Friday, May 7, 2010

Teaching Character in the Home -- Step 3: Teaching

After identifying the character qualities we want to see in our children's lives, and evaluating whether we are modeling those qualities, the next step is teaching those traits to our children.

In order to teach them effectively, we need to have a plan of attack.  I like to pick a time in our day when the children are already gathered together to focus on our character studies, such as during breakfast, during lunch, or during our devotional time.  Right now, we have Bible Reading and Character Focus in the morning, right after our "Character Builders" (a.k.a. morning chores!) and before we start the academic portion of school.

We also need a plan for proceeding through the character qualities.  You may choose to go through them alphabetically (as they are presented in Achieving True Success), or according to the most pressing character needs in your family, or based on what relates to current academic studies or pressures you are facing.  We have used all three options at different times with good results.

Next, we should plan how much time to spend on each character trait.  We have spent anywhere from a day to a month on one character quality before moving to the next.  I personally think that one week for each one is a good amount of time and enables us to make it through all 49 character qualities in a year.

The actual study of the character quality can take many forms, including reading, discussion, role play, object lessons, and written assignments. We usually do some or all of the following when studying a character quality (CQ):

1. Read about the CQ in Achieving True Success and The Power for True SuccessThe Power for True Success is an outstanding book that thoroughly explores each character quality from a biblical perspective.  Beautifully illustrated, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the soul.

2. Look up the definition of the CQ in one or more dictionaries and copy the definition.

3. Memorize the definition of the CQ found in Achieving True Success.

4. Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms and antonyms for the character quality.

5. Copy and memorize the "I Wills" for the CQ (from Achieving True Success book).

6.  Look for men and women in the Bible who did/did not demonstrate the quality and the results.

7.  Identify how Jesus showed the CQ.

8. Find Scripture verses that relate to the CQ.

9. Write our own definition of the CQ.

10.  Make a list of ways to demonstrate the CQ.

We explore the above information in one or more of the following ways:

1. Assign each child a "character worksheet" to complete that contains the above information.

2. Assign older children a character report to write that includes some of the above information.

3. Help younger children make little booklets that contain the definition of the CQ and the "I Wills" and then let them decorate their books with related pictures and stickers.

4. Make a poster as a family covering the main points about the CQ.

5. Discuss each of the above elements of the CQ together as a family.

If you are not a homeschooling family, you can still study the CQ in family devotions, or copy the definition of the CQ or the "I Wills" and post on the refrigerator or the family message center.

Don't worry about doing it perfectly, just dive in and as you go along, you can tweak what you are doing to best suit the needs of your family.

I want to end this post with one of the most thought-provoking statements about character that I've ever read.  This comes from the book, Children of Character, by homeschooling mother, Mardy Freeman -- a must have book if you are serious about building character into your children's lives!

"Deciding on character means that we teach our children to do their best because it is right to do so, because it pleases God, and because it is good for them.  It means that we don't place undue weight on the product (the competition, the performance, the project, the piece), or encourage a child to do his best because he will receive parental approval, grandparent approval, the grand prize, the scholarship, the trophy, the right job, or the gold ring.  This is training our children to be performance-centered, approval-centered, or goal-centered, a pattern that will eventually lead to being project-centered, career-centered, money-centered or power-centered -- instead of character centered."


AntfarmMom said...

We do most of that too! This is a great series! When I get a moment of time (HA what is that??) I will link to this series.

Rebecca's Refining said...

I am really enjoying your series...and your timing is perfect. I have been needing to really focus on this area in my children!

I have to remember to look for those books! Remind me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...