We Choose Virtues

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When you homeschool, or really when you try to teach anything at home, you are limited by your own virtue level.  How consistent are you?  Do you get up every day and teach your children to [insert important life skill here]?  Do you model diligence as you tackle mundane tasks like doing the dishes?  Do you get up and do your math every day?

There is no teacher to make you do your homework.  There is no one to report to.  It is easy to let things slide and say that you will get to that subject tomorrow.  And suddenly too many tomorrows have come and gone.  This happened this last year in Latin for my oldest and cello for my next oldest.  I was feeling that frustrated feeling that comes when you feel ineffective.

My kids were probably 50%-ers in their least favorite subjects.  I sat and thought about how to address this and realized that I am a 50%-er too.  I was motivating for 2-4 days running and then I needed a break.  I started looking for something that would help me have more diligence and patience, and I stumbled across this gem of a program on my Facebook feed.

We Choose Virtues is exactly what I needed to fill the gap.   Continue reading

Etiquette

Recently, I tried to extoll the virtues of homeschooling to a friend who doesn’t homeschool.  It really didn’t go down the way I wanted.  The whole experience led me to realize that I wanted a crash course in Etiquette.  I need to be able to converse about things that others don’t agree with, and I want everyone to leave happy.  I had been sitting on the fence about buying an Etiquette curriculum that I had seen on the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op, but it had been a long time, and it seemed like the deal was never coming back, and after this little lapse in social grace, I decided to take the plunge.
I was feeling like we needed a lot of etiquette education so I bought the whole program with levels 1-3.  I also got the online course.  (I really dive into things sometimes…)
I have decided that I love it.  My kids are so much better behaved and I have been working my way through the two higher levels.
Here is why I give it a rave review.First, the lessons are actually really helpful and easy to implement.  After a few lessons my kids were impressing everyone with their manners.  We had a playdate and they all introduced themselves with eye contact, firm handshakes and clear voices.  (We had practiced.)  My 2-year-old, when asked how she was doing, replied, “I am good.  Thanks for asking.”  She frequently asks, “How are you doing?” to adults at church, and everyone dotes on her.  I have found that my manners are improving and that I look at etiquette differently.
My 9-year-old is taking the online course and feels like the lessons are helping her.  She stands up and comes over when people come in or leave our home, and she feels good that she can make people feel like they matter.And that is what I really like about this program—the focus that Etiquette is all about making other people feel like they are important & comfortable.  That is a great thing to teach our kids, and frankly, it hasn’t hurt my behavior at all either.
When I first looked at the program, I thought it looked a little juvenile for my tastes.  The CD, called the Etiquette Jukebox, was a major turnoff for me, but we actually like most of the songs.  They are really well done, and when I need to remind my kids about a principle, I can just break out with one of the Etiquette songs.  I have kids 9 and under and they all enjoy listening to the CD occasionally in the car. (Once or twice a week.)
I thought the dinner placemats in the kit wouldn’t really be all that helpful, but the kids love them, and they do thank me even when they don’t like the food that I cook because “We Tell the Cook Thank You,” is written on the mat.  I love the way it isn’t a command but just a reminder.  My daughter pointed out that she doesn’t feel annoyed with the program because it only gently reminds and never forces.
It has helped me be a better parent because I am more aware of helping my children feel comfortable even as I stand my ground.  The whole take away is that you have more self-respect when you think about making others feel important and valued.
My kids beg to have etiquette lessons and play the etiquette games.  My oldest enjoys both Level 1 and Level 2 and does both.  I have learned from all three levels, so I definitely think it is worth the investment.