Our curriculum-fair splurge: One big timeline of history

I went to today’s curriculum fair, held by our local homeschool association, in part just to be nosey. I want to know what other homeschoolers are doing. If nothing else, I wanted to look at some of the materials and go, “Nope, that’s not for us; we’re doing the right thing.”  Today turned out to be much more than that – in a good way.

We were joined by some good friends of ours whose daughter is also taught at home. (This is the same wonderful gal who was Sarah’s sleepover guest recently.) It was just great to get to talk with them and have the girls EXCITED about learning. They stood still and listened to a man from our local historical society talk about Colonial times for, seriously, 20 minutes. That’s big for our ADHD Ladies! 🙂

Listening to a living history presentation

The girls learned from him about wampum, furs (which they much would have preferred to keep as pets!), writing with feathers and ink, how our county was important during the Revolutionary War, and a bunch of other stuff. (I’m not even sure WHAT stuff, because I was in the background chatting.)

We did sneak a peek at some of the packaged curriculum, but the prices alone were enough to send our two families (both on what I affectionately call the low-budget homeschooling plan, AKA “we have internet, and we have the library”) packing for the used-curriculum area.

Other odds-and-ends purchases included a biography of Martin Luther King Jr.; a book called “Your Rugged Constitution,” a lovely 1952 paperback explaining what, exactly, all that stuff in our Constitution means; a pretty cool book of themed word searches with facts about each puzzle’s topic included; a book called “Understanding Geography” and another called “Great Map Mysteries,” which the woman selling highly recommended to Sarah, as it works detective stories into reading maps; and another Abeka text called “Our America,” which is a history and geography basic overview. Oh, and “The National Geographic Traveler’s Map of Italy,” and a little pamphlet-sized book from 1985 called “The President.” Grand total on all that was, maybe, $10 or $15.

The splurge was TOTALLY unexpected. Sarah does like history, but she has NEVER been much for dates. I think it wasn’t until this year that she picked up on “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” So when she goes, “MOM! Look at that, it’s a huge blank timeline!!” Insert me going, “What??” Indeed, it was, as described, a huge blank timeline. Much like the ones I’d seen in some of the curriculum catalogs, and had thought, “Oh, good grief, we’d never keep up with that, and where would we even put it, and wouldn’t Sarah hate it if I made her do that?”

Well. After some negotiation, I am pleased to report that for somewhere in the range of $8 to $10, we are now ALSO the proud owners of the laminated Mark-It Timeline of History, which is now proudly taking up most of the door to my basement. In biggest news, it is no longer blank, because Sarah spent FOUR HOURS tonight filling in her choice of what ended up being 28 events from 4000 BC to present. Why four hours? Well…

To this point, we have, among other things:

  • 100 AD: The wheelbarrow appears in China (which led to a discussion later using a map and globe about how the wheelbarrow eventually came to North America, via China to India to Britain to the colonies)
  • 300 AD: Mayan civilization at its high point
  • 419 AD: Attila the Hun was born
  • 787 AD: First known Viking raid (more on Vikings to come tomorrow, from another Chris-and-Sarah project)

Detailed view of a timeline for homeschooling history

  • 1000 AD: Mountain lions roamed North America
  • 1452 AD: Leonardo da Vinci was born
  • 1485 AD: Da Vinci makes Vitruvian Man drawing (this led to an explanation on my part on what the Vitruvian Man is – a measure of ideal proportions – and to illustrate, we got out the tape measure and measured each other to see if we meet the “perfect” proportions – the same from fingertip to fingertip as from head to toe)
  • 1492 AD: Columbus sailed the ocean blue
  • 1542 AD: Kingdom of Ireland formed
  • 1550 AD: Bison came to North America
  • 1600 AD: Mitts (polydactyl cat) first found in North America (Mitts is OUR polydactyl cat, seen at the bottom of this post, and Sarah wanted to clearly reflect him on our timeline)
  • 1680 AD: Blackbeard the pirate was born
  • 1776 AD: The Declaration of Independence was signed
  • 1788 AD: Australia was founded
  • 1853 AD: Vincent van Gogh was born
  • 1888 AD: National Geographic was founded
  • 1899 AD: First German Shepherds bred
  • 1935 AD: My Mommom was born; Elvis Presley was born
  • 1970 AD: My dad was born; winter white hamsters introduced
  • 1982 AD: My mom was born
  • 1992 AD: Golden doodles first recognized
  • 2000 AD: I was born

Honestly? By the time it got to be about 11:30 p.m., MOM was the one too tired to continue. I think she’d have been at it another hour if I’d had the energy. As it is, I feel like we not only covered about a year’s worth of history lessons, but we put them in more context than I ever remember from history classes. No, it’s not an exhaustive look at the history of the world. But it took things Sarah already knew about or was interested in and put them in perspective, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to want to keep filling it in as we go.

But now I need a nap.

More great history resources

Unschool Rules: Part of the iHomeschool Network Massive Guide to Homeschooling HistoryThis post is part of the iHomeschool Network Massive Guide to Homeschooling History.

Make sure to check it out for tons of other great history resources, including links to a dozen more Unschool Rules posts!

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4 thoughts on “Our curriculum-fair splurge: One big timeline of history

  1. I love that timeline! Sounds like some great deals! I have never been to a conference but I hope to change that soon!

  2. Don’t you just love how much work they are willing to do when it is their own idea? I love your timeline! Wonderful fun. Thanks for linking up!

    • Thanks, Phyllis! We are big fans of “learning via Sarah’s own ideas,” and I’m amazed almost daily at the things she either already knows or wants to know! 🙂

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