We love our timeline! It helps us tie what we're currently studying to things we have previously studied and bridge relationships between them. After seeing lots of examples that I really loved, and then making various attempts resulting in inconsistency, I finally tweaked something that works for us in keeping up with our family timeline.
We use a 9x12 sketch pad with spiral rings on top so when opened we have a continuous linear flow. The span of each page spread is a little different depending on the era of history. Ancient history has a lot less detail than modern history, so a 2-page spread may cover 200 years instead of 25. The general rule I used per 2-page spread was:
Creation to AD 400: 200 years
AD 400 to AD 1600: 100 years
AD 1600 to AD 1850: 25 years
AD 1850 to Current: 10 yearsAs we're reading through our history books, or studying a significant person, I jot down the names or events that we will add to our timeline. We add figures and events from our history, composer studies, artist studies, biographies, poetry studies, Bible readings...you name it. I love tying these relations across the breadth of our education.
Once a week, usually on Friday, we add these names and events to our timeline book. This ends up also being a natural review of what we covered that week, plus a review of any other previously recorded events that correspond with our weekly addition. For example, when we added in Ivan the Terrible a couple weeks ago, we found that he somewhat aligned chronologically with Michelangelo, one of our artists we studied a few semesters back. It was fun to tie the connections of these two individuals who were living and impacting at somewhat the same point historically, but in very different parts of the world.
I think Mom may enjoy these connections as much or more than the kids.
We love the History Through the Ages timeline figures. I purchased the CD so I can print whatever figures we need. I keep my own timeline book as well for my own readings, so this way I can also print copies for me. I'm telling you, I'm getting the education of my life through schooling these kids! I printed off all the pages from the CD and put them in page protectors in a binder. This way I can see all the figures that we have through that program without having to load up the disk every time.
When we use one or two figures from a page but haven't encountered others yet, I just slip those extra figures into the page protector until we need them.
Sometimes when we don't find an event in the History Through the Ages pack, we'll just shrink down an image we find in our Story of the World Activity Book or just draw our own.
The only regret I have is not keeping a separate book for each of my older kids. (They are ages 9 and 10.) It works well right now to keep a family book, but I think as they get a bit older and start to own their education a little more they will want their individual books to continue to add to. Maybe I'm projecting!
Do you have a way to keep a timeline that works really well for your family? I'd love to hear.