Thursday, February 12, 2015

{Keeping} :: Royal's Timeline

For the past few weeks Royal (AOy3) has been working on his Personal Timeline. It is one of the Time Tools highlighted in Bestvater's The Living Page. She calls it The Child's Own History. This is one of the earliest forms of vitality (or notebooks) introduced to a child in order to help them begin to understand history.

By age seven or eight, it is clearer to him that things have happened before his time and the child goes on to develop the notion of a century, and only after that the vastness of all recorded history and prehistory. -Bestvater, The Living Page, p44  

We began with the present, which, at the time, was back in the 3rd quarter of 2014. After December finished, we updated that square with a highlight from the last quarter of the year. So most entries are continuously looking back. I have to say that I am SO glad I am a photo-journalist of sorts... or shall I venture to say photo-keeperAnyway, if I did not have photos to look back through (albums or digital pictures), I really don't know how I would jog my memory as to what happened during any given time in the past!

Here is what H.B. wrote in History: Teaching Practically Considered in a Parent's Review article:
Our knowledge of time preceeds not from the past into the future, but the present is our starting point--time as directly known to us proceeds from the past, it is necessary, by repeated acts of the imagination, to work arduously backward from the present, till a secure pathway has been trodden out, and safe landmarks and finger-posts erected.
I notice H.B. uses the phrase "to work arduously backward." Well, I imagine without photo or written documentation to jog one's memory, this would be quite an arduous task! 


After a bit of reading, it appears there are varying ways to organize the timeline: 
  • month-to-month
  • quarter by quarter
  • every 4 months 

...and in making entries there is another choice:
  • written
  • drawn
Royal chose to draw:

Dorothea Beale's Parent's Review article The Teaching of Chronology appears to give parents a pass to be a bit creative in the development of these Personal Histories:
I am sure parents will devise some very beautiful horoscopes which may take the place of those wonderful framed samplers of old times, which it will be a joy for their children to look at in later life, as they remember the birthday addition each year, the sorrows and the joys there noted down, the prayers of the family for each new-comer, and the marriage days.

A sample of her idea:


One comment Bestvater made that struck me regarding the where of this Time Tool:
The chart needs to be highly visible, a type of wall art. -p46
I had previously been keeping it in a large binder along with pages to complete for our future Book of Centuries. Oops. So just last night I removed it and the chart is now displayed on a large bulletin board in our schoolroom area:

But why is location so important? 
What does it matter whether or not this historical layout be kept in a binder or on exhibit?
Perhaps it is akin to the crux of many aspects of a Charlotte Mason education: to be able to see with the mind's eye.
To see with the mind's eye is a treasure. If you have really seen (paid attention), you will be able to:

  • recall a word's spelling
  • peruse beautiful works of art whenever you fancy
  • locate easily where certain geographical sites are in the world
  • identify and discuss things of nature at an intimate level
  • and perchance even know when particular events happened in time?

...all because you were made to visualize these things 

...and because objects from this varying subject matter were readily available to observe.

Just some of my thoughts.
What are yours?


Linking up with Celeste at Joyous Lessons for this month's Keeping Company


  1. How neat! I did this one year in a scrapbook for our was so cool to look back over! :)

    1. I know my son will enjoy having this as a keepsake as well :-)

  2. I like the idea to draw... my first ones did written entries but were older when we did this...with my younger two your format may be a great choice...hmmm I missed the part about the "wall" as well...good thing I am spring cleaning and to find wall space...

    1. There are so many ways to make this work, aren't there? It's a little mind-boggling to me. Drawing definitely is first choice for anything around here ... Hope you find a good spot for yours!

  3. Loved seeing yours, Kristyn! This is a project I have had ready to introduce (in a different form, but with the same goals) ever since reading Bestvater. I got the materials for it a month or so ago, but I haven't had a free chance...maybe summer break? LOL Your kids examples turned out wonderfully!

    1. Oooooo, ok now I am curious! Your things are always so beautiful. I look forward to seeing what you do...even if I do have to wait until fall!
      Thanks for your kind words :-)

  4. THANK YOU!! I have been pondering this very idea for weeks but unable to put my vision down on paper. This is precisely what I had in mind. Thank you for helping me see it more clearly!! And I can't wait for yours either. I second the beauty of your creations.

    1. Oh, Dawn I am so glad I was able to help somebody! I feel like I am always the one needing help :-)
      Thank you for your comments.

    2. I know what you mean. It's so nice to be able to share with others because I have learned so much from what others have shared with me. Question, please. I am literally replicating this for our own use. I love how you have typed the months in but not sure how to get them to look that way when the rest of the typing is in a horizontal presentation. Any guidance you can offer would be very much appreciated:).

    3. I did this in Word. I dislike Word for making charts and tables really, but I don't have anything like Publisher on my computer (yet). Anyway, after making a table, there is a button within "Table Layout" (in my version of Word) which is "Change Text Direction". The icon has an "A" oriented sideways with lines running up and down. Just click this while your cursor is in the text boxes where you want the text to run a different direction (like the months)! Hope you can figure it out :-)

  5. Yay! I figured out with your instructions. Thank you so much. Very excited to start using this.