Library List from First Civilizations

Read, Do, Show: How to Structure an Effective Homeschool Lesson

Every Layers of Learning unit includes a Library List, a selection of Exploration, and a Show What You Know Section. These three sections are the pattern that an effective homeschool lesson or unit should follow. First students read to get information, then they do a hands-on activity to create memorable hooks for the information, and finally they show their knowledge off through games, tests, or writing assignments.


First you read books from the Library List. This is the Library List from the First Civilizations unit of the Ancient History course.

Library List from First Civilizations

This Library List is a big list of many different titles to help you zero in and find some of the best books on the topic of the unit. You will spend time during each lesson on reading these books or parts of these books.

But you don’t need to read every book in the Library List, just pick your favorites or what is available at your library.

Reading from many different authors with a variety of points of view and priorities (as opposed to a text book) helps kids learn to discern and make connections. If you are reading lots you start to see biases, which are part of every book, video, or article. The freedom of the library list also allows mentors to tailor the information to their student’s needs. Kids get a broad and varied knowledge of the topic from reading several books about it.

Besides time set aside during the lesson for reading, kids can also read from the Library List during independent reading time. And if you have chosen high-interest books and novels, your kids will probably also read them for fun outside school time.

Most of the information kids absorb during this unit comes from the Library List and YouTube playlist for the unit.


The bulk of each Layers of Learning unit and the place you spend your most time is the Explorations section. On this page from First Civilizations you can see an exploration about ziggurats where kids get build one out of clay.

Explorations from the First Civilizations unit

The explorations are the “do” part of homeschooling. You will have learned about Sumer and other civilizations of the Fertile Crescent from your reading, then during this lesson you zero in on one aspect, the ziggurat temples the Sumerians built. Students get build a model and watch a video about the ziggurats, thus solidifying the concept of the Fertile Crescent and cradles of civilization in their minds.

There are around twenty or so explorations ideas in each unit. You will choose a few of these, typically one per week during the month you spend on this unit. So there is a great deal of flexibility. Also, these units are meant to be used again in four years when your kids are older and you will still have fresh explorations to try.


The final part of an effective homeschool lesson is the show portion where kids get to demonstrate their learning. In schools this is traditionally done with a written test. But there are ways to testing knowledge that are far more engaging and do a better job of showing exactly what you child can do with the information they have learned.

This is the Show What You Know part of the First Civilizations unit.

Show What You Know from the First Civilizations Unit

The final section of every Layers of Learning unit is Show What You Know. Coloring and narration pages, writing ideas, and a Big Book of Knowledge test bank are often joined by a fun game or activity to practice and show off knowledge from memory or from notes.

This allows the mentor to design a “test” that matches the abilities of the student and also the specific information covered in your homeschool. Testing student knowledge is important because it encourages mastery, is an additional learning tool, engages the memory and builds mental strengths, and gives a student feedback on their progress so they can feel accomplishments.

Using the three part pattern of read-do-show will result in an effective homeschool lesson each and every time.

Check out the Layers of Learning curriculum by reading the Curriculum Guide and browsing the catalog.

Year One Plus WW
If you are just starting out, Year One is the beginning. Add it to your cart by clicking on the image.

Free Samples

Try family-style homeschooling now with free samples of four Layers of Learning units when you subscribe. You'll get to try family-style history, geography, science, and arts with your children.

You can unsubscribe any time.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top