One Family’s History Timeline - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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One Family’s History Timeline

{all photos by Nikol Rochez}

Although we don’t require home timelines, we do strongly encourage them! Timelines provide a wonderful visual aid for children who are trying to understand the story of history, and where the different events and people fit into that story. Today one of our Track A parents, Nikol Rochez, shares her family's home timeline with us. 

We never want to make our parents (especially new parents!) feel overwhelmed or pressured to do one more thing. But we do hope you will be inspired by Nikol’s ideas, and when you’re ready, we encourage you to make/borrow/buy a home timeline to use as a valuable learning tool. (See the end of this post for more info on home timelines…)

Nikol and her husband James are in their 2nd year at SLO Classical Academy, with daughter Haelee in LMS. Here’s how they created a home timeline that works for their family:

I vividly remember touring the intermediate classroom for the first time.  The walls were covered with crayon people reports, historical art work, and math games… but instantly I became enchanted by the timeline that enveloped the entire top of the classroom.  After we enrolled Haelee at SLOCA, I couldn't get the timeline out of my head.  I loved the largeness and interactiveness of the class timeline, but for my own sanity how could I make one at home that was neat and simple?  After a few minor changes this is what our family came up with and it really has become our Family Timeline.

It started with an inexpensive metal line and clips I purchased at IKEA.  Near the timeline in our work area, we keep an index card box filled with scissors, glue, and index cards.  When the grid arrives I write timeline on one of the Friday's boxes – if it is on the grid it makes it seem more official.  On Friday, Haelee chooses one person/event from the PAST and one person/event from the PRESENT to record on an index card.  The idea of the PRESENT card is the “buy in”, it is what motivates Haelee in adding to the timeline and really making it her own.  On this part of the timeline you will see pictures of our family members , the dog, retro cartoon characters (suggestion of Haelee 's older brother), and her grandparents 50th wedding anniversaries.  Under the picture she writes the person's birth date or the date of the event.  On the back of the card she writes a few sentences about why this person/event is meaningful to her.  The insight into what she views as significant is priceless and often humorous.

On the PAST card Haelee selects someone from the past week who was of particular interest to her or  was an important event that she studied.  We search for an image, usually from Google or a historical book.  Along with the printed image she includes the name and dates on the front of the card.  On the back Haelee adds three sentences about the person/event. This year she is LMS so she also pulls poems, responses, or copy work from her history journal to add to her card.  The selecting and recording of a person/event reinforces what the person contributed and why they stand out in history.  

I highlighted the four time periods we study at the SLOCA and placed those on the wire.  As the cards are finished  Haelee finds the time period and inserts the cards into the correct order. This is when the magic occurs, she able to take the abstractness of time and interact with it personally.  It leads to so many discussion topics and even laughter as when she discovered that Howard Carter uncovered King Tut's tomb just before Mickey Mouse was created.  Most importantly our Family Timeline lets her know that she is an important part of history too! 

What a great idea! We love that you include modern events as well as historical ones. Thanks so much, Nikol, for sharing your timeline with us. It’s inspirational to see how other parents are creatively figuring out how to enhance learning at home.

For a few more home timeline ideas, check out this blog post from last year. 

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