Understanding the distinction between B.C. and A.D. is often as difficult for adults as it is for children. Lessons on Time is designed to remove the frustration of keeping centuries, millennia and decades straight in a few short lessons that can easily be completed in two weeks. Parents work directly with children, and chances are many will have their own confusions resolved in this clear and enjoyable mini-course.
How Does This Work?
In addition to the slim Lessons on Time volume, users are provided with a set of toothpicks and rubberbands. Before you dismiss this all as a big gimmick, however, understand that all of Marcia Brim's history literacy courses integrate a hands-on element; in this case, kids use toothpicks and toothpick bundles to represent years, decades, centuries, and millennia, thus visualizing the sometimes tricky abstract concepts of the calendar system.
There isn't a lot to this course: through a series of eleven lesson segments divided into two parts, kids learn the terms of historical time (A.D., B.C., B.C.E., etc.) as well as how to count forward for A.D. dates and backward for B.C. dates. They're also introduced to the idea that each era has a defining pivotal event, and that these pivotal events can be used to help remember dates.
One of the most helpful aspects of this book is that it clarifies an age-old difficulty concerning centuries. Was 1492 in the 14th or 15th century? Marcia Brim offers the answer, and also explains why. Once you've completed Lessons on Time with your kids, you'll have no excuse for making these kinds of mistakes again, but you'll have the information you need to know why you aren't making them.
Each lesson segment is fully scripted for teachers, and the toothpick activities are easy-to-follow and fun for kids. A test at the end of the book helps ensure kids have retained what they've learned. The idea behind Lessons on Time is to begin providing students the tools they'll need to pursue rewarding history study throughout their school years and lives.
Our Honest Opinion:
This is the starting-place for Marcia Brim's Tools for Young Historians series. We have found this to be an excellent course, highly recommended for students of all ages who struggle with the flow of history, the purpose of studying history, and even the bare mechanics of history investigation. If your kids already have a good grasp of B.C. vs. A.D. you can probably skip to the next element of the program (A Young Historian's Introduction to Worldview); otherwise, start here.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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