Ideas for Using Your Book of Time

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One of my favorite supplemental resources from Sonlight is the Book of Time. I love how it offers a hands-on, visual way for my children to see the "big picture" of history-- what events happened around the same time as other events and which historical figures were alive at the same time as other historical figures.

Years ago, when we were first starting out with Sonlight, I chose to make a wall time line following the directions in my Instructor's Guide. I wanted my children to "see" history initially with the years equal distances apart. I knew I wouldn't want it on the wall permanently, so I laminated my time line, and then just used a small piece of rolled tape on the back of each figure so I could easily remove them later. At the end of the year, my children and I took the figures down and permanently mounted them in our Book of Time for future reference. We did that for a couple of years before we started using just the Book of Time.

I decided I wanted an easy way for us to remember what figures we had studied each year, so before mounting them in the Book of Time, I stuck them to a piece of Astrobright paper to match the label paper Sonlight assigns to each Core package. For Core B, the color is red, Core C is orange, and so on. Then we carefully cut out around each figure so that just a small margin of the color was showing. We used a glue stick to mount them in the Book of Time.

I found it hard to remember (or be bothered with taking the time) to mount the timeline figures as we went through our Core. Instead, we would usually sit down a couple times a year to stick in a big batch at once. It was a good review for the kids. A friend of mine cut out all the figures at the beginning of the year and then paper-clipped them to the books they went with. When they started reading that book they would add the figure to their Book of Time.

Just for fun (as well as for learning) we included some family events in our Book of Time with tiny photographs-- the year Mom and Dad got married, the year each of the kids were born, the year we moved to Idaho. If you're into genealogy or family history, you could also add in events from previous generations. Tying "history book" events in with our family events makes history seem more "real" somehow.

After we completed all the Cores from A to H, our Book of Time was pretty full. I've been displaying it at homeschool conventions for several years, and by now it's getting somewhat battered. So I decided to make a new one. My younger daughter hadn't had much of a hand in putting together the first one, so I recruited her to assist me with the new one. It's been a great way to review history for her, and now each of my children has a book to save as a keepsake to help remind them of many of the interesting people and events we learned about through our years with Sonlight.

How have you used your timeline figures?

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  1. Deb Robertson

    love this idea!!

  2. The Book of Time is one of our favorite aspects of Sonlight, too. Before I read the corresponding book passage, we find and cut out the timeline piece and the kids color them while I read then find the date themselves and apply the piece to the book. They often sit and leaf through their books for fun. We, too, have added their birthdates to show how they are a part of history, too. I especially love combining Biblical characters and events with other historical events- the two are not separate:-).

  3. That's a great idea!

    We usually do our timeline in lumps, too. I like the idea of color coding the figures so we can see what we've learned as we go. Adding in special days is a great way to put it into perspective, too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is one of our favorite aspects of Sonlight also! I really enjoyed hearing your ideas. I often "catch" my children looking through the Book of Time just for fun...that's how you know it's working. :)

  5. 90milemissy

    The only thing I don't do is the color coding. Now that we are in H I think that is not so doable for us. lol We have really enjoyed the Book of Time and love using it as a review.

  6. Nicole

    I bought the time line book and am excited to use it. Where can I find the information of what figures go with what books? I think Im missing that part. We are half way throught the first year but I didnt even realize there was a time line till a few weeks ago. I dont see where it shows to do it in our guides. Am I missing something?

  7. Karla Karla

    Nicole, there should be a Timeline Figures Schedule in the front of your Core Instructor's Guide (for Cores A-H). Hope this helps!

  8. Anita Hagstrom

    I like the idea of this "Book of Time", though I'm not 100% sure we'll be doing Sonlight yet. I wonder if there's a way to adapt this resource to work with other curricula....

    • Nicola Peevor


      Have you found somewhere to get the figures from to do a timeline? I'm right at the start and not necessarily thinking of sonlight but loving the timeline idea too...