How do you help your kids understand the cause-and-effect of history?
I spent a long time trying to figure that out. I love the idea of a timeline-in-progress, but they can be difficult to work with. A visual on the wall sounds great, but who has that much space? The kind you can photocopy look professional and would be fast to use, but will the information be retained if the kids don’t actually do it themselves? I spent lots of time debating these issues with myself.
Then I remembered baseball cards. Small pieces of paper that have a picture on the front and important information summarized on the back.
We began to record our history lessons with our own ‘baseball’ cards.
I cut cardstock into 2.5″ by 3/5″ pieces. I got a simple binder for each kid, and I filled it with plastic baseball pockets.
Each time that we engage in a history lesson that involves an important person, landmark, or event, the kids each create a ‘baseball’ card for that. They draw pictures on the front of their cards and a summary of why that person, place, or event is important. When the cards are finished, they’re placed in the baseball card protectors in chronological order. The pages are placed in order of ages. We don’t stress about getting each and every card in exactly year-order, but instead in getting the cards into the proper age. The proper century or sweeping era. By doing that, they’re able to connect events easily and see how time periods flow from one to another, as well as what is happening in different parts of the world at the same time.
After doing a few of these, the got the hang of it. They now work through their ‘baseball’ cards quickly, with detailed summaries written onto the back. Their binders are slowly filling up with beautiful cards, which are great reminders of fun lessons and of important historical information.
‘Baseball’ history cards work well for us – so well, in fact, that while we do lots of hands-on projects, we take lots of field trips, and we discuss all sorts of things, we rarely do any sort of history ‘worksheet.’ These mini-reports are excellent for cementing information in our brains while giving us the freedom to dig deep into our work.
How do you keep track of your historical studies?
These are the supplies that we use.