Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!


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One of the things I miss about our co-op was the use of timelines. For the older kids’ history classes, they did a timeline.  They were supposed to construct it at home, which we sadly never did. However, I thought it was a great idea.

The whole classical education routine has the kids break up their period of study into four segments. They only post to the relevant timeline. The rest is put away or just gotten rid of. As much as that seems like a practical thing, space-wise, I’d rather have the kids study the full picture, just throw cool events on there as they find them. I don’t want to leave a cool fact about the gold rush because it’s not the segment of history we’re studying. It would be a good reminder to revisit it later. If we find out something that happened in ancient history, we can go back and add it. It also doesn’t make for those awkward periods where putting something in perspective means reviewing an old timeline. I just have to figure out how to do it.

It also helps put things into perspective. You can’t visually note history repeating itself if you don’t have enough of a broad scope to review. This would give us a chance to view all the facts at a glance. It would be easy to point new things out and carry on the constant dialog. There is something to be said for having that kind of fluid continuation.

Given we’re probably not going to be able to swing the co-op next year either, we’re free to our own thing. I want to clear the ancients and be on to the next segment of history by fall. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but classical education is designed for a 32 week year. We’ve always worked on a 52 week year. That gives us 20 extra weeks to work with, meaning we can cover more ground in less time and catch up. It also means we can spend a lot of time on things we otherwise would have missed. I’d love to clear the whole four years of history. By that point Corde will be high school age and will have a good foundation in history. If it works for Beekee, we’ll just roll on through and do it all again for him. Corde may join in for more advanced lessons. Sander will pick up sometime in the next three years. I’m betting he’ll start having interest when we hit the third or fourth year of history, when he’s hitting kindergarten or first grade. Then again, he may surprise me as I read with the kids. Luca will probably be old enough to join in just in time for us to finish the first four years of history. If we start up again, he’ll be old enough to join in for that round from the start. By then we should have all the kinks worked out and will have a big list of books we like to use. It’s just too bad I didn’t know about all this when Corde was small. We’d be on round two of the cycle. By the time we got to Luca, we’d have a whole list of great resources.

I’m thinking to start we’ll put all the dates and events of interest on index cards. We have no place to put up a timeline now, so we can stack them in order as we learn about things. At the end of the fourth year we can take the whole thing apart and start again with Beekee. When we get our own place we can put up a line in yarn and connect everything on. It’s too bad we’re getting away from trailers as their long, blank walls would be perfect. We can start over again at the beginning for Sander and Luca until Sander outgrows the interest in doing it.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this timeline comes together. It will be interesting to see what connections the kids make, what they come up with. I’m really excited to take this journey with them. It’s going to be a pretty fun adventure!


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

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