January 27, 2010

Ancient Time Line

We have been taking a first look at ancient times: creation (or big bang...we talk about all of the theories and lightly discuss what Abdul Baha had to say on the topic) to the fall of the Western Roman Empire for roughly a year and a half. We are through 3 of 4 units, so I thought this would be a good time to look back and put all of the pieces together by constructing a time line before we move on any further.

This filler activity is also an indication that I didn't make it to the library this week to get our required reading materials, and am therefore productively marking time. In any event, it never hurts to take a look back since we don't follow the public school's cycle of chapter, test, chapter, test...

So I quickly Googled dates for all of the big events, dynasties, civilizations, and stories that we have studied up to this point. While I taped copy paper together and marked dates at reasonably accurate spaces, Hannah Jane got on Google images and copy/pasted pictures into a word file to print, cut out, and glue on the time line.
Hannah Jane decided to do this month's culture club presentation using a generic form of Power Point (Open Office Impress, for those of you who are interested in free shareware), so she just learned how to copy/paste images a couple of days ago. What a time saver that was for me to just have the 6 year old do it! And that way she got to choose what pictures she liked best to remind her of the events in ancient history.
For me, the hardest part of the time line was deciding what intervals to mark off. The earliest time is pretty empty, the later time is jam packed, and I thought it best to have the spacing consistent throughout to get the point across.
So our time line is certainly not balanced. But that's okay. If it's true that those Bible guys lived for hundreds of years each, that would explain the lack of excitement in the early days. Let's say you get one dynamic character maybe once every 5-10 generations and a lifespan is seven hundred years...well, you might be waiting a long time for someone fabulous to show up! Especially when you are starting with a world population of 2. And if you suppose that people were not actually living that long, well... we've discussed the whole oral tradition versus cold hard fact concept, so I won't be totally ruining her sense of time. I wonder if Abdul Baha had an opinion on ancient life spans?

Our time line is decked out with photographs of ruins, illustrations of big events, maps of locations of the bigger of the ancient civilizations, and a color coded line that demarcates the estimated times of each one's power. I'm not sure how accurate it all is since there are at least 20 different ideas on when the rise and fall of different civilizations took place and the dates of things like the Universal Flood, but the kids get the picture. Everything is in roughly chronological order and the general times of power are clearly laid out.

Anyway, we had fun with this. It took a few hours interrupted by a brother fight over wooden blocks and a snack break, but all's well that ends in learning. And this certainly was cooler than cramming for a unit test!

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