the wall.  Both kids were really inspired by this program, and I found them thinking about the virtue all week long. They would periodically ask me questions about what they could do to earn rewards and how to best implement each virtue. 

They could continue to receive sticker rewards as they displayed virtues from previous weeks, as well as from the new virtue we’d added in the current week.  The kids decided that some of the virtues were harder than others to attain (a sure signal of what they needed to work on more!), but at least the program motivated them to try their hardest to improve their behavior. 

I informed the kids that if they began to display a virtue repeatedly on their own with regularity, then I would further reward them with a Butterfly Award certificate.  I received a printable digital file containing these awards, and the kids really aspired to earn them! 

If you purchase the complete Homeschool Kit, you’ll receive all the digital items I’ve mentioned in addition to WCV Download Bundlethe physical parenting cards and many other tools for the program for a cost of $98.99.  Or you can purchase the Download Bundle for just $7.99 to accompany your parenting cards purchased separately.  The download bundle includes all of the digital items I’ve mentioned in this review, including the teacher’s handbook, the coloring book, the family character assessment, the butterfly awards, and the sing-along song sheets.  That’s a great value!

My two youngest kids don’t generally get along very well with each other, and I’d really hoped using this program would help them to think more about the way they treat each other.  I can see where it has been helping them to interact more positively with each other, and I believe it will continue to be helpful in that regard.  I’m so pleased about that!

Overall, I’m very pleased with this program, and I can see how it has motivated them to try to incorporate these virtuous behaviors all the time.  They have a lot of work to do in that regard, and so do I, for that matter!  I told them when we were working on the “I am Patient” virtue card that this was one I was going to have to work extra hard on myself!  They got a kick out of that and reminded me, too, when I began to lose my patience with them.  It was good for them to see that mommy could improve in these areas, too, and that sometimes I struggled, as well.  We’re all in it together!

You could certainly implement this program with just the Parenting Cards and make up a reward system of your own, but for so little money, I think it’s worth it to spend a few extra dollars on the Download Bundle so you can get all those other wonderful tools that are printable and ready to use with the basic program. 

The vendor is generously offering a discount code.  Enter the promo code BTS20 for 20% off anything in the We Choose Virtues store, good through August.

Check out what other Crew members had to say about this product from We Choose Virtues by clicking the banner below.