Thursday, June 16, 2016

Virtue in Small Bites: Education in Virtue's Virtue Cards

We've had Education in Virtue's set of small virtue cards for two years. The first year, I asked First Son and First Daughter to choose one card a week to read, but I felt like we should be able to get a greater benefit from them. This past year, I started reading one card aloud at breakfast each day, as I mentioned in an earlier post. A few people asked about the cards, so I thought I'd write a bit about what they are and how we use them.

The cards are divided into four main categories: Loving with Justice, Acting with Prudence, Contending with Fortitude, and Mastering with Temperance. For each of these four categories is a folded card with an explanation of the symbol for the category, a Scripture verse, the meaning (of justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance), a gift of the Holy Spirit for the exercise of the virtue, a list of related virtues, a prayer, and four saints that exemplified the virtue.

A varied number of cards were then created for each of the related virtues within the four main categories. For example, the related virtues for Master with Temperance are honesty, humility, meekness, moderation, modesty, orderliness, and self-control. Then, for honesty, there are seven double-sided cards. Each shows a child's drawing on the front displaying the virtue with text describing what honesty "looks like" and what it "sounds like." The "sounds like" statement is one a child might say when practicing the virtue. On the back is a prayer (the same one repeats for every card on a related virtue), a Scripture reference (sometimes repeated), and a description of one of the four saints that exemplified the virtue. Because there are seven cards for honesty, three of the saints appear twice.

The cards are 5.5" tall and 4.25" wide. They are printed in full-color and laminated for durability.

Each morning, I read one card aloud to the children. Depending on the morning, we may talk about what it means and how it might be applied in our own lives. Sometimes I just read the card and the prayer. We haven't looked up the Scripture references though it would not add much time to our study.

The descriptions and examples are generally perfect for elementary-aged children, especially first to fifth grades. My oldest (in sixth grade this year) was able to participate as well. Though some of the examples or definitions were imperfect, most were excellent and made the virtues accessible to children.

I found these cards an excellent way to make virtue study a part of every day with only a few minutes of time. They complement well all the books we read in which characters display growth of virtue (or the lack of it). I find it useful to have this small bit of time to make our discussion of virtues explicit and related to our lives.

The italic print: I purchased these cards at full price and receive nothing if you choose to purchase them or anything else from Education in Virtue.

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