Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Mystery of History, Volume 1


We chose to homeschool almost 20 years ago. I knew when I started that I would have challenges, simply because of who I am. I’m a bit scattered. Really. When I nag Caleb, my text-book ADD child, to focus on what he’s doing, he quips (respectfully) that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ah, so true.

I’ve tried, over the years, to fix myself, but I finally have just come to grips with the fact that I am not and never will be super-organized or completely on schedule.

My homeschooling style reflects my personality.


That’s a very kind way of saying hodge-podge, seat-of-your-pants, sporadic.

But I try.

Homeschooling is a struggle. Homeschooling while being missionaries in Mexico is a struggle of a whole new level. We take one- or two-month breaks every six months, a month’s vacation at Christmas, time off any time there is a mission team or evangelical crusade or VBS or other church event and school is canceled as soon as it gets too hot to concentrate (usually about two months of the year) and if anyone stops by to visit, we generally have to stop classes for the day.

That happens a lot.

Sometimes I wonder how we ever complete anything! Oh, I’m such a whiner!

Once in a while, though, I feel like I’ve really succeeded at something. The Mystery of History is an example. Never mind the fact that we started Volume I (a one-year class) the year that we moved into this house.

We have finished. We ALL took the massive 30 page final and EVERYONE scored in the 90th percentile. I feel that we have really accomplished something. Yes, it took us almost 4 years to get through a one-year course, but we DID finish it and we really learned a lot.

On our dining room wall hangs a wonderful timeline depicting history from creation to the crucifixion of Christ. As the author of the textbook states, the timeline reflects the personality of those who built it.

Jesus Christ: Yesterday, Today and Forever

The Powers of Mesopotamia

Israel Falls to Assyria

Many of our timeline figures are quite "tongue in cheek", some are plays on words and some are really silly, but if it helps us remember the event…

Lot's Wife

The Great Wall of China -- note the skulls and bones built into the wall. Kind of morbid. Believe it or not, Evie made that one! And I just noticed that I spelled Colossus wrong. hehehe

You'll have to read the book of Malachi to understand why this one is funny.

This is Sarah's personal favorite. If you have to explain it, it's just not as funny.

The guy in armor on the right is Alexander the Great. The guy with "censored" across his buttocks is Archimedes. Do you like the little guys with wiggle eyes in the middle? Those are Alexander's 4 generals.

Our timeline has been quite a conversation-starter. Many facets of history (such as creation) are simply not mentioned in the public schools here, so kids who come over are understandably curious. Not only has this course helped our family to put Biblical history in its place with the history of the ancient world, but it’s been a great way to share with our neighbors.

What’s next? Volume II! But I’ve promised the kids that we’ll be finishing it in a year! Absolutely!!!

Here’s a question for you: Do you ever struggle with finishing what you start?


~Stephanie Wafer said...

I have to say yes, but only because I start out full force, then I quickly loose all energy! I am trying to learn to slow down and take one step at a time.(Actually posted about this same thing on my blog today.)
I love this, btw! I love seeing how dedicated your family is. Yes, it may have taken you more years than anticipated, but you finished! Praise God!

Rachel said...

DUDE!!!!!!!! We have the first two books but haven't done them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, new plan. Complete the book and catch up with you!!!!!!!!!!

I learned two things 1. there is a name for my type of homeschool (who knew?!?!?!) and 2. I can't remember what number two was now....

Anyhow, off to get that book off the shelf and email this (yes email) to my other children so they want to do this too.


-Rachel (babymakers)

Elizabeth H said...

I was homeschooled by my parents,since they are missionaries too. It was nice, much more in depth I believe. Plus there were a lot of really good books. The tough part was when I got older and had to manage most of my own studying... that didn't go so well especially since I did the minimum at the last moment. But I had still had a lot of really in depth conversations which helped me understand things better than I would in a school that is whizzing over material.

Rebecca said...

Yep, study skills were absolutely my worst area -- and I was public schooled!!! lol I think that, since I was so unprepared for college, I hounded my kids a lot about self-motivation, goal-setting and time-management. Only one of ours has graduated so far, and she's doing well. Number Two is a senior this year, and I'm certainly praying for him!!! ;^) He's a lot like his mom!!!

Carmen H. said...

Thank you so much for your post on the timeline and your detailed pictures! They were amazing and gave my reluctant son some inspiration and motivation to make the timeline his own and not fight me on it. He really enjoyed the Archimedes censor (He's 8yo)! Thank you so much!!!

Rebecca said...

Our timeline from Volume 1 is still hanging in a place of honor on our stairway. The timeline for Volume 2 now is taking up a chunk of wall space in the dining room and it has turned out to be even more of a conversation starter than Volume 1. :)

Glad the close-ups were inspiring!

Anonymous said...

I feel like someone wrote about me and changed the names to protect the embarrassed! Thank you for your transparency!

Rebecca said...

I'm nothing if not real! :)

Janeen said...

I love love love your board!! That is such a creative way to show what was learned in history. I think this would be a great way for my younger boys to be creative instead of a regular timeline. thank you for posting!


Rebecca said...

Thanks, Janeen!
Yes, my boys all really enjoy making their timeline figures. Even (or maybe especially) those who don't enjoy reading really get into the "creative" aspect!

Shannon said...

Waaaah! I'm so bummed! I wanted to see your timeline, but none of your pictures show up. I realize the post is old, but can that be fixed?