This information is excerpted from the main KONOS website.
How is KONOS different?
Why units center around character traits
What is unit studies?
What is hands-on learning?
What is discovery learning?
What is multi-level learning
The Five D's of KONOS
Do--To Capture Attention
Discover--to Foster Thinking
Welcome to KONOS from our home to your home. That is what KONOS is about one home schooler talking to another
home schooler sharing curriculum designed by home schoolers for their own children. It doesn't get much more personal than
It is about sharing 21 years of home schooling experience. It is about passing on a vision to build families
that honor the Lord. It is about a hearts desire to instill Godly character in the next generation. It is about building relationships
between family members. It is about a commitment to achieve excellence in education. It is about reading wide and reading
deep. It is about recognizing that "God put the wiggle in children and we should not try to take it out". It is about hands-on
activities that capture children's attention and increase their retention. It is about teaching a child, not a curriculum.
It is about fun and laughter and shaping memories. It is about using the whole world as your curriculum and the whole library
as your textbook. It is about creating a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. (continued
How is KONOS different from other curricula?
KONOS is distinct from other curricula in that it features:
· Godly character trait focus
· Units with all subjects integrated
· Hands-on, experiential activities
· Discovery learning
· Multi-level, family teaching
KONOS used the entire library as a textbook and the whole world as its curriculum.
Why have units around character traits?
Christian Character Grows
True Christian education goes beyond a trained intellect. It transforms behavior. That is why KONOS designed
its units around character traits rather than subjects, literature, or chronology. Instead of merely learning about biblical
truths, KONOS kids do mounds of at-home, hands-on activities to practice Christ-like character traits. Training in Godly character
is KONOS foremost objective, yet Godly character without academic knowledge and skills does not fully equip students.
KONOS teaches children academic subjects while kids are learning to practice biblical principles. In the Cooperation
unit, for example, kids read in the Bible about parts of the body cooperating, they study the various systems of the body,
and then practice ways of cooperating at home. In the Orderliness unit, kids learn about Gods orderly universe while
practicing their organizational skills in writing and in keeping their rooms clean. The whole family practices and applies
what the Bible teaches, so children learn to "walk" what they "talk".
What is unit studies?
Watch a family using KONOS. Instead of isolated subjects, their kids become wholly immersed in a theme. Its
meaningful, because all the subjects fit together. In the Attentiveness unit, children learn about the eye and its
importance. They learn from Scripture that the eye is the window to the heart (Bible), do many science experiments like dissecting
a cows eyeball (science), read poetry and idioms related to the eye (language/literature), use eyes to sketch and paint (art/crafts),
sing "Be careful little eyes, what you see" (music), write reports on the causes of blindness (health/safety and writing),
read biographies of Helen Keller and Louise Braille (reading/history), and practice being attentive to the needs of one another
What is hands-on learning?
Learning By Doing
The KONOS hands-on curriculum captures a childs interest through his senses. He watches a carpenter at work,
listens to bird calls, feels lamb wool, tastes rocks, and smells yeast. While studying cooperation, KONOS kids cooperate by
building their own US map on the driveway. Crawling on their knees and outlining each state makes geography unforgettable
for KONOS kids. After dramatizing the Continental Convention, American history is remember for a lifetime. By building their
own tabernacle, KONOS kids find the Old Testament becomes real and meaningful, by taking apart an old TV, they see first hand
how a TV works! Learning becomes more fun than kids ever imagined.
What is discovery learning?
Discovery Fosters Critical Thinking Skills
KONOS activities asks kids to explore and then evaluate the world in light of what God has made. In the Attentiveness
unit, children examine bird beaks and guess the kind of food each bird eats. After they reason an answer,
the children then observe the birds to check their answers.
True discovery learning is more interested in the process of thinking than it is in the product of
an answer. If children are fed step-by-step instructions, they never learn to think. While studying the character trait of
Obedience, KONOS kids are asked to be obedient to Gods Word and those in authority over them. A study of Medieval times
shows how serfs were obedient to Lords. After learning all the architectural parts to a Medieval castle, students design and
build their own castle. Discovery learning fosters not only thinkers, but creative thinkers.
What is multi-level learning?
The Whole Family Learns Together
KONOS desire is to build relationships between siblings as well as keep home schooling mothers sane! That is
why KONOS believes in multi-level teaching. Instead of one child studying frogs, one studying sound, and one studying airplanes,
the whole family focuses together on the same unit at the same time. After teaching each child his individual language and
math in the morning, KONOS moms can quit juggling kids and subjects and teach everyone together the chosen KONOS unit in the
Mother reads to everyone about Helen Keller. Older children read about the ear and create an ear model under
the dining room table, through which younger siblings crawl. Then, older children research the cause of deafness, while younger
children draw the parts of the ear. All practice sign language and punch up Braille messages.
KONOS studies one character trait such as Attentiveness, Orderliness, Obedience, Honor, Trust, Wisdom, Honesty,
Resourcefulness, and Cooperation for a month or two. At the same time, we integrate into each unit, science and
social studies, art and music, great literature and all of our reading, health and safety, and Bible. Each volume is really
a teachers manual which always includes activities for K-8th grade so you can teach your 6th grader, your 3rd grader and your
kindergartner at the same time. With KONOS, you have the structure of weekly lesson plans including daily activities written
as part of each unit but still have the flexibility to tailor your curriculum to meet the needs of your own family.
The Five D's of KONOS
DO... to Capture Attention
In response to the current problem of lowered academic proficiency, there is a trend in education that is a
departure from traditional educational practice. The trend is toward introducing abstract learning concepts at an even earlier
age. The assumption is that, by introducing certain abstract concepts earlier to children, those concepts will be learned
better. But earlier does not equal better. Head Start and other pilot projects have demonstrated this. Children have not become
better readers by introducing the alphabet earlier, they have not used mathematics better by introducing drill cards earlier,
and they have not become better writers by completing language workbooks earlier.
While agreeing that older children today are less proficient in abstract skills than in previous years, the
KONOS solution to this problem is different. We choose to raise the age of abstract skill development instead of lowering
it and to use these earlier years to provide more concrete, real-life, hands-on, multi-sensory experiences. Providing concrete
experiences with much manipulation of tangible objects over a prolonged time in a real environment is the only demonstrated
way to develop abstract skills.
When Caroles son, Carson, was three-years-old, he was learning the concept of the number 5 by setting
the table with five spoons, five forks, five knives, five plates, etc. Later, when he was introduced to the symbol 5,
it had real meaning. At the same time, Caroles five-year-old son was comprehending the meaning of addition by manipulating
match box cars. Although he could not perform on command 5+4=9, and he was still referring to tangible objects like cars,
blocks, or fingers when he made his calculations, he understood the concept of addition. Eventually, children wean themselves
away from concrete experiences to abstract thinking.
KONOS is a hands-on curriculum filled with concrete activities to do. Our curriculum puts life into learning
through experiential activities. We have admittedly overemphasized experiential learning in hopes of bringing the educational
"see-saw" back in balance. While we do subscribe to the necessity of seatwork and drill work, we do not consider these to
be the major emphasis of true education.
DISCOVER... to Foster Thinking
We believe that a concept must first be understood to be mastered. Any child can memorize. Since he enjoys repetition,
he will easily recite whatever he is assignedthe alphabet, math drill cards, or The Declaration of Independence. The
question is not whether a child can memorize proficiently. The question is whether by doing this he gain mastery of a concept.
Consider the following examples. By memorizing the chronology of presidents, will the child better understand
what a president is? By memorizing the Twenty-third Psalm, will the child better understand the relationship between a shepherd
and the Lord? By practicing fraction drill cards, will be better understand the concept of fractions? True understanding of
a concept prepares the child for mastery; mastery (i.e. memory and other refinement skill) does not promote understanding.
The development of true understanding requires active, personal, mental involvement such as imagining, generalizing, comparing,
and evaluating plus time to do all these things. The child needs freedom to explore his environment.
While baking with Jessica, Jason, at five years of age, discovered fractions by measuring volumes of
flour. His response was, "Oh, I see, 4/4s equals a whole cup and 3/3s equals a whole cup." This did not mean, however, that
Jason had mastered fractions. He merely understood the concept, but the mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication,
and division would come later. Education is more than merely learning information; it is the development of critical thinking
skills, true reasoning ability. This is why KONOS includes activities conducive to discovery techniques. We encourage the
child to figure things out on his own.
While studying the character trait of Attentiveness, we visit the zoo aviary to observe birds, being
attentive to their distinctive beaks and feet. The children reasoned that birds with short, fat beaks eat nuts and
grains, whereas birds with long, skinny beaks usually eat fish. In the Patience Unit when making bakers hats, we could
have merely demonstrated to our children how to make a bakers hat.. To be more challenging, we could have given them a pattern
for making their own bakers hat. But wanting to stretch their reasoning muscles, we showed them a picture of a bakers
hat and asked them to figure out how to make one.
Does it take longer to teach in this way? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Dictatorships are always more efficient,
but they do not produce creative, reasoning people. They stifle creativity and reasoning.
DRAMATIZE... to Visualize
Children do not soon forget Daniel Boone, if they have donned a coonskin cap and tracked animals while studying
westward expansion, or Thomas Jefferson, if they have worn a white wig and written parts of the The Declaration of Independence
with a quill. And blindness becomes a reality after a day spent blindfolded and writing in Braille. To live it is to remember
After a child has read a particular work, his ability to recreate that work through drama fosters several skills.
First, it tests his memory of what was read with all its details. Second, it tests his ability to communicate effectively
what he read to another person. And, third, it tests his understanding of the meaning of what he read as he adds inflections,
emphasis, gestures, and dramatic actions to enact the story. Dramatizing not only allows the child to visualize what he has
just read, but it reinforces the meaning and understanding of it as well.
DIALOGUE... to Internalize
Certainly parents, not textbooks, are the best teachers. KONOS helps parents talk effectively with their children
during activities. Dialogue internalizes truths while strengthening family relationships.
If homeschooling parents merely make and grade their childrens assignments, without dialoguing and
discussing with their children, how can true knowledge be imparted? The goal of Christian education is to train the heart
as well as the head. It is through the dialogue between mentor and pupil that both head knowledge and heart knowledge are
Many homeschooling parents today are opting to be mere graders of their childrens school work. Others, farther
down the road, consider themselves tutors of their children. But the real goal of homeschooling parents should be to mentor
and model to their children. The distinction between a tutor and a mentor is this: a tutor teachers through a casual relationship,
instructing the student in head knowledge and occasionally challenging him with questions; a mentor, on the other hand, models
rather than teaches through an intimate relationship, rather than a casual relationship, and shares himself as he gives counsel
for the head as well as the heart by asking challenging questions.
Too many parents are obsessed with the amount of facts their children can spew forth and how many workbooks
they have completed, rather than their ability to think, reason, and discern. Dialogue builds thinking, reasoning, and discernment.
Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., in her book, Endangered Minds, claims, "Conversation builds the executive brain." Certainly our
children are worthy of executive brains.
DRILL... to Crystallize
KONOS crystallizes learning through games like "Guess What King I Am" in the Obedience unit, service
opportunities like reading to the elderly in the Patience unit; creative expression projects like publishing a newspaper
in the Honesty unit; and show-and-tell nights like the culminating Medieval Feast in the Obedience unit. While
having fun, children learn, practice, and best of all, retain.
When we began homeschooling, we encountered many homeschooling parents who related their daily routine to us.
We were astounded to find a great number of homeschoolers who went on field trips every other day. They had one experience
after another. While KONOS is a proponent of experiential, hands-on learning, it is clear that experiences without wrap-up
are nothing more than confusion or a hodge-podge of learning.
Jessica recognized this first-hand when, as a public school teacher, she had an opportunity to take part in
the initiation of a hands-on, experiential science program in the public school where she taught. She felt this program was
the answer to the childrens lack of understanding of physical science. After teaching the course for four months, she was
ready to pull out her hair. It finally dawned on her that, while the hands-on lab learning setting captivated the childrens
attention, the program had no built-in wrap-up, where data could be compared and contrasted. Without the wrap-up of drill
experience loses its punch.
For additional information on the KONOS Curriculum, please visit: