At Layers of Learning we write curriculum for families like yours.
Try us for free!
Sign up for our fabulous, once-monthly (or so), non-spammy newsletter and we'll send you Layers of Learning Year One Unit One, a.k.a. Unit 1-1.
WHO WE ARE
Our names are Karen and Michelle. We're sisters. Not to mention moms, homemakers, veteran homeschoolers, and full time multi-tasking ninjas.
WHAT WE DO
We create family classrooms where everyone learns together, then we share our favorite ways to learn with you in our curriculum and on this site.
WHY WE DO IT
For years we wanted simple, affordable, complete curriculum for our big families. We finally created it. So now we're sharing with you.
We believe learning happens best when kids are actively engaged and interested. So our curriculum is made up of hands on activities and real books, not textbooks.
Packed with information, every page is lined with sidebars that are designed to take you off on tangents learning about interesting people, exploring the web, engaging in creative writing assignments, and layering your basic learning with related subjects.
"I discovered this product while searching for ways to make my current homeschool history curriculum more organic and enjoyable. I loved this product so much that I ended up ditching what I was using mid-year and purchasing the entire Year One curriculum from the seller’s website. We are now on Unit 1-16 and fully intend to continue with Year Two.
My kids especially love that each year contains work in each of the science disciplines (many classical-approach history programs do biology one year, chemistry the next, etc.) The format is not step-by-step, so this curriculum requires a bit more planning than some others, but it’s well worth the effort. This could work nicely as a stand-alone unit, but I highly recommend checking out the series, as they “build” upon one another brilliantly. Hands-down my favorite find on TPT so far!"
History - Science - Geography - Arts
We searched in vain for comprehensive programs that would take our kids from 1st grade through high school in these subjects. We love doing these subjects as a group, all ages together.
Every unit includes a complete section on each of history, geography, science, and arts.
All of these subjects are covered thoroughly, yes, even for high school, in our curriculum.
Here we present the Units at a Glance, a complete lowdown on what's included in each unit in all four years. Print it, study it, expect to find it in spades in this curriculum.
"History, Science, Geography and the Arts – it’s all in here! This is a complete unit study! Great side notes that you can choose to do additional research on. You can make it as simple or go deep with it! The information provided was thorough and accurate! A+ resource!"
What grades is this written for?
1st through 12th
That's why we designed this curriculum to be user friendly for ages from 1st grade to 12th. Learning together as a family.
Here's how it works
You open the Unit 1-1 book to the library list, which looks like this:
We've curated this list of the best books in each of the subjects that this unit covers. So now you peruse the list and seek out the books you are interested in. The colored smilies tell you which level of reader the book is aimed at.
You can find the books at online book sellers or hopefully, most of them, at your local library.
Read the books with your kids, or assign them to read them on their own, while you are doing this unit. It doesn't matter which books you pick, none of the explorations in the units are dependent on the library list. This independent reading helps everyone learn at his or her own pace.
We have enjoyed using the Layers of Learning curriculum this past month. I have a five and a seven year old who have had a lot of fun with the experiments and projects in the Year One Unit One unit. The list of suggested books/videos at the beginning of each unit is so helpful!
We are mostly using LoL for the science and geography sections. I loved the ideas and tips on how to explain the concept of maps and globes to young children. We enjoyed doing the Where I Live exploration and A Mapmaker’s Troubles experiment. The unit also gave me the idea to draw a huge map of the world with chalk on our driveway. I told the kids to hop from continent to continent and ocean to ocean, and they had so much fun with that! We also made a glittery map of the Milky Way and made coloring books of our Solar System.
These units are so full of ideas! I also love having the scope and sequence for the year laid out for me. I downloaded the unit to my iPad using Notability so that I was able to make notes and highlight right on the unit. When I was finished with it, I saved it to my computer so that I have the unit with all of my notes for the next time we cycle through!
Choose your own adventure
The next step is to read through the unit and decide which explorations you want to do. Here is what the interior of the book looks like:
Every subject within the unit starts off with a short introduction. This is followed by ten or so activities, or explorations, as we like to call them.
You just choose one or two from each subject, things that you think will appeal to your kids. Don't forget to check out the sidebars. We include lots of layers to add to your learning on every page.
Gather the materials you will need for your activities. This is where you're all working together as a family, learning as one. Get your zen on.
Spend about two weeks, an hour or two a day, doing explorations from all four subjects in the unit. You can stretch it to three or four weeks, if you like, or chop it down to one.
"We are not new to homeschooling and so have tried a lot of curriculums and I’ve never been overly excited about any. Many have worked but not really stood out for any major reasons. Yours just hits so many major wishes and then just keeps on delivering. I am just a little awe struck.
I have to admit I don’t really enjoy teaching much of the learning areas to the kids. It just needs to be done and I try to make it enjoyable. . . this was the first time I was having fun! I found it very interesting and wanted to learn more, LOL. I found myself wanting to do it again! I am so impressed how much it has exceeded expectation. So many Layers ; ) You really did an unusually excellent job creating this."
When you have finished the unit, move to the next one in the series. There are twenty units in each "Year" of the curriculum. Check out Year One.
Of course, you can do the units in any order you like, combined with any other curriculum that you like. We are nothing if not flexible. Homeschooling gads of kids for years and years makes you that way.
When you have finished Year One, then do Year Two when you begin your new school year.
There are four years total in the curriculum.
I am an accommodated core special education cluster teacher-which means my students need to follow the core however they aren’t able to grasp the concepts at grade level. I am therefore left to find various ways to teach these concepts. This packet is like gold to me!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Four Year Rotation
So after the fourth year, you start over back at Year One. Only now, your kids are older, learning on a whole new level, and you can choose different books, different explorations, and different sidebar layers to travel on.
If you began this curriculum with a first grader he or she would complete all four years three times by graduation. This method of organizing learning is called the four year rotation. The orderliness of it warms the cockles of our hearts. No more fearing that you're not "covering everything".
"We have truly enjoyed layers of learning so far! I have the pdf files on my laptop. We love the bright pictures and maps. This is a great supplement for our history and geography cycles. We do try to go through the 4 main cycles of history according to the Classical Christian method. This program is neutral so anyone can use it, secular or Christian. I highly recommend visiting the website for a free download of the first unit if you want to see it all or use it on your tablet, laptop or pc."
What's Your Angle?
Before you buy a curriculum, you want to know if it's going to offend your sensibilities every other sentence. Usually people want to know if it's secular (read cave men and evolution) or Christian (read sprinkled with Bible verses).
Our angle is that we think you should teach your kids your worldview. We don't sprinkle with Bible verses, but we don't assume evolution either. Science can, and should, be handled scientifically without worrying about things that science can't answer, like the origin of life. As often as we can squeeze it in, we ask the tough questions that we hope will lead you and your kids to deep discussions about how you view the world and why.
For more about our angle, read our post, Is Layers of Learning Christian or Secular.
Give it a whirl
Still have questions?
Check out our curriculum guide, which goes into more depth.
Or visit this post on what a week of homeschool at our house using Layers of Learning looks like.