Monday, 18 August 2014

Character over curriculum {a review, and give-aways}

I mentioned to you, last week, about a new idea we were trying out.  I had come to the realisation, or rather, had realised we need to WORK on, character over curriculum.

Heidi St John had made shared this nugget of an observation, and I had agreed heartily.

What we choose to teach our children in an academic sense is always going to be important.  We all have different goals and methods, of course, but we all agree they DO need to learn.  Maths, English, Writing, History, Geography, and myriads of other subjects, are all diligently taught to our children. We delight to see them learn, and  to LOVE to learn.

Unfortunately, I hadn't really implemented the same level of diligence in training their character, as well as I ought to.

No matter what my good intentions were, I was still worrying more about which academic achievements were going on in our home-schooling, and less about the general character of the children.  I knew certain areas of their character needed work, but I hadn't actually got around to INTENTIONALLY working on it.

Along came a bundle sale, which included CHARACTER BADGES!

It's a very simple principle, but BOY have I already had some great results from it.

The principle is based around charts, and badges.  The charts record their behaviour - whether bad, or good - and the badges are given when certain points are reached on the charts.  Then, you can choose to reward them in whatever way will motivate, when they reach higher goals.



All the character traits are based on basic scripture principles, and include a card with a verse, and a Biblical application of the principle.

Then, each trait has a badge to correspond, with the picture symbol on it to tie in with the Bible lesson.

When the child reaches various goals, there are then 6 different award badges they can receive as a result, after marking their progress on a chart.

I have decided to do this in a focussed way, by concentrating on learning about one character trait per week, and building up to monitoring them all, once they fully understand what is expected for each one.

I decided to work on Kindness, first of all.  I read them what was on the character card, and we discussed HOW we could show kindness to each other. It was interesting hearing their different perspectives on that!

Then, I decided to add an extra, more focussed element.  I wrote each of the oldest seven's names, on lollipop sticks.  I then got them to each choose a stick, each day, and THAT was the person they were to particularly show kindness to. It was good to be able to remind them, throughout the day, to specially make an effort to be kind to that sibling.  I emphasised that it didn't mean the rest of them didn't deserve to receive their kindness, more that they were to make SPECIAL effort fort hat one person.  I know Simeon is still quite young, but I figured it was good for him to learn this principle whilst he is young, and also for another sibling to specially care for him each day.   It worked pretty well, although some children needed a bit more prompting that others! *aherm*  They enjoyed choosing their person each day, and I tried to vary it so that they didn't have the same sibling for two days in a row. There was the odd chuckle when someone picked their OWN name, and had to swap it for another! *I* had a chuckle, one day, when a pair of children who had already been "sparring", chose out the person they had been "sparring" with! Good lesson in being kind even when you don't feel like it!

I also chose a Bible verse, which we chose as a "theme" verse. We chose the obvious, but good, one "Be ye kind one to another"! Simple, but direct...

So, that's my plan for each week.  A new emphasis, adding to the already learnt ones, along with a verse to emphasise it.  I also plan to use ideas such as the lollipop sticks, to focus their attention on what they are learning.

I would add, that the lollipop stick idea will only work if there are more than two children.  I had a chuckle with my sister-in-law about that - she has two boys! *grin* "Here, Jasper, who are you to be kind to today? Zak? Wow! What a surprise!!"..... LOL

With my brood, it gives plenty of scope! (Equally, plenty of reasons to do this, as there are plenty of moments where they don't always choose kindness...)

I had one STAR child this week, who truly took on the challenge with great enthusiasm.  She has been VERY kind, and ALSO took on the "helpfulness" trait, as well.  She's already notched up the maximum ticks for that, on the chart, and WILL be getting a prize this week.  Voluntarily, she has been kind and helpful to me, doing jobs and willingly going "beyond the call of duty" to achieve her badges!

Another child has responded well to the concept of NOT wanting ticks on the "disobedience" chart.  He doesn't like to think he hasn't pleased me, but hasn't quite grasped, in equal measure, the concept of DOING the things that he ought to be doing.  He's young, and I trust he will quickly learn.

I would add that this works better with younger children.  My oldest two are not "doing" it, but they DID take part in the kindness pairings, and were also to take part in the principle being taught.  They just didn't have a chart, or wear badges. They ALL need to learn, AS DO I!!!!

So, who would like to win one of these sets?

I am giving away one of the Character Bundle Bundles - you can choose either the set for younger children, the set for older, or the combined bundle.  You will need a computer to download it, a printer to print it, and ideally, a laminator to laminate it all, for durability. It really is a lovely way to encourage your children to build Bible-based character!

Now, this is where it gets better!

Which home-schooler doesn't have financial pressures? Who wouldn't benefit from a cash injection into their home-schooling world?  A group of educators have put together a whopping prize of FIVE-HUNDRED DOLLARS, for one winner! They have called it "Bless a home-schooler", because THAT is the aim of it! Blessing someone who needs that kind of money, will bring much joy to the team.  So, if you also want the chance to win that, you can enter below!  We are really praying that God directs the money to the perfect person. (NB - You need to have a Paypal account to enter/win)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks interesting. I have been doing lots of character training of late, and have a horse chart for the girls!

  2. My homeschooled kids NEED this....pleaaaaase.... ;)

  3. One can never spend enough time making sure that our children learn how to behave in society.

  4. Thank you for sharing this, definite need among all my littles!

  5. What is amazing about this is that last week I spent a lot of time trying to compile a list of character traits, definitions, & scriptures to go with them, as well as thinking about the opposites and what they look like in real life applications. Thank you for this resource and for your generous giveaway.

  6. Oh my, this is such a great and timely blog post and giveaway! I can sense I will need to be more deliberate about character training with my little, but I daresay the older could benefit (as would I).

    Thanks so much!

  7. Love the reminder to be more deliberate about character training.