Timelines for Homeschool
A Tool for Seeing History
Timelines are an important complement to any homeschool history curriculum no matter your spine or educational philosophy. They are especially good for visual learners because they offer a view of historical events in a pictorial way.
Even very young children can use a timeline to see the span of time between events. Any historical person or event that you study can be placed on the timeline. So the timeline can integrate your studies in art, music, literature, and science, with your history studies. And you can include your own family's events such as births or marriages as well.
Types of Timelines for Homeschool
There are endless ways to make a timeline. But they can be categorized into four main types:
Introducing Timelines to Children
I love this idea from Montessori for Everyone. This free PDF shows how history is arranged around the life of Christ -- BC and AD. The term century is also used. This is a great visual aid for helping children understand how to read timelines.
Wall Chart Timelines
Wall charts offer an "at a glance" view of history, but require a great deal of wall space.
Pictured to the right is a wall chart timeline from Konos. It is a large, durable timeline that can be used with any curriculum. We've used ours for three years now, and even though we plan to start using a notebook timeline, we will keep our wall chart up for reference.
Knowledge Quest Maps also offers a 10 feet by 1 foot banner wall chart timeline for sale.
Using ordinary posterboard and address labels can produce a very adequate timeline as well.
For creating a timeline with sentence strips and bulletin board border, visit this wonderful blog entry with pictures!
Although most people think of horizontal lines for timelines, you can use vertical lines as explained at Eleven Oreos blog.
Another option that has the big view of a wall timeline but the convenience of a notebook timeline is creating a fold-away timeline which can be pulled out or put away as desired. These can be made on many different types of bases:
sheets of posterboard,
sheets of foam board,
file folders, or
Notebook Timelines - Or Book of Centuries
The main plus of a notebook timeline is that it can be easily stored away on a shelf. In addition, each child could easily have his own notebook timeline. In Charlotte Mason circles, a notebook timeline is called a "book of centuries." You can see a book of centuries in action at Harmony Art Mom's blog and at Fisher Academy.
This picture shows Sonlight Curriculum's Book of Time. It is a notebook timeline with heavy cardstock pages. Each page has dates printed on it. You simply affix the timeline figures for what you are studying onto the correct page of the timeline notebook.
Beside the notebook are the timeline figures printed on adhesive paper. Sonlight offers these packages with their core progams. The images come from Homeschool in the Woods but are specially chosen to match their curriculum. Therefore, although The Book of Time could easily be used alongside any curriculum, SL's timeline figures would be useful only to those using SL curriculum.
Many other curriculum providers offer their own timeline notebooks. If you use a certain curriculm, check to see if that company offers a timeline package. It will probably be worth the expense because of the great convenience you will find with custom designed set.
Winter Promise's notebook timeline pages
Pick and choose what will work best for you. For years I used the Konos wall chart with Sonlight's timeline figures.
There are retail options and free downloads with which you can "do it yourself."
- RETAIL --Miller Pads and Paper Blank History Timelines
A spiral bound notebook designed specifically for creating a timeline. This is a great bargain at $8.99 each or 2 for $16.00!
- RETAIL -- Homeschooling From the Heart
Notebook Timeline Pages as ebook download or for just a bit more you can buy a print version.
- RETAIL -- Add A Century Timeline
This $50 set includes 40 pages with date & category labels, connectors, 126 colored stickers, 10 flip-ups, binder tabs, 2 image sheets. Read the PDF instructions for a clear idea of what this kit is. It looks quite nice.
- RETAIL --The Homeschool Shop
Westvon Publishing offers My Timeline Book of World History for $12.50. The link will give you lots of photo examples.
- FREE-- Book of Centuries
A free PDF book of centuries download.
- FREE-- from EduPlace
A one page PDF with an empty timeline framework. Very simple.
- FREE -- Guest Hollow Blank Timeline
Free PDFs with numbered timeline pages to put into a notebook. To use this system, you will need a total of 100 hole punched papers.
- FREE -- Stone Soup Homeschool Network
Another blank template for a notebook timeline.
Index Card Timelines
Yet another option is an index file timeline. Each event is put on one index card. The cards are then filed away in chronological order in a box or basket. The cards can also be strung on a line with paperclips or clothespins for a hanging timeline.
Visit Buntglas for some amazing timeline activities. These go beyond index card timelines into a whole different dimension. Just go see for yourself. The blog is in Italian, but there are lots of photos, and you will quickly see how this family uses rope, clothespins, and timeline cards to make an elaborate timeline. Here is another post, this time a music timeline.
Consider variations such as colored index cards or various sized cards to categorize your events.
Mini-book or One Page Timelines
If your unit study or weekly lessons lend themselves to it, you may want to create a specific timeline on a small scale. Minibooks can be a creative way to make timelines. Or a simple one page timeline can be made if notebooking is your style.
Read this article about teaching children to make timelines for a book report or a unit study. Or try some of these online timeline generators:
- ONLINE --Notebooking.org
This simple online timeline builder allows you to enter up to 8 events and choose a decorative border.
- ONLINE --Read Write Think
Another basic, online timeline maker.
- ONLINE --Teach-nology Timeline Generator
An online timeline generator that allows you to choose either a horizontal format with up to 6 events or a vertical one with up to 9 events.
- DOWNLOAD --Microsoft Timeline Template
If you have Microsoft Office Excel 97, you can download this free template. Type in your events and dates and print out an attractive timeline.
- PRINT & FILL IN --Horizontal Timeline Page
An attractive one page PDF with room for 8 events. We use this particular page often. The Bach timeline pictured above is made from this template.
- PRINT & FILL IN -- Eduplace Vertical Timeline Graphic Organizer
A vertical arrow runs along the middle of the page. Write events on the sides.
- PRINT & FILL IN -- Stone Soup Homeschool Network
A really nice one page timeline with space for drawing illustrations of the events.
Amy Pak's Timeline Figures
Homeschool in the Woods
When shopping for timeline figures, the one name you'll come across again and again is Homeschool in the Woods. And there is good reason.
Homeschool in the Woods is the business created by Amy Pak, a super talented artist and homeschool mother. She is known for her beautiful art and well made resources.
She sells sets of timeline figures to put on your own timeline. The figures work for wall timelines, notebook timelines, index card timelines, or for many other homeschool projects. The complete CD, although quite an investment, will last you throughout your homeschooling career. The images can be manipulated to be used in many other applications such as notebooking pages and lapbooking projects.
Most of the figures seen on the timeline in the photo to the right are Amy Pak's work.
Bible Timeline Resource
Because the many events of the New Testament spanned such a short time period, putting timeline figures on a wall chart or notebook timeline may be unrealistic. Instead, you can make a separate timeline just for Bible events. This book is a great reproducible resource for images of major events in the Bible.
Free Timeline Figures Online
There are many options for FREE timeline figures. You can search the Internet for images related to the events you study, or you can use some of these free online timeline figures or clip art resources.
- American History Photos
FREE American History Patriotic Photo Downloads Suitable for Timeline figures (be sure to go on to page 2 for more images).
- Oklahoma Homeschool
Printable timeline and pieces.
- Timeline Helps
Printable templates - female/male figures, and blank square. Go to this page for pictures and explanations.
- Notebooking.org's Free Timeline Figures
Printable, full color timeline figures in three categories: Church History, American history, and Scientists. (The links to the images are in the sidebar, not in the list itself!)
- Montessori Materials History
Beautiful PDF downloads great for timeline figures -- Creation, general historical figures, Egyptian life, U.S. presidents, and a how to make timelines PDF.
- University of TX Portrait Gallery
Not exactly timeline figures, but free images of famous people. All images are in the public domain.
- Clipart from Educational Technology Clearinghouse
Another royalty free clip art site with a wide assortment of black and white images.
- The Homeschool Shop
This option is a bit of trouble, but you end up with quite a collection of black and white clipart images suitable for timeline figures (or other uses). Scroll down to the bottom of the page for Clip Art For Timeline Books. After you unzip the downlo
Retail Sources for Timeline Figures
Besides Homeschool in the Woods products featured above, there are other options for buying timeline figures.
- Timelines Etc.
Timeline sets for various periods in history. Read Cindy Downes' review of this product here.
- Hearts for Home
Hearts for Home sells two sets of timeline figures-- American History and World History.
- Geography Matters
Geography Matters offers two set of timeline figures -- Historical and Bible.
Articles about Timelines
If you'd like to read a bit more about timelines -- their uses and how to make them, visit some of the sites below.
- Homeschool in the Woods Timeline Helps
This is a fantastic article explaining types of timelines and showing great photograph examples as well!
- Donna Young
Donna's timeline hints.
- How Do I Make a Timeline?
This article is by Cindy Wiggers at Geography Matters. It's not just a glorified ad for her own products but offers great advice as he recounts her own use of various types of timelines through the years.
- Charlotte Mason and Home Education
This article explains how to make a Book of the Centuries in the style of Charlotte Mason. As with everything CM, it's inexpensive and simple.