Who: You and your mighty home school students
What: Memorize a Timeline
When: the Time is NOW
Where: The Dining Room Table, your School room, the car, park, etc
How: I’m glad you asked!
1. The first step in memorizing a timeline is to decide the era that you want to memorize. There are so many options! We memorize timelines in conjunction with the historical period that we are studying, the Bible, or in general to give us a good sense of what took place when. We have memorized the entire stack of Veritas Press cards. While they are not entirely exhaustive, our kids have a significant enough sense of what happened when to plug pretty much any other historical event into- understanding what took place and the time frame within a very short amount of time.
2. Purchase or create timeline cards. We have used and appreciate Veritas Press’ excellent timeline cards for several years. You can also create your own, using Amy Paks homeschooling in the Woods CD (http://www.homeschoolinthewoods.com/) google image or other resources. As I mentioned we chose to use VP’s pre-made cards. The artwork chosen is excellent, the explanations good and dates are on the cards. I modified my cards by writing the date on the front of each card (they come with the dates on the back) as well as laminating them. I had originally hole punched them, putting each historical period on a ring, but I found them difficult to manage that way and now just have them standing up, in order, in a plastic shoe storage box.
3. Memory experts state that memorizing in groups of 7 is best for retention. I divide my cards for the year, or semester, into weekly groups of 7. On Sunday of each week I write the name of the cards on our school white board. During our memory time I use the cards as flash cards. When the cards are first introduced we take time to read the back of the cards, look at the pictures and make observations. Once we are familiar with the cards we simply repeat the title and dates of the cards several times a day. If I were going to make my own (and we have for timeline notebooks) I would take time to color and cut out the images, read about each person and create a card that was sturdy enough to use frequently. After a couple of weeks you’ll have several cards memorized. Don’t forget to review previous week’s cards! We do this by mixing the cards up and having the kids put them back into order, leaving out cards and having them identify which card is missing and other games.
WHY: Why memorize a timeline at all? Regardless of your homeschooling pedagogy carrying a timeline around (in your head) allows you to orient and make sense whatever historical events you may encounter. It provides immediate satisfaction, rather than having to laboriously look up events, gives the kids a sense of mastery and allows them to build upon their knowledge. It also gives one a historical perspective, realizing, often with surprise, at what events took place during the same time period.
It’s a New Year. Now’s the Time to Memorize a Line!