Tag Archives: cottage schools

Reflections on Jubilee Academy’s first year

IMG_0849By Heather Peavler, Jubilee Academy Director

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” –Ephesians 3:20-21

When I got the idea to start a cottage school back in May 2013, I had no idea what God really had in store for me. During the past year, I have learned so much about God’s grace and provision. Here are some of the most important takeaways I have from this amazing process:

1. God is truly in control and I am not. I used to be a control freak. Not anymore. I have learned, through a variety of circumstances, that I am not nearly as in control of things as I had previously tried to be. Jubilee Academy is the first thing I’ve given thoroughly to God, and He has made it blossom into something I never could have envisioned or made happen.

IMG_09082. God provides when we trust Him. God has provided everything we have needed, including teachers, students, supplies, space, time and energy. Even when it looks impossible, He brings the right thing or person at the right time. We have not lacked one single thing this school year.

3. The Bible needs to be at the center of what we do. At Jubilee Academy, we dive into God’s word on a daily basis and we apply it to our lives and situations that arise throughout the day. I believe this is why our students have formed an accepting community of learners that continues to welcome each new child who joins our school.

4. Students thrive when they feel safe. Many of our students have come from schools where they have been made to feel inferior, and some were victims of bullying. At Jubilee Academy, we have created an environment where this is not tolerated, and the students have noticed. Many of them, as they reflected on the year, mentioned that they are so happy that they aren’t bullied at our school.

5. Learning should be measured by student growth, not by “grade-level” standards. Just because a student is 9 years old, that doesn’t mean he has the ability to learn long division. Just because he is 7, that doesn’t mean he can’t. We need to place students according to their unique abilities, and we need to tailor their learning experiences toward making progress. We assess students three times a year. Our data shows growth. We don’t encourage cookie-cutter kids. We want them to blossom to their full potential.

IMG_08586. Never limit God! I envisioned a two-day cottage school with maybe 10 students. I ended up with three classes full of students, full-time and part-time programs, forty students, and three other teachers. What an incredible difference between my plans and God’s.

So, as we prepare for next school year, we will have five classes, a Friday elective program, and lots of excitement about the future. Over the summer, we will have several camps, classes, and tutoring opportunities. There will also be parent seminars on homeschooling and educating special needs children.

Already there are 52 students enrolled for the 2014-15 school year, 21 of whom are full-time. Our classes are approaching capacity, and we will put students on a waiting list after that. If you are interested in enrolling your child, or finding out more information, email jubilee.academy@aol.com, or call 502-439-4400. Also, policy information and registration paperwork is available at https://apluseducationalsolutions.com/jubilee-cottage-school-policies-and-information/

Jubilee Academy offers occupational therapy services

Tracy MurrayJubilee Academy wishes to welcome Tracy Murray OT/L to the Jubilee Team.   Reentering the field after 25 years of homeschooling, Tracy brings a wealth of knowledge especially in a unique area she created called Therapeutic Tutoring. She finds that when combining the senses, individual learning styles, sensory integration and OT principles into her academic tutoring she is more likely to see students progress and grasp concepts that have previously been difficult to comprehend. Her students have fun and gain confidence in ways that make learning meaningful.   In addition, Tracy’s bring many skills to Jubilee including Sensory Integration training expertise, years of traditional clinical and school based pediatric occupational therapy and in-depth parenting skills being the mom of 8 children herself. In addition, Tracy has a keen awareness of cultural diversity after living in many regions across the US as well as serving as a missionary in Zambia. In addition to sewing and hiking, Tracy loves kayaking and running RecycloCraftz, an ongoing ministry in Zambia.


Tracy seeks to make OT services convenient to all those involved. Services can be incorporated into a student’s day while at Jubilee or services can be done privately at your home. An initial evaluation will be scheduled to assess each student’s needs and the parent’s concerns at a cost of $150. The evaluation and regular OT services are reimbursed through many insurance companies, however, with the costs of sessions are to be paid at the time of service delivery. Regular sessions are billed to insurance at $125/hour with a 20% discount offered when services are paid on the treatment day. We can attempt to gain possible recoupment, but it is not guaranteed. Private pay clients are billed at a flat rate of $70/hour. It is possible to schedule 30 minute sessions if sessions are held at Jubilee. If one or more students are working on similar goals group sessions may be possible thereby incurring a shared cost.

Additionally, Tracy will teach some of Jubilee Academy’s Friday program classes, including Brain Gym, Social Skills, and Visual Perceptual Skills.


Questions and scheduling can be completed via email at MurraysInZambia@gmail.com or by phone at 717-344-2530.


Tracy is looking forward to serving the Jubilee Community and making a difference in your child’s life.


As Jubilee expands, more space is needed

The Richard's Cottage will provide additional space for Jubilee Students next school year.
The Richard’s Cottage will provide additional space for Jubilee Students next school year.

By Heather Peavler, Jubilee Academy Director

Jubilee Academy is growing again! Next year we will need at least five classrooms, as opposed to the three we have this school year. We have confirmed with Kavanaugh Center that we will lease the Richards Cottage next year, which is adjacent to our current tabernacle building. The cottage  contains two large rooms and a small room. Our preschool and primary classes will meet in the two large rooms. The small room may be an office, or a smaller classroom.

Improvements also will be made to the current classrooms. There will be doors from the classrooms to the bathrooms and there is a possibility that an additional classroom may be built on the same end as the bathrooms. The wall between Room 3 and the office will be knocked down to create a bigger classroom. There are some other improvements that will be made in order to create a better experience for our students.

The additional space will allow Jubilee Academy to enroll more students, while creating a more specialized education for each student. Having five teachers will enable each level to target about two grades, rather than the broader range covered in some cases this year. Teacher-student ratio will remain at 1:10.

I’m so pleased that we are able to remain at Kavanaugh Center as we grow. It’s such a beautiful facility that affords our students unique opportunities for nature study and outdoor play. The natural setting is peaceful, and it reminds us that there is a Creator who loves us.

If you are interested in learning more about Jubilee Academy, you are invited to our informational meeting, Feb. 18, 6:30-8 p.m. at 7505 Kavanaugh Road, Crestwood. Additionally, you may call 502-439-4400, or email jubilee.academy@aol.com.

God consistently provides for Jubilee Academy

photo 4-2By Heather Peavler, Jubilee Academy Director

I often tell people that Jubilee Academy is the first thing I’ve completely given to God and let Him run with. And oh, how amazing this journey has been. He has directed this adventure from the beginning, and has taken it to places I never could have dreamed.

An example of His provision is that every teacher on staff has approached me about a position. I didn’t need to recruit or take out an ad. I didn’t have to do an extensive interview process. Recently, I tried to recruit a specific teacher whom I thought God had directed me to approach. That person accepted the position, but backed out shortly after. I could almost hear God saying, “My daughter, I’ve got this. I will send you the teacher you need. Don’t go looking for anyone.” I listened to that still, small voice. Two days later, I got an email from someone I respect very much, inquiring about whether there were any full-time positions. God provided the right person for His school, and I hadn’t needed to spend any extra effort trying to make it happen.

In the next couple of days, I will announce our two additional teachers for next year. I am highly enthusiastic about both of these incredible women whom God has sent to Jubilee Academy. I also will announce some changes to our physical location that will improve the school and accommodate our expansion.

If you are interested in learning more about Jubilee Academy, and would like to see if it’s a good fit for your family, you are invited to our informational meeting, Feb. 18, 6:30-8 p.m., at 7505 Kavanaugh Road, Crestwood. You may also contact me at 502-439-4400 or jubilee.academy@aol.com.

Top Ten Reasons to Enroll at Jubilee Academy

Students work together to research and present particular ecosystems to the class.
Students work together to research and present particular ecosystems to the class.

People interested in finding out more about Jubilee Academy may like to know why they should consider enrolling their children. In my opinion, here are the top ten reasons:

10. If you’re a homeschooler, it may help you avoid burnout. When I first homeschooled my two daughters, I started strong. But one of my daughters had some learning challenges, and that led to burnout. After five years of homeschooling, I enrolled my daughters in school. At Jubilee Academy, we want to help you avoid burnout. Having a couple days a week to catch up on errands, plan your homeschool curriculum, and just have a break, can give you the oasis you need in order to stay fresh as a homeschool teacher and as a parent.

9. It’s affordable. Whether you are looking for full-time or part-time programming, we are an affordable Christian school. We always will keep our tuition low, because part of our vision is to offer a Christian education to families who normally wouldn’t have access to one.

Students have opportunities to present ideas to their peers.

8. Our teachers are highly competent and caring. All have credentials and experience that qualify them to teach with excellence. Most have teaching degrees and certifications. More importantly, each teacher believes that your child is an important member of our learning community.

7. Social skills and character training are included in the curriculum. We dedicate time daily to explicitly teach social skills, and we have an extended social skills class each week. We begin each day with a devotional or Scripture reading, and we refer to the Bible throughout the day in order to teach our students to be people of good character.

6. We don’t use Common Core Standards. Many parents and teachers have concerns about the Common Core Standards which the state of Kentucky requires to be taught in the public schools. Teachers are overwhelmed with the expectations on them, and they have to dedicate time to things other than teaching. Parents are concerned about an increasingly secular humanist worldview and less emphasis on the basics. At Jubilee Academy, we do not use the Common Core Standards. Instead, we teach the basics, like spelling, handwriting, and multiplication tables.

Spending time in nature is an important part of the curriculum at Jubilee Academy.
Spending time in nature is an important part of the curriculum at Jubilee Academy.

5. We teach from a Christian worldview. Everything we do comes through the filter of Scripture. We incorporate the Bible and its principles throughout the day, from an academic and character-building standpoint. Scientifically, we embrace creationism and can back it up with evidence. We train students to treat each other according to the Golden Rule and to do their work as working for the Lord.

4. Hands-on learning engages students. We want students to be active learners, so we give them opportunities to do, rather than to just “sit and get.”  Jubilee students experience learning. Education is something they participate in–not something that is handed to them. Whoever is doing the work is doing the learning, so we want our students to work hard every day.

3. Our students have made gains in all academic areas. We recently tested our students in reading, writing, and math. Each made gains since the beginning of the school year–many in all three areas. We continually assess students to make sure they are progressing and mastering the material. We don’t move on until we know they have mastered a unit. Therefore, they make gains.

2. Our low teacher-student ratio helps us give your children an excellent education. Research confirms that one of the best determiners of a good education is a low teacher-student ratio. At Jubilee Academy, we are committed to a 1:10 student-teacher ratio.

Image 3
Students learn about fractions by playing a game with cardboard pizzas.

1. We see your child as an individual. Even though our students are in class with up to nine other children, each student is treated as an individual. We group students roughly by grade level, but we tailor learning to each child’s needs. We do this by making smaller groups within the class and by differentiating assignments and expectations. We want to see your child make progress during the year. We don’t expect every child in a grade to be on the same page. We simply expect each child to do his/her best and to make gains throughout the year.

If you share our philosophy of education, consider setting up an appointment to tour or to have your child shadow at Jubilee Academy. We would be happy to answer questions and to discuss your children’s specific needs. We still have room left for next school year, but some grades are almost full.

There is an informational meeting Feb. 18, 6:30-8 p.m. at Jubilee Academy, 7505 Kavanaugh Road, Crestwood, Ky. 40014. If you register at or before the meeting, you receive $50 off the registration fee for each child.

Don’t hesitate to call 502-439-4400, or email jubilee.academy@aol.com, if you have questions or want more information.


School year begins successfully at Jubilee Academy

Mrs. Goodale with Caleb and Hannah VonBusch on the first day of school.
Mrs. Goodale with Caleb and Hannah VonBusch on the first day of school.

As I reflect on the past week and a half, I continue to be grateful for God’s goodness. He placed a vision in my heart for a school like no other in our community, and He is bringing it to pass. On several occasions, I have been teaching and suddenly experienced amazement that I am really running my dream school! Now I’m not trying to say that it’s a perfect school, because that’s not possible. And I’m not telling you that I am the best teacher or administrator that ever was, because I’m certainly not. I’m not even saying I have the perfect group of kids to teach. What I am saying is this: God blessed me with a vision and He brought together a group of students and faculty to carry out that vision. I just don’t think it gets any better than that!

Over the past eight days, we have spent the majority of the time getting to know each other and communicating expectations. We haven’t delved into heavy academics yet, because it’s more important at this point to set the tone for the school year. Establishing a learning climate is essential to good learning, so we are making an investment that will pay off.

Nate and Wesley Goodale on the first day of school.
Nate and Wesley Goodale on the first day of school.

Our Monday and Wednesday students have begun to write autobiographies, and they will share those this week. They have participated in a number of activities to get to know each other’s names and interests. They have begun to consider place value, which is of high importance to mathematical understanding. And we have begun reading, writing, and math assessments. The results will determine groupings and instructional needs for the year.

Our full-time students have created earthworm habitats, gone on the first nature walk of the year, studied ecosystems, observed an ecosystem on our grounds, and begun to learn how to do center work in math and literacy. In art, they made crosses by learning paper-folding techniques. In music, they practiced rhythms.

In the coming weeks, I anticipate students catching on to our routines and expectations, and I believe we will become an increasingly cohesive group. I am excited to see what God will continue to do in our lives as we continue to submit to His guidance.

Jubilee Academy: The Dream is Coming True

Jubilee Classroom 7As I look forward to Jubilee Academy’s Back-to-School Night this Thursday, and our first day of school the following Wednesday, I can hardly believe it’s finally here. I’ve dreamed this dream for years, and it’s finally coming true!

During these last few days before school begins, there is much to do. This week, Cheri Withrow (Primary Grades Teacher), Janet Schweinhart (Instructional Assistant/Special Areas Teacher), and I are finalizing our lesson plans and making sure the rooms are organized to meet our students’ needs. We’re preparing a school handbook and discussing expectations and procedures. We want to make sure the Back-to-School night and the first week of school go smoothly.

During Back-to-School Night, families will get to know a little about each other, students will drop off supplies, and we will meet with parents to share goals and procedures. This also is a time for parents to get to know the staff. During the parent meeting, students will participate in supervised play.

Saturday, Aug. 31, will be a “work day.” We have invited parents to assist us in moving into our third room. Kavanaugh staff members are working hard to ensure that the room is available that day. The room will serve as an office, library, and additional classroom. 

The first day of school comes on Sept. 4. I’m so excited to have the privilege of teaching in my own school. God has brought together an amazing, dynamic group of families. We get to meet families where they are to provide a quality education to their children. Families have selected from a variety of educational plans, from half day twice a week to full-time. I love the flexibility that we’ve been able to provide.

I am amazed and humbled when I reflect on God’s obvious involvement in my dream of having my own school. In the beginning, I had planned to teach ten students in my own home twice a week. God had different plans. He expanded my dream until it became His vision. Isn’t that fabulous? Now we have 29 students, three teachers, a breathtaking location, three classrooms, and the encouragement that our great God has His hand in every part of this endeavor. Jubilee Academy is a dream come true!

Top Ten Reasons I’m Excited About Jubilee Academy

ImageFour weeks from today we begin the school year at Jubilee Academy. 28 days. That’s really not much time. I’m excited about this school year for several reasons:

1. God has proven that He is in this. He has provided and blessed beyond what I would have  imagined throughout the process of starting this school. We have a fabulous location with truly kind and encouraging hosts. I just learned that we will have a third classroom available, which is an unexpected blessing.

2. I get to teach my own children. This was the catalyst for launching Jubilee Academy. I wanted to teach my children, but I also desired to remain a classroom teacher. God has worked this out beautifully.

3. Children from amazing families are registered. There are many Godly families who have decided to enroll their children in both the full-time and part-time programs. These families share my vision for an education that equips their children to not just know the what and the how, but the why, an education that equips them to know what they believe and to be able to defend those beliefs.

4. I get to teach children from diverse backgrounds. Some of the families who have joined our school have adopted children from all over the world. I admire these families so much and am honored to be able to teach a diverse group of students. When I started this endeavor, I hoped and prayed for a diverse population. Now I will work with students from countries such as Ethiopia, Liberia, India, and China.

5. I get to partner with families to disciple their children in the Christian faith. Having worked in public school for the past couple of years, I was not allowed to openly share my faith as part of my everyday curriculum. I did have opportunities to mention matters of faith, and I took full advantage of any occasion to legally discuss the Gospel, but at Jubilee Academy, faith is central.

6. I get to use the best research-based strategies and to meet students’ individual needs without being constrained by a superintendent’s or principal’s agenda, or by laws such as No Child Left Behind or Common Core Standards. The absence of bureaucracy will be refreshing!

7. Jubilee Academy offers programs to meet a variety of needs. Students get to come 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. Some will attend half-days. I have been able to partner with families to address their individual situations. There are typical students, students on the Autism Spectrum, students with ADHD, and students for whom English is a second language. From the family who is bringing 10 adopted children for reading and writing instruction, to the pastor who wants more time with his kids during the week, to the mom who just wants a little help with math, to the single mom who works full-time but wants an affordable faith-based education–Jubilee Academy is a place where they all can get their children’s needs met.  I am truly amazed that God is allowing me to be a part of  serving these incredible families!

8. I’m partnering with two amazing educators who share my vision, are flexible, and support me 100 percent. They will be a blessing to our students. Thank you, Cheri and Janet!

9. We have a beautiful setting in which to learn. It’s a wooded area with nature trails, campfire areas that make excellent outdoor classrooms, playgrounds, picnic tables, and natural beauty as far as we can see. We will be constantly reminded of our Creator as we learn to grow closer to Him.

10. Since God is clearly doing this, I don’t have to fake being perfect! Throughout the year, I will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. I’m a recovering perfectionist, so this bothers me. I want to be perfect for these incredible students and families. But I just can’t. There is freedom in acknowledging this. Our pastor has been going through a sermon series that has resonated with me. It’s about the beatitudes. According to the beatitudes, in order to be truly healthy, we need to acknowledge that we need help. We can’t pull off a Godly life in our own strength. The week he preached that sermon, I asked God to provide help for a particular situation that affected my role at Jubilee. He did–almost immediately. Another thing the beatitudes teach us is that we don’t have it all together, so we don’t need to pretend. We need to be authentic. So, I’m not pretending: I’m not going to be the perfect teacher or administrator. But I’m depending on the One who is. I’m excited to see what He has in store for all of us as we embark on the adventure ahead!

Reading/Writing Camp students were a joy to teach

Jubilee Camp Noah presentingLast week we finished up a two-week reading writing camp at Jubilee Academy. There were 12 students from four families, ranging from age 8-19. Teaching this group of young people was such a privilege. Many of the students had been adopted from such places as Liberia, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, and China. I appreciated the multicultural perspectives shared during our time together.

During the camp, I taught research-based reading strategies, such as Reciprocal Teaching. Students examined articles and stories and applied the Reciprocal Teaching strategies of predicting, clarifying, questioning, and summarizing. This helped them to slow down and comprehend what they read. It also stimulated discussion that led to deeper understanding of the material and to vocabulary acquisition.

During the writing portion, students had the opportunity to write three pieces. For the first one, we took a nature walk. Each student found an object of interest. We sat in an outdoor “classroom” and students wrote descriptions of what they had found. For the second piece, students brought meaningful objects to camp and wrote narratives about events connected to those objects. For the last piece, students selected from three options–a personal testimony of how God has worked in their lives, what they knew about God, or a letter to a friend telling them about God.

As students worked together, they exchanged meaningful ideas and they had a good time learning strategies that will make them better readers and writers. They also developed friendships that will carry into the school year at Jubilee Academy. Some of the parents decided to enroll at Jubilee while attending the camp.

As a teacher, I can say that this is one of the most delightful groups I’ve ever taught. They were cooperative, attentive, and inquisitive. They worked hard and seemed to have a wonderful time, even though they were doing schoolwork during the summer! Many of the students thanked me for taking the time to teach them. I am so looking forward to working with them this school year.