Why Use a Timeline?

5982837164_aa57b8bd61_bIf you’ve been wondering where I went, I’ve added a note to the end of the post to excuse my bad blogger behaviour!  My apologies!  Watch the video in my post to learn how you can win a free timeline book.

In my last post, I talked about some of the reasons I have fallen off the four-year-cycle bandwagon.  I don’t feel it’s a flexible schedule, I don’t feel it’s “fast” enough for the younger ages, and I don’t feel it capitalizes on spontaneous learning opportunities.

Despite that, I still love many of the products available for the four year cycle, such at the Story of the World books/audioboks, etc.

I’ve tried hard to think of a way to have my cake and eat it, too.  This is how we approach  history in our home:

  • During the summer, we read an overview book of world history.  I will give a few recommendations for these in my next post.  This give a good global look at where things started and where they went, at a fast enough pace that we haven’t forgotten the Egyptians by WWII.  Relevant people, events, and trends are marked in our timeline book.
  • During the school year, we move through SOTW audio books, usually at an accelerated pace- one section per day, so a bit more than two chapters per week on average.  We listen during breakfast and consult the globe and map for reference.  We also read corresponding picture books as relevant.  Names and events again, go into the timeline.
  • When an opportunity appears for deeper learning a topic of particular interest, a traveling exhibit, a fiction book set in a given time period, we are free to hop in our time machine and zoom to where we want to be.  And the same is true of our timeline- we simply fast-forward to where we want to be.  The mass of pages separating our breakfast routine SOTW from our new interest helps to place the even in a mental chronology.
  • We spend part of our morning time memorizing a timeline card set.  (And a miniature version of the card, thanks to a photocopier gets placed int he timeline!)

By letting history pull us in multiple directions, we can follow our interests and local opportunities as they strike.  But by anchoring everything to the timeline, we do not lose the “flow” of history over the ages.

And now, here is a video tour of two timeline products that I have purchased History Through the Ages, from Homeschool in the Woods and the Add-A-Century Timeline.

For a more budget friendly and child friendly option, read this tutorial from CharlotteMasonHelp.com or simply google “homemade book of centuries” or “homemade timeline” for many variations, including free downloads and printables.

One thing I forgot to mention in the video is that the Add-A-Century timeline also comes with category labels to run down the left or right margin of each spread, things like war, government, literature, science, art, etc.  I really like this idea for keeping the timeline organised.  A simple homemade version of this can be seen here.

How are you approaching history in your homeschool?

The winner will be chosen on Friday, October 30th! 


Where I’ve been…

If you watched the video, I confess to being a perfectionist.  I took picture after picture of the timelines I discuss in the video, and none of them were “good enough” for my nice, new, shiny blog.  After much encouragement from a good friend of mine, I finally threw the pictures out the window, made a video in one take, and while I did watch the video before posting it, I did not allow myself to do a retake or edit.  I just needed to get this post out, and move on!!!  Yes, it took me six months to figure that out…

So I do apologize.  I hope to get back into my blogging routine, but I must keep in mind that homeschooling and blogging about it would be so much easier if I didn’t have all these kids running around making messes and getting hungry all the time!  Of course, it would also be pointless.  🙂  So please bear with me, as I am still in the trenches of baby and toddler years here!

3 thoughts on “Why Use a Timeline?”

  1. Thanks! I’ve always wanted a timeline but have been too perfectionistic to even start! I like the Charlotte Mason idea because I can’t draw and I don’t know what I’m doing. I can just use an old notebook and start, and once I get the feel for it I’ll know when it’s time for a larger family timeline. Thanks for the inspiration!

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