Layers of Learning

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As a firm believer in the value of unit studies for homeschool families, I was delighted to have the opportunity to review this winning new curriculum. Written for a wide grade range of 1-12, parents with younger children will easily have enough materials to include their little ones in the topical studies, making this truly a unit study for all ages!

Presenting a chronological, four-year cyclical approach to history, Layers of Learning is a well-organized yearly study that is available in bite-size pieces. This complete curriculum provides instruction in history, geography, science and the arts. You will need to add grade-appropriate math, phonics/spelling, and writing instruction (writing activities are included).

Each yearly study is uniquely divided into units that are sold separately. The units are designed to take two weeks, although based on the amount of resources included, these could easily extend into longer periods of learning. Each unit is formatted similarly. The unit activities are separated into three grade ranges - Grades 1-4, Grades 5-8 and Grades 9-12, although parents will easily be able to move about the levels to best meet their childrens learning needs. At the beginning of the unit, a list of suggested library resources is given providing you with the tools to add a living literature or Charlotte Mason flavor to the studies. The author emphasizes that the book lists are strictly optional and have been provided for additional topic study. The units are divided into 4 areas: Explorations (hands-on activities), Experiments (Science), Expeditions (field trip suggestions) and Explanations (additional teaching notes). All of the background information is written in an easy-to-understand language that students could read independently or could be read aloud as a family. Within the textual information are "Teacher Tips" boxes that provide specific helps and ideas. Also scattered about in the margin area are "Fabulous Facts" that bring interesting or unique information about the topic, "Writing Workshop" boxes containing a variety of writing prompts to give students writing practice related to the topic studied, and "Additional Layer" boxes. These are suggestions designed to enhance learning in the topic area for families who would like to extend the study through carefully selected rabbit trails. A beautiful aspect of this curriculum is the lack of daily lesson divisions, which allows families to control their own learning experience. It is also important to mention that the authors have given us a guided tour of history and not just a series of activities to be completed, meaning you are free to select the learning paths that best fits your family needs.

During Year One, students will study the historical time period of Ancient Times through 400 AD - Mesopotamia through the Roman Empire. Written from a neutral religious perspective, Christianity is covered for its historical importance and not from a definitive Christian perspective. Geographically, students will learn about maps, geography of ancient times, reading map keys, landforms and much more. Science covers planets, stars, earth and moon, satellites, humans in space, laws of motion, machines, states of matter, atoms, elements, plants, fungi and more. A sampling of the content in the art studies includes cave paintings, Egyptian art, Greek Art, poetry, moral stories, rhythm, melody, Chinese Art, line and shape, color and value, texture and forms, African tales, Roman Art, instruments, composing and more.

Year Two continues chronologically from the Medieval Period (400 AD) to the Renaissance - Byzantines through the Explorers. Students will learn world geography as they study countries around the world. Corresponding science topics include climate/seasons, weather forecasting, wild weather, cells and DNA, skeletons, muscles, skin and cardiopulmonary systems, digestive system, senses, nerves, health, metals and non-metals, carbon chemistry, gases, electricity, circuits, technology, magnetism and motors. Represented in the arts are Byzantine art, illumination, Viking Art, King Arthurs tales, Canterbury Tales, Gothic art, religious art, oil paints, printmaking, textiles, Indian legends, poetry and more.

Year Three focuses on the Colonial Period Age of Exploration to the American Independence and will continue with the countries around the world studies. Corresponding Science topics include classifications and insects, reptiles and amphibians, fish, birds, mammals and primates, sound, light and optics, history of science, rocks, gems & minerals, fossils, chemical reactions, compounds and solutions, oxidation and reduction, and acids and bases. Within the Arts, students will learn fairy tales, poetry, mogul arts, reformation art, Shakespeare, Baroque music and art, art journaling, water colors, Native American art, settler sayings, colonial art, art principles, classical and folk music, along with a variety of creative crafts. Please contact us for updated information on the suggested book package.

Year Four is still in development and will target Modern Time: specifically, the past 200 years. There will be a US Geography focus with a study of all 50 states, including an in-depth study of your individual states. Science will cover heat and energy, earth science,Ecology, conservation, industry and chemical applications. The art focus is modern art and modern music, including patriotic music, tall tales, poetry, theatre and film.

Since this program is cyclic in nature, once you have completed Year Four, you can then start again at Year One completing the next level of activities. Families electing to begin with older students will also want to begin at Year One in order to see the big picture of history.

While designed to be a comprehensive unit study, some families may prefer to utilize this holistic learning process to supplement textbook learning. With the ability to purchase each unit independently, this is an excellent way to try out the program, to supplement your current curriculum with hands-on activities or to stay on track with your homeschool budget. For your convenience, we have provided a resource package per year which offers a sampling of the suggested resources. See our website for details.

Recommended for the study are: a 3-ring binder, a childrens encyclopedia (for example the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (#018005 or #000979 or the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia #003618), a student atlas (DK Student Atlas #00000), and a Science Encyclopedia (DK Encyclopedia of Science #004894).

I appreciated that this curriculum is clearly laid out, easy to navigate and adaptable. The textual information is thorough enough to provide instruction in the main concept areas, and the activities are clearly explained, using commonly found items. The supplemental writing suggestions provided were varied and enjoyable, such as making an acrostic poem about a globe or creating a personal cookbook. Each softcover book provides full-color illustrations and graphics. Also included are blackline masters and templates for creating a personal notebook. The authors have also provided a coupon code for a free digital pack of all the printables, making it more convenient to reproduce the masters for multiple students. Conveniently, the publisher has provided a breakdown of High School transcript credits under the FAQ section of their website. This will be valuable for families who enjoy using unit studies and are unsure how to offer high school credit. Conveniently, the publisher has provided a breakdown of High School transcript credits under the FAQ section of their website. This will be valuable for families who enjoy using unit studies and are unsure how to offer high school credit. Conveniently, the publisher has provided a breakdown of High School transcript credits under the FAQ section of their website. This will be valuable for families who enjoy using unit studies and are unsure how to offer high school credit. PB. ~ Deanne

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Layers of Learning Complete Set Year 1 Units Item #: LOLCS1
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $299.80
Rainbow Price: $260.00

Layers of Learning Complete Set Year 2 Units Item #: LOLCS2
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $299.80
Rainbow Price: $260.00

Layers of Learning Book List Year 2 Item #: LOLYR2
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $205.53
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-6: Levant-Physical Earth-Laws of Motion-List Poems Item #: 044816
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-1: First Civilizations-Maps & Globes-Planets-Cave Paintings Item #: 043956
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-4: Ancient Greece-Wonders of the World-Satellites-Greek Art Item #: 044717
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-2: Egypt-Map Keys-Stars-Egyptian Art Item #: 044669
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 2-1: Byzantines-Turkey-Climate & Seasons-Byzantine Art Item #: 044917
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 2-4: Vikings-Norway-Special Effects-Viking Art Item #: 045399
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-7: Phoenicians-Oceans-Motion-Moral Stories Item #: 044902
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-10: Ancient China-Forests-Machines-Chinese Art Item #: 043959
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-11: Early Japan-Mountains-States of Matter-Line & Shape Item #: 044341
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-15: First North Americans-North America-Salts-Creative Kids Item #: 044462
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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Layers of Learning Unit 2-8: Feudal Systems-Germany-Muscles, Skin & Cardiopulmonary-Gothic Art Item #: 045552
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-12: Arabia-Rivers & Lakes-Atoms-Color & Value Item #: 044358
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 2-3: Islam-Arabian Peninsula-Clouds & Precipitation-Creative Kids Item #: 045368
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-14: Ancient Africa-Africa-Bonding-African Tales Item #: 044454
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 2-6: Charlemagne-France-Cells and DNA-Carolingian Art Item #: 045550
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-16: Ancient South America-South America-Plants-South American Art Item #: 044487
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-17: Celts-Europe-Flowering Plants-Jewelry Item #: 044488
Grades: 1-12
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Layers of Learning Unit 1-18: Roman Republic-Asia-Trees-Roman Art Item #: 044529
Grades: 1-12
Retail: $14.99
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