We completed month one of our homeschool lessons on character for my 4-year-old. I will be posting my lessons here after we complete them each month. I am not claiming to have developed all of these lessons myself and I will add links when possible to ideas that I found online. Since my big kid is now in preschool, my focus is no longer on literacy and math skills this year but I am using children’s literature to prompt discussions about character and we complete our lesson with a fun craft!

My goal with my child is primarily to give her important tools to have in her back pocket to help her work through social situations with confidence and some background knowledge.

Week #1 Friendship

Read: Fredrick by Leo Lionni

Discuss: Have a discussion about friendship. What does it mean to be a good friend? What did Fredrick teach the other mice? How did he use his imagination to be a good friend?

Make: Lil’ mouse craft

Read: Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Discuss: Talk about how Swimmy was a good friend. What did he do to help others? Have you ever done something to help a friend? What did you do?

Make: A painted school of fish

Week #2 Honesty

Read: Big Fat Enormous Lie by Marjorie Sharmot

Discuss: What is a lie? Have you ever told a lie? Why did the big enormous lie keep getting bigger in the book? Why was the big enormous lie gone all of a sudden?

Make: Finger paint a big green blob of a monster and add some googly eyes!

Read: Don’t Squeal Unless It’s a Big Deal by Jeanie Ransom

Discuss: What does it mean to be a tattletale? Why is the teacher frustrated in the book? What determines if something is a big deal or not? Come up with examples in your own life that you could have tried solving a problem on your own without getting help from an adult.

Make: Make a pig craft

Week #3 Forgiveness

Read: Berenstein Bears: The Forgiving Tree

Discuss: What does it mean to forgive someone? How do you think brother bear felt when his cousin used his new birthday bike before he did? Have you ever gotten angry at someone before? Did you forgive them? What can you say when you are angry at someone? How do you ask someone for forgiveness after you have done something wrong?

Make: Write a sticker story about forgivness. Child creates the illustrations with stickers and dictates the story to you!

Read: Franklin Forgives by Paulette Bourgeois

Discuss: Did Hariett lose Franklin’s fish on purpose? What would you have done if you were Franklin?

Make: A turtle craft

Week #4 Empathy

Read: Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

Discuss: What is a memory? What is a memory you have? Share some memories with your child. Talk about the different memories Miss Nancy and the other characters in the book had. Tell your children that some people lose their memories and can’t get them back. What can we do to keep our memories (take pictures, write in a journal, tell stories of the past, etc.)?

Make: A list of memories just like the book. The parent or teacher will write the words and the child can illustrate the pictures. A memory is… something warm, something from long ago, something that makes you cry and something that makes you laugh.

Read: Priscilla McDoodlenutDoodleMcMae Asks Why by Janet Sinke

Discuss: Did the red and blue-haired kings think about how the other was feeling? They didn’t like each other because of their differences, is this fair? What did Priscilla do that was so important in the book?

Make: My daughter and I both drew a self-portrait of ourselves. Then we glued them next to each other. We looked at the pictures and discussed what made us the same and what made us different. Then we connected this to the book. The only thing that made the red and blue people in the story different was their hair. But they had a hard time accepting that even though people are different on the outside, there are so many similarities on the inside that make great friendships. Using empathy to think about how the other person is feeling is what Priscilla with the purple hair did. She helped show the two groups of people in the story that they could all be friends, despite their differences!