This post is in collaboration with Generous Family Curriculum. I was not required to write a positive review, and all ideas are my own.
I recently had one of those parenting moments that makes you think, "Am I doing this right?"
It was a sunny, summer day, and we were spending the afternoon at the pool. My son had just gotten a new squirt gun, and knowing how things tend to disappear at our neighborhood pool, he put it down beside me. It didn't take long for a little boy to come up to us and ask to use the water gun. My son firmly said, "No, it's new and I want to play with it." The little boy looked shocked, and turned to me, hoping I could solve the problem. This was a parenting pickle.
Do I force my son to share, knowing that he doesn't want to, which to me seems like legalism? (Rules without a heart behind it).
Or do I let my son make the decision, because he is an autonomous person, and pray for generosity to increase in his heart?
I ended up letting son make the decision about his personal belongings, all the while wondering how to help him learn to give from what he has so abundantly been given. This experience had me thinking some existential questions about generosity:
- When do we achieve consistency with these character traits we so want our children to learn?
- What does it take to raise a generous family?
Generous Students Curriculum From Generous Family
As part of our relaxed summer learning, we're using Generous Students, a homeschool curriculum from Generous Family. The purpose of this curriculum is to help change children's hearts towards being more generous, not just with their money but with their time, words, and resources. This is a Christian curriculum that encourages children to be more generous because Christ called us to love God and love others.
We received our curriculum box in the mail, and it was really beautiful! Just the box alone was stunning. The theme is Generosity Road Trip, which is really fun since we're doing this over the summer. Inside the box were three student journals, a teacher guide, and a book of stories about generous people.
A Beautiful Homeschool Curriculum, Inside and Out
All of the materials are really colorful and engaging, and my youngest, who isn't a reader or writer yet, was thrilled to have his own journal. I helped him write down what he wanted to say on the lines. Each week begins by sharing three things the student is grateful for, which led to some great conversations. For each lesson, there is something to read, discuss, or watch. A QR code in the teacher's guide led us to high-quality videos produced by Generous Family. We watched a video about a homeless veteran the first week, and how a man put him up in a hotel and fed him until he could find permanent housing for him; it inspired us all. When it ended, we sat in silence for a few moments and I had a few tears to wipe away.
The Generosity Heroes book included with Generous Students shares stories of people who demonstrated kindness in both everyday and extraordinary ways. In the first story we read, we were surprised to find that the person who received generosity went on to bless others. This led to a great conversation about how we don't even know how much we're helping someone with even a little gesture.
To Inspire is to Propel Change
I originally thought that my questions at the beginning of this post would be hypothetical, but after using this curriculum for several weeks, I realize that children grow when they are inspired. This curriculum is definitely inspiring us, all of us, to grow in generosity. I'm noticing my kids say little things about wanting to help people, or wanting to share with each other, and we are only a couple weeks in (it's a 26 week curriculum!)
It's easy to follow, and doesn't take long for each lesson, maybe 10 or 15 minutes depending on the topic and resources used that day. The journals are well planned and ask thoughtful questions, so that my children have time for reflection. The videos and accompanying book of stories are all beautifully done. My kids now know to look forward to the videos!
To be honest, I wasn't sure that generosity was something that needed a curriculum, but with all of the negative things going on in the world, I'm so thankful to be using Generous Students. It's giving us a way to focus on gratitude, serving others, and celebrating people who have generosity flowing from their hearts.