Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Are you timeline-challenged? Does the idea of drawing (or having your kids draw) pictures of historical figures to stick in a book or on the living room wall turn your stomach? Does your perfectionist self dread searching online for the ideal image to illustrate your timeline? Do your kids groan when you pull out your carefully crafted figures? Until this month, I answered “YES!” to all of those questions. We had given up on timelines.
When our family was chosen to review Amy Pak’s Timeline Collection: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures, I knew it was time to try again. Would the beautifully detailed, hand-drawn images from Home School in the Woods rescue us from timeline failure?
When the link to download the Timeline Collection arrived in my inbox, I was anxious to get started. There were two zip files to download.
Within minutes, I had saved them and extracted their contents.
Clicking on Start.htm, I discovered that CD1 contained preformatted pages of timeline figures. Since we are studying the 1600s right now, I explored the Resurrection to Revolution section until I found the page I needed.
The images on CD1 are available in two sizes. Wall-Sized Figures are a bit larger than I wanted for our timeline book. I chose the Notebook-Sized Figures. The image below shows what a page looks like With Text or Without Text. Since explanatory text is an excellent tool for future review, I opted for the figures With Text.
Studying the page of figures, I realized that there were many I did not want to use this year. Was there a way to pick and choose only the images I wanted?
Exploring CD2, I found indexes to all of the figures. I could view them alphabetically, chronologically, or topically. Since this semester’s history covers the 1600s to 1800s, I scrolled through the Chronological Order of All Figures. I soon realized that I could use my browser’s search function to find a particular date or event I wanted.
I clicked the appropriate button to the right to open the image. The large picture is perfect for printing as a coloring page for a younger child, but I could shrink it down to timeline-size in my word processing app. By right-clicking on the image, I copied it to the clipboard.
Then I switched windows and pasted it into my word processing app. Dragging one of the corners, I quickly resized the image.
As I scanned through our history curriculum, I noted the recommended Timeline Figures. I searched for each of them in the Timeline Collection. Some were titled differently. There were a few I couldn’t find—primarily people or events associated with the history of the Far East or Africa. Since using any Timeline Figures would be an improvement, I didn’t mind skipping them.
Within a couple of hours, I had prepared eight pages of Timeline Figures—enough to finish out this semester’s history curriculum. I printed them and slid the pages into the pocket of my History Instructor Guide.
Before reading our history lesson aloud the next day, I asked the girls to bring colored pencils or markers to the kitchen table. Pulling out the first page of Timeline Figures, I used scissors to trim off the ones we had covered so far this semester. I clipped those in half and handed them to the girls.
Then I opened our book and read while they colored. Since the girls often get fidgety as I read, coloring Timeline Figures was a fantastic idea. Pausing to ask questions about the reading, I noticed that one girl was taking extra time to color the pictures beautifully. She was even smiling!
With our reading complete, the girls took their time to finish coloring and began cutting out the figures. “How should we cut them out?” they queried.
After thinking for a moment, I responded, “Cut them any way you like.” I knew they would enjoy the activity more if I allowed them to express their creativity freely.
As we continued using the Timeline Figures in the following weeks, I noticed that they varied their cutting style. Sometimes they would use a more boxy method of cutting, while at times they would cut very close to the edge of the figure.
Our timeline book, which had been sitting unused in our homeschool bin, finally got to see some action. On our supply shelves, I found glue sticks, and the girls eagerly placed the figures on our timeline.
After using the Timeline Collection for a few weeks, it was time to find out what the twins think of them. I asked each of the girls, “How do you like using our new Timeline Figures?”
Here is what the younger twin had to say:
How do these compare to the figures we used before?
“These are a lot better than the ones we used in the past because they’re a better design.”
Her two-minute-older sister also appreciates the new figures.
Do you like them better than our old Timeline Figures?
“These drawings are way more realistic. It’s a lot more fun to color them.”
Now that I have the Timeline Collection on my computer, I no longer feel guilty about not doing a timeline. Finally, I can include timeline activities in our history lessons. I love seeing my daughters’ eyes light up as they glue their carefully-colored figures into our Book of Time.
Although the Timeline Collection may not include every person or event mentioned in our history curriculum, it contains more than 1,260 figures. These beautifully-drawn images breathe new life into a history timeline, but they are not just for timelines. The Timeline Helps page offers guidance for using them in lapbooks, games, and copywork as well.
Home School in the Woods is also a superb source for hands-on lapbook materials and activity packs. Since 2020 is an election year, it’s the perfect time to use the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak. We’ve assembled lapbooks in the past with varying degrees of success. Given the twins’ enthusiasm, they might enjoy completing this Lap-Pak, and it would be a fun way to introduce them to our country’s government.
For this review, we could choose the Timeline Collection, an Activity-Pak, Time Travelers Kit, or Lap-Pak. Since other families chose different products, be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew Blog to see how they used materials from Home School in the Woods.