As a Christian mom, I desire for my children to develop good character and mimic Jesus in their actions and words so when I had a chance to review the Youth Virtue Journal from We Choose Virtues I was intrigued. As defined from the online Merriam-Webster dictionary virtue is morally good behavior or character, a good and moral quality and the good result that comes from something. So, I guess that by using the Youth Virtue Journal I was hoping to instill some good behavior and character that was of moral quality in order to produce an ultimately good result in the end, in my oldest daughter as she worked through the journal. The Youth Virtue Journal is geared towards ages 12 to 18 year old children, so my oldest fell right at the youngest end of that spectrum but since she is an ‘old soul’ I know she’d be able to handle it and work through the journal.
The Youth Virtue Journal covers the following character traits: attentive, content, forgiving, gentle, helpful, honest, obedient, perseverance, and respectful in 100 pages with 18 weeks worth of work if you use it at once a week for one hour for two weeks per trait. Students will have reading to complete, talk about their dreams, discuss quotes by famous people such as Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Newt Gingrich, Thich Nhat Hanh and many more through out the book with their mentor. I acted as my daughter’s mentor and made use of the Youth Mentor’s Handbook, which is available as a PDF download – and it takes you through how to use this and how you can be a good mentor to your child or even another child. I think this would be great to use in group settings where there is a small student to adult ratio whether church or a boys or girls group – and if you’d like Scripture those are also given as a supplemental download. The original concept of this journal was developed for counseling through the Idaho Court System and does not contain Scriptures inside, so the downloads are invaluable to a Christian home or group that may use this. Along with the journal and the mentor’s handbook I was also given downloads of the mentor meeting report form, youth character assessments and list of Bible memory verses and Bible Heroes.
It comes in a teen friendly style – although my 12 year wasn’t keen on all the illustrations and kept asking me what that figure was, which was distracting, but coming from a child who is a very good artist I can understand. I again want to mention that as a Christian parent not having Scripture included was a bit of a turn off, even though it’s included as a download you must either have the computer running, transfer it to a tablet or print it out to make sure it’s available as you sit down to work on the journal. This is meant to be used between a mentor (typically a mentor is not a parent, and since it was designed for those whose parents are probably not active in the child’s life I can understand that) not between a parent and child so there were some things that needed tweaking due to our beliefs as well are our position as homeschoolers – it was important to use the Scripture download as I worked through the journal with my daughter – so we can see how we should view things through a Biblical worldview versus a worldly worldview. I have to admit that my daughter and I were both at a loss as to how to extend each trait so you’d study it for an hour one time a week for two weeks, it was easy for us to go through each trait per day.
While it took some tweaking to make it work for us and even though I read through the mentor’s handbooks (again it’s written for mentor’s in a non-Christian way) I did find it to be a good resource but I could see this being much better for a group that isn’t so much focused on Christianity or a Biblical worldview. The kit is $17.00 and comes with the physical journal as well as these items: Youth Mentor’s Handbook, Youth Character Assessment for measurable outcomes and list of scriptures appropriate for the Virtues covered in the program. So if you’re a parent who already discusses their child’s dreams as well as character building with them as you walk along the road, as you go to bed and as you wake then this may not be one of the best resources, but if you’re a parent who is looking for a teen friendly way of working with your teen this may be a great resource and also if you’re working with several teens who need mentors in their lives I can see this being a wonderful resource. You may also connect with We Choose Virtues on social media such as Facebook, Pinterest and their blog.
If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents had to say about this and other We Choose Virtue products please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.