How to Make a Timeline Notebook
You don’t need a lot of special supplies to make a timeline notebook. Here are suggestions for 7 basic items to get you started.
A timeline is a valuable tool to help students learn and visualize history. History is so much more meaningful when kids can see where people and events fit into the “big picture” of history.
If you want to use a timeline in your homeschool but don’t have much wall space, a timeline notebook is a great alternative.
Related: How to Make History Meaningful with Living Books
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7 Things You Need to Make a Timeline Notebook
1. 3-Ring Binder
Using a 3-ring binder is the simplest way to make a timeline notebook. I recommend either a durable binder or a heavy-duty binder to be sure that it will hold up to plenty of use.
Choose the size of your binder based on how many years you plan to include in the timeline notebook. Keep in mind that while a 1-inch binder holds approximately 100 sheets of paper, it will hold fewer pages when using thicker cardstock.
Plain white cardstock is ideas for timeline notebook pages. No need to buy any particular brand—just be sure to get standard letter size (8.5 in. x 11 in.). You can probably find the best price on cardstock in the office supplies section of your local Walmart store.
3. Page protectors
Page protectors make it a cinch to slide pages out in order to view them as a continuous picture of history. The page protectors also help keep the timeline pages in good condition.
If you prefer not to use page protectors, you can simply punch holes in the cardstock pages instead.
4. Printable timeline template
These FREE printable timeline notebook pages are available in both lined and unlined versions with dates from 5000 B.C. through A.D. 2024.
5. Printable timeline figures
Timeline figures are an important part of the timeline notebook. I invested in this History Through the Ages timeline figures CD last year, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The figures can be printed by the page in two different sizes, or they can be chosen individually and printed in whatever size you choose.
If you plan to add notebooking pages to your timeline notebook, the History Through the Ages figures make excellent illustrations for them, as well.
6. Colored pencils
Colored pencils are perfect for coloring small timeline figures. We use inexpensive Crayola colored pencils for our timelines.
You’ll need at least the 24-piece set in order to get the peach pencil that works well for light skin tones; pencil shades for darker skin tones are included in any size set.
7. Repositionable adhesive runner
While glue sticks or any kind of liquid glue can be used to attach timeline figures to the page, we use and love this repositionable adhesive runner. In fact, if we happen to run out of this adhesive, we actually put our timeline notebooks on hold until we can get a refill!
Why we love this adhesive runner:
- Timeline figures affix neatly to the page without unsightly bubbles or ripples.
- Timeline figures can be removed from the page without damaging either the figures or the page.
- Any residue around the edges of the timeline figures can be easily removed by rubbing gently with a fingertip.
- Unlike liquid glues, this adhesive involves absolutely no mess.
How to Make a Timeline Notebook
1. Print the timeline notebook pages on white cardstock. I highly recommend one-sided printing so that the timeline pages can be pulled out and laid end to end for a complete picture of history.
You don’t have to print the entire set if you don’t need it right away. You might want to print only the pages that you need for one school year or one time period. Your choice!
2. Insert pages into page protectors (or simply punch with a 3-hole punch if you prefer not to use page protectors).
3. Put the timeline pages into the binder. If you are making one large timeline notebook covering all of history, you may want to use dividers to separate it into historic periods.
4. (Optional) Include a pencil bag at the front of the binder to hold supplies: colored pencils, scissors, and timeline figures that are waiting to be added to the notebook.
We love that timeline figure CD! My high schooler is going to attempt to design an electronic timeline. We’ll see how it goes.
An electronic timeline–I think that would appeal to a lot of the techy kids out there! I’d love to hear how it turns out.
I love the tip re: the repositional adhesive. Had not considered this before, but man what a great idea : ) for timelines and notebooking too, which we do alot of. Thanks Judy!
The repositionable adhesive is more expensive than regular glue sticks, but sooo much easier, I think! (I use it for scrapbooking, too!)
Thanks for stopping by!
Getting ready to start Mystery of History, Vol. 1 this next year. LOVE these timelines. Thank you so much for saving me the time. I may create one more page for creation (around 6000 BC) but that’s it. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I’m so glad you can use these, Kathy! LOVE the idea of creating a separate page for Creation–adding to my mental checklist! 😉
Well if you ever do, let me know and I’ll download it! 😉
Kathy, you’re thinking just one page, right? Not one page for each day of Creation?
The Creation timeline page us READY! Find it here: https://meaningfulhomeschooling.com/2014/05/creation-timeline-page/
Great resources list for those wanting to get started! Thanks for including the mention of software and printables for timelines — awesome time savers and so easy to do, too!
did you print out all 103 pages wow
Patti, I actually just printed the range of pages that I needed for Mystery of History II last year. Hope that helps!
I just printed the timeline in landscape orientation. How do you arrange it in a portrait oriented binder? I don’t mind buying a landscape binder, but the landscape page protectors are very pricey. Suggestions?
Hi, Janine! I just use a regular portrait-type binder and put the pages in sideways. They can always be taken out and laid end to end if your child needs to see the visual continuity of the timeline. Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Do the timeline figures cover Ancient Greek and Roman time period as well as Columbus to Civil War time? I’m hoping to cover more than one student.
Yes, the CD includes everything from Creation up until very recent history. It’s really a worthwhile investment. 🙂
When I looked up the timeline figures, they have much more writing than what you have pictured on your timeline. I like yours better. Did you just cut off all the writing, or are there different versions?
Alissa, if you use the History Through the Ages CD, you can choose whether or not to print the text when you print the timeline figures. Hope that helps!