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Choosing God's Way

by Diane Bischoff McCarty

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Choosing God's Way, by Diane Bischoff McCarty, comb-bound paperback, $25. Available from Angel Heart Children's Press.

Written by a homeschooling mother, Choosing God's Way offers an easy-to-follow program for character development of pre-schoolers. The goal of Choosing God's Way is to teach "young children to look to their hearts to live for God." Twelve weeks of lessons are included.

The program is broken into lessons by virtue. The author recommends that you spend one day on the overview (The Golden Rule) and one week on each of the virtues: politeness and manners, kindness and gentleness, helpfulness, forgiveness, patience, obedience and respect, honesty and trustworthiness, thankfulness, cheerfulness, diligence and persistence, faithfulness, and doing the right thing.

Each lesson applies the virtue to the child's life with reading, prayers, songs, and activities. The lesson begins with a little song about doing what pleases God and the "Child's Daily Prayer" that asks God to help guide the child. Some discussion questions come next, and then a Bible verse (or adaptation of several) is introduced to illustrate what the Bible has to say about the virtue. Two cartoons contrasting good behavior and bad lead into some specific examples of how to apply the virtue in a positive way. Then the parent and child sing an original song, set to the tune of a nursery rhyme, about that character trait. A story about the virtue in the daily life of the child is followed by comprehension questions. Next, a section of scenarios for role-plays is presented. The formal lesson concludes with a prayer asking God to help the child with the specific character trait.

Many activities are suggested for reinforcement. Step-by-step instructions are given for several easy, fun crafts. The "You Decide" activity page gives the parent another opportunity for role-plays with the child. Mrs. McCarty also offers a list of picture books or stories to read, ways that she has personally applied the lessons with her children, and suggestions on how to let the adult's behavior set a positive example. Many reproducibles, including a character log on which to record good behavior, certificates of completion, and craft sheets, are found in the appendix.

Recommendation: The early years (3-6) are the time to focus on character traits and not worry so much about academics. Mrs. McCarty has a workable plan for homeschoolers, Sunday School classes, or any parent who knows the importance of developing a good heart in her child.

Choosing God's Way is well laid out and easy to follow. The scripting will get beginners started and will give relief to the harried experienced mother. The crafts are easily organized and not too messy. Choosing God's Way is written from a non-denominational Christian point of view, and with the level of discussion encouraged in the activities, it can easily be adapted to include any items appropriate to your specific beliefs.

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