KONOS is distinct from other curricula in that it features:
Godly character trait focus
Units with all subjects integrated
Hands-on, experiential activities
Multi-level, family teaching
KONOS uses the entire library as a textbook
the whole world as its curriculum.
What subjects does KONOS cover?
* No spelling, phonics, upper level grammar, or math
What is a typical KONOS schedule?
Reading from KONOS unit.
Writing from KONOS unit.
Math of your choice.
Workbooks of your choice for language arts or spelling or phonics.
Several of the following subjects are included:
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 God's 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. It's 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
cow's 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 (character).
Learning By Doing
The KONOS hands-on curriculum captures a child's interest through his
senses. He watched 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.
Discovery Fosters Critical Thinking
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
God's 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
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 teacher�s
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.
How does KONOS compare
to a traditional scope and
Public and private schools are "married" to the traditional
scope and sequence, because every year and every subject has a new and
different teacher.The 4th
grade teacher needs to know what the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers have
already covered; therefore, it is imperative for public and private
schools to use a scope and sequence to keep track of what has been taught
and what needs to be taught.
Home school, on the other hand, does not change teachers from year
to year or from subject to subject.Since
the teacher stays the same, it makes it far easier to rearrange when
various subjects are taught.Naturally,
certain subjects, such as math, must be taught very sequential.Other subjects, however, such as history, art, literature, science,
etc. do not necessarily need to be taught precept upon precept but rather
can be arranged according to availability of experts, field trips,
seasons, personal interests, etc.
Because one of the main goals of KONOS is the building of families,
we try to teach as much as possible in a unit to all of the children at
once.Looking at a normal
scope and sequence, KONOS erased the grade levels and replaced them with
character traits.We then cut
up the various subjects in a traditional scope and sequence and placed
them under the character trait that they best exemplified, such as states and regions is under the character
trait of Cooperation, because the states have to cooperate with each other
and kings and queens is under the character trait of Obedience because
subjects have to obey the king and queen.KONOS covers the same material that a traditional scope and
sequence would cover except in an order that is related to character
traits and not grades.
State Scope and Sequence
KONOS' Scope and
Coat of Arms
Indians, West. Expans.
Human Senses, Birds
I Sam 3
I Sam 3
Animal Class., Solar Sys.
Africa Safari Night
Rev. War Reenactment
Rockets, Space Race
Plant Drawing Collage
I Cor 3:1-11
Printing, Xerox Machines
Political Cartoons, Advertising
Lives of Singers and Poets
States, Regions, Towns, Community
Systems of the Body
Harmony, Regional Songs
Construction, Bridges, Dams, Canals,
Great Feat Locations
Great Pilots and Sailors
Air Pressure, Water, Hydraulics
Electricity, Magnetism, Simple
Rope Tying, Rope Art
Earth Science, Weather, Pendulums
Not in KONOS (*Covered in KONOS)
How do I keep track
and make sure
I cover everything?
Units are undoubtedly the best way to teach students, so they retain
what is taught; however, they can be a book keeping nightmare for the
real record keeping for the purpose of college does not begin until the
9th grade.Parents who are
concerned about SATs should calm their fears by realizing there are really
only two areas that the SATs cover...verbal (English/grammar/vocabulary)
and nonverbal (math).
covers the "gravy of education".By that, we mean it does not cover either of the areas that appear
on the SAT directly.If you
refer back to a typical daily schedule for teaching KONOS, you will see
that the morning time is spent in covering the BASICS, known as the
3R's...reading, writing, and arithmetic.This is essentially what the SAT covers.What KONOS does is direct you to great literature, suggests writing
assignments, and build vocabulary, and critical thinking skills that
contribute greatly to high SAT scores and confidence and competency in
To keep track of the math
and language arts, The KONOS Compasshas from grade K-8 check lists
to alert you of all that needs to be covered grade level by grade level.
The Compass also contains planning sheets that
can be Xeroxed and KONOS
In-A-Boxcontains planning sheets within
the curriculum for each week.
Sample Compass Page
However, the New
Classic KONOS units such as Obedience
and Orderliness do
analyze literature and teach writing. Below is a KONOS
In-A-Box Sample Planning sheet. This sheet is available in both the Orderliness
and Obedience Curriculum. There is one page for each week.
MORE . . .
What is the Philosophy of KONOS?
5 D's Philosophy 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 Carole's 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, Carole's
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 assigned - the 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
While baking with Jessica, Jason, at five years of age, discovered fractions
by measuring volumes of flour. His response was, "Oh, I see, 4/4's
equals a whole cup and 3/3's 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
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 baker's hat.. To be more
challenging, we could have given them a pattern for making their own baker's
hat. But wanting to stretch their reasoning muscles, we showed them
a picture of a baker's 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 it.
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 children's
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
children�s 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 children's 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 children's 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.
What does KONOS mean?
KONOS is the Greek word for cone. KONOS uses the inverted cone to
symbolize God at the top of all creation and all knowledge. God is not
simply a part of our lives; He is at the very apex of our lives overseeing
all areas of life.
He reveals His character to us through His Word and His creation. The more we study subjects with the enlightenment of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, the better we see God and His character through the world around us. It is Gods character we seek to emulate. He is the source of both what we should know and what we should be. As we grow in godly character, we become more like Him, and in so doing, glorify Him.
What is KONOS and who wrote it?
KONOS is a biblically-based unit studies curriculum written in 1984 by
two educators who are also homeschooling moms, Carole Thaxton and Jessica
Hulcy. Jessica and Carole wrote KONOS for their first graders who were
bright, inquisitive, wiggly, six-year-old boys. After a year in public
kindergarten the Thaxtons decided to homeschool C.J., their six-year-old
son. In kindergarten C.J. had become friends with the Hulcy's son,
Jason. Jason went back to school for first grade and C.J. was not there.
Jason came home and told Jessica that C.J. was being homeschooled and
Jessica promptly went over to Carole's house to "straighten her out". Carole, a counselor by training, sat and listened intently.
Little did Jessica know that Carole had prayed for the Lord to raise up
someone for her to write curriculum with. Carole patiently prayed for the
Holy Spirit to work in Jessica's heart. Within a month, the Hulcy's
were homeschooling with the Thaxtons!
Carole and Jessica recognized that the tell and regurgitate method of
the public school was often necessary in public schools because of the 20
to 25 children one teacher had in her classroom. Since neither Carole nor
Jessica had 20 first graders in their homeschool, they refused to use the
workbook/textbook approach. They chose to do homeschool, not school at
home. Instead of textbooks, they used real books and classics from the
library. Instead of sitting at a desk filling in blanks, they used the
garage, flower beds, and kitchen as they classroom. Instead of sending
every child to his room to study independently, they taught all of their
children together as much as possible. Instead of telling every answer to
their children, they allowed their children to discover the answers on
their own. Instead of teaching topical units, the authors designed units
that pointed to the character of God.
What are the goals of KONOS?
To train our children in Godly character... by
focusing on character traits.
To create a true love of learning in each child... by
teaching hands-on and using discovery learning to foster critical
To be a family... by learning as much as we can as a family
in true multi-level fashion that builds life long relationships.
To achieve academic excellence... by immersing the children
in units that integrate all subjects.
To equip parents to become master teachers of their own
children... by sharing 20 years of teaching experience in seminars,
videos, tapes, articles, speeches, and personal helps.
Compare KONOS to other Curricula
KONOS and the Classical Approach
By Linda Trumbo, VA
Classical Education, as it is presented in The Well Trained
Mind, is both a methodology and a course of study. The methodology involves lots of information input and memorization for young children (1-4 grade), some memorization and beginning analysis thinking at the middle years (5-8th grade), and in-depth critical thinking, analysis, and persuasive writing and speaking at the high school level. As a course of study it involves studying Western Civilization exclusively and chronologically, repeating material every four years, just at a deeper level. It also includes Latin, logic, and theology.
As I've read through the material on the methodology, I've seen a lot of points of similarity to KONOS. I'll list, if you don't mind, the similarities between the two, some close approximations, and the major differences.
Both rely on real books and primary sources instead of textbooks. A general overview book plus whole books, fiction and non-fiction, are used.
Narration and dialogue are important components.
Research is taught at upper elementary and middle levels, and is vital during the high school years.
Both are "language rich" approaches - lots of reading, discussion, and writing.
Classical approach requires memorization; KONOS utilizes hands-on drill with vocabulary and timeline figures. The goal of both is the same - kids who know their stuff. The difference is enjoying the journey!
Classical starts first graders out with ancient history and mythology, often drawing from writers who were writing for an adult audience. So much of that material is abstract. KONOS starts with concrete learning that�s closer to home for young students, then moves to ancient as their thinking matures.
Classical treats Bible and theology as separate subjects; KONOS teaches to the heart and head by integrating all knowledge around God�s Word and His character.
For those of you doing HOW, this is Classical and then some! If you make sure you are requiring orderly journals and high-quality written work from your high-schooler, you�ll be matching the recommendations for history and English put forth by the Classical Ed people. If you take advantage of the extensive map work, Bible work, and activity selections in HOW, you'll be exceeding the recommendations of the the current advocates of Classical education. The joy of KONOS is that it makes this level of learning possible even for the young person who isn�t a bookworm. There�s no provision for that student in the Classical approach.
My strongest concern with the Classical Approach as it's currently being expressed is the recommendations for young children. In a truly Classical Approach, the younger years (until about age nine) were used for mastering the 3 R's, exploring the world around us, and enjoying lots of reading and family input. The grammar stage did not begin with 6 year olds! This is a modern adaptation to make this chronological approach to history fit the public system - not a wise endeavor, in my opinion. I want my young ones� minds and hearts aimed toward godliness at the beginning and I want them to know the joy of learning along with the hard work. Only KONOS has provided that for us.
An interesting side note - in her essay "The Lost Tools of Learning," Dorothy Sayers never advocated a chronological approach to history. Again, this is a modern American adaptation.
KONOS compared to Literature Based Curricula
KONOS is literature based. In fact, back in 1984 when we began selling KONOS, the first complement we received was from a librarian who said, "I cannot believe how you have woven the all time best in classics,
Newbery Award winners, and greats in children's literature into your units about character traits! Were either one of you librarians?" Jessica and Carole certainly could be, for they know children's literature inside out. Jessica has often said that beautiful wallpaper, gorgeous furniture and fabric, and great books make her salivate. Seven years ago when we built our home in the country, the one thing Jessica insisted on was a real library.
BUT no matter how wonderful books are and no matter how much they make Jessica salivate, we are clear at KONOS that Godly character should be the focus of everything we read, write, say do. This is why our academics are woven into units focusing on a particular character trait. Of course we want our children to be well read and love literature, BUT literature is not our primary focus�Godly character is.
LIKEWISE the latest research about how children learn best does nothing but confirm what we as parents know...children learn best when they are participating in interactive, hands-on, doing, kinesthetic learning.
Call it what ever you will, but it all involves movement. The younger the children are the more important that movement is. My favorite quote about children comes from Henrietta Mear who was a famous Bible teacher of Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and Ruth Graham, wife of
evangelist Billy Graham. Mrs. Mear wisely comments, "God put the wiggle in children. Don't you dare try to take it out!" KONOS loves reading, but KONOS is designed to teach children the way God made them...wiggly.
KONOS uses meaningful activities plus literature to motivate, enjoy, retain...and work with, not against, the wiggle.
KONOS compared to Textbook
At KONOS we do not hate textbooks. We simply view them as an incomplete way to study history, art, music, drama, science, etc.
We view the whole world as our curriculum
and the whole library as our textbook
How could ten pages in a textbook fully tell you about the Civil War? The answer is it cannot and it does not. You need to read
Across Five Aprils; set up soldiers in battle formations reenacting major battles; memorize the Gettysburg Address; argue Dred
Scot's case; sing Stephen Foster songs; read biographies of Harriet Tubman, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln; map the entire conflict on a big map; practice taking black and white photos; make a haversack complete with contents; read about gangrene; dress as Union or Confederate soldiers and have a bivouac; watch
Gone With the Wind and Shenandoah; sketch the face of Clara Barton, and have a Civil War Ball. KONOS is about immersion into topics, not just
KONOS compared to
Other Unit Studies
KONOS shares with other unit studies the commonality of the unit, yet it surpasses other unit studies in its focus...Godly character traits. Certainly, units focusing on plants or Indians or even baseball have a similar approach of integrating all subjects. However, KONOS believes those topics can and should point toward the character the Lord wants His people to emulate. Godly character is something that every Christian parent wants his children to posses. It should not be limited to a few minutes of the school day. Children should be saturated with the incredible reality that God displays His character in all His creation...whether it be His orderliness in the universe, the seasons, or mathematics...or His patience in the growth of humans and plants...or His trust demonstrated in the laws of nature that govern flight. KONOS units and topics always point back to the character trait
Further, the unique activities of KONOS are not duplicated in other unit studies. A very unusual call came into the KONOS Corporate office many years ago. A customer wanted to purchase KONOS, but she also wanted to make a confession. "I am not sure you want to sell to me," she said.
"You see, I used to write for one of your competitors. I would sit around with several other writers and we would try to think of KONOS-like hands-on activities to make our curriculum like KONOS. We just never had the creativity of Jessica and Carole, so I decided to buy KONOS to teach my own child."
If you don't have creativity, don't worry...KONOS has it for you.