Timeline Figures and how to use them – Home School in the Woods review
Over the years I’ve been hoarding a lot of materials to use for history. The problem I have now is tying them all up to paint a broader picture. This is where timelines and timeline figures come in.
The latest addition to our collection, the timeline figures from Amy Pak, got me so giddy with excitement that I can’t wait to show you everything we’ve used them for! They are exquisite and so well organized that I regret not getting these sooner. We already used them for several lessons and subjects and I love how easy, and no-stress they are for the parent.
I know history timelines and timeline figures can be overwhelming at first sight. And I am proof enough of this fear because I kept postponing getting these gorgeous figures for years. I just didn’t know how I would make space for them in our busy schedule. It turns out it’s easier than I’d imagined.
This is a sponsored post. I was given the product to review and I might have been compensated for my time. I would never endorse or recommend programs we wouldn’t use ourselves. Read more about it in my Disclosure.
- About Home School in the Woods
- Essential Timeline Library – what’s inside?
- Using timelines
- Why timelines?
- Why not make your own timelines from scratch?
- How to use the timeline figures
- Essential Timeline Library Insights
- What we love about Essential Timeline Library
- Giveaway and coupon!
- Download my printables
About Home School in the Woods
Home School in the Woods is a family-owned company. The creator of these gorgeous products is Amy Pak, a homeschool mom, and illustrator and I love that all her children are involved in growing this business since 2002.
“Our theme has always been to ‘unleash a love of learning in your child.’ All of history cannot be learned in 12 years, and if you talk to many adults, most didn’t care for the topic in school. […]Our desire is to share people and events of history in a hands-on, visual way to engage children in fun and memorable activities that TRULY help them put the puzzle pieces together and live the lessons.”— Amy Pak, President of Home School in the Woods
Home School in the Woods is most famous for the timeline products (History through the Ages), but they have so many other engaging, hands-on materials, including map work! Some of the most notable are: Project Passport, World Maps, Time Travelers unit studies, Hands-on History Activities or Lapbooks, and more.
Essential Timeline Library – what’s inside?
The Essential Timeline Library is a printable pack with everything you need to create beautiful timelines and other projects in your homeschool.
This pack contains the whole collection of timeline figures by Amy Pak plus some other additions and it’s completely digital. This means you can use it for your whole family again and again.
These cover the whole history from creation* to the present day, with 1444 figures to choose from!
The pack comes with various types of licenses: family, teacher, or school and it has 3 main components:
- planned timeline
- horizontal or vertical options
- blank timeline page included
- 130 pages + cover design
- 5000 BC – 2050 AD
- each page spread has a quote
- 66 pages
- placement guide for every figure included
- helpful advice and tips
- visual guide
- 1444 figures
- contains HISTORY Through the Ages Collection of Historical Timeline Figures and the 3 add-on Paks
- images with/ without text
- PDF or GIF images
- easy to search indexes
- various categories: historical figures, scientists, writers, missionaries, etc.
*Please note that Home School in the Woods’ dating system reflects a young earth perspective. So this might not work with all curricula out there, date-wise. This is also presented from a Protestant viewpoint, so most of the religious figures reflect this.
Navigating the downloads
I think the most intimidating thing about the Essential Timeline Library is the number of figures available and how to find them. It can feel overwhelming at first.
But I was happy to see I could easily use the search option on my computer to locate what I wanted!
Moreover, each batch of figures comes with an index. Figures can be searched by name, date, or even other categories like art, authors, Ancient Rome, disasters, etc.
My least favorite teacher in the school is the History teacher. Whenever she takes a class on Ancient History, she tends to Babylon.Kidadl
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this pun because it’s so (sadly) true!
That’s why I try so hard to offer M a completely different experience with history than what I’ve had.
I’ve previously talked about my history issues and how I’m trying to change things by using more engaging materials and even making history alive with books.
But despite all the materials I gathered, I feel like I don’t know how to tie them together so they make sense in the bigger picture.
I needed to find a way to show M that history isn’t linear, but it branches out. That events in history could have happened at the same time- only in various places around the globe. This is why I think timelines help.
We all know how kids have trouble grasping the concept of time (even as adults we still struggle with it sometimes).
It’s hard for them to go beyond a mere number to a real date in history when something happened. Timelines arrange all dates in order, visually so kids can ‘see’ the concept of time through history and understand how events are built on top of one another.
Layers of history:
A concept even harder to explain is that history happened in layers. Some events are superposed and happened at the same time in multiple parts of the world. History isn’t linear, but multi-layered.
We could be reading from various sources about events that were unrelated and never realize they happened at the same time!
For example, did you know that woolly mammoths were still roaming in (nowadays) Russia while pyramids were being built? Or that the Olmecs and Assyrians had a parallel development? So did the Incas and the Ming Dynasty.
A timeline could show you all these various events that happened at the same time around the world, helping you make connections you wouldn’t otherwise.
I feel that history is largely misunderstood as a subject because kids don’t get it. We didn’t get it in school, so we perpetuate this fear or reluctance of history.
Getting a broader picture of events in history by adding in a timeline as visual support could lead to a complete shift in how you perceive history. It could make history alive and interesting, even fun.
Timelines can be used to record anything you study or that your kids find interesting. This is why I think it’s one of the keys to changing our perspective on history as a school subject. With a timeline, history is not boring and dry, it’s multi-sensory and it makes sense.
Having a visual aid will help kids make connections. Not only between events and figures in history but also between the various mediums they use to learn it.
With a timeline, we can connect what we read in The Golden Goblet for example with the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. Now we have the context of the book we read tied to the time in history when this might have happened.
I don’t know how many of you are melancholy sobs like me, but I have kept almost every piece of scrap paper that M ever used to do something with…. and there were a lot!
Just imagine how many years we will be using this timeline and then how many more years I will keep it to look back on it. And you see why timelines can be great keepsakes.
Why not make your own timelines from scratch?
I thought I could totally do that. They didn’t look too difficult to make, right? I even found some free ones on the internet.
Let’s shrink this image by a few millimeters, aw snap! They don’t fit. Never mind, we’ll staple them in. (true story!)
Only when I actually started putting them together did I hit some walls: How far apart should my timeline years be? Where can I find consistent images so that it won’t all look like a hodge-podge of everything I found on Wikipedia?
Our previous timeline looks like we didn’t enjoy working on it and it really was a source of stress and frustration. I didn’t have time to search for figures from every history lesson or book we’ve read and something even bigger hit me: How do I choose the placement of these? Which date do I consider?
Coordinating it all turned out to be a gargantuan task I wasn’t willing to take on my busy schedule.
That’s the point where we ditched our timeline-from-scratch efforts. You can see it doesn’t even have any extra details added- because we ran out of space!
I wanted to create a timeline with M from the beginning because I knew it would help, but the effort required to create one from scratch wasn’t worth it for us.
By using the Essential Timeline Library I got access to everything I needed to create a gorgeous timeline: a timeline base, superb timeline figures, and a lot of help – including positioning all 1444 of the figures from the pack.
It’s been so easy to work on a proper timeline with the Essential Timeline Library because all the pieces of the puzzles fit together perfectly! No more worrying something isn’t sized or placed properly.
I absolutely love the gorgeous timeline figures and support from the Essential Timeline Library: having a placement guide handy, a lot of help, and ready-sized figures that I can just print.
We even had space for adding notes. Incomparable! And zero stress for me because I just search for what I need and hit print.
How to use the timeline figures
The beautifully illustrated timeline figures from the Essential Timeline Library can be used in a variety of ways: for history timelines, book reports, unit studies, notebooking, games, stickers, coloring pages, and many more.
Use them to make history more interesting or to add depth to your studies in virtually any subject, because you’re not limited to history or timelines.
We only have these for a little while and we’ve already used them for so many things!
✄As history timelines
The primary use of the timeline figures from Essential Timeline Library is undeniably for timelines for history. You can create timelines in the provided notebook or go bigger, creating accordion timelines or even huge wall timelines.
I’ve learned that timelines don’t fit any mold. Use them to suit your needs and your homeschool.
We are using these stunning figures for history this year, as a way to connect our reading with other sources.
And before you ask, yes, we are doing ancient history again for 6th grade because M doesn’t remember much from when we did it 3 years ago. If only we had a timeline to help us review it faster, huh? Well, this time around, we will!
So you can see timelines aren’t only for elementary grades but can be used well into middle and even high school years ( they only develop into more complex tools).
I am planning to keep at this and even add notes we feel are important to us- aside from the information provided with these figures.
This way, at the end of the year, we will have a complete account of the most important facts we learned about and when they happened.
Maybe it’s a big undertaking, but I really hope we manage to keep consistent with this one because it’s an amazing idea and with the help of the Essential Timeline Library we will have a beautiful book of timelines!
I like the way we started putting this together, and M is having fun gluing these into place as we read about them.
Moreover, I am planning to get the superb maps that Home School in the Woods has and print them on big, A3 paper, then list the timeline figures we use on sticker paper to stick directly on each map. I didn’t have time to do this yet, but it’s a great way to use timelines and maps together.
Here’s an example of how we tie our history reads to historical events.
After reading The Golden Goblet and Mara, Daughter of the Nile, I asked him to try and coordinate these with the Story of the World (audio lesson) and our Glencoe textbook. We found out that The Golden Goblet takes place in the 1400s BC, while Mara, Daughter of the Nile takes place during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut who reigned during 1473-1450BC. So both of these stories could have happened in the same historical time frame of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.
With the help of these tiny pieces of art from Home School in the Woods and a well conceived timeline notebook, we managed to connect and manipulate history in ways we haven’t before.
✄ Notebooking with timeline figures
Because the timeline figures in the Essential Timeline Library come in PDF or GIF formats, you could resize them any way you want. That means you can have them as tiny figures for timelines and stickers, or enlarge them for coloring books!
I used the GIF versions of the files to create a whole notebook for astronomy! You can download the notebook pages, timeline template, and covers for free from my Resource Library. But you will have to buy your own timeline figures from Home School in the Woods to go with it.
Subscribe below to get a free password and access all the printables I created.
This year for science we will be doing RSO Astronomy 2 from Pandia Press. It’s a great fit for M and I love the content. He loves it even more because there’s not much writing to do, but there are some investigations he has to conduct for every lesson: finding out interesting facts about astronomy-related scientists or events.
For example, he had to research about Curiosity on Mars or read more about Einstein to find out what he had to say about the expansion theory.
These are awesome ways to make M become more independent and learn research skills.
So I thought it a great idea to use the timeline figures we have to create a notebook for him, from the earliest astronomers to the most peculiar facts about space.
I found out more than I expected from the timeline figures in the Essential Timeline Library. Did you know that lettuce was the first food grown in space? Me neither! It was all there in the folders of gorgeous images.
I decided to start M from the beginning, so we read things about Democritus and Eratosthenes first.
And since we’re talking timeline figures, I added a small foldable timeline attached to this notebook, where he will glue the small timeline figures as he completes studying about them.
Once we’re done, we should have a nice timeline of astronomers and space.
This notebook is so interesting that M wants to do more research now! I am so happy I started him on this path.
✄ Games and flashcards
Oh, these figures from Essential Timeline Library are so versatile that I even made a short board game about explorers with them!
Starting our US history reads, I realized we never covered explorers properly. And when we talked about explorers the greatest one that came to mind was Columbus.
Of course, there were many other explorers worth learning about. So I decided to make a little game of 10 explorers from all over the world using more timeline figures from my Essential Timeline Library pack.
Again, you’re free to download my board game, just buy the Essential Timeline Library first, because the figures aren’t included.
M had so much fun playing this and I made it exactly to his liking: it has traps and it lasts forever hahaha.
Another awesome thing about Home School in the Woods is that you get a ton of ideas and help to start using your timeline figures immediately. Amy has a lot of game concepts and those can spark other ideas until you’re like me: getting a head full of ways you could incorporate these in your own studies.
You can obviously make flashcards, too. I made a set for M with famous chemists. He has to match their information to the figure. We will tackle physicists next and I can’t wait to see what else I discover in my Essential Timeline Library!
Essential Timeline Library Insights
So after using these beauties in so many ways, I have a few tips for you.
I chose to print everything and organize them into 3 sections (separately bound books): timeline notebook, figures, and placement guide.
This way I can have everything in one place and just use these printed resources for timelines while I use the digital ones for other projects. But you can print them as you go, too.
Amy already covers everything you need to know in her help sections, but here are my takes.
Use a laser printer
To make the most of these, I recommend printing them on good watercolor paper or cardstock, using a laser printer. This ensures you get no smudges, no matter what medium you use to color them.
For younger kids (and older, too) you could make use of sticker papers to print these directly on it. I want to try this out for my map idea.
Use the search function
I have these all downloaded on my laptop and I found it easier to open the folder with all of them and use the computer’s search function to look for something. For astronomy, I used terms like astronomy, astronom (only part of the word because astronomer and astronomy both have it), universe, space. You could also use names to look for a certain figure. The results will show both the PDF, the large and small figures, and the GIF, so you can use whatever you need.
In order to make the timeline figures smaller or larger, or to include them in flashcards or projects, I made use of Canva. It’s so simple and quick!
Because the Essential Timeline Library comes with high-quality images, you can easily resize these to fit any project.
Amy suggests using watercolors and I loved the idea but not the mess, so we are using watercolor pencils and a water brush. Nothing could be easier and the results are stunning, vibrant colors.
What we love about Essential Timeline Library
I think it’s pretty obvious that we are in love with this resource and we will use these for years and years to come.
Amy has done an outstanding job from gathering the information and figures to painstakingly drawing each and making sure the style stays consistent throughout.
I can only imagine how many hours of work went into these. When I first opened the Essential Timeline Library I was blown away at how many items are actually included here. The help and indexes are amazing, well-documented, and very helpful for parents that are unsure where to start.
⭐️Beautiful and detailed
Amy Pack is a very talented illustrator that put together an impressive collection of gorgeous images in the Essential Timeline Library!
By using these timeline figures, we get to create beautiful timeline books because all the images are consistent and elegant. I just love the classic and realistic style of these and our timelines and games look like little works of art now.
I still can’t believe I had so many opportunities to use the Essential Timeline Library in our homeschool already!
These timeline figures really are made to adapt to any homeschooling parent’s needs and the variety of things you can use them for makes these perfect for any age! Use them as coloring pages for your kindergartner, timeline markers for your highschooler; or bring them both together for a board game. The possibilities are endless.
They can be colored or left as they are, in black lines. They look great either way! And you can choose to print them with or without the text in a variety of sizes!
The Essential Timeline Library is so easy to use. And I can’t believe someone actually had the patience to draw all these and organize them all for easy access.
I no longer need to look online for images, I don’t need to sort through what information to add to the timeline, because everything is spelled out for me!
⭐️Make it personal
I love that you decide what your timeline will look like. You are free to color the timeline figures, leave them black and white, write the text yourself or print the figures with text. The timelines can be created in a variety of manners and so can the lapbooks.
Essential Timeline Library really offers you the possibility to customize this any way you want because they include a variety of sizes, options, and even ideas to suit everyone’s needs.
We also added notes and small drawings to our timeline and anything else that we wanted to remember. It is really simple to make this our personal timeline, different from everyone else’s.
⭐️ Coordinates with your curriculum
But there’s more! Amy also created helping guides to coordinate her Essential Timeline Library with two of the most popular history curricula Story Of The World (SOTW) and Mystery of History (MoH).
I am so excited to have discovered this because we will definitely use the Story Of The World help!
For those of you that prefer watching a video (and want to see what we used the Essential Timeline Library for) I made a YouTube video outlining everything and showing you exactly what our projects look like:
Giveaway and coupon!
How can you not love Home School in the Woods? They are offering a discount for all my readers until July 31st, 2022, just use coupon 10off50 on their website (click on the image below).
But there’s more! If you feel lucky, participate in the giveaway as well! There will be 2 winners: one will get the whole Essential Timeline Library and the other one will get one unit of choice among Time Travelers US History Study.
This is open until June 26th, 2022 and the winners will be notified by email (so make sure you enter the correct one).
Good luck, everyone!
Download my printables
To download the printables I made for the Astronomy notebook and the 10 explorers game, subscribe to my newsletter and you will get a password for the Resource Library.
You will have to buy your own figures from Home School in the Woods if you want to use these printables as we did, or you can search for your own images and information online.
This password renews monthly and you will get a new one with my monthly newsletter.
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