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.
Firan Mondal from MUSCAT on September 11, 2020:
A lot of timelines are well explained for home school. It really has a lot of information.
I like the way the timelines, charts, resources are represented.
Richard Lindsay from California on April 24, 2016:
Great post, lots of good helpful information for homeschooling.
Genesis Davies from Guatemala on February 11, 2014:
This is such a great resource! We are just starting to do timelines with my kids and I love them!
anonymous on August 14, 2013:
Awesome resource! Thank you!
anonymous on August 15, 2012:
EXACTLY what I hoped to find all in one post.
anonymous on August 10, 2012:
Great resource page. I'm going to pin it for future reference as I'm shopping around for free to inexpensive timeline figures for our timelines this coming year.
aliciamaggie54 on June 25, 2012:
This seems like a great way to learn. Love the options you have here.
AHERMITT LM on May 27, 2012:
Thanks for a great homeschooling lens!
anonymous on April 08, 2012:
Great lens! I love maps, charts, and timelines so I'm thrilled about doing this with our children. Thanks for all the great resources!
demiki on March 31, 2012:
Awesome!! What a great lense! Thank You for all the wonderful info. We are just starting our hs journey (dd5yo). This is a true asset!
anonymous on March 07, 2012:
Thanks! It's a great help for my LA project.
SnoopyGirl1 on March 07, 2012:
What a great resource! Thanks Jimmie!
wadsworth lm on February 14, 2012:
Awesome, it is like Pintrest meets scrap booking.
ScrollSawChuck on February 06, 2012:
We were homeschool parents, and are now homeschool grandparents. Thanks for the great lens and the information.
CPDInteractive on February 05, 2012:
wow, this is great information!!! Thank you for writing this :)
jimmyworldstar on February 04, 2012:
Wall charts are good for describing events in history. The horizontal line works great over the vertical line approach because it allows students to see the times easier from past to present.
jadehorseshoe on January 16, 2012:
Homeschooling: The Last Best Hope of America.
MyTimeAlone on January 15, 2012:
Too bad most kids at school don't have the same opportunities that great homeschoolers get. Nice lens.
LisaGraceBooks on January 03, 2012:
Very nicely organized with lots of options. I home schooled my daughter for one year (she's in second grade now) and see plenty of tools I would use if I decide to home school her again. Thank you.
pianolessongirl on December 06, 2011:
This is a wonderful resource, I wish I would have had this when I was younger. I absolutely had the WORST time with timelines....thanks for such great knowledge.
RobinDM on November 24, 2011:
I love having this fabulous information all in one place. What an encouragement and a help in planning!
markettrol on November 12, 2011:
I really enjoyed your lens....great info....Thanks
anonymous on October 11, 2011:
Holy Schmoly! What an incredible resource you've compiled here! Thanks so much for such thorough info.
CarolineS01 on September 27, 2011:
reading this information about timelines is a nice thing to do. I really enjoyed it.
seeker2011 lm on September 17, 2011:
i enjoy timelines and still use them for various things. i use one in my family tree to give historical events so that i can see what ancestors would have been reading about at there time. nice lense
Kim from Yonkers, NY on September 16, 2011:
added this lens as a featured lens to my Epic ballad of Poetry lens.
MoneySavingEnth on September 01, 2011:
I'm a certified teacher. Those timelines are very impressive.
Jeanette from Australia on August 25, 2011:
Wonderful! We used both the long timeline on the wall (when the children were younger) and the timeline notebook in our homeschooling.
anonymous on August 22, 2011:
Glad I stopped by this very nice resource of information. Blessed!
pawpaw911 on August 12, 2011:
Excellent ideas. Children don't learn enough about history now days. My children are grown, and I still feel like I am teaching them history.
Light-in-me on August 11, 2011:
I really love how you used pictures to show the different types of timelines.
excellent lens, thanks for sharing.
blessedmomto7 on August 11, 2011:
Back to school angel bus stopped by w/ a blessing!
AngelDey on August 03, 2011:
This is cool. We have them in our history book, but making them lifesize and interactive is a great idea. I always love it when you can make something interactive. It makes learning more fun.
TeacherRenee on July 09, 2011:
Thank you for highlighting this important teaching tool. Timelines are fantastic because they help visual learners "see" the information in a different way than just reading it on a page. Timelines are a fantastic learning tool!
Shanir LM on July 07, 2011:
hmm, homeschooling has always interested me and I always wanted to try it! never happened though lol, great lens :)
Obscure_Treasures on July 06, 2011:
Reminded me of my school days.Nice collection of pictures as well to create such a lens.....Awesome..........
YourFirstTime on July 02, 2011:
Seeing this makes me nostalgic. I remember my teachers doing a lot of these activities.
anonymous on June 23, 2011:
I found your timeline page in the midst of our homeschooling timeline creation project! Thanks, inspired me to keep on with the project and add great new ideas. I can only echo what JoshK47 said "Awesome resource for homeschoolers!"
JoshK47 on June 22, 2011:
Awesome resource for homeschoolers!
moonlitta on June 09, 2011:
Fascinating! Here's a small blessing for well done job...!
anonymous on June 06, 2011:
This was a very thorough and helpful page about timelines. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I have opened more than half your links to read more! :-)
ShellB on June 03, 2011:
Great timeline ideas!
sushilkin lm on April 25, 2011:
Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Keep sharing always. Please PRAY for JAPAN by visit on Squidoo!!
Philippians468 on April 14, 2011:
love the indexed card timelines! great lens! cheers
blessedmomto7 on March 31, 2011:
Great lens. I appreciate all the links you have included. I am always intimidated by timelines, but might give it a go for next year's history.
JulieS LM on March 30, 2011:
I'm not sure if my comment went through??
JulieS LM on March 30, 2011:
I am a timeline junkie so I love this lens! In the first 8 years of homeschooling, we used the Konos timeline and faithfully added the characters as we studied units. Later we used Homeschool in the Woods set which is great. Please visit me at
anonymous on March 25, 2011:
Thank you for this detailed post. I love sharing how I keep our homeschool fun at http://www.examiner.com/homeschooling-in-greenvill...
aace234 on March 07, 2011:
wow this is awesome! I never thought of time to work in that way awesome work here! i would love to track time in the present and see how i did when I get into the hour future using my time tracking app form tsheets thanks again! Great post! More!
anonymous on January 27, 2011:
I have been reading and following the links in this article for hours! Thank you SO MUCH for all of the research you have saved me. I greatly appreciate your work and will refer back to this article and share it often. Great job!
daisygreen on January 09, 2011:
Nice article and i get help from your article
daisygreen on January 09, 2011:
nice article, get help from you , and want to own it!
julieannbrady on December 26, 2010:
Such an inspiring page my dear -- cannot wait to see your marvelous ebook! Merry Christmas my dear ... still thinking "merry" you know? May you have a blessed rest of the year and a very Happy AND Blessed New Year that is all that you could want it to be!
lilgirllapbooker on December 22, 2010:
Hey! Do you know where I can find a free wall timeline? Thanks! Nice Lens!
MargoPArrowsmith on December 10, 2010:
Great way to teach history
anonymous on December 08, 2010:
Home Schooling is hard but what are the benefits over regular schooling?
anonymous on November 15, 2010:
It a lot of work to home school. Great lens!!
anonymous on November 08, 2010:
What a great resource! I am recommending your lens to my son and daughter-in-law. They homeschool their children. I believe this is a resource they will use!
rwoman on November 01, 2010:
This should be very helpful to all sorts of teachers!
anonymous on October 25, 2010:
Wonderful lens. Thank you.
Holley Web on October 21, 2010:
I wish I had you as a resource when my son was younger. This is beautifully put together! I love the way it so well explained and the arrangement of the photos makes it visually impressive. Thank you!
resume-analyst on October 04, 2010:
Very constructive lens. Keep up the good posting.
JJNW from USA on September 15, 2010:
Very helpful! I love these ideas!
Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on September 13, 2010:
Great info about Timelines. Love all of your homeschool lenses!
Kristenph on September 10, 2010:
Great timeline tips Jimmie. I was looking for a way for my son to make a timeline on the computer. Did you run across anything like that?
TheresaMarkham on September 09, 2010:
Wow! This is great!
anonymous on August 25, 2010:
Nice to get kids (and parents) involved easier. Nice post, thanks!
anonymous on August 13, 2010:
Thank you for covering timelines so in depth and with links. Very fortunate to find your website. I am a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. But I really like the notebook and mini-notebook options. Now who to buy from?!
Wendy Leanne from Texas on August 10, 2010:
I liked timelines as a student and now as a certified teacher I think they really rock. I've never seen the notecard timeline...love it. I'm going to share with my teacher friends.
RobininColorado on August 07, 2010:
Your time lines have made me even more excited about history this year! Thank you, Jimmie!
Stephen Carr from Corona, CA on June 25, 2010:
Wow, terrific lens. Had no idea how cool and educational time lines could be.
anonymous on June 05, 2010:
Very informative lens! I am off to put in my list for future blog posts on my history blog.
ScientificHomes on April 30, 2010:
Such a great resource! Thanks Jimmie!
pyngthyngs on April 12, 2010:
What an excellent lens. These timelines would be a great supplement to any homeschoolers curriculum. Looking at concepts graphically always helps me grasp everything quicker and at a higher level.
mngtproject on March 09, 2010:
Well you gave me a correct sense of Timelines for Homeschool. This lens should be get 5 stars.
Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on February 09, 2010:
I love this lens Jimmie! I have made it the
anonymous on January 27, 2010:
We made a timeline with a cord. Take a look here http://buntglas.wordpress.com/2010/01/23/timeline-... and here http://buntglas.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/musictime... and here http://buntglas.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/geschicht... for example of our using it. It's much fun.
SadieCope on January 09, 2010:
I once made a timeline out of cut up file folders. I cut them into narrow strips, taped them together and then taped them around the room, at the top of the wall near the ceiling - like a wall border. As we went through our studies, the kids colored and cut out little figures and we added them to the timeline. It was cheap, easy and effective!!! Great Squidoo Lense.
anonymous on December 29, 2009:
I think you should add Guest Hollow's free timeline to your page - it is the one I use and I think it is a great free choice!
JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on December 08, 2009:
Thanks Jimmie! These are beautiful pictures of timelines. I've always wanted to purchase the Amy Pack pictures but the children have been illustrating our timeline figures so far.
andreaberrios lm on September 30, 2009:
This is just amazing! I have learn so much with your lenses. I have two children and I always wanted to Homeschool my kids but I don't know how. This is very useful! Thank you 5*
Joan4 on August 10, 2009:
I wish someone had taught me about timelines when I was studying history! I must be a visual learner. Time lines have always fascinated me. I used them to teach young adults about setting goals, and how a poor decision along the way could affect those goals! I sure could have learned my history lessons better! Blessed by a joyful SquidAngel!
anonymous on July 06, 2009:
Great info! I'm a teacher in the NYC public school system. I'm glad the internet allows all of us who are committed to quality education, whether at home or school, to share resources. Thanks!
anonymous on June 03, 2009:
This is great! We're getting ready to begin our first history program this fall; this will be an excellent reference!
anonymous on May 24, 2009:
Nice Lens, what a valuable resource for homeschoolers!
Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on May 12, 2009:
When we homeschooled one of our favorite books was a timeline of history throughout the world. It's fascinating to compare what was happening with the Incas and the Chinese for example at any given time period. So often these civilizations are studies in isolation. Timelines helped us to organize our studies and make those comparisons.
Thank you for illustrating the various types of timelines.
anonymous on May 06, 2009:
Thank you so much for the helpful information and pictures! I also wanted to mention another source for beautiful time line figures and events: www.holdthatthought.com
tandemonimom lm on May 05, 2009:
Excellent resource list - I didn't realize there were so many ready-made timelines out there! Welcome to The Homeschooling Group - you're a featured lens!
Leanne Chesser on April 05, 2009:
This is a great lens and I love your photos. I'm a teacher and a homeschooler and I just got an idea for one of my units! Thanks.
eclecticeducati1 on February 25, 2009:
I love this lens! Timelines are a great educational tool. I love Amy Pak's stuff. She has a lot of great resources. 5*
KadabaCo on January 29, 2009:
Awesome! This is sooooo useful to our homeschooling house! We're using The Story of the World series and these tips will come in very handy! I'll tell our network about them! 5*'s and favorited!
Debbie from England on January 17, 2009:
Excellent resource for educators. I'll be checking out the links soon ;)
HomeSchoolHelp on November 13, 2008:
Wow! What a fantastic lens and a fantastic resource! Beautiful work!
jpetals on November 13, 2008:
Another great homeschooling resource by you! Wonderful. =)
SewWithSarah on November 02, 2008:
Thank you SOOOO much for the fantastic info! My daughter has 3 year old quadruplets and an older son who is 4 years old. She and her husband want to homeschool them, so I'm passing this info along to her. We're checking out all information we can in advance so they'll be able to do the homeschooling. Thanks so much!
Music-Resource on October 12, 2008:
Hi Jimmie: Timelines looks like a fun way to learn about and appreciate history, nice job. ~Music Resource~
eccles1 on October 11, 2008:
What a great lens and looks like fun too !!
anonymous on September 29, 2008:
www.xtimeline.com is a website that you and your students can use to make and share timelines online using photos, videos, and text. it's fun and easy to use!
AlisonMeacham on September 10, 2008:
There are always so many great resources and ideas on your lenses. Your lenses really do inspire me to start different homeschool projects. Blessings to you.
anonymous on September 08, 2008:
I am so happy to have you featured in my Parenting Group Parenting on Squidoo. Please check back often to add any of your new lenses to the group. I'm always looking for new feature topics, so make a suggestion and I will do my best to make it happen!
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