F.A.Q.s – Layers of Learning

F.A.Q.s - Layers of Learning

On this page we'll try to answer the questions that have cropped up so far.  If you have more questions, leave a comment at the end of this page, and we'll answer as soon as possible.

Click on the books to go back to the catalog.

To learn more about the curriculum, go visit our Curriculum Guide.  And by all means, if  you have a question we didn't answer, please feel free to contact Karen and Michelle.  We can be reached through website comments at the bottom of most pages, on the Layers of Learning facebook page or Layers of Learning Homeschoolers group, or by e-mail at contact@layers-of-learning.com.


  1. This is my first year to homeschool. I taught in public school for 12 years. My boys are in 7th and 3rd grade. My 7th grader is not on grade level in math. Just this school year he has learned multiplication and division. We just got done with order of operations. My 3rd grader is above level in all areas. I chose bju press for our curriculum. I am not using it all completely. I am supplementing. I was very overwhelmmed with all the choices. I do like the concepts of the layered curriculum. I guess what I am asking is can I begin this now….we are wanting to homeschool for the rest of their school time. I have one that wants to be a vet and one that wants to be a crop consultant. I just want to make sure they are prepared for college and don’t want to let them down.

    1. I know the feeling . . . Wanting your kids prepared and not wanting to let them down. It’s the scariest thing about parenting. You’re so terrifyingly responsible for other people.

      Yes, you can start Layers of Learning at any point with your children. If you do our hands on curriculum, including the recommended outside reading, your kids will be prepared with a far broader and deeper education in history, geography, science, and art than most high school graduates. You can also use Layers along with BJU to supplement the lessons there or just replace their history with our history, etc.

  2. I was wondering about terms of use. Namely, if I buy this for our family could I also use it with my co-op? We do story of the world but I could see where sometimes I might want to incorporate things from this.

    1. Our terms of use are that the books may be used for any single family or class. These terms of use are similar to physical books in the education genre. If you are using it for a co-op class that you teach, that is fine. We would prefer it to not be digitally shared with others just as a physical book should not be copied in its entirety and shared around.

  3. Hello! This looks like a very interesting way to teach. We are new to home schooling this year. I am using the Calvert curriculum for my 4th and 7th grader. I like the concept of being able to teach both at the same time, giving additional work to the older one. I’m considering this curriculum for next year, so 5th and 8th gr, would I start with year one or year four? Thank you for your help!

  4. Is it permissible to print the PDFs if I prefer a hard copy? In the free unit I received, it mentioned asking for permission if you want to print, so I just want to be sure.

    1. The code for the free printable packs is only in the physical copies of the books, the ones you buy at Amazon, Rainbow Resource, Barnes and Noble, etc. You don’t need the printable pack for the pdfs because you already have the printables at the back of your unit in digital form.

  5. Hi, last autumn I purchased a few units to correspond with the history we’d do this spring, but I didn’t get to them. We are using Build Your Library as our main curriculum but I feel like Layers of Learning supports it extremely well. I looked at them on my iPhone a few times, and was very impressed, but wasn’t ready to work with them now. We’ve caught up and when I went to open my units I received a message that I’d downloaded them too many times. What is the download limit and is there any way I can regain access?

    1. Hi Bev, I just reset all of your downloads and sent you a message with a link to the units you purchased. Thanks for contacting us. The purchases automatically come with three downloads, but we’re always happy to reset your downloads if needed. Hope you enjoy the units!

  6. I just purchased the planners and got the receipt but when I have it downloaded and it asks what program I want to use to open it and I choose Acrobat Reader a screen comes up and says:
    Adobe Acrobat Reader could not open ‘Mom’s’ because it is either not a supported file type or because the file has been damaged (for example, it was sent as an email attachment and wasn’t correctly decoded).

    I have tried opening it with other programs and no success. What should I be doing?

    1. Hi Angela,

      The Mom’s Planner is in a zip file, so before you can open the files you have to extract them. Then you will be able to see all of the files individually and open them individually with Adobe.

      For desktop or laptop: To extract the files, first make sure you are in the upper level. On my computer downloaded files go into my “Downloads” folder automatically. This is usually the default. So from inside the “Downloads” folder I can see the zipper folder icon. Right click on the folder and select “extract all”. After that they should open just fine.

      If you are using a phone or a tablet you will probably need an app to open a zipped file. Try this tutorial: http://fieldguide.gizmodo.com/how-to-open-zip-files-on-ios-and-android-1723069413

  7. Is the text in the layers of learning guide meant for the parent or student? It seems a bit to in depth for my youngest kids. I’m impressed with all the information in the guide and I understand that it is a pick and choose not do it all curriculum but I’m a bit overwhelmed with all I need to read through just to decide what to do.

    1. Hi Julie. It’s really meant for parents as a guide to help their kids. This is not a “workbook” type that kids are supposed to trudge through on their own. The little smiley faces are a good guide to help steer you to things that will match the levels of your kids. Also, the more you use it, the more quickly you’ll be able to navigate it. After using a few units I think you will find the format grows on you (at least that’s what we’ve heard a lot of customers say!).

      We usually read the introduction together and then choose a couple of explorations, but we certainly don’t do all of it. There is intended to be more there than what you would use. Try to remember that the goal of this curriculum is not to teach your kids everything there is to know about every single subject, but rather to help foster an enthusiasm and love of learning that will be lasting. We need to learn HOW TO LEARN, not have a knowledge of everything right now. Hope that helps a little bit. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s anything at all we can do to help as you get started. It’s a really fun way to learn and we love sharing it with people. 🙂

  8. I homeschool 4 children, raging from grade 4 to grade 9. If I were to start on Year One next year, how could I complete it with my 10th grader, since he only has 3 years to go? Would you still recommend starting on year One?

    1. If you really want your high schooler to cover all of world history and all of the basic sciences in three years (plus the art and geography) then you will probably have to cut out the topics/units that you think are less essential.

      For example, few high schoolers do much earth science so you could cut out all of those units and just cover the biology, chemistry, and physics units. In history you can just skip over or skim over the topics that are less essential. Ancient South America isn’t covered in any other curriculum we’ve ever seen so you can probably skip it without losing any cultural literacy. That’s one example.

      You should take a look at Planning Your Homeschool where Karen explains how to plan out a year (or in your case, three years) in advance so you can fit in everything you need. Pay special attention to the pacing guide description. I also recommend making a long term education plan for each of your children. This will help you define what is most important for your high schooler to be learning over the final three years in your homeschool.

      However, you can also just begin on any year you like. You do not have to start with Year One for this curriculum to work and be cohesive. Every single unit stands on its own without need for prerequisites (in a few places in the science there is foundational information needed, but we alert you to that in those places so you can catch up on the fly). Take a look at what your child has already spent a great deal of time on and compare that to the Layers of Learning topics in the Units at a Glance to help you in making those decisions.

    1. No, Judy, we don’t sell any language arts materials. We do have lots of free lesson plans and printables about writing. We call it Writer’s Workshop. Look at the menu above under “Lessons”. https://layers-of-learning.com/writers-workshop/

      We also have specific information about how to do narration pages which can be used as a writing assignment to go with any subject/unit: https://layers-of-learning.com/homeschool-curriculum-catalog/curriculum-guide/. Scroll down towards the bottom for the explanation on narration pages.

  9. Hi there, you have a wonderful curriculum here. Wish I had seen it much earlier before I purchased another curriculum.
    I am interested in your Art Curriculum. It seems to suggest that your product is sold as a whole package. Do you just sell the Art Curriculum alone? If so, could you advise the price. Many thanks and keep up the great work…

    1. Hi Irene, our units are all sold as packages – with each of the 4 subjects presented in one book. They are in isolated sections of the book though, so you could just utilize the arts section if that’s all you wanted to use. The pdfs are pretty affordable, especially if you are buying the whole year at a time (they’re discounted about 20% when you purchase a year instead of individual units). Quite a few of our customers use just one or two of the subjects, depending on their needs.

  10. I just want to tell you ladies that you are amazing. We’ve decided to pull our 6 year old out of the public school (after a very stressful kindergarten year), and I am so grateful I stumbled upon your site. You are organized, thorough, and your writing is so clear. As a brand new homeschooler, I’ve felt overwhelmed at times, but with the help of your website and materials I feel I’m starting to get my footing.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!

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