Teaching History with The Giant American History Timeline
Please note: I received The Giant American History Timeline product for free in exchange for the following review. My opinions are honest and I was not required to post a positive review.
History is considered an important topic in our homeschool. In fact, Ace mentioned it as his favorite subject when I interviewed him about homeschooling a few months ago.
While homeschoolers in the state of Texas aren’t required to teach history officially, it is a subject we will always cover because I firmly believe in the importance of knowing where we have been.
As with most things related to homeschool curricula, there are an overwhelming number of options available on the subject of history. So when I found out about this timeline curriculum, I was excited to add it to our homeschool.
What is The Giant American History Timeline?
If you’re thinking that’s a lot of material to cover, you’re absolutely right! I was impressed at the sheer size of the two books and the amount of work the publisher put into creating it. (You can view product samples here.) Click the image below to see what the entire timeline looks like.
I usually prefer to have a hard copy of any given curriculum, but after reviewing both versions, I feel the digital version is the most flexible. The activity sheets need to be reproduced and the binding and size of the physical copy of the book makes that difficult, though perhaps not impossible.
Why choose this curriculum?
The Giant American History Timeline is very flexible:
You can display the timeline in whatever way works best for your homeschool.
Even though this product is presented as a way to create a visual timeline on a wall, the activity sheets can make fantastic additions to new or existing notebooking projects or unit studies.
It can also be displayed in smaller formats such as on a tri-fold poster board or in a folder or binder. This is particularly useful if you do not have the space in your homeschool to display a full wall-based timeline.
You don’t have to start from the beginning and work your way through all of the content unless you want to.
You can start wherever you wish because each unit creates its own stand-alone timeline.
That said, I would suggest keeping all the work you do so that when all the units are completed, you can put it together for your student to see the whole picture.
This works really well for any homeschool that focuses on child-led learning. If your student is really interested in the Civil War era, for instance, you can start there and cover the surrounding historical information as appropriate.
You can use the product with one or multiple students at nearly any grade level.
Although the curriculum was originally designed for Grades 4 and up, it can be used for multiple grade levels (even simultaneously) with a few simple modifications.
For example, you can allow your younger students to dictate their activity sheet responses to you while older students can use the sheets as a jumping off point for larger projects such as in-depth reports, storyboards, creative writing, etc.
Plus, the extensive teaching notes give lots of suggestions for engaging your students with the materials.
If you are teaching multiple children at once, you can work through the activities as a group to help promote discussion. Students can learn the same information at the same time and either contribute to a collective timeline or make their own.
You can use any historical resource to cover the material.
Since the books do not contain more than brief summaries of the material needed to teach each activity sheet topic, you have the freedom to decide what you teach and how you teach it. You can use whatever textbooks, biographies, videos, field trips, etc. you wish.
There are ample activity sheets to help reinforce learning while giving you the ability to teach the topics as you see fit. And the “Individual Activity Sheet Notes” section gives extra information about each activity to help you build your lesson plans.
Using The Giant American History Timeline in Our Homeschool
Ace and I have been working through the colonial period in American History so I decided to begin in Book 1, Unit 2.
Because this product is so flexible, I was able to continue using the history books and resources I have on hand to guide us through the worksheets. I have found that these activity sheets, and the timeline overall, are great ways to help us work through the information.
In fact, when Ace saw me start to put the timeline together, he began asking questions about what came before and what came after. It led to a lot of very interesting discussion and I immediately saw the value of being able to have a visual timeline of events for him.
We have very limited space in our homeschool so I don’t have the ability to display the timeline on the wall. I decided that it would be best for us if I created a folder for each unit.
Within each folder, I have all the dates, arrows, and activity sheets. When we are working on a lesson, I simply remove the pieces and display them on the table or floor so that Ace can see the events in order.
In the future, I hope to supplement each sheet with images of actual applicable artifacts, people, paintings, etc., to create our own American history museum of sorts.
If you are looking to make a visual historical timeline, a notebooking unit study, or simply want to supplement your existing history curriculum, I recommend this product. It is comprehensive, flexible and very affordable.
As a special thank you to my readers, Sunflower Education is offering a 20% discount on The Giant American History Timeline Digital Bundle. Be sure to click here and enter promo code TIMELINE20 at checkout to take advantage of this offer.
You can also enter to win The Giant American History Timeline Book 1 by filling out the form below!
How do you teach history in your homeschool? Let me know in the comments below!