Just in case you were wondering, our homeschool curriculum here at Layers of Learning is biased. Collectively, we’ve been homeschooling for several decades, and we’ve looked at and used a lot of curricula over that time. It has all been biased. The truth is, everybody who writes, speaks, or breathes is biased. There has never been an unbiased textbook, history book, science book, or even cookbook. But unlike most of those sources, we admit up front – we wrote a biased curriculum.
We want you to be informed before you buy it. We aren’t trying to trick you into purchasing Layers of Learning. If you buy it, we want you to know what you’re getting and be happy with it. So let me clue you in to our slant.
We’re Americans and our units are written from an American point of view. We cover all of world history and countries all over the globe, but we do focus on the West and especially on America, because that is our heritage. We have traveled and love many places in this amazing world, but there is no doubt that we write from the point of view of Americans. That is who we are.
We Think You Can Think
We believe in presenting facts, asking deep questions, and letting you decide. Of course, we have our own moral codes and our own belief systems. Of course we think we’re right about absolutely everything (If we didn’t, we would hardly believe in what we believe in, would we?) But we’re not quite arrogant enough to force what we believe on you. Because, after all, there’s a chance we’re wrong. We think you’re plenty smart enough to look at the facts and figure out life for yourself. We believe wholeheartedly in continuous learning, open-mindedness, and questioning. It’s our favorite way to learn. We don’t want you to just believe as we do; we WANT you to question. Even so, our biases and beliefs probably show through from time to time.
Parents Should Teach Morals To Their Own Kids
We believe it is a parent’s responsibility to teach morals, religion, and beliefs to their children. We certainly don’t believe it’s ours, nor any curriculum author’s. Furthermore, we won’t insult you by calling what you teach your own children in your own home “indoctrination,” even if it’s completely different than what we teach our children in our homes.
In our units we do our best to steer clear of specific belief systems. For example, in our science units we don’t assume creationism, but we don’t assume evolution either. We assume you can figure out what you believe and teach it to your kids. You’ll frequently see warnings of Christian or evolutionary language in books and other resources we recommend, for your information and hopefully to save you time when you’re searching for resources. We recommend both, but let you know the slant within the resource.
Within our books, we try to present facts and thought questions and let you make deductions. The curriculum is really based on great books you choose for yourself based on our topics, and we feel confident that you are capable of choosing library books and having discussions with your kids to support your viewpoints.
We Believe in Freedom
We are absolutely in the tank for freedom and the rights of the individual. A pattern we’ve observed in the history of this world is that more harm is done by people seeking power over others than in any other way. You’ll notice this, in particular, in our history units from the Roman Republic to the American Constitution and beyond. If you support totalitarianism, communism, or statism in any form, you’ll probably hate our curriculum.
The Innocence of Kids Should Be Protected
We are also in the tank for kids. We think kids deserve to be raised in loving homes and protected from harm. Violence, sexuality, abuse, foul language, or other offensive behaviors can be harmful, and we are careful not to recommend a book or resource that could hurt their tender feelings. Occasionally, more controversial material could be recommended for high schoolers, but we’ll warn you and urge you to discuss the contents with your kids.
We Encourage You To Think
From time to time through our units, we’ll remind you that the sources you read are written by humans and are biased. We remind you to think, think, think. Teaching kids to think is so much more valuable than expecting them to just to regurgitate information to pass a test. We teach our own kids the specific tenets of our belief system, but we don’t assume your beliefs are identical with ours. At the same time though, we don’t think that Christian kids who read Darwin will be scarred for life. Nor do we think secular kids who read Bible passages will whither and die from misinformation. Being informed means learning about other people’s philosophies as well as your own.
Like it or not, both Darwin and Jesus are part of our western heritage. We’re also not afraid to point out the beliefs and motivations of people of faith through all of history. Newton believed his scientific discoveries glorified God. The American Founders based our government system on the Christian value of the individual and on God-given rights. Darwin’s observations completely destroyed his faith in God by the end of his life. If you know firmly what you believe, none of this should threaten you. We often state the beliefs historical people had, but we certainly don’t ask or expect you to have the same beliefs they did.
There’s probably plenty I failed to mention, but again, you are smart enough to be able to sort fact from opinion. Hopefully you’ll do that regardless of the resources you’re using. It is a parent’s job to educate their child – not a school’s, not a curriculum’s, and not an author’s.
Just one last note – this curriculum is written to PARENTS, not kids. That leaves the responsibility with you to choose the library books and activities that suit you. You won’t have time to do every exploration, discussion, and writing assignment in the books. There won’t be time to read everything on the library list. You aren’t supposed to. The unit books are a springboard for you to jump from with your kids. They are a place to start exploration-style learning. Choose the activities that suit your family, whether it be the ages you are teaching, what their interests are, or the things you believe.
Most of all, we hope you never stop learning and never stop questioning.