Layers of Learning Year 1, Unit 1

So far, Layers of Learning is working wonderfully!  We are all enjoying working with this program, and we are looking forward to continuing with it for the rest of the year.  As always, I tweaked the program to fit our needs.  This unit, we learned about first civilizations, maps and globes, planets, and cave art.

LL does a wonderful job with providing background information for all of the areas discussed.  However, I am actually using LL as a supplement to our core history program.  Why add more, you ask??  Well, LL is just that awesome!!!  There are sooooo many hands-on projects to choose from, and they cover several areas that I feel we aren’t covering.  I am particularly enjoying the geography and science portions.  We are using the LL geography sections as our core for geography.  And our science curriculum focuses on one area per year, and I am enjoying the varied themes LL covers to shake it up a bit.  Basically, we do our core reading from whichever program we are using and notebook what we learned.  Then, we chose a few hands-on projects from LL to complete.  Usually, we read and note booked one day and then did a project the next.  This method seems to work well for us, and was used for science, history, and geography.

Our favorite projects:

 

Our cave decorated with our very own cave art!

Our cave decorated with our very own cave art!

 

Solar system model brought to you by Jasmine.  I think she did a fabulous job (her Jupiter is my favorite)!

Solar system model brought to you by Jasmine. I think she did a fabulous job (her Jupiter is my favorite)!

 

I am providing a list of the notebooking pages I used from notebookingpages.com.

  • Cuneiform
  • Gilgamesh
  • Sumerians
  • Geography
  • Continents/Oceans copying
  • General Astronomy pages
  • Planets copying

What I loved about using LL:  This was not an open-and-go curriculum, but I did find it extremely easy to use.  I had many of the supplies needed for the hands-0n projects, and those that I did not have on hand were easy to find and inexpensive.  There were also a lot of different projects and activities to choose from…notice I said choose.  There are too many to really do all of them in a limited time frame, but I had plenty of options that allowed me to pick what would work best for us (after I convinced myself that it would really, really be ok if we didn’t do one or two fun projects).  The projects are also leveled, so you can easily tell if it would be appropriate for your particular student.  My all time favorite aspect of LL is Jasmine’s reaction to it.  Nearly every day I heard comments like, “My school is soooo much fun!” and “Can I just keep working on this?”  What teacher/parent doesn’t like to hear that?!

We are moving on to Year 1, Unit 2 next!!!

Layers of Learning Introduction!

This year was a difficult year to plan.  Jasmine is in an awkward stage of learning where some of her skills are extremely advanced, whereas others are right on target.  Mostly, her reading level is extremely high, but her maturity level (just turned 6) and writing skills won’t allow her to effectively complete some curricula we plan on using.  This discrepancy led us to research a different history program for this year.

We originally planned on using the Veritas Press history series.  However, this program does not usually begin until 2nd grade.  VP’s history is pretty writing intensive, and while she could handle the reading and project aspect, we did not feel that she was truly ready to complete this program without frustration on both of our parts.  Couple this fact with the idea that history is done in conjugation with an equally rigorous Bible program, and I was in desperate need for a fun substitute without giving up our classical approach.  Enter Layers of Learning!!  This program looks AMAZING, and I cannot wait to begin using it this week!!

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Layers of Learning (LL) uses the classical method of a four-year history cycle.  So far, Year 1 and Year 2 are complete, with plans for Year 3 units to be released this summer.  My favorite part of Layers of Learning is that is combines history, geography, art, and science.  I have science already planned for the year, but the LL science aspect looks stunning, so I plan on adding a few projects to introduce topics we have not covered yet.  I also like the art ideas.  Art is an area I struggle with.  We all love art, but it usually ends up left out.  I am hoping that won’t be the case this year because LL ties art in along with our other subjects.

I put together a three-ring binder for Jasmine to keep all of her LL work.  The binder is divided into 3 sections – one each for history, geography, and science.  Art will be displayed on our art wall, and then photographed for our portfolio.  This year, I am going to try more notebooking in our school (I will post more on this later).  I recently purchased a subscription to notebookingpages.com, and I was able to find notebooking pages for several of the topics we will discuss.  I printed these pages and placed them in her folder for easy access.  This week, we will be starting with Year 1, Unit 1.  This unit focuses on first civilizations, maps, globes, planets, and cave paintings.  I will post our favorite highlights at the end of the unit:)  If you want to try Unit 1 for free, just head over to their website and sign up for their newsletter!

 

2014-2015 Curricula

Hey!  It has been awhile since I have posted.  Life has been a bit crazy around here, and I am hoping we are getting back to normal.  This summer, we are finishing up our school year and getting ready to start the next level next week.  I have all of our curricula picked out and ready to go!

 

  • Math – Saxon Math 2 (core) and Math Mammoth Grade 2 (supplemental work) – We will be working on 3 lessons of Saxon per week, with MM as a supplement.
  • Literature - Various Literature units by Veritas Press and possibly testing Hewitt Lightning Literature.
  • Spelling – Building Spelling Skills 1 (moving on to 2 if needed)  by Christian Liberty Press – These spelling lists are long, at 20 words each.  I split them into groups of 10 each.
  • Science – Apologia Zoology 2 with Junior Notebooking Journal – We enjoyed Zoology 1, and look forward to doing the next book.
  • Grammar – Rod and Staff Preparing to Build
  • Writing – IEW Bible Heroes
  • History – Layers of Learning (individual units) – This history program is one I just discovered.  It looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try it.  I will actually be reviewing this program, so you will hear more about it.
  • Spanish – The Fun Spanish by Brookdale – We LOVED Song School Spanish 1, but there is no 2 out yet and she is not ready to move up to the more intensive workbooks.  We will work slowly through The Fun Spanish.
  • Latin – Prima Latina (we will be working slowly through this book, so I am unsure how long it will take to complete)
  • Bible – Children’s Book of Virtues, The Child’s Story Bible, and The Big Picture Bible Timeline – On Monday, we will read a story from CBV.  The rest of the week, we will read from CSB, coloring a picture as we get to that story.
  • Logic – Lollipop Logic

We will be alternating days for Spanish and Latin.  For the other subjects, we will be working on them a little each day.  Jasmine seems to do best when we do a little of every subject every day.  She is capable of working well above grade level, but likes to work in short increments.  Please keep in mind this list may not work for your family.  Every child is different, so what works for us may not fit well with your child.

Keep on the lookout for preschool plans and reviews for some of the new programs we are trying!

Preschool Week 1 – Cows

Our first week of learning for Aladdin is going well!  He is loving his one-on-one time with Mommy, and he enjoys being a big kid.  He also loves the new (well, to him) toys and activities I have broken out for him.

Below is our schedule for this week.  Our theme is cows.  As always, I will preface it with a warning of sorts.  Aladdin is not quite two and extremely active, so somedays he would get up in the middle of story time and walk away.  I simply continued reading the story to the older girls (who never miss out on read-alouds).  Sometimes he would come back, others he chose not to.  While I heavily advocate for early academic learning, I do not believe in forcing school on them at his age.  Also, not everything was done in one sitting.  Songs, rhymes, etc., were sung and recited throughout the day.

I put together a theme bin for him to play with each day.  It included some cow toys from his sister’s animal bin, a cow rattle, a cow stuffed animal, a cow puppet, and a cow from his Little People farm.  I also threw in a lacing card that had a cow pictured on it (not in my picture).  While he is not ready for lacing cards, he loved walking around with the card in his hands.

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We also used the felt board each day to talk about our shape, letter, number, and theme.

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Daily:

  • Nursery Rhyme (Hey Diddle Diddle)
  • Songs (Old MacDonald, Apple song from Songs for Saplings, ABC song, Jesus Loves Me from Wee Sing Bible Songs, Brilla Brilla Estrellita)
  • Vocabulary (calf, la vaca, la leche)
  • Shape, letter, number, theme (square, A, 1, cows)
  • Farm peg puzzle

Books (one/two per day):

  • The Cow that went Oink/La vaca que decia Oink by Bernard Most
  • The Jolly Barnyard by Annie Bedford
  • Mr. Brown can moo?  Can You? by Dr. Seuss
  • Click, Clack, Moo – Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • The Milk Makers by Gail Gibbons
  • Algarabia en la Granja by Margaret Read MacDonald

Special Activities:

  • Let’s Color Kumon Workbook Activity 1 – Monday
  • Cow stamps from his Melissa and Doug Farm Stamp set – Tuesday
  • Fine motor skill activity from Preparatory Curriculum - Wednesday
  • Letter book – Thursday
  • Number book – Friday
  • Preschool Art Page 217 – Friday

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I am also using this curriculum with Sunshine, who is nearly four.  I just make a few modifications for her to make it more advanced.

  • Get out our sand tray and let her trace the letter/number/shape of the week in the sand.
  • Use the corresponding letter activities from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Her preschool stuff is amazing (and also free if you download each item individually).  This actually makes up the base of my 3-year-old homeschool choice, and includes tracing, patterns, number recognition, etc.
  • Have her color in the number and letter before adding the stickers.

 

PreK 2 Resources

As I was preparing for our new school adventure, I discovered that I needed a few items to make my life a little easier.  Because I wanted the items to fit Aladdin’s needs and line up with the Preparatory curriculum, I made a few documents I thought I would share with my readers.

The first item we needed was a letter book.  We are focusing on the uppercase letters, so I made him a letter book by printing out my document and binding it with my comb binder.  Awhile ago, I purchased a set of Alphabet Picture Stickers.  We will be putting them in our book as we go along.  Access the letter book here:  Letter book.

The second item we needed was a number book.  I created the book the same way as I did the letter book.  I just purchased a few dinosaur and car/truck stickers for him to use with his number book.  Access the number book here:  Number Book.

We learn a new nursery rhyme every week so I made some nursery rhyme cards to hang up.  These nursery rhymes roughly correlate with the rhymes covered in the Preparatory curriculum.  I believe I exchanged 8 of the 26 rhymes with ones that we are more familiar with.  I printed these out and laminated them.  I made two copies – one to hang on the fridge as a reminder to me to go over them and one for Aladdin to hold on to.  Access the nursery rhyme cards here:  Nursery Rhymes.

I broke out the felt board to use during our learning time, as well.  I needed felt shapes, letters, and numbers.  For the letters and numbers, I printed an extra copy of the letter/number book and used those as a template.  I cut them out, traced them onto felt, and then cut out the felt.  For the shapes, I made a pdf template and did the same thing.  Access the felt shape template here:  Felt Shape Template.

I hope you can find a use for these items!  They are all free and will be posted on my Printables page.