Thursday, July 17, 2014

After a long hiatus, I'm back... with something NEW!!

At least it's new to me, and it seems like almost everyone else!

It's a curriculum called Layers of Learning. It's like nothing I have ever seen before!  It follows a 4 year cycle, but is units at the same time. It's not a booklist, it's not quite a unit study, it's just.... different!

I want to give some background on us here.... my kids are not book lovers (much to my dismay).  They are not huge fans of read-alouds unless they are fun.  They are much more visual and hands on.  Miss Frizzle would be their dream teacher.  I have spent the past few years bouncing from one thing to the next, trying to find our fit.  I finally gave up and spent the better part of June planning out our own history that contained short readings and tons of hands on crafts, songs, and videos.  I was just getting ready to work on science so we had enough for a few weeks to go on when Layers of Learning sort of fell on the ground in front of me.... or well on the screen of my laptop.  

Let me tell you, this is exactly what I have dreamed of. The guide is bright and interesting, but not overwhelming.  Basically, all the content subjects are covered.. history, geography, science and the arts, each having their own section.  The sections begin with a short intro you can read to your kids, then a list of activities (that are marked according to difficulty!!) that you can pick and choose from.  There are sidebars on each page that contain interesting facts, extra activities, names of people and places to peak your children's interest.  Best of all, it's secular!  

We will be beginning Unit 1-1 (which you can get for FREE when you sign up for their newsletter!).  My plan is to grab some books off the shelves that cover the topics of the unit to make them accessible to the kiddos.  I will look on Discovery Education Streaming and see what videos I can find (using the list of topics from the booklists at the beginning of each unit).  We will do a few activities from each section, following the Layers of Learning suggestion to cover one section each day (Monday is History, Tuesday is Geography, Wednesday is Science, Thursday is Arts and Friday is a flex day). 

I chose to print the unit.  I do better with paper in my hands.  I used cardstock for the front and back and comb bound it. I will do that for each unit.  I like to be portable and my laptop just is not portable and my tablet takes a beating when the kids get their paws on it so it hides most of the time.  I also want to be able to mark the activities we plan to do, make notes about how things went, etc. 

Oh yeah, one more thing.... it's affordable!  Each unit (which is meant to last 2 weeks but really could last longer or shorter depending on how many of the activities you choose to do) is only $4.99 in PDF form OR you can get a whole year (20 units) for $79.80.  What other curriculum out there is as well laid out, as flexable and gives you history, geography, science and art for under a hundred bucks?  

I will be reviewing the units as we go through them, so stay tuned.  I'm really excited to have found this and know I can't be the only one who has waited a long time for this.

Go check them out! Their site is fabulous!  So much wisdom and inspiration!

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