One of his favorite activities is putting newly discovered people and events onto our timeline.
There are numerous types of timelines and ways to display them. I read about and looked at many of them before making ours, and I think that for now I've come up with a system that works well for us.
Since our children are so young, I felt that a wall timeline would help them better understand the concept of years, decades, and centuries. When they are older they will keep their own Book of Centuries, but for now it helps them to see the flow of events all spread out.
After deciding on a wall timeline, my next step was to figure out where to put it. We have a large wall in our basement, but it was newly painted at the time, and I didn't want to stick tape or putty all over it. I also didn't want to get our timeline all taped together and hung on the wall only to find out that we needed more space for certain decades or centuries. So I decided to make a "stackable" timeline that we can easily lengthen as we add more figures over time. We can spread it out whenever we want, and when we're finished we just stack it up and store it in a magazine holder.
This photo is kind of confusing. We lay the cards out horizontally - not vertically.
I used MS Word to make the template, which is a simple, blue line labeled with the centuries. (I began breaking it down into half centuries when I got to 1700.) I printed it onto white cardstock and had it laminated.
Hopefully in the next day or two I'll get the template set up in my sidebar as a download (under shared files). If you like it, feel free to use it. (I've included one page with no dates on it, so that you can print as many as you need for those extra "busy" centuries.)
When we learn about a person or event, I Google a picture, paste it into MS Word, print it, write in any pertinent info., and laminate it with contact paper. Then we simply talk about it, figure out where it should be placed on the timeline, and tape it on.
Eventually we will probably buy this beautiful set of timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods, because I think it will be nice for the children to color them, but for now Google works just fine.
Here are some timeline resources and templates that you might find helpful:
Homeschool in the Woods is offering a free sampler of timeline figures. (I'm not sure if this is temporary or not, so you might want to go ahead and download it now if you're interested in it.)
This Timeline Helps page, also courtesy of Homeschool in the Woods, is an excellent resource describing many different timeline formats. Also includes tips for placement of figures. (Quick plug here: I love the products at Homeschool in the Woods. Amy Pak, the owner of the company and the illustrator of those beautiful timeline figures, spoke at the Heart of the Matter Online Conference this summer, and she has some amazing ideas for having fun with history. I think most of the products are written for third grade and up, but some of them are probably adaptable for younger ones. I know that we'll be using a lot of her products in the future. You really should check out her site. BTW, I am not affiliated with the company in anyway. I just like their products.)
Paula's Archives - a lot of good info. plus links to companies that sell timelines
Simply Charlotte Mason offers a free template you can use to make a Book of Centuries.
Higher Up and Further In has a great idea for displaying an expandable timeline on a string.
Free timeline notebook and wall timeline pages from The Notebooking Nook. (Top 2 links)
Here is an example of a Book of Centuries at Donna Young's site
Scroll down to the very bottom of this page, and you'll see free downloads of a timeline template. You could use this for a wall timeline or in a book of centuries.