Knights in Training review

knights in training book review

I love knights. I enjoy the stories of King Arthur as much now as I did as a kid. And I love studying the Middle Ages with my children. So what could possibly be better than tying in character training with knights and chivalry, right? When I stumbled upon Heather Haupt’s Knights in Training at the homeschool convention this year, I really felt like I’d hit the jackpot.

Knight training started out as a way to equip the warrior class in medieval times. It soon became so compelling that all nobles sought to have their sons embark on this training and take up the chivalry challenge. The principles are timeless and ready for a new generation of boys to take up.

Knights in Training is a creative way to teach 10 areas of character using inspiring knights stories to captivate our sons’ imaginations. This is habit-training that encourages boys to be boys—strong, daring risk-takers, protectors and champions. By shaping and nurturing their natural masculinity with biblical principles and character-building stories, we teach our sons to be men, in every sense of the word.

In the first few chapters of the book, the author explains the problems she is addressing with her principles. She discusses how the culture undermines our boys, the struggles they face to become honorable men, and the solution that knight-training provides. Her principles are based in Scripture and creatively presented to young boys. I agree whole-heartedly with the problems she mentions in these chapters, although there were a few areas I would disagree in practice. Nothing major, but for instance, we have no problem with superheroes at our house, while the author avoids them. So while, you may find practical ways to live out these principles that are different than the author has chosen for her family, don’t let that discourage you from reading this book. The meat of this book is phenomenal!

The rest of Knights in Training takes each of the 10 “codes” and develops them for you. Every chapter begins with a knight story to illustrate how the code was lived out and to inspire our young men to do the same. Then, Heather spends some time giving you practical examples of how to encourage and teach the character lesson in your day-to-day life. Finally, each chapter ends with a challenge to “throw down the gauntlet,” with practical goals and action steps for you to take on the journey.

Her website also includes a downloadable poster of the Knight’s Code. My boys have one hanging in their room, and my oldest has the code memorized without any prompting from me! He will remind me throughout our day which code applies to the situation we are facing. “That’s number 4, Mom,” he’ll tell me when he has the opportunity to defend or protect his younger siblings. 

I loved this book and the conversations it’s prompted me to have with my boys, and I’m really looking forward to implementing the code with my boys throughout this year, especially as we study knights and castles and medieval life in history. Knights in Training is aimed for your younger crowd, preschool to middle-school, I’d say. If you have older boys that you want to include in this training, they’d probably enjoy training your littler ones and even creating a Knight’s Training Camp with some of the ideas that Heather includes in her book. She also includes a ton of great books and read-aloud options for each principle in “the code.”

For a list of places to purchase the book, an audio sample, downloadable resources (including the poster), and a preview of the Table of Contents, visit Heather’s website.

Growing Character: ideas for character training

For Bible, we have been focusing on learning different character traits. To reinforce our character training, I made a poster for the kids with a garden theme.

As we learn a trait, I paste a flower into the garden (on the flower is written the definition we have memorized as well as the reference to the Bible verse we learned).

During the day, I watch for the kids to demonstrate one of our traits; and when one of them is doing a good job, he/she gets to water the flower with a watering can, attached to the poster with velcro dots.

Watering cans attached with velcro dots (I have their names covered)

What we’ve learned so far:

To be attentive is to listen and to do. Luke 11:28

To be determined is to do what I must do, no matter how hard the task. Phil. 4:13

To be faithful is to do what is expected, when it is expected. Luke 16:11

To be obedient is to happily do what I am told. Numbers 15:39

To have compassion is to have a loving heart and servant’s hands. 1 Peter 3:8

We work on memorizing the Bible verses and definitions for about 4 weeks, and then continually review. If there is a song that includes the idea behind the character trait, we learn that, too. This has been an extremely enriching time with the kids. Though I don’t teach a Bible story during this time with them, I will often refer to the stories they’ve recently learned either in Sunday School or in our family devotion time.

Then, throughout the day, I have the opportunity to praise them for their character not simply their actions. Also, when they have not shown that trait, I have a Biblical reference point to go to with them.

How does your garden grow? What activities have you done with your little ones to teach them the Bible? Please share your ideas in the comments.