I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have mentioned KONOS Character Curriculum on my blog. This unit study resource is not only just about my favorite tool in our homeschool, but it’s also a symbol.
It became my symbol of approaching education in a way that was nothing like what my kids would experience in a public school setting. It represented freedom.
Oddly enough, although this curriculum has been one of the best things to ever happen to our relaxed homeschool, soon after I started to use it, I began to hear people comment that they’d love to try it, but that it was just too involved.
I totally get where they’re coming from. Every volume of KONOS (there are three) is a phone book-sized compilation of information. Anyone could get intimidated by the sheer amount of choices offered, especially if they were planning on using the lesson plans included, which is why I’ve found it so much easier to approach this curriculum simply and sanely.
How to Use KONOS Simply and Sanely
1. Don’t try to group too many kids at once.
I know this curriculum is intended to be used with kids from kindergarten up to 8th grade, but if you happen to have a super-size family like mine, I highly recommend that you would not try to teach more than three or four kids at a time. While some of the activities are better with large groups of kids, the rest of them will probably require your assistance at times, and, I’m telling you, it’s no fun to have six or seven kids impatiently waiting for their turn with you.
Cut yourself some slack and split your kids up into groups of three or four. The extra time it takes to teach two or three separate groups is so much less stressful than trying to do them all at once.
Believe me. I’ve tried.
If that’s too much for you, consider alternating the days you use it. For example, one day use it with Group A, the next Group B, then Group A again, and so on. I’m telling you, this has really saved my sanity on more than one occasion!
2. Take the lesson plans with a grain of salt.
I know how hard it can be to ignore those lesson plans. They seem like they should make everything so convenient since everything is written out for you, right?
The fact is, that isn’t always the case.
I started out trying to use the lesson plans, and while it was a lot better than when we were imitating school, it was still too much. Not only that, I found that the lesson plans skipped over a lot of activities I knew my kids would really like.
These plans are great for giving you an idea of how to use this curriculum, but, by all means, use this resource in a way that works for you.
3. Only choose the activities that you think both you and your kids will enjoy.
For some reason, we homeschool moms always get it in our head that we have to do all things, and that just isn’t possible. Some of the suggested activities are really complicated, I’ll admit, and sometimes they take a lot of supplies that most people don’t have lying around the house (like PVC pipe and bamboo…), but you know what the great thing about being the facilitator is??
You don’t have to do them!
If you’re one of those crafty moms I envy on Pinterest, go for it. But if you prefer to keep your kids’ lessons as simple as possible, just choose the things that suit you. Don’t get overwhelmed and write off this curriculum as being too complicated.
KONOS is whatever you make it.
4. Limit the number of activities to what your children can comfortably handle.
Honestly, you don’t have to do five activities a day! We used to do three or four, but over time I realized that I was really starting to lose my kids’ attention after the first two, so that’s what I cut it down to for us.
I would much rather have my kids participate in two lessons they’re fully engaged in than four that they either hardly paid attention to or complained about the entire time.
It’s all about balance.
5. Remember that it is a UNIT STUDY!
Unit studies are cross-curricular, so there is no need to add any other lessons to your day other than, perhaps, language arts and math.
I’m going to say this again. Unit. studies. cover. all. subject. areas.
Don’t let yourself feel guilty if your days seem to go so much quicker and smoother without approaching everything separately.
That’s the point of unit studies. Don’t defeat the purpose by adding additional, unnecessary work to your homeschool day.
6. If KONOS covers language arts and/or math for the day, skip your supplementary curriculum.
Language arts and math are the two most crucial things for your kids to master, so, although KONOS does cover them, it is recommended that you use a separate curriculum just for these two subjects. If you find, however, that your KONOS lessons involve one or both of those subjects on a particular day, skip the curriculum.
Don’t be redundant.
KONOS has honestly been such a blessing in our homeschool, so if you’ve overlooked it in the past over fear that it was too complicated, consider giving it a try with a more relaxed approach. It really is a treasure trove of learning ideas!
Have you ever used KONOS? I would love to hear your experiences with it in the comments!