History is one of those subjects in which I have hopped around a bit in our teaching methods. We have used straight textbooks, time period specific unit studies, videos, and historical fiction. This year for middle school I started using a timeline as a basis for our homeschool history studies.
What I Love About Timelines for Homeschool History Studies
So now the question is, why use a timeline?
1. Chronological Order
One of the most obvious traits of a timeline is that it puts things on chronological order. I worried that I had jumped around a bit too much with my youngest and thought using a timeline as a basis for our homeschool history studies this year would offer her the chance to connect some of the dots when it comes to people and events in history.
2. Use with Multiple Ages
Timelines are easy to adapt to pretty much any age. You can add more or less detail, and supplement more or less depending on the level of the child. This means you could easily homeschool multiple ages of children using a timeline as a basis for homeschool history studies.
With timelines you can pick and choose what to cover. It is easy to be flexible about the topics of study because you don’t have to hop through page after page or chapter after chapter of a history text to study what you want. Simply make a quick list or outline of what you want to cover on your timeline and go!
How We Are Using Timelines for Homeschool History Studies
Now let me tell you exactly what, and how we are using timelines for our homeschool history studies.
Home School in the Woods has a resource called History Through the Ages Timeline Figures. This is a collection of over 1,200 figures that can be used for your timeline purposes. When you have the 2 CD set you can print timeline figures in a variety of ways and sizes. This collection spans both world and American history from Creation to Present Day.
Make A Time Period List – I started by breaking down what we wanted to study into time periods. Since we are only doing American History that means I took from about 1400 through Present Day and broke it down into chunks. You can see my American History Time period list here.
Make a Person & Events List – Under each time period that I broke American History into, I created a list of people, places, and events that I wanted to cover. The Suggested Placement Guide that Home School in the Woods offers was a great resource for me to choose these things from.
Choose Supplemental Resources – For each time period I chose other resources such as videos, historical fiction, and projects (mainly with the help and use of the Time Travelers American History Studies Series from Home School in the Woods) to go more in-depth with the people and events I chose. You can see this in action with our Explorers Time Period.
I can tell you from personal experience that my daughter is LOVING the use of historically based movies to enhance our learning. With each time period we have enjoyed both a movie, as well as at least one book, and a fun project. The use of these supplemental materials has helped to bring history alive!