Saturday 19 April 2014

Home-Education - Our Timeline

Timelines are a staple of the Charlotte Mason approach to home schooling, which we loosely follow. (You can read more about our home-education approach here) I did quite a lot of research into timelines until I found a format that would suit us. It has become an ever evolving resource on our kitchen wall.

Charlotte Mason Timeline - Our Handmade Home

Every week we do one session of 'History' and one session of 'Famous Lives' our timeline is our go-to resource for both of these topics.

Famous Lives

This primarily focuses on scientists, inventors, or otherwise notable figures from around the world. I try to balance the genders and we tend to cover more Scots than any other nationality (as is clearly not demonstrated by the above photo... achem)

Our main resource for these studies is a series of books called 'famous people, famous lives' which are short and well written factual books for children.There seems to be hundreds of them so we are unlikely to run out of topics in the near future.

Charlotte Mason History Timeline James Watt
James Watt and the Enlightenment 
Once we finish reading each book we look on the internet for some photos or paintings, we try to have a question and answer type discussion about the person and then I make up about 5 little notes which together we blu tack up to our timeline. This gives an immediate grounding on where in history our famous life sits. We usually study each figure for 2 weeks and we will occasionally revisit people we have already covered if there is a particularly interesting documentary available on BBC iPlayer or if we come across a book of particular interest.


I am using our early years to cover wide sweeping historic topics, giving an overall backdrop to our timeline. Our history studies are primarily based on UK history, with a slant towards Scottish history.

Home education time line
excuse the is the rustic look
We have an amazing book called 'A Street Through Time' Which shows a generic riverside settlement (somewhere in England) and how it has changed through the different eras, from hunter gatherers, through to the modern day. We have plotted the time periods covered in this book on our timeline so whenever we are discussing a time in history we can hop back to the book to get a general idea of how peoples of the British Isles were living around this time.

I really love our timeline it is probably the single most useful resource I have ever made for our home-ed studies and it gets used every day to answer all kinds of questions.

The details of our timeline... should you be interested in making your own... 

Our timeline is very handmade it runs from 400 BCE to 2020 CE It is marked at 5cm intervals. The increments begin at 200 years long, then 100, 50, 20 and finally 10 years (this is based on a timeline in a book we have about the history of art, it seemed as logical way to start as any) It is hand written in sharpie and biro and then put through our little laminator in an impressive 2 metre long strip.
At some point in the future we will have to extend our timeline to pre 400BCE but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Any questions... ask me in the comments below.

Full Disclosure - I've popped in a couple of affiliate links in this post - if you click through and then buy something I get a teeny bit of commission on the purchase - the price you pay is the same but it helps to support this blog and our family - Thankyou


  1. I have been completely inspired by this post, and with coloured card now at the ready, I am about to make a start on our very own timeline. As my DS is utterly obsessed by dinosaurs, our time line will initially just comprise Triassic/Jurassic/Cretaceous periods ; ) Thank you x

  2. I hope you don't mind, but having blogged about our own timeline now, I have referenced this page with thanks - credit where credit is due. We're loving our time line ;)
    (ps Its me you've been tweeting back and forth with ;) hiya x)

    1. Of course I don't mind!

      I love your time line, but I'm quite glad I've not tackled dinosaurs... yet...

      I'll know where to come when I do.



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