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Let’s build a timeline

February 11, 2011

September 2016 update: All links in this post should be current, plus I’ve added a few new ones.

I was asked about our timeline in last week’s weekly report.  I went back through my bookmarks and found all kinds of fun links for timelines–if you think timelines are fun, that is.  We happen to love them at our house.  The Well-Trained Mind suggests starting a timeline in 5th grade when your child is beginning to make connections between historical events and needs a way to organize all the facts that he is learning.  I had always intended to have A begin his very own timeline when he got to that point, but somewhere along the way, I thought it would be fun to have one that everyone could look at and enjoy as well, until they begin their own.  They all enjoy looking at the scripture timelines published by our church, and I like being able to see the big picture of history and realize what was happening at the same time in different parts of the world.

Here are two excellent resources for making timelines:

I always wanted a long wall timeline that we could refer to on a daily basis, but let’s face it, I just don’t have that kind of wall space.  Notebook timelines are more convenient space-wise and ultimately I ended up buying the Wonders of Old timeline book from Knowledge Quest on cd-rom (there’s a download option now.)  I’ve had the Wonders of Old book sitting on my shelf for several years now and I really liked the look of the pages, but now I can print off as many copies for as many children as I desire. I still wanted a way to see the “big picture” so I taped the individual pages together accordion-style.  Each page represents 10 years and unfolded, it runs about 13 1/2 feet for the years 1850-2010.  (We’re studying Modern history this year.)

The boys can unfold it to look at where we are currently in history, or wherever strikes their fancy.

And in the end, it folds up neatly to fit on the history pile on the bookshelf.  Occasionally we remember to put it back in a file folder for more protection.

Here are some free templates for timeline pages:

I also really like the Record of Time notebook cd from Homeschool In the Woods although it’s a bit pricier.  We’ve used a few of their timelines included in the Time Traveler history cds along with their beautiful timeline figures.  Speaking of which–

Where do I find timeline images?  This year we’ve mainly cut and pasted pictures for our timeline that go along with our history studies.  Next year I’ll expect A to begin writing more events on his own (in which case, I may wish I had gone with a lined-page option.)  We started out with the pictures on the review cards from the Story of the World activity guide, but they took up a lot of room.  I then printed off the timeline pictures from Hannah’s HS Helps Yahoo group. She has sets coordinating with each of the Story of the World volumes and they’re already in color, so they’re pretty!  (There are quite a few other SOTW resources in the files section, so if you’re using SOTW, go join the group!)  We’ve also added in the figures from our current Industrial Revolution Time Traveler unit and some I’ve printed off the internet from Google images.

I also like the look of this sticker pack for the classical timeline, but there are many sites where you can find free images to download (and resize for timelines) such as these:

Ultimately I’d like to keep my own timeline book and come up with a color coding system for different categories of timeline events such as wars and political history, science and technology, art, music, literature, and church history and religion.  But for now, this works for us.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2011 8:27 am

    Wow! I am way impressed. Your timeline looks amazing and I love that it folds up so neatly. I have been wondering about timelines a lot lately as I have started to peruse curriculum for next year. We don’t really need a timeline yet, I’m just a bit nerdy about school stuff. I love the idea that a timeline organizes a lot of information. Thank you for all the links!

  2. gina permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:08 am

    Wow! That is awesome! We had a wall timeline once at our old house, but when we had our littlest one, we took it down since he kept taking all the things off! I want to put it back up but there isn’t a lot of space in this house. I’m thinking we might try your idea!


  3. February 26, 2011 12:37 pm

    I finally sat down and read your post about timelines. Thanks for putting the information together. Now perhaps I will be inspired to start one too! I know it would be a great learning tool for all of us.

  4. May 23, 2011 4:39 pm

    Reading about all the different time-line options out there has really got me motivated to start planning ours. Thanks for sharing your link! Your time-line looks awesome. And I love how interested your kids appear with it!


  1. All Things Timelines | The Learning Trunk

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