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TruthQuest History
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Michelle Miller

How we incorporate activities, timelines, and notebooking

While our TruthQuest History guides do not “require” daily activities (no one needs to feel “behind”), many families do desire them.  Thus, the folks at A Journey Through Learning have now created notebooks, lapbooks, and timeline/report packages which specifically coordinate with our TruthQuest History guides.  These may be purchased right here…on the “Buy/Sample” page of our TQH website!  

Also, the TruthQuest History guides themselves recommend various activity resources (such as Laurie Carlson’s handcraft/project books, historical coloring books, historical paper dolls, and even paper forts which can be assembled, all at pertinent junctures.  But, the reading and discussion which are the basis of TruthQuest History can be powerful and adequate tools for learning, if you prefer to work without companion activities.

The blurbs posted below are but a small sampling of the activity-ideas shared on our online discussion group, but do bear in mind that they were written before the special notebook, lapbook, and timeline/report materials from A Journey Through Learning were developed for TruthQuest History.  If you would like to explore the loop’s archives or ask new questions on this (or any) topic, join by simply sending an email to: HIStoryQuesters-subscribe@YahooGroups.com. Once at our discussion page, click on Messages, and use the Search box to seek information on your topic of interest.

Rule Left God's Law

Karen from Texas says:

"A timeline/notebook combination is what we're doing. I put our timeline pages in those plastic page protectors and then into my son's 3-ring binder. We copied only one side (front) of the page as the timeline so that we can 'sandwich' his maps, coloring pages, etc., behind the actual time the events occurred. That allows us to remove the timeline from his notebook and post a section on the wall that we are studying, and replace them when we are finished. I copied our timeline onto card stock rather than regular paper. It holds up so much better and looks so nice. I decided that if I was going to do this and keep it up for the whole time we studied history, I was going to do it right from the beginning. It was a little more work, but it is holding up nicely after eight years."

Tami from Minnesota says:

"It's really helpful to leave a slot for notebooking once a week for a couple of hours. We notebook on Fridays, and we don't do math or English on that day to free us up for notebooking fun!!! Simply fill a 1-2" binder with empty page protectors, print out backgrounds or get decorative paper from a craft store, and you are set. Since TruthQuest History is topical, it's perfect as an anchor for notebook pages! Have a blast!"

Lyn from Nebraska says:

"I have encouraged my children to do maps, timelines, notebooks, and memory cards at various times. They've tried all of them, but again and again we come back to discussion as the best way to really cement the ideas we're studying."

Kimberly from North Carolina says:

"For hands-on projects I got a great idea from Kate Estes of Hands 'n' Hearts. I write on a post-it note the name of the project and stick the note to the first page in the TQH guide where we could do the project. If we don't get to it on that page, I just keep advancing it until we do.

Also, I have found that blank sketch books go a long way toward them recording history, Bible, etc. While the resources out there are often very nice, I find that some of our best moments are those when the children just record by writing, drawing, cutting and pasting on their own.

We have never done an official timeline. However, just by doing TruthQuest History you will obtain the chronological flow of things, and thus my children's sketch books are in a chronological order, if you will. Do they know every date? No, but that is not really our goal. Do they know that Benjamin Franklin was older than George Washington? Yes. Do they know they were both involved in the American Revolution? Yes. Can they tell you what year they were born and died? Probably not. Unfortunately, history is often taught as memorization of factoids, tiny bits of information put in short-term memory long enough to pass the test, instead of seeing History as HIS story and how GOD was present or absent in the lives of His created beings.

So don't stress! This is a no-stress zone! The world has enough self-imposed stress. God has called us to freedom in Christ. Relax and enjoy TruthQuest History. It is by far the easiest "program" we have ever used. Remember God says he gives us peace like a river. Rivers are not stagnant. They flow. They move. And God wants us to flow along in His plan. It is the weight of Our Plans which often drag us to the bottom, where we get stuck in the muck and mire.

Believe me, if you did nothing else but read the wonderful books and the commentary and spend time talking with your children as you rise up and sit down, they would learn and learn and learn."

Arlene from New Jersey says:

"We sit down on the couch with a book recommended by TruthQuest History and read through it together (for the most part, I read aloud). They also choose something they would like to read on their own from TQH, and after they have finished, they share and we discuss what they have learned. We read the commentary in TQH together and discuss that. We add some things to our timeline, maybe write a few paragraphs on a related topic, research some websites, maybe make a map or some other type of page for our notebook. But in all of it, I am directing and teaching. That's what I enjoy doing."

Nancy from Washington says:

"We use a timeline where we place maps drawn, pictures, dates, and other important info. We also journal, and my daughter creates a story about what her life is like in the time we are studying. This has proven to be quite fun for her. We have also made period foods and costumes, and watched period movies. If it is possible, we will visit historic sites."

Traci from North Carolina says:

"My daughter is eight and loves crafts, so we bought a $4 magnetic page photo album, added some additional 8-1/2 x 11" page protectors to slip things into, and that's our history scrapbook. We put in everything from Dover coloring book pages, to pages she makes herself, history pocket activities, narrations, or whatever we decide to do for the particular book we are reading. This is nothing fancy! We also have a timeline section in the back, where we just add dates and pictures to photocopied timeline pages to help keep track of where we've been and where we are going. We don't do every single section in TQ, nor do we do a page in our scrapbook for each subject or book."

Michelle of Iowa says:

"I type up a copy of the TQH guide's Table of Contents with more space between the items, and then jot down the various places we can use some of our own wide-ranging resources-such as articles to read, Hands-and-Hearts kits, History Pocket books, and ATTA timeline figures-and paperclip this outline inside the cover of my guide."

"Don't feel pressured to do lots of activities if your children do not like them or need them. But don't hesitate to search them out and do them if you have a child who needs to "tie" his book-learning to doing something."

Deborah from Texas says:

"I have bought various timelines, but I always go back to the long piece of paper on the wall. I divide it myself—either for the time period we are studying, or maybe from Creation to the present. We write about important people/places/events we've studied, and the kids can post on the timeline (or just above/below it) pictures, maps, etc., that they’ve made or that we've found online. One year, I reduced all the children's artwork on the printer and used these small images on the timeline, and kept the originals in his notebook. A little too much work, perhaps! Today, I'd probably let them draw directly on the timeline paper. I get rolls of craft paper from craft stores, but old-fashioned butcher paper is the original source!"

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