Making a History Timeline - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Making a History Timeline

{photo by Jenny Bischoff}

Here at SLO Classical Academy, we don’t require a home history timeline – and if you’re just getting started in homeschooling and are feeling overwhelmed, by all means let that one go for now, and save this blog post for another season. 

We do encourage using a timeline as a learning tool, and if you’ve wanted to start a home timeline but never really pulled it off before, this is a great year to do it, because we are starting fresh with the Ancients! Today we want to offer you a little inspiration and a few resources to help you get started with your own history timeline, if that is something you desire to do.

Why make a timeline? A timeline is a great way to visually represent the sequence of events in history, and see it all at a glance! It shows how events exist in relationship to each other, which helps us discuss history not as a series of isolated events but as a continuing narrative. It can help us connect with history and remember important people and events in terms of who/what came before and after (or what was happening at the same time), rather than a list of boring dates. It’s great for visual and kinesthetic learners, if the kids are involved in making the timeline pieces. And it gives us a big picture perspective. 

Sound good? If you want one, proceed.

What type of timeline do you want, or have room for? A large timeline around the top of your room, a notecard approach, an accordion-style fold-out timeline, a wall poster…? Last year Down Home ran a blog post with ideas on different ways to create a home timeline, which you can check out. There are a few types of timelines shown for you to see, as well as advice on how to tailor it to your children’s interests. Here’s the visual we used – you can click on the image to go to that post and read more about each idea:

For even more ideas, or if you just need to see additional visuals showing how other people have created them, here’s a Pinterest board with tons of home timeline ideas, too.

Okay, so now what? Once you have the basic setup in place, the simplest way to build your timeline is just to add one person or event each week, or more if you have multiple kids who each want to contribute. An easy method is to let the kids choose their favorite character or event from the week’s readings and class activities. You can purchase pre-made timeline figures, use google images to find and print the pictures you want to use, or have the kids draw their own – whatever works best with their personalities and learning styles, and whatever will motivate them to continue adding to it. 

This Montessori website has links to Stone Age and Bronze Age timeline figures, as well as Ancient Egyptian Life timeline figures. 


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SLOCA parent Wendy Dow, on track A with children Chloe (Int) and Jed (Pri), has put together this useful pdf of ancient history timeline dates, which you can print and use to label your timeline, if desired. Thank you Wendy!

And here’s one final piece of advice from last year’s timeline post: If the idea of making a timeline sounds daunting, remember that it doesn’t need to be fancy or include every single event that ever happened. It just needs to be useful to you and your child… Remember, useful learning tools are not always pretty! 

So dive in and give it a try. Keep it simple, let the kids make it their own. Here’s to a useful, but not necessarily pretty timeline adventure – have fun!

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