Jump to content


Unit Studies: KONOS v. Amanda Bennett


Recommended Posts

Has anyone used these resources?  We are not unit studies-oriented right now, but this summer I am planning to try a few discrete unit studies just to try the method out, do something a little different and see how my son responds to them. I would go for Konos-in-a-Bag...the A.B. studies are already basically discrete and well-priced, but the computer format isn't my favorite. 


I am just wondering how the two compare.  I did download one Amanda Bennett study this weekend and have looked through it; I can't say I am loving it, but it's also only a week-long study. 


I'd appreciate any thoughts! Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never used Konos, but it looks amazing. The Amanda Bennett unit studies are my least favorite. I found them to be just a bunch of links and busy work, and I don't like that at all. Homeschool Bits on currclick are much cheaper and nicer imho. If you want something meaty and hands on the konos seems to be the best bet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks! I will bump this in case anyone else has any input. I am really on the fence on unit studies in general, but summertime seemed like a good time to give them a try!


I used Volume 2 of KONOS for two years. I big puffy pink heart KONOS. :001_wub:


KONOS is so comprehensive. I love the fact that it does *not* focus on grade levels but lets the parent decide which activities her children could do. I love the way that all of the activities focus on character traits. I love the timeline. I love the flexibility. I love the fact that most of the activities can be done without having to visit the library.


My only regret with KONOS is that I began homeschooling before all three volumes were written, so that I was not able to do all three volumes for two years each with both of my dc. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, we do a few of the Konos units every summer.  It's too hot here (we're in TX) to go outside during the summer and it gives the kids something to do (that doesn't involve XBOX).  We're getting ready to start it again (today, actually - what a coincidence!).  Today, we're going to start the Kings and Queens unit study, followed by the Horse and Military units.  I'm not sure what we'll do after that.  Last summer, we did all of Attentiveness and 3/4 of Orderliness (we skipped the astronomy, because we had just done astronomy during the school year).  My older two kids also did part of the first unit in volume 2.


My older 3 kids really enjoy Konos and the hands-on activities, but my youngest doesn't like it.  It's very much a learning style thing (IMO).  My older two kids (12 and 11) are kinesthetic learners and Konos is awesome for them.  In fact, we looked at their high school program last weekend to see if my oldest daughter would be interested in that.  Today, I'm not going to require the youngest to participate if she doesn't want to, but I know the older ones (especially my son) are going to have a lot of fun.


For Konos, I don't use their schedule that they put at the beginning of each unit.  I just go down the list and pick which activities my kids would like.  Then, I go to the library right before and check out a stack of books that go with the unit.


For example, we're going to do Kings and Queens today.  We will spend about a month on it and we'll spend every Tuesday and Thursday on Konos (the rest of the week, we do our normal subjects).  We're going to read:


The Great and Terrible Quest (that's our read-aloud)

Did Castles Have Bathrooms?

Ye Olde Weird But True

Archers, Alchemists and 98 Other Medieval Jobs

DK Medieval Life

DK Knight

Cross-Sections Castle

Picture That! Knights and Castles (uses real medieval art to teach about the time)


Activities I have planned:


Design a floor plan for a castle

Design a coat of arms

Make chain mail out of paperclips

Make a medieval meal (Konos has recipes and stuff in there, too)

Define terms listed at the beginning of the unit (Konos will have words to look up, etc)

Learn some basic fencing moves

Watch fencing and jousting demonstrations online

Investigate medieval last names and their meanings

Listen to medieval music

Learn how to juggle

and we will probably pick some more stuff if we have time...


Also, we usually add documentaries in there, but I haven't looked for anything yet.  When we do the Horse unit, there is a ton of Horsie movies out there   :tongue_smilie:  .  We can just pick something to watch together.

I want to add some comments:

1.  If you buy the volumes, there is no way you can do EVERY activity.  No way.  I think we end up doing about half of them or less.

2.  You won't be able to find all the books they recommend in each unit.  I have never bought a book to use for Konos.  I go to the library and get whatever they have on a topic.  If you don't have access to a library, I think Konos would be hard to do.  :( 

3.  I absolutely refuse to make costumes.  I draw the line there!  No costume-making for me!  I am not going to dress up as Abraham Lincoln.  So, feel free to skip activities that are too overwhelming.  I have the really old version of Volume 1 and it says to "build a campfire in your backyard".  Um, NO!  My kids would think that's awesome, but we are not gonna do it.


Good luck!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did KONOS Africa-in-a-Bag a long, long time ago.  And the big kids *still* remember things from it.  It was truly awesome.


I was thinking about doing it with my little two in a year or so, but their website seems not very alive anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is one problem I have always had with Konos...not enough samples. But what I have seen looks good.


Has anyone heard how Jessica Huxley is doing since her accident? I know she was in very seriously bad shape.


I have not heard a thing. I'm very frustrated by that.


I just looked her up on FB, and guess what? She's there! And there's a very cute picture of her, so I guess she's doing fine. I sent her a friend request (I actually had Jessica in my house once long ago). We'll see what happens. :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an older Amanda Bennett study on the olympics and this was my exact opinion:

The Amanda Bennett unit studies are my least favorite. I found them to be just a bunch of links and busy work, and I don't like that at all.




We have really enjoyed Konos.  Last year we used Homeschool Mentor for the Orderliness unit--we jumped in mid-semester.  That was very helpful as everything is planned out and Jessica gives you video tutorials each week for teaching the lessons. 


Last summer I spent the summer planning our year for this year and we did Attentiveness in the fall (focused mainly on senses, Native Americans, tracking/Daniel Boone/Lewis and Clark) and Determination in the winter (focused on Olympics and polar regions/polar exploration.  We had a great year.  It was great because I had done all the planning over the summer, though.  I wrote out plans for each week, which books to use, made lists for the library, made supply lists for activities, etc. 


I am so up in the air about what to do next year.  Konos is full of rich and meaningful activities, but you do need to make a plan.  The positive is that you can tailor it to exactly what works for you and your children.  The downside is, obviously, that it takes time to plan.


I found these lessons online last year and used some for our plans this year--they are fabulous!  If I do Konos again next year, I will be utilizing them more because they are perfect for the ages of my children and she has wonderful activities and book suggestions.  Look at the links at the bottom, she has lessons planned for many units from all volumes!  http://iijuan12.squidoo.com/homeschool-unit-study-schedule-for-year-1



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not heard a thing. I'm very frustrated by that.


I just looked her up on FB, and guess what? She's there! And there's a very cute picture of her, so I guess she's doing fine. I sent her a friend request (I actually had Jessica in my house once long ago). We'll see what happens. :-)

 How cool is that, Ellie! I bet you ladies had a grand time. :) I'll have to check her FB pic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is Konos meant to be "complete" and cover all the basic skills and content if used as directed? My impression was that the Amanda Bennett studies were random in what they covered, rather than systematic.


KONOS covers everything except math and English skills.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have several of the AB studies and just haven't been that impressed, but yes, that's because it is a lot of links and notebooking rather than hands-on activities.  I would love to try Konos, though!


We use Five in a Row and they have been a great starting place for us, we are really enjoying it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think what you'd prefer would depend on what you're trying to achieve.  I've used both and they are two different types of unit studies.  With Amanda Bennetts' there is notebooky type stuff (which you don't have to do) with the occasional craft at the end.  With Amanda Bennett's there is no need to go to the library or plan.  They seem random in topic because it's to capture your child attention and let them explore their gifts.  It's not about we need to learn this time in history or this character trait or science.  It's all linked together based on the topic.  I have an Ipad so we all cuddle on the couch with the ipad (just like you would with a book) and explore.  I have a wicked fast duplex printer so I print out everything in one shot.  When I don't use the printer I would just let them mark it up on the Ipad with a pdf reader.  I add in our chapter or picture books from our personal library and we're good to go.


Konos is more activity driven.  It does take more planning but it doesn't have to be more than an hour.  Here's my post about my sticky note planning..http://barkingstarfish.blogspot.com/2013/05/sticky-note-konos-planning-for-year.html.  For some reason I can't link it but there it is.  It takes me about an hour.  Also you don't have to use the library.  I have links on my blog where i've linked things I wanted to use...can someone say youtube??  So you can make it what you want and how in depth as you want.


I've also used Five In A Row so that is also a different type of unit study.  More oral and then you have to add crafts or activities in.


To add one more the the fray...there is Christian Cottage Units which I think of as Konos Lite. You use to be able to get the Oceanography for free on currclick but I don't see it.  It's laid out nicely and is super easy to plan.  


For us unit studies and summer is a time of discovery. So if it were me, I'd let my kids pick the topic and then let them explore it rather than the typical thing which is mom decides and mom does the planning and mom assembles everything and mom... you get the picture.  To me that is how a child finds out what they like and who they will become.  



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...