One of the best things we did was create a time line that lived on our family room (school room) wall. It amazed me how often I found myself—and the kids—looking up at it pensively, studying it, commenting on it, and drawing relationship conclusions: do you know that Jesus lived at the same time as Confucius?
Some people put their time line in a binder, but I don’t think they get enough use. I like mine where the children’s eyes wander to it frequently. It gives us a centerpiece focus to frame our history studies. We know where we are in time, it is no longer vague.
To make our time line, we just used a long roll of printer’s paper (or butcher paper), marking off incremental lines to show the centuries, enlarging the spaces during the periods of time when much was going on. We started with the creation, life of Adam, and moved right into the first civilization: the Sumerians. There are many long centuries that not much noteworthy happened, such as during the Dark Ages, or time spans that we don’t have information on, such as civilizations without writing. So condense these time spaces when you haven’t got anything to display, and elongate the “busy” periods of time when you’ll have several figures of importance.
My favorite time lines already have the figures drawn so you can either color them or use the included color ones. I like to do one time line per year of history study. They really do help organize your understanding of history!
Start with the Ancient Civilizations Timeline. This goes along with your history studies, or it can actually be used as an outline for your own study of history using library resources.
If you would like to make your own time line, here is a great website that provides free printable timelines. You can use free clip-art that represents figures for the timeline. This is fun, but a lot of work. If you have an artist in the family, it might be interesting to draw the figures.
I found that having the timeline figures ready to go (using the time line resources shown) was very convenient and gave me a ready-made visual to add to the time line as we discussed the period of history. If I had to wait until we created the figures ourselves, we never did get around to doing a time line.
Try using a time line. I think you will be surprised how much learning goes on when children can actually see, daily, the framework of history. It provides an excellent foundation on which to hang everything they hear and read. Now they know where it goes in history!
May I recommend: