Study with Kids
by Sherri Chekal
you ever wonder what the rest of the world was doing while
Christopher Columbus was busy discovering the New World?
Or say, what was happening in China when we were studying
the medieval time of the Middle Ages. Why of course, they
weren't doing anything; they were simply waiting, right?
teaching of history tends to be very regional, or more
specifically by well known ages, such as the Greek and
Roman Empire, Medieval Ages, Age of Discovery and so on.
Children learn facts and information from these periods
and move on to the next. However, many are very surprised
to learn that the rest of history is still moving on.
There is little that we can do to teach all of the world's
events as they happened chronologically, as that would
lend to one very confused generation of children as they
tried to experience the whole of the world's history,
day by day.
by neglecting whole cultures and time periods we limit
a child's understanding of the web of history, the connections
that take place to create the very history we are studying.
Very little happens within a vacuum, and history is definitely
a study that needs the "whole" picture to make
sense in the long run.
of the most important tools for teaching an awareness
of history as a multi-layered entity is the timeline.
Children can see different cultures and the events that
shape their history in relationship to other cultures.
It can bring alive history as children learn that connections
cross and weave through history and have very important
ramifications. And a timeline that the student creates
himself can be a valuable tool for teaching and experiencing
history in all of its glory.
the teaching parent, you may find a timeline of world
history a bit daunting to create. Do not despair. As you
will come to learn, a timeline book is a tool that will
grow and adapt through your child's whole education. Simply
start with the time period that you are currently working
on and begin to add in dates that your curriculum offers
for you. Be sure to leave room on the timeline for other
time periods. As you come across interesting dates and
facts, add to the book. If you think that your timeline
will be finished within a month, three months or a year,
then you are rushing the work. Consider it over a whole
educational life span and you will come to find out how
endearing this work will become to your child.
sure to add personal dates as well to your timeline. Children
revel in seeing their parent's birth dates with historical
facts. Even past family events such as great grandparents
and family members from any genealogical study you do
will help to bring history alive to your children. Imagine
the delight when they learn Great Grandfather was a boy
when the Wright Brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, or
that their mother was born when President Kennedy was
assassinated. History as it relates to our own lives helps
to create a vivid picture for your children.
you are reading a book unrelated to your historical studies
and stumble upon interesting facts, go to the timeline
book and add them. By focusing on the things that your
children find fascinating, they will remember and retain
them far more than simple rote memorization from some
dry text. By using their creativity to draw and create
images and write about the historical event, they will
remember them well. My own children delight to work in
their timeline books, sometimes finding clip art to include,
but more often then not, they create their own images
with pencil and marker.
is important, but not to the point of being a hindrance
to the work they are creating. For very young students
of history, a parent or older sibling can do the writing
of events with the child drawing their impressions for
later recall. As a teaching parent, you might want to
start your own book as you learn too, the interaction
of chronological history study! I know that from experience,
my own children will pout when Mom wants to draw in their
books! They are cherished journals of study and a delightful
way to augment any historical curriculum you are currently
using. When your child reaches her final years of grade
school education, their well-worn and used timeline book
will be a cherished heirloom!
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author - © March 2004
Permission to reprint is
possible, please contact the author for consideration.