Without a clear sense of time and the flow of past events, students will find history a frustrating and complicated subject. It's essential, therefore, to give them that sense early on, before they've had time to get thoroughly confused. The Memoria Press Timeline Program is designed to do just that, using a variety of resources simultaneously to cement the information in place.
This isn't a comprehensive timeline of world history, nor is it meant to be: it's designed to help younger students uncover the trajectory of history gradually. Intended for grades 3-6, each year students add more events to their timeline, so that new entries appear in context and older entries are repeated to help memorization.
How Does This Work?
The primary piece of this program is obviously the timeline itself. At the center is a larger illustrated card representing the birth of Christ, with two large signs labeled "B.C." and "A.D." to put on either side of it; the rest of the cards are smaller, with a date in bold and the appropriate event beneath it. To use this program properly, you'll need to set aside a wall on which to place the timeline, with cards being hung as needed.
Each timeline card is color-coded to represent a different historical period: Bible times, Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, and American history. The 3rd grade timeline is limited to key Bible times and American history events; 4th graders will add in some ancient history; 5th graders add Middle Ages events; and in 6th grade students fill in the gaps. Events include creation, the trial and death of Socrates, the Black Death, and the Revolutionary War, for a total of 60 event cards.
To assist memorization, there are student timeline cards which are color-coded to match the timeline cards. On the front is written the event to be memorized, and on the back is the date. If you're using this with multiple students, the publishers recommend each child be given their own set of flashcards, so they can study and memorize on their own.
The Timeline - Composition & Sketchbook includes a two-page spread for each event on the timeline. On the left is a blank page with the date as a heading for students to illustrate with a picture, and on the right appears the name of the event, with space to record key participants, key locations, and a written description of the event. A fun way to illustrate the left-hand pages could be to have kids cut pictures out of magazines and old books with which to make collages.
Finally, to tie everything together, the Timeline - Handbook presents all the information students will need to fill in the Timeline - Composition & Sketchbook, timeline charts for each grade level, teaching guidelines, and an overview of the course. While you could just have your kids write the content of the Handbook as you dictate, it would probably be better to use the information as guidelines for research, so students uncover the facts on their own.
This is definitely not a student-guided course. Teachers will need to be involved, and even if you don't use this as a jumping-off place for further study and research, you'll still need to supervise your children's progress. If your kids haven't had any timeline experience you could probably use this with slightly older students, but we'd recommend not trying to use the Memoria Press Timeline Program with high school students as the content isn't advanced enough.
This set includes:
Our Honest Opinion
If you simply use this as the publishers suggest, it could serve as a decent introduction to timeline study and the overall course of history. However, there are better options: most notably, the History Through the Ages - Timeline Figures and Calendar Quest and other resources from Brimwood Press. Both products include many more events, and offer a better survey of the art and science of historical dating.
However, if you use the Memoria Press Timeline Program as a launch-pad for further research, this could become an excellent introduction to history and timeline study. One possibility is to use the events of the timeline cards as guides for extra reading, reports, and unit studies; another is to add your own color-coded timeline cards to flesh out the events provided. If you plan on using the course in this way, you could easily implement it with middle school students as well as younger kids.
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