Friday, 10 August 2012

A Charlotte Mason timeline for the early years of history

This year I'm going to start teaching history the Charlotte Mason way!  I didn't realize how much I was leaving out before when all I required was a verbal narration.  After reading more about it here (scroll down to page 292, "Dates"), I found out I need a century timeline. 

"In order to give definiteness to what may soon become a pretty wide knowledge of history––mount a sheet of cartridge-paper and divide it into twenty columns, letting the first century of the Christian era come in the middle, and let each remaining column represent a century B.C. or A.D., as the case may be.  Then let the child himself write, or print, as he is able, the names of the people he comes upon in due order, in their proper century.  We need not trouble ourselves at present with more exact dates, but this simple table of the centuries will suggest a graphic panorama to the child's mind, and he will see events in their time-order."  ~Charlotte Mason (emphasis mine)


Ding Ding Ding Ding!  We have a winner!  This is exactly the kind of timeline I need. 

Here's how I'm accomplishing this:
1.  Purchase Ghostline Poster Kit at my local AC Moore (where it is half the price of Amazon!) 
2.  Attach 3 pieces together to form a long line
3.  Mark off century lines every 3 squares, to create a very long table running from 21st century BC to 21st century AD (did you know there is no year 0?!) - that's 42 centuries in all. 
4.  Write titles across the top
5.  Repeat so each child has his/her own chart.  

That's it!  Now, I'm going to have my two sons (one in AmbleSide Online Year 1, the other in Year 3) write the names of key people & events in the appropriate column with each narration.





I LOVE this approach to a timeline!  No pictures to find & cut out, no coloring.  Nothing to purchase except some poster board.  My kids despise all of that busywork (and those of you who have kids who love that, count yourself lucky!)  But the main benefit remains - getting the big picture of history over time as the child learns, automatic mental review of who & what we have already covered, & kinesthetic/visual reinforcement of important names & dates by the child writing down just that much limited information (not his whole narration).

I'm excited about implementing this in a few weeks!

19 comments:

  1. Great job dear - it looks lovely in our kitchen :) I look forward to seeing this get filled out over the year.
    Love,
    Your DH :)

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  2. Love it! My kids also aren't wild about figures and pictures. I am definitely not wild about spending $75 for a certain CD of timeline figures which shall remain nameless. Since we are going to make a timeline for next year, I think I shall appropriate your idea! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. LOL - I, also, almost bought that set! I was about to purchase when I read the above pages in V.1 - whew, I'm so glad I did! In our case it probably would have been a waste of money.

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  3. What a great idea! We keep a fmaily timeline book, but this could be a great way for each child to have a record of more details for themselves. hmmmmm.

    I linked your idea on my Missional Mama Facebook page to share!

    Amy
    www.missionalmamassoul.blogspot.com

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  4. So you said each child has their own?

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  5. I'm going to make one for my Year 1 son midway through this year, once he's more comfortable writing. Until then, I'm just going to write things on the older son's timeline, since we missed Years 1&2 with his timeline. I'll probably have him continue to fill in younger brother's items on his own timeline as we go along. Hopefully it will jog his memory of the work he did 2 years ago! Plus give him a bigger picture of history.

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  6. This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

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  7. Jennifer - thank you for posting this! I just tacked our timeline on the wall and I'm confident it will help the kiddos with their grasp of who did what when...thanks! Karen in Ky

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  8. Thank you so much for posting this! I spent a great amount of time trying to figure the "proper" way to do a timeline for my year one student, only to put it aside, and forget about it because it seemed overwhelming.

    I've got my timeline done, it's perfect for what I'm needing. I have a question that I can't find an answer to though, I'm hoping you can help. When entering people, for example Polycarp (69-155 AD), which Century do you add him to? Do I go by the DOB or the DOD? It's probably silly to worry about such things but I just want to do it "properly" again! lol

    Thank you again for posting your version! --Amanda, TX

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    1. Hi Amanda, Thanks for your comment! As for which century - really, there is not a "right" or "wrong" way. A few ideas - you could put him in the century where the most important events of his life took place. Or the one in which he spent the majority of his life. Or, just put his name in the earlier century & draw an arrow leading into the next century, if both are important. We're not aiming for perfection here - just a general overview to help your child to make connections & see the big picture.

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  9. Thanks so much Jennifer! I had the same experience as Amanda last year - I'm excited to go out to Office Depot today to pick up the poster board! Now we can go back over Year 1 and add what we learned as we go through year 2 :) Ah - what a relief!

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  10. This is what I do, except I just used printer paper and wider columns so it took a bit more space. I stuck it on the wall under our world map, and I am still doing the writing for him, since he abhors it :) It works well for me!

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  11. I absolutely love this idea! I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blog! I have a huge timeline book but rarely get to it because of the need to print images, etc. and because of the sheer bulk/size of the book itself! I will need to modify this idea to work in our home (no wall space to display) so what I am going to do is use 8-1/2 x 11 graph paper - and make one for each of my kids. I will keep the papers in a paper protector at the front of their folder/binder for the year. Since they use their folder/binder every day we will see it and use it. Seems so simple. Thank you again!

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  12. This is great! Thank you so much for sharing about it! I think this is what we might do. It's simple, easy, and like you said - you don't have to try and find timeline figures, draw pictures, etc. Plus, I like that you can see the flow of history at a glance.
    Karen

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  13. So should the dates go from 100-199AD (etc.) or 101-200AD? My mom said one way, you should the other...I'm befuddled. Please explain. :) Thanks!!

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    1. Rochelle, The "20th Century" technically ends with the year 2000. So 2000 was the last year in that century. 2001 began the 21st century. This is because there is no Year 0 AD or BC. It goes straight from 1 BC to 1 AD. You can count the centuries for yourself. The 1st century AD was 1-100 AD. The second was 101-200. And so forth.

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  14. I see this was posted a couple years ago. Have you made any modifications since then? I'm looking for ideas, and I like this one, just thought I'd check in to see if you would do anything differently.
    THanks!

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    1. Hi Jenny! No, I haven't made any modifications. I did have trouble with this because, frankly, my DS hated writing. With a passion. So he was never very hot on this timeline, though he did use it. (Although, he hated coloring more so something else may not have worked, either.) I am currently in the throes of juggling a newborn and 17 month old so I haven't been able to reconsider a timeline, but I need to revisit this idea for next year with my other son and daughter who are working together. Honestly, there are many wonderful timeline ideas out there. For me, CM's method emphasizes simplicity and a big-picture overview for the child. Keeping those principles in mind no matter what you end up doing will help keep things developmentally appropriate and fun.

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  15. Jennifer! Thanks for your feedback. You are in a very busy season! Even if things work for a time, life comes along, kids change, needs change, and we adapt. That's part of rolling with this whole life-thing:) Adapt to the needs of the season!!
    The columns look narrow to me, so I was curious if you had any feedback regarding whether it was too small for writing. You, know learn from what others have discovered:)
    Thanks for your reply. Blessings~

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