A Relaxed Homeschool Approach to KONOS Character Curriculum

using KONOS in a relaxed homeschool

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.

You see, after I burned out, sent my kids back to school, and then withdrew them again, KONOS was the first curriculum I used after I finally decided to never replicate school again.


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.

Two activities.

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!



Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

14 thoughts on “A Relaxed Homeschool Approach to KONOS Character Curriculum”

  1. I’ve never heard of KONOS before, will have to look them up. This year we decided to try something different and signed up for Schoolhouse Teachers (curriculum with Old Schoolhouse Magazine), and so far I’m enjoying it. It just means a little more prep time work for me than our previous box curriculum. 🙂 I like the idea that you take the lesson plan and tailor it to fit your kids and family – I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I get overwhelmed with lessons and activities. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! Never feel like you have to do things exactly as the lesson plans are described. Think of them as one example out of many. Only you know what will work best for you and your daughter!


  3. Oh, KONOS, how we do love thee!
    We began using KONOS in 1991 – I’ve been through all 3 volumes in some form or fashion three times. Love the versatility, the fun, the memories. I’m a Relaxed Unit Study homeschooling mom – love your tips. Right on the money! Any curriculum used should be a tool and not a master, which is why KONOS worked so well for us – it was easy to adapt the tool to fit our needs and season of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my! I am so happy I found this! I was a little confused by friends who used KONOS but then supplemented with LA and Math curriculum. This totally cleared that up for me. I have other questions though. I’ll keep digging!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A wonderful encouraging post thank you! I have been using Konos but have also wondered about things like using the lesson plans or not, how many activities is enough etc. This post has really helped me a lot!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this post. I’m learning about what curriculum would be best for our family. I see it needs to have LA and Math added on days that the unit may not cover those subjects. What would you recommend using for a first grader?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend Abeka Arithmetic and Harcourt Language Arts for first grade. I wouldn’t start LA with your child unless he/she can read and write fairly well. Otherwise, I recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Adventures in Phonics.


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