History Timeline · Homeschooling

For the Visual Learner in All of Us: a History Timeline

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I love history timelines.  There’s something about lining up the people and events of history in their places next to each other that is satisfying to me.  I know it’s summer and for the most part the school books are put away, but setting up a time line is a project that you might consider “doing ahead” for next year.

There are two main ways to display a timeline:  on a wall and in a book.  We use both. 

  • The wall chart provides a particular kind of visual reference that makes it easy to see at a glance how everything falls together.
  • A timeline in a book provides a compact way to record that kind of information.

The wall chart in our hallway displays the main events and people from the broad scope of history.  I use the book, A Child’s History of the World, by V.M. Hillyer as my reference for which dates to include.  At the start of the school year, or at least at the beginning of each twelve week term, I look ahead at the time period we’ll be covering, then cut out the corresponding cards and tape them on to the chart.

During the year, as my younger kids (grades 1-5) read through their various history books and come across a date, we look at the wall chart to find out where it fits in the broader picture.

The older kids (grades 6+) keep a timeline in a book.  Following the example found at Charlotte Mason Help for how to keep a Book of Centuries, they record the dates as they come across them in their reading, and illustrate their choice of people and events with drawings or clip-art.  They each have their own book, allowing them to make it a personal scrap-book of what they have learned.


 As I mentioned earlier, putting up a time line wall chart is a good summer project.  Two summers ago I printed out, colored, laminated, and mounted this beautiful vine chart that is included on the timeline figures cd from Hold that Thought.

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It took some time, but I really like the way it looks hanging on my wall.  It’s both functional and beautiful.

Donna Young’s Web-site has another example of how to do a timeline in a book, and Homeschool in the Woods has beautifully prepared timeline figures as well as a nice hard cover notebook made especially for displaying them in.

I’ve already started lining up our history curriculum for the fall, pulling together resources and book lists from CM sites such as TruthQuest History, Simply Charlotte Mason, and Ambleside Online.  I’ll be sure to post our history plan when I’ve finalized it, or rather, settled on a rough draft. 😉

In the meantime, along with doing a little bit of math and writing, we’re working on Habit Training at our house, using SCM’s Laying Down the Rails handbook.  I’ll share some of the lessons we’re learning from that in the coming weeks.

You can find the above-mentioned book,  A Child’s History at amazon.com. 

Please note:  the Amazon links included in my posts are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you purchase a product after clicking through from my site. If you choose to buy through these links thank you for your support.


11 thoughts on “For the Visual Learner in All of Us: a History Timeline

  1. I’m so excited about a particular history curriculum known for a great timeline (Mystery of History)– but my kids won’t be old enough to use it for a few more years!! I love the order they create, but also the idea of placing concurrent events in context with each other, especially as they relate to Bible and church history! I want to do a notebook with the kids (one day in the future!) of what was happening on various continents at the same time. I’m thinking we’ll get started by making a time line of themselves and our year, just so they get the general idea. You’ve got me motivate to head downstairs and get started!

    1. Makes one realize why Victor Klemperer who famously analyzed wrote the following in his diary not long after the Nazis came to power:We hear a lot about Palestine now; it does not appeal to us. Anyone who goes there exchanges naailntoism and narrowness for nationalism and narrowness.

  2. A beautiful blog here, Rachel. I’m so glad I found you. You cover some areas that don’t excite me too greatly so your site will be useful. I’ve been exploring the writing process, apropos to homeschoolers. I once taught the gifted n talented. Blessings.

      1. Since you’re following….I wanted to share a series I thoroughly enjoyed working through. The impact of technology on learning. I thought you’d find it relevant. Don’t want to send you too much, but saving you dig time, as they are not recent posts. I don’t follow many bloggers – you’re among my top picks. =)

        https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/04/20/the- dark-side-of-efficiency-part- 1/

        https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/04/21/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-2/

        https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/04/23/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-3/

        https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/05/02/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-part-4/

        https://aholisticjourney. wordpress.com/2013/05/08/ technology-the-dark-side-of- efficiency-finale/

  3. Rachel, I love everything about the way you do things, so practical and inspiring to me!! I am so encouraged from homeschooling to organizing and I really like the work chart for getting the kids organized with chores. I am a firm believer in getting the kids involved but didn’t really have an organized way of going about it. =) Having all boys is sometimes challenging when it comes to getting house work done, they seem to care more about getting the job done than how it actually looks when they are done…I have taught my oldest son (soon to be 16) to make my bread each week. That has been a huge blessing and he does an amazing job and it is just as good as mine! =) The laundry is a big thing for me, I do get them to help. How do you go about having your kids do their own? It seems I would have alot of small loads, where it would seem more efficient to load the washer full? Thanks for all your inspiration!!!!!

    1. Glad to have you following along, Liz! Thanks for your kind comments. How wonderful that your son bakes bread for your family — I love it! I know what you mean about them just wanting to get to the end of the job….mine often do that as well. I’m hoping all the “encouragement” to do it right will pay off in the long run. 🙂 And about the laundry — at this point, I have each of them toss in their whole hamper in one load (I know, what about sorting colors, right?!). I saw the idea on-line somewhere and decided to give it a try. I think I’m going to switch back to sorting again. I think I’ll keep a dark and light hamper in both of their rooms (boys & girls). Then one of them will be responsible for the lights and the other for the darks. Sometimes it does seem like it would be simpler and more efficient to just do it myself, but I kind of hate to back out now! One thing that really helps out is having them fold and put away their own. I don’t do any of that (except for Carmen, who’s three.) So I know that’s a rambling answer to your laundry question. I guess the bottom line is that I don’t have that system down pat. 😉

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