Character Without a Curriculum

I have a degree in education.

My bachelor’s degree is in music education, and just like most other education degrees, I was required to do many practicum and student teaching experiences.

Throughout these experiences, I noticed a common theme amongst schools: a heavy emphasis on character education.

Character Counts!

Make good choices!

Be a friend to everyone!

Walls were plastered with posters encouraging children to be good people and do good things. And I applauded the schools for thinking beyond just “school subjects” and trying to shape good future citizens of this world.

But I do have one problem with this whole situation and it is not a “school” problem.

It is not the school’s job to teach character to our children.

It is also not the church’s job to teach character to our children.

As parents, it is OUR JOB. Our God-given job when those children joined our families.

I wholeheartedly support schools and churches who are emphasizing good character with our kiddos! I want them to keep it up! I just don’t think it should be all on them.

Schools should not be our crutches in the area of character, especially character from a Biblical perspective. This applies to homeschool families as well. We cannot teach our children the core subjects and then expect the church to teach them how to live like Jesus.

Which brings me to my next point…

As a homeschooler, I tend to be a curriculum junkie. I like things laid out for me. I want to use tried and true methods to teach my kids everything.

But, as parents AND Christians, we don’t need a curriculum to raise children of Biblical character. We need only look to one book for such instruction.

Yep. The Bible.

I know it is a big book. I know it is not in lesson plan format. But just a few verses are all you need to get started on the path to teaching your children how to live like Jesus in this world.

Let me give you a few as a jumping off point…

Colossians 3:12-14

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love. {ESV}

Take a whole week {or more} at home to talk about these three verses. Explain more about each thing they are to “put on.” Catch them putting these things into action around your home!

Romans 12

Really, this whole chapter should be read and reread by everyone, but there are some excellent, practical character lessons to be shared with your children in Romans 12, especially in The Message translation:

Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

I could go on and on in Romans 12. I have made this entire chapter our verses for the 2012-13 school year for our whole family. I want it to be who we are.

Take some time each day to share the verses that YOU want to shape your children’s character. You don’t need a curriculum or someone else to do it for you!

What verses do you want your children to remember most as they start this school year?

Erin Mohring is a follower of Jesus Christ, a doctor’s wife, and stay-at-home mom to three lively young boys. The hubby and Erin have been blissfully married for nine years. Big J is six, Little J is almost four, and Double J just joined the fam in March of 2012! She’s learning quickly about life in the world of boys – which you can follow at Home with the Boys!