Sunday, November 6, 2016

DIY History "Textbook"- Make Your Own Timeline of World History

Fall keeps marching on and here on the Oregon Coast that means less days of little boys playing out in the sunshine and more rainy days in the house with Mama- I have an affinity for both kinds of days. Today we fell back in day light savings time which looks like it being dark by 5 pm. This is the season for Gathering- gathering together my boys in our cozy home while the rains come down outside. Gathering stories to fill little imaginations with new adventures and heroes to "be" when a clear day comes along. Some of the very best kind of stories I want to share with my boys are the truest ones- History. More and more, I am being convicted that giving a comprehensive and correct view of what has happened in the world before our time and place in it, is one of the most noble goals in an education. I want my boys to see and know both the gravity and the hope of our place in time and history. That there truly is nothing new under the sun and to learn from the mistakes and the victories of those who have gone before us. I want to know these things- I need to know these things.

 While I was fortunate to have an advantage being educated
 with christian history text books, I still don't feel that remembering the bold type names and dates in the book just long enough to take a test really gave me a true picture or love for History. I am really enamored with the idea of introducing history to my boys through living books and am so thankful for the multitude of pre-organized history "spines" to provide a conclusive time frame and book list to delve into. So far, I have used a mixture of Sonlight's Core A- Introduction to the World and Beautiful Feet Books- Early American History. There are two main schools of thought on how to introduce history and the world to children: the first is to start with national history (since that is in a big sense, their "world") and the second is to begin with a brief scope of global reach. I have had a very hard time committing to either philosophy exclusively. I love the idea and have really enjoyed presenting glimpses of other cultures and peoples to my boys but there are also so many amazing books and heroes from our own national history for kids. So, I have done both! Sometimes, I get a little scared that it is too broad and not focused enough of an approach for them to get a clear understanding of any type of a timeline in it all. But I am holding on to the hope of Charlotte Mason's teaching to just set out a broad feast of truth and that the child will make the connections they need to in due time. 

 One very helpful way to keep all of this new found knowledge in line is a history timeline. This is no new idea and there are plenty of versions, both pre-made and bought or DIY and free. I know this is an idea I want to implement on an individual level when my boys are older students. I think it will be very neat for each of them to have their own "version" of world history- a catalog of prominent events and things that stood out to them the most thru their education. I know they are too young to take this project on right now, right now it would be mom doing all the work for them! But I also am aware that we are learning so much great history right now,while they are small, that I want to have a record of. In comes another amazing resource from Thinking Tree Books, Make Your Own Timeline of World History. When I talked with Sarah Janisse Brown, the creator of Thinking Tree Books, about the books she would recommend I try out with my boys this year, I mentioned to her that I was really interested in doing a history timeline but felt it would be a little presumptuous to start with my boys being so young. Sarah was so encouraging in her advice- She reminded me that kids learn best when Mama is learning right alongside of them. She suggested that I go ahead and start a timeline for all of us currently and I am so glad I took her advice! It has been a lot of fun already to not only learn about some amazing individuals and their contributions to World History, but also be able to peg them to a certain period. From there, it is pretty neat to have a evolving grid to hold new discoveries and dates up to and see how everything fits together!

The book itself is a joy to use- It has a vibrantly designed cover with a lush, matte finish. It is impressively thick at 365 pages- plenty of room for recording a whole lot of history! There is a straight forward and simple to use page format of A box for your time period date, a space for drawing or pictures and a lined box for journaling. I'll admit, at first I was a little intimidated by how open ended the format of this book is. It is truly designed to be customized to whatever your family needs it to be! I looked around the internet a bit and did some brainstorming and decided to break the book up into 26 equally portioned time frames. I used page flags to mark off the different time eras and make them quickly accessible. 

Lately, we have been learning about Vikings- particularly reading thru Leif the Lucky and learning about the earliest discovery of North America. My oldest has been loving reading one of these delightful classics from the D'Aulaires! we also use the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia and Living Long Ago quite a lot after being introduced to them by Sonlight. I found a fun viking paper doll printable that my oldest colored. We cut it out and put in our Vikings time period pages and have enjoyed adding information about Leif the explorer as we go!

I am so glad to have come across the idea and started to implement a history timeline so early in my boys' schooling journey. What a treasure it will be to have our ventures thru history mapped out for us in this delightful book. That will be something this Mama will consider a family heirloom! ;) 

 I received this book from the Thinking Tree LLC.

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