Since You Asked

September 11, 2010 @ 7:45 pm | Filed under: ,

Got lots of requests to post photos of the timeline. Here you go, but I must point out that you didn’t specify *good* photos.

We began this timeline when Jane was about six years old. She was on a major Magic Tree House kick that year, and she got super excited by the idea of printing out little images of the book covers and gluing them onto a timeline. (Glueing? My spellcheck says no, but it looks better to me that way. Whatevs.)

I bought a roll of art paper and tacked it to the hall wall. The length of the timeline was determined in the following scientific manner: when I got to the end of the hall, I cut the paper. I drew a mostly straight line along the middle with a Sharpie. Then I measured the line (this is such a backwards way to approach it) and figured out how many centuries I wanted to include, and divided it up more or less evenly. I probably hollered down the hall to get Scott to do the math for me, because I can’t hold a ruler and divide at the same time.


Yikes, the fold-wrinkles really look awful in this picture, don’t they? They don’t show up that way in real life. I suppose it’s in pretty good shape considering it spent the last four years rolled up and semi-smashed under a poster tube. Why it wasn’t inside the poster tube, I cannot say.

I think if you click on the pic you’ll go to Flickr where you can see a larger image. And you’ll see it’s nothing fancy. The yellow tags at the top say ANCIENT HISTORY, DARK AGES, MIDDLE AGES, MODERN TIMES. These are, of course, rough divisions.


A few closeups. We began, as I said, with the time periods Jack and Annie visited in the MTH books. (Over the years, most of those pasted-on book covers have fallen off.) Later, we gradually filled in other events we read about. Sometimes we printed out pictures to help us remember, like the little illuminated manuscript we glued on probably six or seven years ago. It was fun to discover it again yesterday, just minutes after we’d clicked all over the internet looking at illuminations.


Look! One of the Magic Tree House covers survived!


This is my favorite section because it’s got so much of wee Jane in it. That wobbly six-year-old’s handwriting spelling out “Golden Age of Pirates,” couldn’t you just die? So sweet. The pirates’ heyday was hugely important to her, back then.

And the Little House girls. She had me cut them out and show her where to stick them on. She herself cut the blue gingham border and Little House logo off a notepad my editor had sent me; these were vital decorations, you understand.

It’s funny now to look back and think of all those books we read together, Child’s History of the World and whatnot, when she was So. Very. Young. We continued to add to the timeline after our move to Virginia in early 2002, but in that house it was up high on a wall over the piano and after a while I got tired of climbing on a stool to reach it, and we stopped adding things. And then in 2006, the move here, the dearth of wall space, the forgetting.

Well, it’s up again, and Beanie and Rose had a fine old time exploring it for what is basically the first time in their memory. Rose faintly recalls it from the old house. They like the book-cover idea and want to print out Adam of the Road and other covers. So off we go again. Yay!

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. KC says:

    Ooh, I love it!

  2. Melissa H says:

    Thank you! This is the ‘ask and you shall receive’ blog for sure.

    So, this begs another question. Why was it backward to make your paper then measure and divide by centuries? Making the paper to fit your space makes sense to me. And then measuring and dividing makes sense unless you find that your more recent centuries got too crowded and should have been more spaced out? It doesn’t look that way from the photo….

    If you have time, please do advise as I have “redo the hallway” on my to-do list and in addition to a rearranging of kid art and family photos I see an opportunity to add a timeline. Perhaps the doorway to the living room could mark some sort of historical divide…hmm

    Oh, and while I’m asking so many questions, you mentioned dinosaurs behind the cupboard. Did you just have some big gaps to catch up from dinos to ancient Egypt to more modern history?

  3. sarah says:

    I love it!!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve always avoided timelines because we have a petite home but this makes me want to start one. I love that you are using Jane’s original – it will be like a scrapbook of all your historical studies with your children. I’m due to start tearing up now. 🙂

  5. Wendy says:

    This is so great! And, like you, I adore that six year old’s handwriting. When we first started homeschooling I had the idea for one of these, but that was all crafty beautiful. Yet another example of my stupid high standards preventing me from starting a project.

  6. Ellen says:

    This is wonderful. We sort of began putting together a timeline book, and I’ve hesitated to do a wall timeline… Honestly, I’ve hemmed and hawed and avoided committing to anything because it all seems so FINAL. But to see yours “in action” is great. And to see that it’s been there for years, added to, amended, etc., but still going strong, is an encouragement to me.

    And to have her sweet handwriting still there. Priceless!

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    Thank you, everyone! I am glad we resurrected this thing.

    @Melissa H—yes, my BC and AD scales are different. On the BC side, I’ve got 1000-year segments (5″ each) back to 5000 BC, and then glued on the far left end, between the edge of the paper and 5000 BC, are dinosaurs (marked “65 million years ago-225 million years ago”) and then pictures of some cave paintings, marked “15000-12000 BC.”

    On the AD side, the scale is 5 inches for every 100 years.

    I think, moving forward, we’ll do lots more glueing on of historical fiction book covers, because the kids connect to those most deeply. And paintings, too, I think, from the artists we encounter.

    One of the girls’ favorite entries is written circa 900AD. I remember Jane dictating it to me, way back when: “King Alfred of England fought the Danes and a funny thing happened to him.”

    “What was the funny thing?” Rose wanted to know, after we rescued the timeline from smushery the other day.

    “I know! I know!” Bean shouted. “It’s when the cowherd’s wife yelled at him for burning the cakes.” 🙂

  8. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    I really love the idea of a book based timeline!

  9. Karen Edmisten says:

    Oooh, looks so much like our timeline! And another coincidence — though ours still hangs on the wall, a couple of weeks ago the girls and I decided to give it a makeover, as many of our entries (originally written in marker, next to pictures, much like yours) are fading. We might make a new original, but we’ll always keep this one because it is, as others have noted, a keepsake.