Monthly Archives: July 2013

Reflections on God’s grace in building Jubilee Academy

The grounds at Kavanaugh Center provide lots of natural beauty to explore.
The grounds at Kavanaugh Center provide lots of natural beauty to explore.

I have to give glory to God for the way He has blessed Jubilee Academy. Here’s a list of ways I have seen Him work so far:

1. Giving me a vision: For years, I have wanted to open my own school. I figured that was something I might do eventually. I never would have imagined, even 6 months ago, that I would get to do it this soon. I also believe that He has given me a philosophy and a vision for a program that is needed in our area.

2. Support of family and friends: My immediate and extended family, including my in-laws, have been so supportive. They’ve been excited for me. They’ve helped with open houses, brochures, advice, time, and even financial contributions.

3. An excellent location: I can’t think of a better location that Kavanaugh Center. The grounds are beautiful, and I keep finding new trails and natural beauty there. The staff has been fabulous and is glad to have us there. They are thrilled with our success, and very encouraging.

4. Two qualified co-teachers with high character: Janet Schweinhart and Cheri Withrow share a similar vision and are excited to get to work at Jubilee. They have experiences and gifts that equip them to work well with our students. I didn’t even have to work hard to find them. God basically showed me that they were the ones He was providing to the school.

5. Students from families looking for this kind of school: Families have sought out our full-time and part-time programs because they’re looking for what Jubilee Academy has to offer. They want structure with individualization. They are looking for a blend of progressive and traditional methodology. They are seeking a Christian worldview, authentic experiences, real-life applications, and a small teacher-student ratio. I am so excited about the students God has brought and is continuing to bring. Each one is precious and worth working hard to provide a Christ-honoring education.

I had hoped that my vision of beginning my own school would be well-received. Honestly, I am amazed at just how well-received it has been so far. The full-time and part-time programs are nearing capacity. I never dreamed I would need to add a second classroom and two staff members to begin our first year. I feel very blessed and honored, and I am so excited to see how God will work through Jubilee Academy in the lives of students and families this year.

Mental illness shouldn’t be a secret battle

sad girl with teddy bearToday I want to talk about a touchy subject–one that most people want to deny exists, especially if it’s going on in their own family. If this goes on in a family, it generally is a well-kept secret. It’s a secret because other people don’t understand. They fear, judge, or simply don’t know how to respond.

The subject: mental illness. Though this subject is avoided, or even covered up, this should not be. Especially among Christians. The Church should be a support system. We should be able to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ and they should empathize and offer support. Instead, we live our lives in silence. Sometimes we endure the judgment of the very people who should be supporting us.

I am pondering this for a couple of reasons. One is that Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church is returning to the pulpit this weekend, following the loss of his son to suicide. His son had a mental illness. He is in my prayers. The other reason is more personal.

Why do you think it’s so hard for families to reach out for support? How do you think Christians should respond to families who are dealing with mental illness? How do you think Christian families should deal with mental illness? If you have this issue in your family, what has been helpful to you? What has not been helpful?

Jubilee Academy expands faculty to provide excellent educational programming

Jubilee Academy at KavanaughSince Jubilee Academy has grown quickly and has added a full-time option, I have hired two faculty members to ensure high-quality educational programming. Not only do both people have strong backgrounds in education, but I also can attest personally to each woman’s character.

Janet Schweinhart, Instructional Assistant
Janet Schweinhart, Related Arts Teacher

Janet Schweinhart is going to be the instructional assistant and related arts teacher, teaching music and art, and providing reinforcement and intervention on a daily basis. Janet has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Louisville and has taught music in a one-on-one situation for 30 years. She also was a Reading Recovery teacher for five years and a reading tutor for the HART (Help A Reader Today) Program in Oregon. Janet has three sons, all of whom are adopted, who have struggled with learning challenges.

“My passion for education stems from a philosophy that I believe ALL children can learn,” Janet said.  “As a teacher, it is a joy to discover how  students learn, to create en environment where the child can progress from there.  There is nothing more gratifying than to see a student grasp a concept.”
Cheri Withrow, Teacher
Cheri Withrow, Teacher

I added Cheri Withrow as a teacher at Jubilee Academy, primarily for our full-time program. Cheri has a Bachelor’s Degree in Family & Consumer Sciences from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Bellarmine University. She is certified in Kentucky to teach Kindergarten-5th Grade.  Cheri spent two years teaching Kindergarten at Locust Grove Elementary in Crestwood. She also has taught many Vacation Bible Schools and has been on several mission trips around the U.S. She and her husband, Chad, have been married four years and have a 1-year-old daughter, Anna.

I am blessed that God provided each of these educators to help begin Jubilee Academy with me. I am convinced that our students will be blessed as well.

Summer Reading/Writing Camp off to a good start at Jubilee Academy

Students enjoy one of the special reading areas at Jubilee Academy.
Students enjoy one of the special reading areas at Jubilee Academy.

Today was the first day of the reading and writing camp at Jubilee Academy. There were nine students, ages 9-16, participating. It was exciting to teach for the first time in my new classroom. Getting to work with students there confirmed for me that it will be a fabulous place for the cottage school to meet, and that I set up the room in a way that works well for me.

After spending countless hours this summer preparing the room, articulating philosophy, making business-related decisions, and speaking to parents, it was refreshing to actually teach there. I love teaching, which is one of the main reasons I decided to begin the cottage school.

Spending the time with students at the camp was another piece of confirmation for me that I am doing the right thing by starting Jubilee Academy. I look forward to seeing how God works through this ministry.

Jubilee Academy adds full-time program with additional part-time options

Heather Goodale, teacher at Jubilee Academy, talks with students about the coming year.
Heather Goodale, teacher at Jubilee Academy, talks with students about the coming year.

Several families have expressed an interest in having their children attend Jubilee Academy full-time. Others would like to remain part-time but would appreciate a three-day option. We have worked out a plan to make this happen.

Families will have the option to attend the Monday and Wednesday program, to attend a Friday program, or to attend all five days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are limited to full-time students.

Mondays and Wednesdays will include reading, writing, and math for grades K-6. Fridays will include reading, writing, and alternating science/social studies for grades K-12. Tuesdays and Thursdays will include all subjects for grades K-6. Students attending full-time will have a complete curriculum and will receive grades and report cards.

Jubilee Academy, which is a Christian program, admits students with mild disabilities, including ADHD, learning disabilities, and high functioning Autism, as well as typical students.

Pricing is as follows:

Monday and Wednesday program: $160/mo. (1st child), $125/mo. (2nd child), $110 (additional siblings)

Friday reading/writing workshop: $60/mo (1st child), $50/mo (2nd child), $40/mo (additional children)
Friday Science/Social Studies: $10/mo (1st child), $8/mo (additional children)
Full-time program: $4500/year (includes grades/report cards)
To hold a spot, registration paperwork must be completed and a deposit of $150 for the first student and $75 for additional students is due by August 4. School begins September 4. Back-to-school night is August 29.
For more information about Jubilee Academy, visit
To schedule a visit to Jubilee Academy or for more information, call 502-439-4400, or email

Students experience math at Jubilee Academy

ImageI’ve given much thought to how to teach math at Jubilee Academy. This is a unique situation because I’m only teaching two days per week, and because I’m dealing with multiple grade levels. It’s difficult to use a traditional curriculum or scope and sequence under these circumstances. Therefore, I had to think extra creatively about math.

This is what I came up with:

All students will complete a daily math review sheet on their level. Then I, or one of my assistants, will check it and go over anything they got wrong.

Students also will have a daily mini-lesson with me. I will tailor instruction toward their individual levels, rather than their grade levels. For example, if we’re studying fractions, there may be three groups: One works on identifying fractions. Another studies equivalent fractions. The last group adds fractions. Students will learn this in a mini-lesson with me, and then they’ll have some practice work to complete.

They also will have concept reinforcement stations, where they may work individually or in groups. The stations will have games and tasks related to concepts they have learned previously. They’ll have some choice in which stations they complete, but will be accountable to work on a variety of tasks and to work for the entire math workshop.

I also will have a whole group number talk, during which we’ll investigate ways to solve problems. Students will articulate what strategies they think should be used to solve the problem and will talk me through their thinking. I’ll reflect on their thinking and ask questions to stimulate further dialog to encourage critical thinking.

My young students and those who need extra time with a teacher also will work individually or in small groups with my instructional assistant. I want to ensure that each student receives adequate instruction with each concept, because math concepts generally build on each other. 

In everything we do at Jubilee Academy, we want students to understand that it’s OK to mistakes. Students who don’t make mistakes generally aren’t trying new things. Great learning can take place when students try different approaches. However, we will ensure that we clear up misconceptions before releasing students to work on their own.

My goal for math instruction is to help students understand the how and the why of math concepts. Since they will receive small group and individual instruction, work at stations on new and review material, and have opportunities to share their thinking, I believe they will be well-rounded, confident mathematicians. 

Jubilee Academy Writing Center

Jubilee Academy Writing Center

This is the writing center in our second classroom. We just acquired the additional space yesterday, and are trying hard to have it ready by this week’s open house, which takes place Tuesday, July 16, 6-8 p.m., and Thursday, July 18, 4-7 p.m.

Jubilee Academy expands to provide excellence

ImageI’m excited to announce that I have acquired a second schoolroom for Jubilee Academy, directly across from my current room. The staff at Kavanaugh Life Enrichment Center was generous in their rent requirements, so I decided to add the room. This will expand our opportunities to provide an excellent educational experience. I plan for my instructional assistant to use the room to work with small groups of students on concepts that need reinforcement. The extra space also will allow me to enlarge the library to include more books, which will enrich students’ experience. I hope to have the room set up in time for Open House, which takes place Tuesday, July 16, 6-8 p.m., and Thursday, July 18, 4-7 p.m.

Jubilee Academy Open House July 16 and 18

Jubilee Academy equips students to cooperate, collaborate, and think critically for the glory of God.

Jubilee Academy is hosting two open houses, July 16, 6-8 p.m., and July 18, 4-7 p.m. If you’re considering enrolling your children, this would be an excellent time to meet the faculty, tour the facility, and register for the year.

There still are a few spots left at Jubilee Academy, which is a cottage school in Crestwood, KY, serving students in grades K-6. We meet Mondays and Wednesdays during the school year, which runs Sept. 4, 2013-May 14, 2014. Content covered includes reading, writing, and math, with science and social studies incorporated where it fits naturally. Students learn from a Biblical worldview throughout the day.

There is much excitement as students enroll and as interested parents make inquiries about Jubilee Academy. Because of the response I’ve received, I’m preparing to hire an instructional assistant. There even is a possibility we’ll be able to acquire an additional classroom where the instructional assistant will work with small groups of students. This also will allow us to accept a few extra students, with a cap at 20.

So if you’re thinking about partnering with Jubilee Academy to educate your children, please visit one of the open houses or contact me to set up an appointment. You may call 502-439-4400 or email for more information or to schedule a tour.