How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan

There are multiple ways to go about teaching history in your homeschool. We have often used a unit study approach where we focused on a specific event, person, or time period. Another way to teach history is chronologically through the use of a timeline.

How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan from Starts At Eight. How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan is a step by step guide to using a timeline as the spine for your homeschool history studies.

For my last go around with homeschooling middle school, I have decided to create a timeline based history plan that will take us through two years of American history. You can find out more about my Two Year Timeline Based American History Plan at the end of the post.

How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan

Using a timeline based history plan is an easy way to help kids place events in order and connect people/events/places together.

There are a couple of things to consider and decide upon when creating a timeline based history plan. Here are a couple of questions to consider:

  • What type of timeline you will use? This may be partially dependent on the amount of space you have or even the number of children that are using it.
  • Where will you get your sequence of event from? This could be a textbook, online resource, a chronological list you find or create..

It’s a good idea to decide these things before you get started.

Pick Your Type of Timeline

There are many types of timelines and ways to use them. Here I will talk about 2 popular types I have seen.

Choosing a type of timeline may be dependent on the amount of space you have. For instance if you don’t have wall space in your home, choosing a wall timeline may not be the best option.

You may also want to consider how many children you have participating and if they will want to make their own timelines.

How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan is a step by step guide to using a timeline as the spine for your homeschool history studies.

1. Notebook/Binder Timelines

A timeline notebook/binder can be as simple as a spiral bound notebook where you draw lines to create a timeline. You can also use a three ring binder and some printable timeline pages.

We are choosing to use a timeline binder for our our timeline based history studies. We fell in love with the Home School in the Woods History Through the Ages Timeline Notebook. {This post has been sponsored by Home School in the Woods and includes affiliate links.}

Timeline Based Middle School History {A Two Year American History Plan} from Starts At Eight is a two year plan (including resources) for teaching middle school history with a timeline as the spine.

The binder is designed specifically for the wider (11″ x 8.5″) rather than taller pages and the timeline is printed on durable cardstock for longevity of use. Since it is dated from 5000 BC to 2025 AD you can use it for all of your history studies.

Home School in the Woods also has the HISTORY Through the Ages Collection of Historical Timeline FiguresWe are choosing to use these because they offer a uniform means of adding images onto our timeline. They also offer the option of printing them with just the name and date, or with text descriptions.

How to Create a Timeline Based History Plan is a step by step guide to using a timeline as the spine for your homeschool history studies.

A Few Timeline Project Tips:

2. Wall Timelines

The cool thing about wall timelines is that they can be much larger than notebook/binder timelines. This means you can easily see a large amount of the timeline at once. Visually this is an easier way to see history as a series of events and see how things are connecting and overlapping.

Unfortunately, wall timelines can take up a ton of space. If you don’t have a designated homeschool room with ample wall space this might not be a viable option for you.

I love how this mom took an unusual space and turned it into an awesome Wall Timeline Space!

Pick Your Spine

If you are going to create a timeline based history plan you will need something to base your dates and chronology off of! This could be a book, a website, even a list you create (which you will still need a resource for.).

1. Textbooks

This could be as simple and inexpensive as a second hand school textbook. We have seen many at used book sales!

We have also purchased some curriculum texts along the way that would make a great spine to reference for creating a timeline base history study. Here are a few options:

2. Books

  1. The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History
  2. Don’t Know Much About American History
  3. DK Smithsonian: History Year by Year
  4.  A History of US
  5. Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide
  6. U.S. History for Dummies

3. Pre-Done Timelines

Timeline Based American History Series

Timeline Based Middle School History {A Two Year American History Plan} from Starts At Eight is a two year plan (including resources) for teaching middle school history with a timeline as the spine.

Be sure to bookmark this Timeline Based Middle School History page and check back each month as we add our resources and projects for each time period!

We will spend approximately 5 weeks per time period. With each time period below I will include a list of multiple book and video resources, as well as a project or two for that time period. Be sure to click on each time period heading (as it gets linked along the way) to see what exactly we ended up including in our study, and how exactly we did it.

Year One

Before 1630 – Pre America – The Age of Exploration

Joan of Arc, Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Pocahontas, the Mayflower and more!

1630 – 1763 – Colonial America

First Thanksgiving, Squanto, Colonial Life, Rembrandt, French & Indian War and more!

1763 – 1783 – Revolutionary America

1783 – 1815 – The Young Republic

1815-1860 – Expansion

1830-1876 – Civil War/Reconstruction

Year Two

1871 – 1920 – 2nd Industrial Revolution

1914 – 1933 – WWI/Depression

1933 – 1945 – New Deal/WWII

1945 – 1960 – Postwar America

1960-1980 – The Vietnam Era

1980 – 2000 – End of the Century

2000 – Present – Recent History