Monday, April 1, 2013

We Choose Virtues REVIEW

  Virtues are a quality or trait that is desired or considered good by moral standards. (My paraphrase of the definitions on several websites)  Virtues are something that has to be taught and practiced and modeled.  Heather McMillan of We Choose Virtues saw a need for students to have a formal, structured, focused approach to teaching virtues to young children.  She developed the various products to help parents and teachers as they work with their students to instill these core traits in different teaching settings.  I have to admit, while I knew the virtues themselves, the term "virtue" hadn't crossed my path enough to stick, and I had to go look it up and figure out exactly what a "virtue" meant.  I mean, I had heard of the virtuous woman of Proverbs and all, but what did it really mean?  yeah, go ahead, laugh at me.  I sure did. 

Follow the links for details and info:

As a member of Mosaic Reviews, I was given the opportunity to review the Virtue Flash Cards ($14.99 value) as well as a single Parent Card ($34.99 for the set) and electronic files of:   Coloring Pages ($3.00 downloadable), Butterfly Award, Character Assessment   (FREE), Product Comparison Chart (FREE), Memory Verses, Bible Heroes, and Truths (FREE) and the Teacher's Handbook ($5.00).  Heather sent an introductory email with great details and helpful hints for using the materials she sent.  I am a paper and pen kind of gal, so even though Heather said it was not needed, I chose to print the teacher's manual as well so I could flip through it at will.  Besides, I had just purchased a new printer that was able to do double sided printing, and I had to try it out.  I have to say, it was worth it. 
If you'd like to see more reviews of the We Choose Virtues (WCV) products from other Mosaic Reviews team members, to go Mosaic Reviews and look for the We Choose Virtues post.

Technical info: 

The materials through WCV are offered in 3 formats:  secular, King James and NIV.  I received the secular version.  The cards we secular, but the parenting card does contain one Bible verse.  The coloring pages were completely secular as well. 

Many of the items are available as a digital PDF file for downloading and printing.

Several of the items are free.  Prices and needs will vary, but if you have to start somewhere, you can manage to get the basics covered with the flash cards.

For the month of April, We Choose Virtues has a special.... use the code HOME20 during checkout for 20% off your Homeschool Kit order! 

Any other products, or after the month of April, you may use the code VIRTUE15.  At this time, there is no expiration date on this code!

During our conference call, Heather did give hints that new products are in the works, and the product line will be expanding  in the future!  Be watching for updates!

Personal Experience and Opinion:

We started with the Character Assessment in our family, and all children, ages 4-15 were required to rate themselves at the beginning of our adventure with the cards.  Notice the dark marks on the left.  This was the self scoring of our class clown, fun loving, mischievous little boy who often finds himself on the receiving end of extra chores, reprimands from older siblings, and lots of one on one training on days when his impulses get the best of him.  I was amused and shocked at his brutal honesty in this assessment.  He giggled his way through, somewhat out of silliness, somewhat out of embarrassment as he was the last one to complete this and he was well aware of the expectations.  Each one was read aloud to each child to help them "score" themselves.  No, he really isn't a difficult child, but one who embraces life with all of the gusto he can manage.  That somehow translates into trouble maker, even though he doesn't usually intend to end up that way.

The circles to the right are after some practice with the cards and reviewing expectations.  The improvement was significant within the first few days of use. 
 The use of the coloring pages and the cards has become a daily thing at our house.  The children are helping each other memorize what they see as weaknesses among each other. 

The thing I am finding most impressive with the use of these cards is that my kids are taking initiative in areas that I have not seen before.  I woke yesterday morning to find that the garbage had already been taken out, the birds fed and tended, and school work being done...yes, even on a holiday that landed on a Sunday!

I have to admit, when I first heard about this review, I wasn't all that excited.  I guess I didn't really see a need for more "flash cards".  I am a trailblazer who has to be different and not do things like everyone else, and the thought of flash cards brought up images of drills and repetition.  These cards are NOT like that at all.  They are bright, colorful and "friendly" in both their illustration and approach.  They *can* be done by the old drill and recite method, but they do not HAVE to be.  Phew!  Now that I got that out of the way?  I can tell you, I was thoroughly impressed.  These cards came at a time when they are very much needed.  Refer to picture number 1.  That sweet little boy was not lying.   He has not learned self control, and for whatever reason, we hadn't found the right methods to teach it to him either.   I can't say that the cards are miracles, but they are a welcome tool. 

If I were to never have received another item, the Assessment itself would have proven very beneficial.  It is what got my kids and myself thinking about our intentional choices and actions.  They are working on their perseverance and diligence now without me prodding them along.  This was a welcome surprise!

While Heather suggests starting with the 3 basic rules (Obey, Be Kind, Be a Helper), we did not do that.  I let the kids lead the way on this one since they dove in so heartily with the assessments that they took off on their own.  I just sit back and watch, and give suggestions along the way since the older ones are leading the younger ones naturally, and the younger ones are holding the older ones accountable on their weaknesses. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to review these products and really enjoy them.  I wasn't sure which version would be the best fit for our household, and the secular version is good for us.  I will say that if someone is not wanting any scripture or Bible references, they may want to contact customer service before ordering to be sure they get exactly what they want.  Heather's faith is very clear, and the Bible provides so many passages that support these virtue lessons, that they are heavily blended.  While this is a big bonus to some, it may be a bit of a deterrent for others.  I can tell you from listening to Heather during the conference call that she cares deeply about teaching virtues and will do her best to help you.  Please, contact her or the rest of her team if you have any questions.


  1. Excellent review!! Mine is not as thorough at all and makes me jealous of your amazing talent to write.

  2. Thank you, Ginger. I am not a great writer, just full of words and ideas that I need to share. Sometimes, they come out in a way that makes sense to someone besides me <3