As promised in an earlier post where I featured the free timeline printables available on my website, here is a walk-through of Otter’s timeline.
I’ve had Otter work on a timeline ever since Kindergarten. He filled up his first timeline and is currently working on the one I feature below. This second one will last him through high school. It’s not the timeline I offer on my site (my own personal timeline actually uses those printables – yes, I’ve made one too over the years with the kids!). Otter’s current timeline is one I purchased from WinterPromise years ago. I actually don’t like the WinterPromise timeline very much because the background isn’t clean and uncluttered. Also, the pages face each other, so in between each timeline spread you have blank pages. I believe WinterPromise designed their timeline this way so you can insert maps and other items in between the timeline pages in the appropriate time period. We don’t use it like that though since I put those types of papers in Otter’s history notebook, so it makes flipping through the timeline a little more difficult. I do like that the pages are sturdy card stock.
Timelines are a great way to SEE history unfolding and to be able to better understand the march of events and people through time. Our timelines are a scrapbook of memories of all the things we’ve studied and also a great way to visually review our history lessons. Otter really enjoys flipping through the pages. We usually play a little “game” when we pull it out where we verbally pick our favorite image or item studied on each page.
First I’ll show you some of Otter’s timeline pages and then I’ll dissect an individual page and point out some of the different items on it. His timeline is in a THICK notebook with really sturdy binder rings. I chose this type of timeline because it’s easier to handle, store and doesn’t take up space on the wall, etc. I’ve used wall timelines with the big kids, in the past, but found that eventually they have to come down off the wall (even if you leave it up for years) and then they aren’t really practical to store. I wanted more of a scrapbook style BOOK that could be kept and shown to Otter’s kids someday. A wall timeline, while neat for awhile, is just junk when you are finished with it.
Click on each picture to see it larger (my apologies to those of you reading this post in an RSS feed where the pictures may be featured full size). I’m not showing ALL the pages, just several examples from different time periods.
As you can see on this page spread, there are a variety of items pasted in: books we’ve read, people and events we’ve studied and even pictures of “things” from that time period like Solomon’s temple and a picture of Canaan merchants. Other timeline pages from this era (not pictured) show an Egyptian home and other similar things that show not just an event or person, but how people lived.
Besides people and events, we also sometimes put in inventions (such as the Chinese kite) or discoveries and advancements in science, math (Pythagorean theorem as seen below) and even art and/or artists.
Even though we are Christians, I’ve always felt it important to cover major people and events from other religions. In the page spread below, you can see Otter’s timeline entry for Muhammad as well as the cover of a book about him that we checked out from the library.
On the left-hand page on the entry for King Egbert I’ve placed a small genealogy symbol to show that we directly descended from him. Otter has enjoyed learning about famous people in our family tree and we make sure to mark them in his timeline for an extra bit of fun.
There are a lot of WinterPromise timeline figures (created by Homeschool in the Woods) on this page spread. They are the black and white ones with a bunch of text underneath. Later on I decided I liked my homemade timeline figures better as they were more customized and colorful so we switched to them after we left off using the WinterPromise curriculum.
As you can see from the pages below, some parts of Otter’s timeline are not as full as others.
Here I’ve dissected a timeline page in a bit more detail so you can see specific things we’ve entered in. You can see how we incorporate the covers of various books we read as we move through our history studies (we use the custom made GuestHollow history curriculum I created which is available for free on my website). I get the pictures we use in our timeline from the Internet and then I paste them into a timeline template page via either Photoshop or Microsoft Word (I have templates created for both programs). You can download a free timeline figure template from the timeline section of my website.
So there you have it! We really love our timelines! I think they are really helpful for seeing the big picture and for remembering things we studied in our history lessons. If you haven’t started a timeline with your kids, I highly recommend it. They are a fun and colorful addition to any history curriculum that your kids can look back on and remember their lessons in the years to come.