Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Book of Time

Before I knew that [sonlight homeschool] curriculum existed, I imagined teaching all of world history, geography, religion, economics, art and sociology in the context of a Time Line.  I just thought I had to invent it myself. 

A substantial part of Sonlight curriculum involves plugging each discipline, especially history and geography, into the context of a World History Timeline, via their "Book of Time."

I'm preparing the sticker images for this year's Part II of Survey of World History, and I am shocked.  I knew my education was deficient, and compartmentalized, I just didn't realize how spectacularly.  For instance, I had zero clue that Pythagoras predicting the Earth's roundness (566 B.C.) happened contemporaneously with Buddha founding his religion (563-483 B.C.), Cyrus the Great conquering Babylon/Fall of Babylon/founding of the Persian Empire (539-500 B.C.), all at the same time that Confucius was alive (551-479 B.C.), as Rome becoming a Republic (509 B.C.), and Athens becoming a Democracy (514 B.C.)

As far as my brain was concerned, these were all Science Fiction: Different Movies.  (That's not to say I don't consider the Bible a work of historical significance, by and large.  It's just that I find I accidentally tend to categorize some of the 'ancient' stories from the Old Testament as a time period completely independent of other human history.  Much like my unconscious, abstract placement of the history of Chine and Japan, for instance.) 

My hope is that as I teach our children world history etc. etc, that all of these people and inventions and developments will be sorted in their heads along with their contemporaries, and they will have a stronger understanding of how the world of Art relates to the world's corresponding Wars, or World Religions relate to Trade Route development and the Map Making efforts of their time, and so on.  

I am so glad I get to spend my time and effort on something like this, rather than racing to car line, or selling Yankee Candles for some nebulous fundraiser, or even sorting through miles and miles of photocopied notices on various pastel colored paper stuffed into sweaty backpacks.  Woo hoo!

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