When we started homeschooling, I wanted a tool to help the children connect the pieces of history that floated round in movies, conversations and textbooks and tie them together. I wanted them to have a sense of what happened when. I never put the pieces together well during my school years and wanted them to have a better grasp on history. Obviously, a timeline was the answer. Today, you can probably find fancy ones online to customize. Back then (1994), I drew a very basic notebook timeline. The kids used it from kindergarten through graduation. We found pictures of famous people to put in our timeline notebooks. We used different colors and shapes to represent different periods or events. We insert half pages to add material within a century. The first day of school, we plot the kindergartener’s birthday, our “family birthday” (aka Kurt and my anniversary), and the birthdays of each sibling. From there, we start using it for our history, science, and religion units.
The tool has worked, but today. . .ah, today. Today, 15 year old Kari had an “aha” moment that made all these years’ work worthwhile. She had two actually.
This month, we’ve been studying the kings and queens of England and Scotland. Today’s discussion was about King James IV of Scotland who became King James I of England and Scotland after the death of Queen Elizabeth. In the timeline of his rule, I read to myself, “1611 – Publication of first official version of the Bible.” With a little smile, I asked the kids, “Where else do you remember hearing about King James?” It took a few seconds, but then Kari’s eyes got real big: “That was then? I thought it had happened years before this. Wow!” Wow, yes! It was so cool, I wanted to jump up and down and do a happy dance! A few minutes later, we came across Oliver Cromwell’s name. Again, the big eyes and with much facial animation, “Oliver Cromwell! I know about him! This is where he fits!” It is, indeed, and this is how the whole story is supposed to come together!
It was wonderful to see the connections made, the pieces come together. It was what homeschooling is all about—helping them find the world and their places in it. Today was a very good day.