putting HIStory into perspective....a timeline

Oliver asked one time, "Mom, was Grandma alive at the same time as Laura and Mary?"

That right there was all I needed to hear to know that the kids have a hard time grasping history....order of events, times and places and how they all fit together.  Of course, as a homeschooling mom, I had already been reading about the value of using a timeline....
From Homeschool in the Woods  
"With eras of "time" being such an abstract concept, a child can have difficulties wrapping his young mind around the idea of it! (Adults, too!) Quite often the student will become frustrated and bored, resulting in a deflated desire to understand the subject at all.
Understanding when and where events took place, however, is crucial to understanding the patterns that evolved throughout history! It also illustrates God's hand in all things from civilizations to sciences, something unfortunately left out in public school educations today.
The key factor lacking in teaching the subject of history was transforming it from an abstract concept to a concrete framework, visible and even tangible! Practically all people, young or old, rely on visualizing in order to learn. A child will see patterns happening and will make sense of how one event leads to another or a person's importance affecting a turn of events. Once you add in a hands-on element, you create an environment where the child has additional exposure to the lesson, building memories relating to the project that will further cement the lesson in his mind." 

After my good homeschooling friend had a timeline painted all the way around the top of the room where she schools, I realized what a great idea it was to have said timeline in front of our eyes all the time.  (Thanks, Jody!)  Then I could answer such questions as Oliver's by pointing and saying, "No, Oliver, Grandma was not alive at the same time as the Ingalls family.  See?" 

I painted the line, did some complicated (for me!) math figuring to equally space out the centuries, and stenciled them onto the line.  (Which, I have to say, took some patience.)

Then I had a talented girl (who had done my friend's timeline) come and paint key Biblical events onto the timeline.  Starting with this, of course....

Then, an ark for the Flood, a ram and altar for Abraham and Isaac....

tablets for Moses and the Ten Commandments....

a crown, sheep and shepherd's staff for King David....

and a lion to remind of us Daniel (and the Lion of Judah!).

Last and most important, where all of civilization hangs their hope, the great divide between BC and AD, a painting to remind us of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  All of time is divided into before our Saviour left His Heavenly dwelling to rescue us and after His work was done and He ascended back there to create a Home for us.  I can't tell you how many times we've pointed up to that "0" in relation to history.....the home-base for everything.  It really is HIS-story of redemption.  

I also had Psalm 25:4-5 painted onto one long wall.

The kids (and I) are amazed sometimes to realize what Biblical events were happening at the same time as "worldly" ones...as in, "The Ancient Greek Olympics and Jonah?!?!"

Whenever we learn about something, I scour the internet for a lovely image to print off and tape up under the respective year on the timeline.  You could even tape up little copies of covers of favorite books you've read under the year they took place.  Or a piece of artwork under the year it was painted.  There are so many brilliant things you can add to enhance understanding of time and events.

Here are some links I've enjoyed related to timelines:
Jimmie Homeschool Mom's excellent lens....tons of info and linkage here!
Heather Sanders for Pioneer Woman...timeline in a notebook
Paula's Archives on timelines...lots of links
Higher Up and Further In's notecard timeline on a string

May I share just one more thing that's been a blessing to me in our homeschooling this year?

It's this....our file folder system...a simplified version of the popular workbox system that you might have heard about.

I fill up the folders every night with things like books, math, journals, writing prompts, mazes, puzzles, tangrams, spelling flashcards, research prompts, art projects...whatever I feel like needs to be worked on that day.  Sometimes the boy's will find papers that say things like, "Go outside and run around the house three times" or "Take five minutes and get a snack" or "Show and tell, your choice" or "Hop like a frog 50 times" or "Go find something interesting outside and draw it".  

I think this system has been successful for us because my boy's like to SEE what needs to be done in a day.  Knowing that when the folders are emptied, they are FREE to spend the rest of the day outside exploring, if they wish.

So, there's my two-cents about things that are working for me.  Do you homeschool?  Have any great ideas to share of things that are working for you?  Or would you like to share your timeline or system with us?  Feel free to link here!  Thanks!

Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful,
Christ-serving, love-giving mamas!

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  1. Love that timeline!!! We do ours in a book and the visualizing really helps!

  2. I LOVE YOUR TIMELINE! I have been overwhelmed trying to figure out how to do a timeline that fits with our family- our house is very colorful and we just don't jive with the typed and very organized and boring timelines. You have inspired me!


you and your words are a GIFT to me! thank you!