Have you been participating in The Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog Hop sponsored by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine? If not, don’t worry. Just click the link above to see the interviews and catch up on the ones you missed.
I was offered the privilege of interviewing the amazing Jessica Hulcy, co-creator of Konos unit studies and owner of HomeschoolMentor.com, who will be writing regularly for TOS in 2012. I was thrilled to be able to interview Mrs. Hulcy since Konos was one of the first curriculums we used. I always recommend the Konos Attentiveness unit to anyone beginning to homeschool young boys. I have fond memories of my boys creating “coonskin” hats, paper maiche muskets and “possible” bags from this unit. In fact, our UPS man got a kick out of stopping by because he enjoyed guessing what the boys were learning about, based on how they were dressed when they answered the door. He never knew if he’d be met with an Indian, a frontiersman or a court jester! Jessica’s units keep even the most rambunctious young ‘uns interested and involved.
I also love the fact that these units focus on building character traits in your children. Each of the Konos volumes focus on six to seven different character traits. You can also purchase “Konos In-a-Box” units for Attentiveness, Orderliness and Obedience. These are great because they include all the books and supplies you’ll need for the unit. Oh, and don’t forget the timelines. They’re amazing!
The other thing I love about Konos is that you can do one unit with all your children, from pre-school to high-school. Just use the Konos volumes and choose the activities appropriate to the ages you’ll be teaching. Jessica also offers her online co-op, which is perfect for those needing a little extra help. You can’t listen to Jessica and not be inspired. In fact, let’s listen to her now!
Below are a couple of questions I had for Mrs. Hulcy. I hope her answers encourage and inspire you like they did me.
Dena: What would you tell a mom who is worried that the unit study approach will cause her child to miss important topics or have “gaps” in learning?
Jessica: Gaps are a part of life AND education. Mothers need to print that on their foreheads and quit stressing out about gaps! Who doesn’t have gaps in their education? Everyone is going to have the feared “G word” in his education. If someone says they have no gaps in their education, then they are not being honesty. In American history, I never had a teacher finish through WW II, so I had a huge gap in my country’s history…. and I was taught in a traditional school using traditional curriculum and traditional methods. People have gaps for an array of reasons…not paying attention, disinterest, sickness, hating school, or the classic reason which is memorizing the answers for the test, making an A, and then promptly forgetting everything.
Is the answer to education gaps merely acceptance? Yes and No. Yes, we acknowledge gaps and admit they will exist no matter what curriculum is used, but No, students do not have to settle for educational gaps forever. At KONOS, we make a critical distinction between covering material vs learning material. Plus, the mantra of KONOS has always been to create a love of learning in each child. I get so many reports about kids who do not think KONOS is school! That is when I know KONOS has been a success. Learning has become fun and memories are being created. Memories are gap pluggers. You cannot stop that kind of excitement, even if you tried. If children love to learn, you have given them the entire CD player….not just a collection of CD’s. What is more…long after you are gone, they can plug in any new CD to learn something new or fill in any existing gap.
Dena: What do you believe is the greatest benefit unit studies have for families?
Jessica: Units allow a holistic immersion into a topic for the entire family to a much greater depth than other educational approaches. There are three key words in that “one word” answer…family, immersion, and depth. Units place EVERYONE on the same subject vs sending each kid to a different room to study a different topic. What could be more family than that? Further, units immerse students in a topic by coming at the topic from related literature, activities in science and history, geography, writing papers on the topic, taking field trips about the topic, doing arts and crafts related to the topic, etc. When you come at a topic from all different disciplines, something magical happens….light bulbs go off in children’s heads and they move to the top of the educational process by connecting the dots. They get the big picture. But there is more…as icing on the cake to all this togetherness/family, there is still room for separate/individuality through the depth and level topics are studied. Everyone can swim in the ocean, but younger can snorkel, middle aged can scuba dive, while older can deep sea dive. Can you tell I love things that fit together?
Dena: Your sons are all grown now. In what ways can you see their unit study-based education continuing to benefit them today?
Jessica: We have a saying at KONOS:
The whole world is your curriculum,
The whole library is your textbook.
That is how my sons live and learn today. In college, one of my sons was into hunting, grilling meats, politics, lawn business, and regularly had friends over to watch sporting events until one friend ask him, “Jason, do you think you could find me a hobby?” From law enforcement, to teaching PE, to artist, to coaching, to home building, to food service industry, to designing swimming pools, to cutting a children’s CD, to ministry with youth, the needy, and those who are critically ill….my four sons have wide interests, abilities, and involvements which I credit to learning in units and using the hands on method.
Units were also responsible for what I call “the Hulcy unmerited confidence.” They may not know how to do something, but given the internet and the library…stand back! This fact was brought home when youngest son Jared was working for his older brother on a remodeling job, announced he was putting a water heater in for a customer the next day. Wade asked, “Do you know anything about water heater installation, son?” to which Jared answered, “I have read about on the internet and it looks pretty straightforward, Dad.” We just rolled our eyes….a new unit in the making!
Dena: Thank you so much, Jessica. I love your spirit and enthusiasm!
Today, we’re giving away two great gifts from TOS. One winner will receive a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a second winner will receive a digital copy of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner.
One-Year Digital Subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine
What do you look for as you homeschool? Motivation? A little encouragement? Perhaps a unit study? Maybe an art activity? Within each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® you’ll find amazing resources, candid interviews with business owners, glimpses into the routines of other homeschools, articles from the experts in homeschooling, as well as up-and-coming innovators helping our days run a little more smoothly. Find them all in our pages along with their insight, expertise, and honesty as we all homeschool together!
Along with your subscription, you’ll receive free access to Teacher’s Toolbox, our exclusive, subscribers-only website packed with daily recipes, “This Day in History” lessons, printables, unit studies, and more!
E-Book: The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner
Jump into a great year with The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! Erase the frazzled feel of disorganization with the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner and bring order and efficiency to your school year. Packed with relevant articles, clever calendars, useful forms, handy lists and so much more, this planner is the key to meeting your many goals for the 2011-12 school year. We put our heart into the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner so you’ll have more time to put your heart into your home. Click here to view sample pages from the Planner.
To enter, just a leave a comment here! Winners will be randomly selected from the comments and will be notified via email.
Rules: Must be 18 or older to enter and provide a valid email address. TOS employees, contractors, product reviewers, and Crew members are not eligible to enter.
One thing we like to do, in our little town, is to climb the hill below our water tower and settle in to draw the scene below. Since we live in a farming community, the view of the trees, fields and town below changes drastically from season to season. It’s a lot of fun to capture a series of drawings from each season of the year.
I also really like this idea I saw at Madtown Macs blog. She uses white paint on black paper to create birch tree trunks and then adds fall colored leaves. The final product is lovely. I’m hoping to give it a try with my kids in the next week or two. Be sure to click the graphic below to read her full tutorial.
Fun art projects with the kids work for me! To see more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit We Are That Family.
Do you have any favorite fall art projects? I’d love to see them!
We are into day 4 of our puppy adventure and I have to say, this is A LOT of work! I have a whole new respect for dog breeders. This is one job that is definitely not for the faint at heart or the queasy of stomach.
Since the mom had such a large litter, the vet told us it would help her out if we supplemented feeding the puppies. This is been pretty much a fiasco…tomorrow we will go to store number 3 and hopefully get the right size bottles for these little guys. We’ve also noticed that there are 5 “fatties” in the group which are hogging out the rest of the gang. In this litter, there isn’t just one runt, there are three!!! So, we have devised a plan to segregate the chubbies while the skinny ones can feed without being pushed out, stepped on, and squished from their bigger, heftier siblings.
In this picture you can see the mom with a watchful eye over the “chubby crib” as we call it. She seems fine with having them in the plastic tub as long as she can see them.
In my family, we are big Boxer fans. After having Riley for 6 years, we decided to get him a friend . . . another Boxer. Bailey came to us a little less than 2 months ago as a “retired” breeder dog… or so we thought (and as I’m sure the seller thought). As the weeks went on, we began to notice how fat she was getting, not to mention how ravenously hungry she seemed to always be. To make a long story short, less than 2 weeks ago, we figured out she was not so retired after all! On Sept. 21, she delivered 11 cute, little boxer puppies. So, we went from 2 to 13 boxers in a matter of hours.
Although we didn’t sign up for this, we are trying to view it as another opportunity for a great home education. My kids watched most of the puppies being born and we even assisted with suctioning out the mouth of one that wasn’t breathing. They are quickly learning about all the work that is entailed with newborns.
Stay tuned for updates on our great Boxer adventure!
These animal letter coloring pages are adorable, fun and free! What more can you ask for?? Just print and enjoy.