FAQs

F.A.Q.s – Layers of Learning

On this page we 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.

Is Layers of Learning a Christian curriculum?

No.  Our worldview, including our beliefs in individual worth, individual freedom, personal responsibility, and loving your neighbor do come through in the units.  But we do not intersperse Bible quotes or references or preach ever.  The exception is that in the Unit on Christianity (1-19) and a few other units, where historically relevant, we do reference and quote the Bible.  We do not teach either evolution or creationism.

Instead of teaching our version of religion, our approach is to ask questions that challenge you to think actively about your philosophy regarding religion, politics, morals, and the world in general.  We ask, you discuss with your kids what you believe, and together you develop your own answers to the important stuff.  Critical thinking is built in to the program.  Parents are given back the responsibility of training their children’s morals and worldview.

How do you teach science if you don’t assume either evolution or creationism?

There are three ways to approach scientific knowledge.  We’ll use the example of the turtle’s shell to explain.

Evolution method: The turtle’s shell evolved to protect it from predators.

Creation method: The turtle was created with a hard shell that protects it from predators.

Factual method: The turtle has a hard shell, which protects it from predators.

We use the factual method. We simply explain what is observable and don’t speculate on origins.  This is actually the most scientific and responsible way to present information.  Science is merely one way of learning about the world, not the only way.  Science can only answer questions about what is observable and testable.  It can not answer questions in the realm of faith or about knowledge gained in other ways.  That does not mean other ways of gaining knowledge are wrong, but they are unscientific.  We keep science firmly in the realm of science and don’t allow it to creep out of its area of expertise.  In a few places we do address how different points of view have affected scientific inquiry, classification, and politics.

Which ages of kids is Layers of Learning written for?

It is for kids from 1st grade through 12th grade.  There are colored smileys throughout the books to indicate which age group we feel particular books and activities are best suited for.  It was written so it can be used with multiple ages of kids at the same time.

Do I have to read everything on the book lists?

No.  The book lists are comprised of the best books we have found on the particular topics in each unit.  Search for them at your library.  But if you can’t find these or don’t like these, read something else.  We list far too many books to read in just one unit anyway. Choose your favorites and pass on the rest.

How do I translate Layers of Learning into credit for our local school system or to put on a high school transcript?

Each year, if you do all the topics in Layers of Learning, gives you a credit or course in history, geography, science, and art.  For a high school transcript you would give one credit (.5 credit per semester) for each topic.  Here’s a chart to show how it breaks down.

History* Geography Science** Arts
Year One 1 credit Ancient History 1 credit general Geography .25 credit Physics
.25 credit Chemistry
.25 credit Earth Science
.25 credit Biology
1 credit Art history
Year Two 1 credit World History 1 Credit World Geography .25 credit Physics
.25 credit Chemistry
.25 credit Earth Science
.25 credit Biology
1 credit Art Appreciation
Year Three 1 credit World history
.5 credit American history
1 credit World Geography .25 credit Physics
.25 credit Chemistry
.25 credit Earth Science
.25 credit Biology
1 credit Art Appreciation
Year Four .5 credit World History
.5 credit American History
.5 credit Government/ Civics
1 credit US Geography
.5 credit (Your State) Geography/ History
.25 credit Physics
.25 credit Chemistry
.25 credit Earth Science
.25 credit Biology
1 credit Modern Art

*History Units also include recommendations for reading classic literature and some literature guides and writing assignments.  If you do these explorations and reading assignments you can give an additional .5 credit for World Literature in each of the first two years, for British Literature in the 3rd Year, and for American Literature in the 4th year.  (The specific topics: World, British, and American overlap a bit, but this keeps it simple in assigning credits).

**Because the science is arranged so that Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Earth Science topics are covered each year, it takes all four years to earn a whole credit in any of these.  But if you only do Layers of Learning for some of the high school years, you can adjust.  For example, completing activities and experiments plus outside reading in the Year 1’s astronomy section easily covers the material for a one semester astronomy course in high school, so award .5 credits for completing an Astronomy course.  You can do the same thing with any of the other units. To get high school credit for science courses requires that students do labs, so don’t neglect the labs, though you don’t need to do all of them, one or two a unit is enough.

How much time should I spend on each Unit?

The units were designed to be used for two weeks each.  For example, Year One Unit One has The Fertile Crescent, Maps, Planets, and Cave Paintings.  Each day of that two week period you will spend around an hour doing Layers of Learning.  Here is a sample schedule of how it might break down:

Week One

Day One: You might do a map of the fertile crescent and make some flat bread.

Day Two: The second day, you might talk about maps, explore the globe a bit, and start making a paper mache globe of your own.

Day Three: The third day you might make a model of the solar system.

Day Four: The fourth day you might take a virtual expedition of Lascaux cave and make your own cave painting on a brown paper bag.

Day Five: This is a flex day.  You can use it for a field trip, homeschool group, catch up, another project, or nothing at all.  This week you might want to work more on those paper mache globes for geography.

Week Two

Day One: You could do a project about the tale of Gilgamesh and create your own cuneiform writing in clay.

Day Two: Finish your paper mache globe by painting on the oceans and continents.

Day three: Maybe you choose to do a few experiments to learn about some of the individual planets in the solar system.

Day Four: You could take a field trip to a petroglyph or pictograph site near you.

Day Five: Flex day!

All through the two week period you are also reading books from the library on all these topics during reading time and possibly using writing prompts from the sidebars for writing practice.

Not everyone will use the curriculum this way.  You might want to do history several times a week, or spend less time on some topics and more on others.  It’s very flexible allowing for you to create your own schedule, while keeping you on track.

Do I have to complete all the Explorations, Experiments, and Expeditions?

No.  This is a pick-and-choose curriculum.  We give ideas, you decide what works for you.  Most people will probably only do one or two explorations per topic.  But you should complete a few activities in each unit to make this a complete learning course for your kids.

How do I download the product I purchased?

After you complete a purchase there is a link on PayPal that will send you to your online receipt.  You also should get a receipt in your email inbox within seconds of your purchase.  Click on the link to your online receipt.  The link to download your purchases is located in the lower left of your online receipt.  If you do not receive an emailed receipt within a few minutes of your purchase then contact us (contact@layers-of-learning.com) right away.  We can send you your receipt.

 

12 Responses to FAQs

  1. Jennifer Dedman says:

    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.

    • 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. Gale says:

    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.

    • 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. Natalie says:

    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. Heather Harris says:

    When will Year 4 be completed?

  5. Amy Pavlovik says:

    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.

  6. Vicki Eden says:

    I’m trying to find the free printable code for the printable packs. I have the free unit 1, but I can’t seem to find the code. Can someone help me, please?!

    • 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.

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