Throughout our history studies, we’ve enjoyed keeping a timeline – on the wall and in a notebook. Our first experience with using an accordion-style timeline was when we completed two Homeschool in the Woods Time Travelers History Studies three years ago.
Since then, our timeline-and-history-obsessed son has wanted to use an accordion timeline for his entire timeline notebook. (Note that it is not necessarily recommended to keep an accordion timeline for your entire timeline notebook because it is not as durable as having each page hole-punched, but… we’re doing it anyway. It’s just great to lay it out on the floor and see it all at the same time!)
Download the Timeline Notebook Templates
The century timeline template: evenly-spaced, 100-year intervals from 4000 BC to 2000 AD.
Non-linear timeline template: (“Non-linear” meaning not a consistent interval) 100-year intervals to 200BC, then 50-year intervals to 1500 AD, then 25-year intervals to 1700 AD, then 10-year intervals to 2010 AD. This accounts for the increase in the number of historically recorded events through history. We personally recommend a non-linear timeline over the evenly-spaced century timeline. Visit our “finished” timeline wall to see why!
Condensed non-linear timeline pages: Condensed, 46-page version of the non-linear timeline template. 1000-year intervals from 4000 BC to 1000 BC, then 500-year interval to year 0, then 100-year intervals to 1800 AD, then 10-year intervals to 2010 AD. If you are in Classical Conversations, this is probably the best choice for you. It will minimize printing but still accommodate for the timeline we memorize.
Condensed non-linear timeline pages, no notebook lines. Same as above but with no notebook lines. Includes cover page. Download this version from our Subscriber Freebie Library by signing up for our email newsletter.
Each of the above files includes instructions on how to use these pages to make an accordion timeline for your notebook.
For a cover page to use with this timeline notebook, download our Timeline Notebook Title Page.
How to make an accordion timeline
Print on cardstock paper for durability. Determine how much of the timeline you would like to see at one time. (For our purposes right now, we taped 10 pages together to span 1,000 years, for a total of six notebook accordion pages.) Hole punch the first page for that interval. (To reinforce the holes, tape the right edge/margin with clear packaging tape before hole punching.) Cut off the right edge margin.
Cut the left and right margins off of subsequent pages for the interval you have selected.
Align two pages at a time and tape with clear transparent tape, front and back. (You can leave a very small (<1mm) gap between pages as you tape so that it will fold more easily.) Continue to do this for the remaining pages for your selected interval of timeline. Accordion fold this interval and place into notebook.
For more information about types of timelines and the interval-spacing for timelines, visit Homeschool in the Woods Timeline Helps. And for more about the various types of timelines we have used, go to our previous Keeping a Timeline Post. And for introducing timelines, download the pdf Christ, the Center of Human History.
Where to get timeline figures
We were originally using Homeschool in the Woods as shown in the above photo but then used miniature, scanned images of our Classical Acts and Facts Cards. (I cannot share these due to copyright.)
If you would like a VERY SIMPLE way of making a timeline wall…
…download this wall template. If you don’t have the space for a wall timeline of this scale, print multiple pages per sheet in the print dialog box.
For our notebooks, we currently use a combination of our miniature Acts & Facts History Cards (scanned and reduced in size), Homeschool in the Woods figures and Hold That Thought mini-cards (the website for this company is currently inactive). In my opinion, the highest-quality timeline figures I have found are made by Amy Pak at Homeschool in the Woods (which you’ll also find is used by Sonlight, Knowledge Quest, and a number of other companies). You can download a sample of History through the Ages Timeline Figures here.[Both History through the Ages and Hold That Thought timeline figure sets include a fact with each person or event. This is a great way to extend our history and timeline studies beyond the “memory pegs” that we are learning in Classical Conversations.]
Tip: To avoid sticky glue messes in our notebooks, we print our timeline figures on 8.5″ x 11″ full-page labels and cut them to size, but it can sometimes be difficult peeling the sticker backing off!
Post originally written September 2012. Updated and Republished February 2015.