character traits- how to assess? How do you do it?

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  • pjssully

    This may sound like a silly question but I am wondering if anyone has any ideas of how to concretely assess character traits?  I have not been very consistent with this yet, but I would like to start focusing more on character traits.  But I just don’t know how to really do it….??  We have the book Character Sketches, which is a great book if anyone is interested in researching it.  It has three or four character traits per book and explains how specific animals use these traits, and then has a bible story that relates to this character trait.

    Anyway, looking for ideas of how you use Character Traits in your home.



    I a little confused as to the purpose of assessing character traits. Do you mean like a test?

    My first thought was I hope I never have to take that test because I will fail!

    We study character traits as a family. That way the children are more receptive and don’t feel defensive, as if they are being scolded. We do not use each other as non examples(pointing out their faults). The atmosphere is of a team working together on the chosen trait. The Holy Spirit does a good job of convicting us individually. We use ourselves as non examples sometimes.

    Currently we use Laying Down the Rails for Children twice a week.

    I have Character Sketches, but haven’t figured out how to implement it into our schedule yet.

    Let me know if I was off base. Maybe I misunderstood the question?


    No, I didn’t mean a test!!!  I guess I mean how do I keep consistent about talking about it or learning about it.  Of course, one of the problems has been my lack of scheduling-but I am working on that and should have the figured out and in place next week.  I just don’t know if I put it on one day, or every day or what?

    How do you use Laying Down the Rails?  do you read it out loud to your kids?  I don’t own it (yet) but I would like to know how you use it with your kids.  I guess I thought it was more of a resource for the parent..



    I don’t have Laying Down the Rails either. (I wish I did but, financially not in the cards right now). Anyways, I have been using the Character Qualities from Rachel Carmen’s blog

    I save the color images and print them on card stock, store them in a sheet protector and then in a binder. I copy and print the corresponding devotion and keep it in the binder behind each CQ. I created a cute clip board to display the CQ we are focusing on (will share on my blog soon). So this is how we typically use them… Monday, during morning basket time, I introduce the new CQ of the week, and read the corresponding Bible verse. I hang the CQ & write the verse on the board in the spot designated just for the CQ verse. (This verse is worked into our daily memory work binder…like the index card system except it’s small binder which also includes poetry, math facts, and now, spelling. All of it takes less than 10 min.). Tuesday the CQ is the copywork assignment of the day, Wednesday I read from the devotional during morning basket. Thursday, the CQ Bible verse is the copywork assignment of the day. And Friday we simply verbally review the CQ during morning basket. Occasionally, if I feel she needs more time memorizing the verse or simply if I just want us to focus on a CQ trait a bit longer, I will keep it up for 2 weeks. It’s been working well for us so far.


    Oh and she does have coloring pages for each one which I will eventually use when my son is a bit older. My daughter just turned 7.


    I like what Blessed Mommy does with having a visual and a verse out all week. I should do that.

    I meant that I use LDTRFC Companion guide twice a week-the lesson suggestions. Sometimes it is a poem, an activity, etc.

    I read that aloud.

    I do read aloud excepts from LDTR at the beginning of each new habit, and we talk about our goals, etc. I use highlighter tape to mark the excerpts.

    I spent many years putting off purchasing character materials and Bible studies. Later I figured out that there is nothing more important that I could teach! For me if I didn’t have a book or curriculum in front of me, I didn’t teach it much.

    Of course I am teaching character for better or worse by my example daily, but I wasn’t mindful of discussing these matters.

    In a Christian home a lot of these things come up naturally, but I need all the help I can get with character issues and behaviors(mine and my children’s).

    The Laying Down the Rails Set is my favorite SCM product. I plan to use it for many years, and if my children grow in character at all from it, I consider that priceless.


    Gosh, I wish I had funds for LDTR & the accompanying study guide. Everyone speaks so highly of it. Maybe one day.


    I have been looking for ideas for implementing LTDR and LDTRFC and other resources for character development too! Thanks for posting.

    As I use the book, though, I am not consistent either. This is partly because I too am terrible at scheduling and keeping to a schedule, but also because with younger children (5, 3, and 1), I need to be careful to use things at their level. Some of the stories and poems in LDTR are frightening, or even just too heartbreaking for them! But I know there are plenty of other collections out there and I am wondering if someone has indexed them or something to help mommies find the stories and poems that reinforce whatever character trait they’re working on.

    For example, I picked up The Moral Compass and The Book of Virtues at a library book sale recently. Chock full of good fables, stories, and poems…of course, I will filter some out but many are excellent. But it would be really helpful if I could only find an index to help guide me to the right passage for the right virtue so I wouldn’t have to flip through whole book every time I’m looking for something. There are also loads of stories in the Parables from Nature. Any suggestions?

    Other resources: For Instruction in Righteousness has lots of ideas for using Bible stories as examples of the blessings of obedience and the consequences of disobedience, as well as many creative ways of disciplining.

    And one resource I find enormously helpful is Charles Bridges’ An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs. If you get the paper copy, you’ll have to write the chapter number on each page corner in order to navigate through the book. I have found the e-book for Kindle too, but it is very difficult to navigate as there is no Table of Contents. How I use it: I try to keep up with the Through the Bible in One Year, which gives a Proverb or two per day, and then I read the commentary for those Proverbs in Bridges’ Exposition. I used to just read the Proverb and move on, but now there is so much more to meditate on, and broken up into a daily schedule it is manageable! Bridges suggests good Bible story examples and some historical examples to illustrate the Proverbs. If I get this book into my mind daily, it invariably finds its way into character development for the kids, too. I wish this one were indexed to help me find the right Proverb for the character trait we’re working on, though.

    As you can probably tell, part of my problem is that I collect too MANY resources and get lost in the midst of them, so I don’t make as good use of them as I should. But on the bright side, maybe it is good to be able to spread a feast of ideas for myself too. And as someone I have been reading somewhere said, we ought to be reading widely and not worry about remembering it or using it all…you can be sure that good things will grow out of the compost in your mind if you keep on reading!

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