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Thinking about starting a homeschool history timeline? You should! This article discusses the benefits of creating a timeline alongside your history lessons and options for a variety of homeschool timelines. Find the best fit for your homeschool classroom here!
Why Use a Homeschool History Timeline?
You’ve been thinking of starting a homeschool history timeline, but… it’s a project that was left on the back burner. Hey, I get it. DIY-ing a timeline in addition to your regular history curriculum probably seems overwhelming. But it’s worth it.
Oh, not the DIY-ing part. There are alternatives to stitching your own mile-long quilt of history, but we’ll get to those in a sec.
There are a few benefits to using a homeschool history timeline that you won’t want to miss. Let’s discuss:
- Your children will have a visual understanding of history
- You are creating a long-term project
- You will return to your timeline again and again over the years
3 Benefits of a Homeschool HIstory Timeline:
1. Visual understanding of history
Seeing a visual representation of the progression of time helps ground learning. It will give your child a big picture understanding of history. Using a timeline from year to year will help your child understand the connections between events and people in history.
This visual representation is also a must for multi-sensory learning. In my experience, history becomes much more fluid and concrete when we pull it out of the context of a textbook and add a visual timeline.
Do you have a visual learner? Children who lean toward learning visually will benefit from incorporating a timeline into your history studies. A timeline will enrich learning, so your child can grasp much more than the basic knowledge of when and where events happened. It builds understanding of how one historic event affects the next.
2. Long-term Project
This might be my favorite part of incorporating a timeline into our homeschool. Because we study different time frames in history every year, our timeline has become a tool that stays with us from year to year.
I love the consistency this brings to our learning, from one lesson to the next and from one year to the next. For example, our timeline already shows what was happening in Europe in 1090 AD. This year, we will add to it what was happening in South America and Asia in the same time frame.
This global perspective gives our learning so much more depth. It also connects our learning throughout the years. A long-term homeschool history timeline will help you create a project that reflects your child’s growth over time.
3. Reference for Future Lessons
Having a timeline automatically gives you a reference for future lessons. If my kids forget something we learned, we can easily go back to the timeline to review. If we are discussing a particular time in history when it comes up in our read aloud, we can go to the timeline and refresh our memories as to what was happening in the world at the same time as the book’s setting.
Truthfully, our timeline has also been super helpful for me, the teacher! It allows me to connect what we are learning in one lesson or book to so many other aspects of what we have learned in past lessons, without having to do a ton of extra work.
Choosing a Homeschool History Timeline
When you’re ready to start your homeschool history timeline, you have many options available. Some families create their own timelines with a roll of paper and a lot of imagination… But most of us need a little more structure (and convenience) to get started.
Add Your Own Historical Facts to a Printed Timeline
The most common recommendation you’ll see from homeschoolers is to purchase or print a timeline where you will add your own notes, drawings, or pictures over time.
Be sure when you are purchasing a timeline book or set of printables that the dates align with what you are teaching. Do you want BCE/CE dates? Or do you prefer BC/AD? Are you looking for a timeline (frequently called a book of centuries) for recorded human history? Or do you want a geologic timescale that starts at the beginning of Earth?
Printable Timelines: We created an accordion timeline from a printable set. I love being able to unfold it and see the full extension of our history lessons! If you’re not into creating an accordion set, you can also use printables to create a book of centuries in a binder.
- Printable Book of Centuries (pictured above)
- Geologic Timescale (prehistory back to the Precambrian era)
Another option is to buy a printed timeline that is ready to go. Similar to the printables, above, these books are simple, lined pages. Add your own figures, drawing, and important dates to fill out your timeline.
Use a Timeline Book or Curriculum
If creating or assembling your own timeline figures, dates, and drawings sounds like a slog, there are other options available that are more open-and-go.
Timeline: A Visual History of Our World (and Activity Book)
These books provide a type of hybrid between learning from a visual representation of history and playing with creating aspects of your own timeline. Read and research in Timeline then move to the companion activity book for games, puzzles, and drawing to make your history lesson memorable!
Giant American History Timeline
This fully interactive, hands-on American history curriculum is based on building timelines. This is a thorough history curricula with 2 volumes that would cover 2-3 year. Best for upper elementary and middle school ages. Read our full review here.
Timeline Books and Posters
If the hands-on approach to history feels like overkill, a great alternative is buying a pre-printed timeline book or poster to use as a reference.
The Wallbook Timeline Collection
This unique collection of books illustrates major events in history with a ten-foot fold-out timeline. The companion books, What on Earth?, Big History, and Nature to Science retell events in history with a unique newspaper article layout. An excellent series developed with the American Museum of Natural History that will engage young learners.
History Timeline: World History
If you’re looking for a stand-alone poster to accompany your homeschool history lesson plans, check out the Historia Poster. This stand-alone poster depicts world events in history with an interesting and colorful layout. A great wall-reference for your homeschool room! American History Timeline also available.
Smithsonian: Timelines of Everything
If you want the benefits of viewing history on a timeline, but you’re lacking the wall space check out this book. You will see timelines from ancient to modern history – in a variety of interesting visual layouts. A great companion to any history curriculum.
I hope this helps you decide what type of timeline is right for your family!
More homeschool history from the Resource Room:
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.