Activity: Create a Timeline Notebook

One of the notebooks we used extensively was our timeline notebook. Each child had a notebook where everything studied went inside the binder in chronological order.

Children just learning to read and write probably do not need to be encumbered with a timeline project. There are plenty of other things for them to spend their time on and the chronological value of the timeline will likely be lost in any case.

But older children who already have the necessary skills to read and write through history will get great value out of maintaining their timeline notebook.

How to Set Up a Timeline

There are several different ways to set up a timeline notebook:

  • Print or purchase timeline pages — pages that will fit into a binder with time increments on them. Alternatively, you can purchase a large spiral scrapbook notebook and use a ruler to put the timeline at the top of each page, dividing the notebook into eras. As you study each content area, include a picture or an illustration of the person or event studied and paste it on your timeline with the appropriate date and title.
  • Use Drawing & Writing Paper to record narrations and illustrations of events. Arrange in your timeline notebook in chronological order.
  • Use a computer program to create and print a timeline to fit inside a notebook.

Some will divide each page into sections such as art/music/literature, science/discovery/invention, history/war/politics, etc. Others will simply place each addition on the timeline as it comes.

It is understandable why some prefer to have their timelines use the same time increments whether the timeline reflects ancient or modern eras. But the truth is there is so much more covered from the 1700s to the present than ancient times, that it seems a great waste of paper and resources to accurately reflect the true scope of time.

One solution to this problem is to have four different notebooks representing different eras covered, each with their own scale. Another solution is to have a timeline reference that accurately shows the time distances for perspective.

One last tip — there are many timeline resources out there already prepared for you. We have used a few of those. The ones we created ourselves were typically those that were actually used!

Additional Resources

How to Make a Timeline in a Microsoft Word Document
Great instructions for making a vertical timeline with example from Fry Elementary School in Illinois.

Notebook Timelines
Great instructions from for making a vertical or horizontal timeline notebook.


Interactive Timeline Maker {Free}
Another way to make a history timeline that can be printed and placed in a notebook.

Timechart History of the World

Timechart History of the World
Originally published in 1890, this fold-out time chart is our favorite and has been updated to 2014.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Book of Centuries {Free Blank Timeline}
A book of centuries can be the student’s own book, where he writes, illustrates, copies, or pastes figures, dates, geographical locations, quotations, and other components of history.

Timeline Book Pages
Free forms from Highland Heritage with the pages divided by subject area.

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