I have no sense of chronological order. Neither in my own life nor in the great scheme of things. This is part of the reason I always hated history in school. Most history tests have a section on chronological order. I always got them all wrong. Which usually meant I didn’t do well on the test. Which usually meant I didn’t do well in the class. For a perfectionist like me, the only reasonable response was to declare my pure hatred for history and stay as far away from anything history-related as possible.
Unfortunately, that just never worked for me. Because the truth is, I love history. I just have that awful little problem with chronological order.
This means my understanding of history is very fragmented. I have all of these wonderful stories in my head, but no means to connect them together. No understanding of cause and effect. No rhyme or reason. Just a bunch of fabulous stories.
Then throw in awesome philosophers and scientists and saints. Discoveries and inventions. Rulers and nations.
The “great scheme of things” is probably a pretty incredible picture.
I would love to be able to look at a date and understand what was happening in the world at that given time and know who was living in the world at that given time. I can’t imagine what an incredible picture that would be.
But my poor little brain. It’s just not in the cards for me.
So I’ve always wished that I had a giant timeline. One that I put on the wall and began constructing in the 5th grade. (That’s when I had my first history class. At least the first history class that I remember.) One that would grow with me throughout the years. On my timeline I would put EVERYTHING. People, places, ideas, discoveries, inventions, the rise and fall of nations, and on and on. Anything that has a date attached to it would go on my timeline.
Having such a timeline would change the way I perceive the world.
If I had this timeline, when I read about Nietzsche (or anyone else under the sun), I would be capable of so much more than just reading his ideas. I would be able to put his ideas in perspective. What was the world like? How had thought progressed up until that point? Who were his contemporaries and his predecessors? I would be able to learn about him in context, not just in a bubble.
As a homeschooling mom, this is one of my major goals for my children. (And, hopefully, me in the process.) I want my kids to see the big picture. I want them to have some awareness about “the great scheme of things.” I don’t want to teach them about people or places or ideas in isolation. I want these things to exist in their minds as a piece of the whole.
But I’ve never been able to figure out how to accomplish this.
A massive, growing timeline on the wall isn’t really practical. It would always need to be redone. And we don’t really have that much wall space.
I figured there must be some kind of computer software that would accomplish this goal. But I worried that, even then, some of the big picture would be lost. Yes, we could explore any era in depth, but it would be difficult to step back and look at it to see the whole.
I’ve wrestled with this idea ever since I decided to homeschool and never found a solution that I was happy with.
Somebody out there feels my pain!
There’s this amazing (albeit slightly overpriced) little notebook on the market called the Record of Time. It does exactly what I’ve been dying to do. It’s a binder filled with blank pages that are dated from 5000 BC to 2025 AD with plenty of room to write. I can get these notebooks for my kids and, any time we learn anything, we can put it on our timeline! It even includes maps from the ancient and modern world so we can see how these people, events, and ideas fit together geographically! On top of that, you can get their CD which has images of more than 1200 historical figures that you can print out and attach to your timeline or use in other ways. My kids are going to be able to put a name with a face with a date with a place! No more people and ideas in isolation!
I seriously don’t know how to contain my excitement!! I feel like all my educational endeavors are going to magically fall into place now that I’ve discovered this little gem! (Yes, I realize that’s not quite how reality will play out…) But I really do feel like my kids are going to be such a huge leap ahead of me. This makes me feel like they are going to be able to really learn and understand, not just memorize some stories and dates. I think they will be so much better equipped with a real understanding of our world and the development of mankind. Having this timeline, my kids will be able to seamlessly tie together every subject they study into one, cohesive whole!
As I said, I am so excited! I can’t wait to order these and get to work on our timelines!!
Check out their entire product line and order your own timeline here: http://homeschoolinthewoods.com/HTTA/RecordofTime.htm
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way to share my thoughts about this product line. I simply found it on the internet and wrote this post to share my excitement.