Friday, December 21, 2012

Timeline Binders

Ok - I admit it.  It took me over 3 years to get our Timeline Binders started.  Sometimes my perfectionist tendencies paralise me, and I just can't get something going.   I want to have my students start an actual "Book of Centuries" (like the one sold at Simply Charlotte Mason) once they start about Year 6, or are about age 12 - but I wanted the simple version for their earlier years.  I didn't want them to have to do a lot of writing.  I wanted a 2 page spread to be 100 years, and I didn't want it to be too much work, or cost a lot.  I wanted a lot.  I looked at various options.... areas divided by type of event/person?  Lists, or pictures, or lifespan bars?  There are so many choices!

Well, this year, I decided we would get going on this and that I'd find something no matter what.  I even bought a couple of inexpensive scrap-books to do it - then realized that they were counting a page as both sides of a page, so they wouldn't have enough pages!     I finally found a set of 4 files that I'd have to write the dates in, but that would look fairly nice.  (The difference in the files is the name of the Era.)  I bit the bullet, printed them off, and hand dated them.  (I quickly used Adobe to add in A.D. or B.C. to reduce my writing!)

Delta's 1801-1850 page
So, here are our "rules".  During the week, the kids are supposed to tell me people/events they want to add to their timeline.  They don't automatically get the people/events the other person has listed - nor do I go through and add everyone from their history readings.  This is a "connections" thing.  My kids do ask for things that they haven't done in school yet.... as shown by the sample pages.  Delta is still in the Middle Ages (AO Year 2) and Echo is in earlier history (AO Year 1) - but they have people and events in the 1800's and 1900's!

Thursday evening or Friday morning, I start googling from the list of what/who they want.  Sometimes I pick out the pictures, and sometimes I'll ask them to pick from the options I find.    I am using the Avery DesignPro software to make the entries.  (I found one for labels or something that are 2"x2") - this makes our entries large enough, yet small enough, and consistent in size.  It would be easy to use Word or other software too - I already had this.  I like that it makes a little "tab" page for each item, and I can organize them easily.  But to print, I have to jot down the tab numbers (like page numbers) of what I want to print.  

The kids are basically just cutting and pasting - but they care about it, and that is my main desire.  Actually, they do much more than cut and paste - they determine what goes in it, and often select the pictures.  That is the part that makes them "own" the project.  (And I don't think they will "turn their nose up" at their earlier work as they get older either. - a problem that can happen with something like a Timeline Binder that is used for years.)

I do think that for the later years, I'll eventually have to add in a partial page (cut to be below where the timeline arrows are) because it is going to fill up before they even get there!)

They are enjoying it (although sometimes I have to bug them to give me things they want to add....) - and find it interesting when they discover things that are occurring at about the same time.  Also, sometimes adding one thing adds a whole bunch about the same time.  The request for "Winnipeg the Bear" caused related entries like WWI, Capt. Colebourne, A.A. Milne, E.H. Shepard.  The request for "John MacDonnell", then caused "Isaac Brock" to be requested and "The War of 1812".  

Little things I have started doing - if they want an Author, I try to get a picture of the Author AND the Book the child relates them with - on the same entry.   For an Artist, we are using Self-Portraits, if there is one [yes, the one below of Renoir was before we did that...] - and will have the child's favourite painting - on the same entry. [So we will not be adding the Term artiest until done all their pictures from now on...]

Yes, there will be gaps.  Delta has some of the British Rulers he has read about - but not all of them.  I presume if he didn't ask for one, that that ruler didn't make a big impression on him.  But the ones he asked for generally did something that Delta cared about.  He will be more likely to remember them.  Each child's book will be different.

I have to admit - I'm tempted to make my own!  (I don't think I will.)

Echo's 1901-1950 page


  1. You said you found the files. Do you mind sharing where? Though I guess I could make them. I'm in the same place you were on these things "perfectionism" has gotten the better of me. Way to go on getting over it.

    1. Unfortunately, I don't remember where I found the ones I'm using... and a quick search isn't finding them. If I get time, I'll look again. There is a nice cover for the binders that I'm using on this site though...

    2. These are different, but look pretty good... They say they are free...

      I'm not sure if they keep it constant of one century being a 2 page spread....