Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Personal Timeline

As we finished up our prehistory unit, I started thinking about the next areas of world history we will cover and how it would be fun to make some simple, colorful timelines.  Then I wondered if we needed some explanation of what a timeline is, or instead maybe an easy timeline of something that makes sense to my daughter.  Instead of a first introduction on something she doesn't know anything (and probably doesn't care about either), I decided to help her make a timeline of her own life.

We took a long strip from their art paper roll and drew a long horizontal line across it.  Then we made a starting point for her birthday and marks equal distance apart for each of her seven years.  We hung it in the hallway.

I went through our digital picture files and found a bunch of photos from memorable events in Ella's life. I started with a picture from each birthday, each first day at school, vacations, major hurricanes, her sister's birth, when she learned to tie her shoes, and several others.  I printed them all as proof sheets, so the pictures wouldn't be too large for the project or eat up all my printer paper and ink.  I wrote the dates on the backs and helped Ella find where they belonged on her timeline, and she glued them in the right spots.

We added notes and dates, and she traced over some of the important stuff in marker so she could see it better.

It was neat for her to see how those seven years stretched out, but the only stuff she can remember happened in the last two.  So the beginning of the timeline hardly had any pictures, but the end of it was crammed with events.  It was a good introduction to how we're going to keep track of the events we learn about in history, but it was also a good lesson for her on the concept of time itself.

We could have done a lot more with this and made it prettier or whatever, but she lost interest once we had the main stuff up there.  I decided not to push it any further.  She got the point.  Still, it was certainly a worthwhile activity, and I'm glad we did it.


  1. This is great. We did a much simpler version of a personal timeline about 2 years ago. I think we need to revisit though and add in more fun stuff!!

  2. What a fun idea! My kids did something similar when they were in a Montessori preschool many years ago. (It was a birthday tradition for the kids there.)

    Maybe we should try it again, now that we have lots more events to add to it (and now that they are old enough to remember it!)

  3. " So the beginning of the timeline hardly had any pictures, but the end of it was crammed with events."

    That's a great point! We're about to begin a personal and family time line as well, so I'm glad you said that :)


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