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Teaching Your Kids Character

Is setting a good example for your kids and hoping they learn by following your actions enough to bring them up with manners, values, and compassion for others? Unfortunately, it may not. Actions may indeed speak louder than words, but your children are like little sponges, soaking up information from all around them. This includes information from you and your spouse, but also things they see on television, online, while with their friends, and while out in the world in general.

Especially if you are teaching your children at home with a faith-based perspective, character education should be a high priority in each and every day of learning. The responsibility for your children’s values lies with you and your spouse, and while showing them the way is important, so is direct instruction with examples, correcting inappropriate behaviors, studying traditional Christian values, and reading and discussing Scripture.

What Is Character Education?

Whether you have heard of this term or not, most likely character education was one of the driving forces behind your decision to homeschool your kids. Public and even private schools are breeding grounds for bad behaviors, immoral attitudes, and a plethora of experiences and ideas that you hope to keep from your kids. Ultimately, you want your children at home with you so that they will learn, grow, and develop into the kind of adults who share your values and who make positive contributions to the world. Ensuring that they do so is called character education.

What God’s Word Says About The Discipleship And Training Of The Next Generation.… [1]

Character education can be defined very generally as learning values and aspects of development that are important to you and your family. More specifically, it may include learning good manners, religious values, civic duties, responsibility, maturity, self-discipline, or a love of learning. What goes into your specific character education plan is entirely up to you.

Outlining Goals

Because character education is a very broad subject, making sure that your kids get a good one means you need to consider it carefully and come up with goals. Think about the kind of people you want your kids to become as they grow into adults, and you have your character education goals. Write down the characteristics and values that you hope to instill in your children to make it concrete. Consult with your spouse as you do this exercise to make sure you are both on the same page. You will be constantly teaching your kids your values through your actions and everyday experiences, but when you outline the most important ones, you can emphasize them and create specific activities to target the values that are most crucial.

Here are some characteristics that you might want to consider and that will get you started thinking what is most important in your family:

Using Purchased Curriculum

If you can think of teaching it, someone has created a curriculum for it. Yes, there are even resources for character education. If you are looking for a Bible-based curriculum, you are in luck: there are many curricula available that are Christian in nature. You can find kits with multiple resources as well as individual items like books with stories that have teaching morals, workbooks with activities designed to illustrate certain values, videos, and even computer games. Purchasing curriculum is always an option when you are homeschooling any topic and can often make your job a little easier. Why reinvent the wheel, right?

In the case of character education, a canned curriculum might be very helpful, but you need to be especially choosy. This is all about teaching your children your values. This makes it very individualized. It is certainly possible that you can find a curriculum that matches your needs, but review it carefully before using it with your kids.

Ask around in your homeschooling network, if you have one, about what types of resources others are using. You might even be able to share and save on the cost. Also check out blogs written by dutiful homeschooling mothers. Many of them share their experiences with trying out curricula and will offer helpful reviews. Simple Homeschool [2] has a post on character education resources. Other sites [3] may offer discounts on certain packages. Homeschool Circus [4] also has plenty of reviews for a variety of types of curricula.

Working Outside A Curriculum

Even if you purchase a premade curriculum for character education, there are plenty of ways for you to introduce values and character into your children’s daily lives. You can, of course, also consider scrapping the idea of a canned set of lessons and go your own way entirely when it comes to molding your kids into the kind of people you want them to be. Lessons and stories and videos are helpful, but nothing can fully replace your own heartfelt instruction. Here are some ideas to supplement what you already do to teach your children character:

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