Sunday, February 14, 2010

Presidents Day Activity - Adding the Presidents to Our Timeline

I've been busy this morning cutting up a place mat, one of those $1.00, educational place mats, with all the presidents on it. It's not that I have anything against the presidents, or educational place mats in general, but it's Presidents Day, and I decided it was time to add the American presidents to our timeline. Using the place mat is simply a matter of convenience and economics - anything to save that precious printer ink!

We used to have an American history timeline, encircling my oldest son's room. It was divided by each presidents term in office, with one and a half inches for each year, and it fit perfectly around his little room. It made a nice frame of reference to set the rest of our American history, and geography studies into.

For instance, as we studied our way through the 50 states, we started each day by putting together a puzzle of the states, where the pieces matched the states' shapes. My son would pick one state piece out, each day, and I would trace it on construction paper. After we read about the state, we would tape it up onto the timeline, according to when it became a state.

When we read the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, her picture went up on the timeline, with a line indicating her life. By having the presidents terms dividing the history, we could remember events according to who was president at the time, as well as by the dates. It just made our history a little easier to remember, and understand.
A couple of moves, put an end to that particular timeline, and we've pretty much been without one for a few years. I've really missed it as a teaching tool.
Last spring when we were studying the historical characters from the movie, "Night at the Museum", we made a timeline encompassing the entire history of the earth (not too bad a task, if you take a young earth view). But, when I put it up, I only used tape, to save our walls from countless holes, and it fell right back down again.

Finally, last night, I decided it was time to put it back up again, this time with push pins. And, today, being Presidents Day, I thought we'd place the presidents back onto our timeline. I'm really looking forward to covering it with all the exciting characters, and events, from the past, with the children, but it seems only right to start with the "leaders of the free world". It really brings that label into focus, when you see how small a spot, on the world timeline, they hold.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Marcee said...

Love it, I'm thinking about doing a timeline too. Just need to do it!!

Ticia said...

I think it's brilliant to use the placemat. I'm looking forward to starting our own timeline some point soon.
I also like the idea of the states puzzle. I have yet to find one that actually is a separate piece for each state.

Raising a Happy Child said...

And if you happen to believe in big bang, all the presidents would sit on each other :) I do love the idea though - the timeline from 1492 would be about right for Modern American history.

Debbie said...

Love this idea! I am going to have to remember this one!