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February 28, 2014

"Which Timeline is Best for Me?"

By: Terri Johnson

The question I receive most frequently, I believe, is which timeline will best suit my students' needs. Choosing a timeline is an important and subjective decision and a tough one at that, with so many great options to choose from. However, I do believe that every home educating family needs a timeline, particularly if you have students in 4th grade or higher.

Perhaps you are the crafty type. If so and if you would prefer to make your own timeline, I would love to show you how I made mine. Click this link for an article explaining the process from beginning to end:


Without a doubt, the best visual representation of time is shown on a wall timeline.
The linear progression of the time increments help children to grasp the length and
progression of time. Knowledge Quest carries wall timelines that measure 10 feet long by one foot in height. They are broken down by time period - Ancient, Medieval, New World and Modern - which means there are four in all.

Most families prefer to post just one timeline for the time period that they are currently studying. Some families, however, like to hang them all up on a large bare wall. Look how Angela displayed all four of her wall timelines at the link below. It's about half-way down the page (her schoolroom is so cute, isn't it?):


Here is the link where you can purchase Knowledge Quest's wall timelines so that you can achieve a similar result:


Although the best visual representation of time, wall timelines are not always the most practical, especially for homes with lots of windows without large blank wall spaces. For this reason, Knowledge Quest also provides timelines in other formats - book, software and mobile app!

Wonders of Old timeline book is a hardcover book that may become your
treasured keepsake once the school years have faded into the past. This book is
also available as an ebook for easy and economical printing for more than one


Wonders of Old pages

Easy Timeline Creator (software for PCs) is another nice option for putting together a timeline with your children. The information that they study can be entered into the program and the software organizes it and places it in the correct location on the timeline. This computer generated timeline can be printed once completed and assembled into a notebook or tacked onto the wall.

When a new timeline is created with this software, you decide what date increments will be included. The timeline at this point is completely blank except for dates and is ready for the student to begin entering information. This information would be found through his or her normal course of history study. The Easy Timeline Creator is located here:


My favorite timeline is a mobile app called Timeline Builder. It works essentially the same way as the Easy Timeline Creator above, but its so portable and easy to use that I have found that it is now my go-to timeline creation tool. If you have an iPad, I would strongly suggest you consider this as your primary or secondary timeline tool. Priced at $5, it's hard to beat.



As always, if you have any questions, particularly about which timeline format is best for you, please don't hesitate to write to [email protected].

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