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November 17, 2015

Timeline of our Family -- Intro to Montessori History

I don't know if I've ever shared this before, but I've had a few great loves in my academic life. But the greatest one, was and will always be history. I love history. If you ever want to have a long talk about Tudor-Stuart England or how Andrew Jackson influenced the modern presidency, you call me! 

To introduce history, my first love, to my first child is a pretty amazing feeling. Henry isn't quite ready for the history of Henry VIII, so I started a bit closer to home -- with our family.

Traditionally, Montessori takes a unique and interesting approach to teaching history. In many cases, a timeline is used to present a particular subject. The children take an integral part of creating the timeline. This can spark debate, discussion and critical thinking skills while providing the basic facts of a particular historical event.

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I wanted to re-create in a way a timeline for Henry. He has been very interested in writing and copying words, drawing pictures and putting data in one place. I knew a timeline would be the perfect way to engage these skills and learn some history in the process.

I started by creating a shell of a timeline with dates that are important in our family. With the basic structure done, I could focus on details with Henry. An older child could help out with construction or completely create the timeline.

I also provided some pictures -- but not all -- for the project. I knew it would be too much for him to have to write or draw the entire thing. Then, I left out some supplies -- including some fun twig color pencils -- that I thought Henry would enjoy.

Henry and I started the project by talking about what history is and how to read the timeline. Then, we dove right in. At first, I told him what each box represented. "That's Daddy's birthday." I followed up with open ended questions to insight creativity. "What could we put in the box for Daddy's birthday?" And, I followed his lead!

We then just sat and completed the timeline together. I tried to follow, asking and answering questions. Sometimes he put a picture where I would have, sometimes he didn't! And sometimes he drew a lightsaber just because! Occasionally, Nora added her own touch!

Right as I thought we were done, Henry asked -- "when were my cousins born?" And, BAM, I knew this was making him think! We ended by hanging the timeline in his room. I'm hoping that he will want to come back to it, talk about it and add more dates.

Overall, it was a very simple and engaging way to introduce history and talk about our roots!

How have you introduced history with your preschooler?

12 Months of Montessori! 

This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori series! This month's theme is history. Make sure to stop by these fabulous blogs for great Montessori and Montessori-inspired history ideas!

Linear Calendar for Kids by Planting Peas
Montessori Calendar for Kids by Mama’s Happy Hive
How to Introduce Time to Kids by Study at Home Mama
Our Montessori-inspired Timeline of Life by Every Star is Different

Exploring History Through the Great Lessons by Grace and Green Pastures

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Unknown said…
OMG, I absolutely adore this idea! As soon as I find more family photos, I'm going to do it! I find that pasting these timelines on the wall does wonders for my children -- it becomes a semi-permanent feature on the wall for on-going discussion and learning (until it becomes semi-permanently forgotten, then we move on to something else) ;)
Every Star Is Different
What a fabulous way to introduce history to young ones! I just may have to do with Sunshine. She has been quite envious as the older siblings have been working on their Timeline of Life and she hasn't had her own. This would be perfect. Oh, and I love the comment about the light saber. We have a kiddo obsessed with Star Wars too!
Every Star Is Different
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Mama's Happy Hive
This is SO very cute! I love that you gave your son the opportunity to "explore" and think about this "new" concept of the timeline of his family. I'm looking forward to doing a family timeline with Little Bee next year.
Amy said…
I would love to have Hohner Rhythm Instruments - a set of six rhythm instruments. Love it. Gets great ratings too.
Unknown said…
I would love to own a Tag Lock Box!
Bess Wuertz
Bess Wuertz said…
This is wonderful! I never thought of this type of timeline. Thank you for the idea because I know my kids will love making this.
Unknown said…
We did this with my 2 middle boys, but I haven't done it again since. I totally need too. Love it!
Unknown said…
My son loved it when we made this timeline a couple of years ago. I need to do it again with my youngest. She'd love to decorate it as she learns about our family's comings and goings throughout the years. :)
Jae (Pinay Homeschooler)
I love this idea! It would be great as well if they work on it together, I mean for my boys! Thank you for sharing :)
Laura said…
I took a look at the Montessori website....I would love to splurge on some language cards! I keep planning on making some and haven't gotten around to it. They are so pretty!
Duy Hoang
Duy Hoang said…
Awesome! The pictures were so relaxing to see everyday! So glad the weather was awesome! Welcome back to reality!
Jehan said…
I love this idea, and I love the pencil/art box you have. I've been looking for something similar for our art supplies. Can you tell me where you got it?