Growing up, I never really had a clear understanding of chronological or simultaneous events in history. Nor did I really know who was a counterpart or predecessor to whom. Truly, until I started teaching my children history in a chronological fashion, I really only had parts of history all jumbled up. Oh, sure I knew Lincoln lived after Columbus and that the Lewis and Clark expedition was before World War II, but I did not have a good, sturdy understanding of how history interlocked and progressed.
A firm time frame was something I was determined to help my children obtain. The main way we chose to do this was with time lines. Over the years, we have used and created a few different ones.
Two resources of ready printed time lines we have and use are:
- Big Book of History, published by Master Books (This book is on top, to the right in the picture.) Using less detail than our other printed time line book, this one is fabulous for younger children just learning the main events and people from history. It has a lot of great details, but is not overwhelming.
- The Wall Chart of World History, drawn by Edward Hull (This book is on the bottom toward the left in the picture.) A more complete historical time line this book details a vast array of people and places within history. Our children have spent hours looking at this one.
When we used Mystery of History, we made a time line that snaked from left to right all the way up the plain side of a sewing/cutting cardboard fold out. We followed the instructions from the book for the most part, but used preformed people cut-outs I found at a local teacher supply store.
A time line we use every year, despite the curriculum choice, is Book of Time, published by Sonlight. Each child has their own spiral bound book. When we used Sonlight, we used the pre-made pictures the curriculum provided. These were by Home School in the Woods. Once we switched to a different curriculum, I simply bought the pre-made packs by Home School in the Woods for the time period we were studying. Now that we have cycled through history more than once, we have all the packets.
Something we decided to do was add our children to their own time line books. We started with a wedding photo of my husband and myself. We placed it on the correct year. Then, we added a baby photograph of the child, and labeled it with their birth date and place. Then, we included a picture of them at 5 years old, which is around when they start learning about time. We place an updated photograph of each child every five years after that. This is a fabulous way for our children to learn that they are living in a certain time period and growing and changing as time moves forward.
One final way we used to help our children learn about events and people in chronological order was using a blank book. On each side, our children record one event or person. We ask our children to draw a picture and write about the event or person. Depending on the child's age, we require a phrase or sentence to a couple paragraphs about the event or person. This is a sample from our oldest son's book, from when he was in first grade. We were studying the World Wars and the arrows are indicating flight of bombs and bullets.
This is an idea found in many different places, but I believe the first place I saw it used was by The Heart of Wisdom.
A great place to find notebooks, blank or story form with places for pictures and words is Miller Pads and Paper. When our children are young, we use something similar to The Story Journal, because the line spacing is ruled for young writers and there are fewer pages. We do not require young writers to write about every event or person we study. For the older children, we prefer the Picture Story Books which also have a section for a picture and a section for writing. These are printed with writing lines of appropriate widths as well.
* Disclosure: No affiliate links, simply sharing what works for us.