When I first began homeschooling my children, I thought having the best academic program was paramount. That's why people homeschooled their gifted children right? It didn't take me long to find another priority: building character. You see, I realized that my child could be a brilliant business man, and yet lack the strength of character or the kindness of spirit to do the right thing when no one was looking.
My dad always focused on looking for character qualities of a godly husband, so that I would be able to recognize a man of character when I saw one. I'm happy to say that I did! What most attracted me to my husband was his sweetness to others, his faithfulness to scripture, and his respect of authority. I want my children to not only be able to recognize those types of traits in others, but also exhibit them for the world to see in them. That's why my the next installment in my 10 Days of Morning Time Resources focuses on character building materials.
Opportunities for building character happen all throughout the day. There's always a bad attitude to check, or sloppy work to refine. I like to take the opportunity during our family morning time to present definitions, types, and models of the kind of character that honors the Lord.
Building Character by Presenting Definitions
It's always good to start with defining your terms. Take one character quality at a time and focus in on understanding that quality and how to put it in to practice. There are so many wonderful resources for beginning your focus on building character.
- 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children - It's always best to start with prayer and God's Word. What virtue does your child need strengthened? The Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal that to you, along with a scripture to encourage it. Share the scripture you've found with your children in morning time, and work to commit it to memory.
- Character First Education - this material focuses on a specific character quality at a time, and offers loads of free online resources for presenting and studying that character quality.
- Character Sketches - this three book volume takes character qualities and presents their definition through ways the qualities are seen in animals.
- We Choose Virtue - If you feel like your family could use a boost of virtue encouragement, these fun kits can really bring the whole family together to study.
Building Character by Presenting Types
Fairy tales are one of my favorite ways to present "types" for my children. A type is a tangible example that exemplifies the ideal or defining characteristics of something. It's much easier to recognize good character in exaggerated forms. The original fairy tales are pretty shocking! You'd be amazed at how they've been "softened" over the years.
Children think in story form. They understand a hero. Present beautiful or ugly types of the character qualities that honor or dishonor the Lord, and the picture will be made clear to them.
Building Character by Presenting Models
The absolute best resource for building character, in my opinion, are missionary stories. These are stories of real men and women of the faith who have lived in a counter-cultural way and inspire right living like no other. Any of the Christian Heroes Then and Now books will soften your family's heart, and challenge you to live more virtuous lives.
Other great resources include:
- The Children's Book of Virtues
- The Children's Book of Heroes
- Hero Tales: A Family's Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes
- History Lives Series: Chronicles of the Church
- Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
What I've found in my own reading of these kinds of stories is that my heart becomes changed by reading them. As I change, I begin to present a more beautiful model of the character I want to see in the lives of my children.
Get more great Morning Time inspiration from Pam at edSnapshots:
Discover more great resources by reading the full 10 day series:
Day 1: Why Morning Time
Day 10: Morning Time Storage Solutions
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.