Someone asked if I would review “Layers of Learning” and me being me, thought “Of course I will! It is another homeschool curriculum to look into!” And so I did and here we are.
Layers of Learning is different to most homeschool curricula out there. This is a family style unit study curriculum. It goes in a 4 year cycle and you can use the same 4 years three times to complete your child’s education, because each time they come back to the unit they will be older – and therefore have a different understanding, capabilities, etc.
It was started in 2008 by sisters, Karen and Michelle, Layers of Learning was written based on their homeschooling experiences and desire to go deeper and do better.
“We believe that mentors know their kids best and love them most, so we made this curriculum pick-and-choose. You direct the learning, we provide the ideas.
We believe learning should be hands-on, fun, and memorable, so we made this curriculum activity based.
We believe families are happier and children learn more when they learn together, all ages, so we made this curriculum family style.”
Layers of Learning covers Language Arts (in the form of Writers Workshop), History, Science, Social Studies and Art. There are 9 units for each subject, with each unit designed to be a month of learning.
From their website, they say they are affordable, flexible and made for families. In delving deeper I would say that is correct.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT LAYERS OF LEARNING
- I like that it is family style, so you don’t have to have an individual curriculum for each child based on age and grade.
- It is flexible. You can decide if you want to do one subject per day or each subject every day.
- It is pick and choose. They give the ideas and you get to decide what you want to do – explorations wise and books you read.
- They use colored smileys inside the books to indicate levels. Yellow is for ages 6-9 (or 1st-4th grade). Green is for ages 10-13 (or 5th-8th grade). Blue is for ages 14-18 (or 9th-12th grade).
- Art is considered an important subject for each year. It covers art history and artists, as well as drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.
- This curriculum uses a variety of activities in their explorations, so it appeals to all the different learning styles.
- They show you how to assign credits for high school transcripts.
- The information presented is well researched and still allows you to go deeper if your children show interest in learning more.
- You can use different units as a supplement to the curriculum you are using
- It is more intensive for parents in preparation as you will need to get the books they recommend, or choose your own. Parents will also need to get all the supplies needed for the explorations. If you are looking for a pick-up-and-go curriculum, this is not one for you.
- Math is not a subject covered. You will need to get a math curriculum if you wish your child to learn from one.
- It follows more of a classical style in that you follow a 4 year cycle and go deeper as the child gets older.
- Layers of Learning is neither Christian or secular. They believe it is the role of the parents to teach children values, faith and belief systems. They present facts and ask questions – the parent helps their children interpret them.
A complete subject that has all 9 units for the year is $69.99 for the printed book. If you purchase all 5 it will cost you just under $350. Now remember, this is for all children in your family and will be used in a 4 year cycle. So it becomes very cost effective. The PDF version is $44.99 for each complete subject per year.
If you only want one unit they are $6 each as a PDF only and you get the unit book and a printable pack.
The mentor guidebooks for each subject are $6 each. They help the mentor understand the subject, the program, and how to use the units to full advantage.
The unit book is for the mentor (parent/teacher). It contains lists of books you can get at the library or purchase, hands-on activities, which they call Explorations, and sidebars for extra information, famous people, writing ideas, and more. The Printable Pack is a PDF of printables the student will need to complete many of the Explorations in the Layers of Learning curriculum. Every unit comes with its own Printable Pack included.
There are samples of different units on their website so that you can look at what is involved and to help decide if this is a curriculum for you. I spent quite a bit of time reading through all the samples to see how they set it out and how easy it would be to use. They have put a lot of energy into making it user friendly.
What speaks to me
What speaks to me is that it is family style and unit based. This is not the norm, and some families want this. If that is the case, then this is a curriculum for you!
You can check out Layers of Learning here.