Our timeline is loosely adapted from the one recommended in the front of A Child’s History of the World. It sits, as recommended, on the wall of the children’s bedroom where it can be looked at frequently, and occasionally added to extemporaneously (hence Spiderman’s apearance at 3100 B.C.).
The underlying material is a strip of Cling Thing, cut to fit the wall. It’s repositionable and reusable. The kids managed to rip the bottom strip off the wall, crumple it off and cover it with fuzz, and I just wiped it off with a wet cloth and stuck it back on.
The cards are just blank index cards, cut in half.
When we get to something datable, we draw a picture of it, write a caption, and stick it up.
It’s very simple and easy to do. We’re doing ancient history this year, but Duchess has been adding some of her own cards based on her independent reading. I should probably put composers and artists up on there, too, but I haven’t and besides there really isn’t room.
Cost was $20 for the Cling Thing, and not very much for the index cards. (It took me two rolls of Cling Thing, with a bit left over. We had lots of blank index cards left over to play 1000 Blank Cards with.)
As you can see, it’s far from precise. It also does not have a lot of room. One thing I regret is I cannot figure out a way to represent centuries without getting in the way of the actual events. So I just put things up approximately where they should go. It’s still very useful for young children to get an idea of the scope of recorded history and distances in time, and I see them beginning to make connections on this basis.
Next year I might have the strips each represent a century, as we do smaller chunks of time at once.
Despite its limitations, I think it’s the perfect approach for us right now. We’ll get fancier and more precise as they get older. What matters now is that they love history and have some idea that Moses was a whole lot longer ago than Robin Hood.