Timelines - how to do it

I had a couple of people ask me more about the how-to's of doing timelines. Not being one to miss a prompt, here are some of my thoughts.

First, how I marked off the years. For the BC era, in the books I use, there are five dark slash marks per page, so each of these is every forty years, which makes the space between them divide up into fourths, with each line being ten years. If you click on this picture in D.'s book, you'll see what I mean.

For the AD years, each dark slash is every five years, with the space between divided into fifths and each slash representing one year. Like this:

You'll also notice that I didn't always bother to pencil in the slashes between the dark lines unless we needed them. If I did write them in, I did not label the years as this would be too many numbers on a page.

What you'll also notice is that you can document the event or person any way you like. The items that were written were most likely from what we learned together as a family. The small pictures were most likely from covering that material in our history co-op that we were involved in for years. These pictures were found and printed by the parent teaching that lesson, usually just by doing an image search on Google and doing some cutting and pasting. My children have pictures of people, of works of art, and of events scattered throughout their books. Since we use them for the length of their school career, there is also a visible difference in the writing over the course of years. I write for the youngest ones, then move to a combination of me writing and the child writing a bit, advancing to the child writing everything.

Now, I don't want to leave you with the impression that I am such a fantastic homeschooling mother that I came up with this all on my own. As if.... No, I first heard about it at a conference where Maggie Hogan was speaking. I fell in love with everything she did and talked about and probably only attended her sessions as a result. I still incorporate a lot of her ideas that I learned. She was making the rounds because she and Cindy Wiggers had a new book out, The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide. If I had to keep just a handful of homeschooling resources, this book would make the cut. I love it! It has so many ideas and resources that I refer to it often, even though I bought it years and years ago, way back at the beginning of my homeschool career. It has maps and cards and ideas and these timeline line figures, which you can copy and paste into your timeline books. If this type of activity appeals to you at all, I highly recommend the book.

sample of timeline figures

A couple of other notes, we do not put every single date/person/event we come across in our books. I think that would suck the joy right out of it. At the beginning I copied the blank timeline page from the book I just told you about and put them in three-ring binders. It was a lot of work and while being able to move pages around or add pages has some benefit, I was never quite satisfied with how it looked or its durability. About five years ago, I discovered the timeline books we are using now at Miller Pads and Paper. They make a fantastic printed and spiral bound book that is very reasonably priced. I linked to their order page if you are interested. (I don't receive a thing for this, I just love the product.)

So there you go, timelines in a nutshell.


Rusulica said…
Thank you for explanation. I'm 35 and I'm considering to start my own right now :)

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