I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited {video}

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited (with a video tutorial} The Unlikely Homeschool

Our space is small. Our space is simple.

And dare I say...our space is free from the "school" look. In our attempt to create a welcoming haven for both family and friends, The Hubs and I have purposed not to let our home look like a classroom.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
True...learning takes place in every room and during every part of our days together. BUT, for the most part, we choose to emphasize the HOME of homeschool, not the other way around.

That being said, as I mentioned last week, timelines...and the ability to SEE history stretched out chronologically is a key element of our days.

Here's our simple way of creating a usable timeline when available wall space is limited.

As I mentioned in the video, I have my children make miniature timeline figures on a separate sheet of paper. They color the figures, cut them out, and glue them in the appropriate spot in our Sonlight Book of Time. Then, we add a brief description next to the figure along with the exact date or year of the event.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited (with a video tutorial} The Unlikely Homeschool

Because I, currently, have three school-aged children and only one family timeline book, I assign my children to draw timeline figures on a rotating basis. We ALL find the date in the book and discuss what should be written. But, only one child is selected to do the drawing portion.

While pre-fabbed timeline figures or internet printouts would look a lot more professional, I find more value in encouraging my kids to make their own timeline figures. In much the same way that notebooking differs from a worksheet-based review, hand-drawn timelines promote more cognitive mastery as the children have to correctly chronicle people, places, and events from memory. These child-made pictures cultivate creativity and individuality. And, in many ways, they show competence...whether or not my kids TRULY get it.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited (with a video tutorial} The Unlikely Homeschool

In addition to our homemade timeline, we also use two pre-made timeline books with accordion-style fold-out pages.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited (with a video tutorial} The Unlikely Homeschool

These two books, The Timechart History of the World and the Rose Book of Bible and Christian History Time Lines, can be spread out as needed in order to give us a COMPLETE glimpse of history...and then neatly tucked away on a bookshelf.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited {with a tutorial video} The Unlikely Homeschool

While our timeline book has been an on-going process for the past six years, we have also made many mini-timelines for specific, short-term projects. Some of these were placed in notebooks while others were displayed on the wall for a few weeks and then removed.

Here is a pic of a timeline we made together to launch our first week of the 2013-2014 school year.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited {with a video tutorial} The Unlikely Homeschool

My kids each took turns adding magazine cut-outs to represent the events in our "What We Did This Summer" timeline. Knowing that the first, last, and middle events would be the easiest ones to add in the correct order, I had my youngest learner work on the timeline first and progressed to my oldest who filled in all the gaps.

How to Make a Simple Timeline When Space is Limited

This short-and-sweet timeline was a great way to celebrate all the fun we had through the summer and introduce/review timeline skills.  

Other suggestions for a short-term timeline for introducing the skill of making timelines are...
  • a "This is my life" timeline biography
  • a field trip timeline
  • a "history of our family" timeline with extended family baby/wedding photos
  • a one-hundred-year timeline

More timeline resources

Why You Should Make Time for Timeline
Make Time for Timelines Pinterest Board
Miller Pad and Paper blank timeline book
Add-a-Century Timeline

Pre-fabbed Timeline Figures

History Through the Ages
Clip Art ETC {free printable clip art}
Portrait Gallery {printable portraits of famous people...I'm not sure of the copyright for this site.}


  1. As a fellow homeschooler, I have been enjoying going through your blog. This is going to be a little off topic...but I am trying to redo my blog a little and I like your header where you have a drop down menu to go different places. Is that something you bought or did you find that in the format options?


    1. Carrine, it was a painstaking process of changing the HTML code. Blogger does not currently have a format for it...that I know of. I found a tutorial for it by googling "drop down menu for blogger". The one that I used two years ago is kind of obsolete now, so it's not even worth directing you to that info. But, I'm sure you could find one that is more current.

  2. Love this post! My kids will be starting their first timeline this upcoming year and like you, we have very limited space. I love the idea of having them in book form. Thanks for sharing your tips with us!

    1. You're welcome! The book has certainly been a help to us. There are many out there. Don't feel confined to just the Sonlight version. I know it is kind of spendy if you buy it new.

  3. So enjoying your timelining posts. Hoping to begin our own family timeline this year. Love the idea of drawing in extra lines for science, etc. Thank you for all of these great ideas!

    1. Yes. It was, obviously, a little time consuming on the front end to draw in all the extra lines, but has served us well for six years and counting.

  4. We just got the Sonlight book you recommended. Since you have used the book for many years now, I was curious if you would now add any other lines to the timeline other than Bible/Church, Arts/Lit, and science/tech? For example, do you think it would be a good idea to have a line for general World History and a line for say general American History? Thank you for your thoughts on this subject!

  5. My school going brother is going to start time line next month. He was saying me to give him suggestions about this because he has very little space. but I had no idea.I saw your post yesterday. when I have told him about your post he have felt very happy. I am sure that your post will prove useful for him.

  6. what does each color line represent?

    1. Black-general history
      Red-Bible/Church history
      Green-the arts/literature history
      Blue-Science/technology history

  7. Going to try this this year - thank you for the video and post! I especially like your extra lines so things aren't crowded and then I imagine it's neat to flip through and see how just one line progresses through the ages.

    1. Yes, it's always fun to see how years and years of learning collide in that one book. Things we added in the early years are still there for us to look at, review, and enjoy.