Practical Character Building Lessons
Welcome to day seven of my 10 Days of Teaching Values series. Let’s get down and dirty today with some homeschooling character building lessons today!
I’m a very practical gal. And, since this is a homeschooling blog, I thought I’d share some super-practical character building lessons that you can easily incorporate into the academic side of your homeschool.
As you read through the lessons, you’ll see many of them are very creative, involving more than one subject and/or learning style. These in-depth lessons are what I like to call project-based learning. If you like the idea of adding more creative, project-style learning to your routine, my NaturExplorers science-based studies include lots of these ideas.
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Character Building Lessons
The lesson ideas are in no particular order. Some can be completed by older children, some by younger children, and many by both. Some can even be cooperative – meaning your children can work together. Enjoy the ideas as-is or tweak them to suit your needs!
Choose a well-known missionary to research. Read an exciting biography and/or learn about the missionary’s story through Internet research. Write a first person account of the missionary’s life. Create a poster person (similar to the photo above) to use as you read or recite your first person account. Be sure to include what values the missionary exhibited.
Academic Skills Covered: History, Geography, Reading, Research, Writing, Oral Presentation, Art
Research a famous person known for his or her character, otherwise known as a hero. Possible subjects include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, or Clara Barton. Create a poster biography of this person including information about his or her life and how he or she displayed high moral values. Also include photos, maps, quotes and other facts as they pertain to the assignment. Present your poster report to the entire family. Feel free to dress similarly to the person you are speaking about and/or bring props to enhance your presentation.
Academic Skills Covered: History, Geography, Reading, Research, Writing, Oral Presentation, Art, and Potentially Science and/or Drama
Keep a Character Journal
Spend a month focusing on character qualities through keeping a journal. This could be done several ways, but in all cases each child and parent should get his or her own notebook and not be expected to share the private writings. In one instance, you might focus on one character trait each day during Bible study and then ask everyone to take a few minutes to journal about how they are doing/what they need to improve relating to that trait. As another example, each person might find a quiet place and be expected to write whatever comes from their heart about their character. You might suggest they write about mistakes they’ve made, positive things they’ve done and prayers to God about their character.
Academic Skills Covered: Writing
Topical Bible Study
What does God say? Let your child choose a character trait and find out what God has to say about it. Using the Bible and other resources, such as For Instruction in Righteousness, Nave’s Topical Bible, or another topical reference, allow your child to see for himself whether or not that character trait is pleasing to the Lord. He should create a chart, along with a written or oral report of his findings.
Academic Skills Covered: Reading, Research, Writing, Math & Science (data collecting/chart creation)
Family Proverbs Study
We’ve gone through Proverbs several times as a family and learned so much about character issues each time! We have used the following lesson books at various times, too, and loved each one.
Academic Skills Covered: Reading, Research, Writing
Interview the Wise
Find a grandparent, older neighbor, church member, or even a nursing home resident whom you trust to share Biblical wisdom with your child. Ask your child to write interview questions beforehand on the topic of character. Maybe the interview could focus on how character values have changed over the years. If you have access to a video camera, tape the interview for the entire family to watch and discuss at a later date. What a great memory to have on video!
Academic Skills Covered: Writing, Speaking, Videography
Literature Character Study
Last week, I wrote about how to use literature as character training lessons. After you have used several books in this way alongside your child, let her choose a book for character analysis. Younger children can analyze the main character, while older children can analyze all of the book’s characters. Depending on abilities, ask your child to notice:
- character attitudes
- character behavior
- motivations for attitudes and behavior
- how the attitudes and behavior effect other characters
- how the attitudes and behavior effect the character personally
- how the character changes throughout the book
You might ask your younger child to create a cereal box report (similar to the photo above) where one topic is written on each side of the cereal box and props are placed inside the box to be used during a presentation about the character analysis. Older children can write a report which includes at least one paragraph on each topic. My older children would like an assignment to place these paragraphs into a computerized newsletter.
Academic Skills Covered: Reading, Writing, and perhaps Oral Presentations or Computer Skills
After reading a short story about a character who doesn’t make good choices, ask your child to rewrite the story so that the character makes better choices. Allow her to illustrate and bind the book for a nicely finished project.
Academic Skills Covered: Reading, Writing
Fun Family Activities
These simple activities are less like lessons, but still encourage skills like writing and art.
- Write character qualities on sticky notes. Place them on the backs or foreheads of everyone in the family. Take turns giving hints about the character qualities until everyone is able to guess theirs.
- Give each family member a sheet of stickers. Everyone should be watchful throughout the day for brothers, sisters, moms, dads, etc. to display positive character traits. When someone is “caught”, a sticker is placed on them. Hopefully, everyone will be all “stickered up” at day’s end!
Special Holiday Ideas
- Thankfulness is the perfect value to work on this time of year! Create a thankful tree. Yes, I’m quite sure you can make a much lovelier tree than ours! We list things we’re thankful for each day and add them to the branches of the tree.
- As Christmas approaches, instead of making a countdown paper chain, make a count UP chain. Each day, add a new link to the chain. Write the character trait best displayed through the day on the link. By Christmas, you’ll have a wonderful and festive reminder of the month’s positive moments.
Now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear some of your ideas for character building lessons in your homeschool!
Up tomorrow…Teaching Values Using The Pilgrim’s Progress.
More Character Resources