Friday, June 7, 2013

Something New To Us This Year: History Timeline Notebook

Last year, we attempted to keep a wall timeline with our history readings.    We ran into a couple of problems with that.
The first problem was that because it had to fit on the WALL, we were limited in space.  I only allowed half a page for each century.  This might be fine if you want to do a simple “list” style timeline, but not so much if you want to add images.   We very quickly ran out of space in certain centuries, with lots of blank spots in others.
The other problem is that it KEPT FALLING DOWN.   So in the end…we ditched it.  It was just too frustrating.
So, for this year, we decided to start again, and this time we are doing a timeline notebook.   I also decided to switch curriculums to Ambleside Online, beginning with Year 1 – another good reason to start fresh.  (Why we switched to AO…well that’s a topic for another time ;-)
The basic setup is similar to our wall timeline.  The opening page starts with Creation:
Then we have a two page spread for events prior to 2000 BC.  Regardless of if you hold to a “young earth” or “old earth” view of origins, many dates before this are in dispute, and I just didn’t want to get into that with my very young students.  
Then after that, we have a two page spread for each century until the present, with a tab to divide the ‘BC’ years from the ‘AD’  years.   I inserted our family (including grandparents) in their appropriate spaces too (the kids are featured on the AD 2000 page.) 

 The additional tabs in the back are for adding any appropriate notebook pages, maps, or other documents and projects we may do as we go along. There is one tab for each major era: Ancients, Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation, Early Modern, and Modern. We haven’t done a whole lot that with that yet, however, other than to add a notebook page about our artist for the term.

At the end of every AO week, we add the figures for any historical people we studied that week.   Already, we’re starting to discover who lived around the same time as whom.   Over time, we’ll start to see even more of the big picture and make even more connections. 
It is my intention to continue with this same notebook for AO Years 1-6, which represents the first “pass” through history.   For Years 7-12 (the second “pass” through history), we’ll probably look into keeping a true Book of Centuries – something like this.  Each of my younger children will begin their own notebook when they start AO Year 1, when they are around 6.5-7 years old.
Oh…and about our timeline figures: many of them were taken from the Homeschool in the Woods Timeline figures CD, and the rest I did a simple search on Google to find images for the figures that weren’t included in the set.  I continue to use the Homeschool in the Woods figures because I have them, but if I could go back and do it over again, I’m not sure that I would buy the CD.  While they are lovely, it is just as easy to search on Google for an appropriate image as to search the CD and Google has the advantage of being free.  (All that to say, if you’re on a budget, I’d recommend saving your money for something else.)   I went through and printed a full set of figures for the entirety of AO Year 1, organized by weeks ahead of time.   This is a necessity for me, because the chances of it actually getting done if I don’t organize ahead of time are slim to none.   It’s a little tedious, but then it’s done for the whole year (and the document saved for future students!!)  Later on down the road, I may let each child decide who they want to include in their notebook – perhaps when they are old enough to search for and print their own images.   We’ll see.  For now this system is working well for us.
So there you have it...our history notebook!

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