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TimeFrame: The Twaddle-Free Timeline - Book
TimeFrame: The Twaddle-Free Timeline - Book

TimeFrame: The Twaddle-Free Timeline

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TimeFrame Timeline helps student use colored lifelines to record people and events in history so they can see a century at a glance, and remember who did what when. It's quick and easy — even boys will do it!
Spiral-bound: 8.5 x 11



Looking for an easy timeline?

In a house full of boys, fussy little projects don't happen (unless they involve carving with big sharp knives or taking apart the toaster, of course). We all enjoyed history, but some of us had a hard time remembering what happened when. I read about Charlotte Mason's Book of Centuries, and was certain that a timeline would be an ideal tool, so we tried those that were available.


— There was the timeline that involved lots of cutting. It defaced decorated a large portion of the dining room wall for a long, long time. Everyone was supposed to help cut, but "everyone" turned out to have the first name of "Janice."

—There was the ready-made one with interesting drawings and lines in an oversized book that — on the few occasions it was actually consulted — provoked brawls because no one could read the tiny text unless they were 6" away.

—There was the pastel-striped poster-style timeline with no pictures and tiny print. It was so bland that Sherlock Holmes would have overlooked it.

—There was the blank, spiral-bound book with dates and not much else.

The boys kept growing up and I knew if I didn't make something myself, the older boys would never have a timeline. So I started experimenting. I tried several designs, and my guinea pigs boys quickly let me know which worked and which were intolerable. The TimeFrame Timeline is the design we ended up with, and the boys actually used it (some more diligently than others, of course).

I used it too, just because it was fun and because I liked learning with the boys. It was an excellent study tool when I was studying for CLEP exams while finishing my degree. It was a huge help to be able to see a century at a glance, and remember who did what when, based on a quick glance at the colored lifelines.

Things to know about TimeFrame Timeline

—Quick! Less than a minute to record a lifeline

—Easy to use, no cutting and pasting

—Active learning increases retention

—Century-at-a-glance reveals trends and patterns

—Visual record helps you study for exams

—Great for studying at college, too

—It's a lasting reminder of the scope and focus of your history studies (and a good way to spot gaps)

It's easy!

—Complete how-to instructions included

—Use the included color coding or choose your own

—Spiral bound so that it lays flat

—Opaque 70# paper helps keep lines and text from showing through*

—And as a special bonus, it won't even ruin your decor!

TimeFrame focuses on people

TimeFrame Timeline's unique system of colored lifelines lets you can see at a glance which famous people lived at the same time, and think about whether or how they may have influenced one another.

Do you suppose William Shakespeare read about Galileo’s discoveries in his morning newspaper?

Did Moses know that a massive monument called Stonehenge was under construction in far away Britain?

It’s these connections that make history exciting and memorable, and this timeline provides a simple means of capturing and seeing it all.

Your personal record

TimeFrame Timeline is not a "done-for-you" timeline. Instead, it's designed to be your personal record of what and whom you've studied. For example, if you're studying a period of history, record the lifelines of all the people who interest you.

For me, the Medieval and Renaissance eras are intensely interesting, so my personal timeline has more people on those pages than anywhere. In addition, my lifelines focus on people in literature, theology, and the arts, plus amazing women and a few of my ancestors. My boys had different interests, so their timelines had different people.

A timeline can spark long-term memory

I believe that active learning is memorable; passive learning is forgettable. When students pause for a moment to record a lifeline, including a person's name, year of birth and death, and a fact or quote about them, they're very likely to remember the person.

If students simply look at a timeline that someone else has created, there's no investment of mental energy, no engagement of motor skills in the act of recording, and limited likelihood that they'll retain anything.

Is the TimeFrame Timeline like the Charlotte Mason Book of Centuries?

I created TimeFrame before I ever saw Miss Mason's Book of Centuries, so there are some differences. Because I was working with boys, and because they were middle grades and up when the design was finalized, TimeFrame had to be simple and quick.

Seeing how people's lives overlapped was much more important to us than drawing pictures for each century, though I do appreciate the reasons for drawing. Many people who use Charlotte Mason's teaching methods have told me that they find TimeFrame to be a good companion to a Book of Centuries or even an alternative for students who prefer not to draw.

Where do you find people and events to include?

You'll find them throughout whatever you're reading or studying. If you're following a curriculum such as Sonlight, histories by Susan Wise Bauer or Diana Waring, BiblioPlan, Veritas Press, Tapestry of Grace, Classical Conversations, or any other, you'll find many people worthy of inclusion.

You can include favorite artists, authors, scientists, explorers, theologians, royalty, fictional characters, people who inspire you in some way, and a few of your most interesting ancestors. There are suggestions in the text for other sources of people to include, but many students can create a full and fascinating timeline from the curriculum they are already using.


TimeFrame Timeline sample spread showing one century.
TimeFrame Timeline: A two-page spread equals one century.


If you'd like to see a slightly larger sample of a one-century, two-page spread, just click below. This is a boy-created sample (not as neat as I would have liked), so it's probably closer to reality than my neat and tidy one! Shrinking it to fit on one page makes it hard to read, but at least it will give you an idea of how it works.

Timeline-Sample (PDF)

*If you purchase the e-book instead of or along with the print book, be sure to print it on paper that's a bit heavier than average. It helps to avoid show-through and makes the timeline more durable.

Letter to moms:

Dear busy moms:

I know that some of you are probably thinking, "I could make that from scratch!" Frankly, that's what I think about pretty much everything.

The challenge is — will you? And if so, when;-)? It isn't easy to find time for everything, and frankly, creating a timeline from scratch is probably pretty far down on your list.

I know that there are projects I meant to do for my boys, and somehow, it just never happened. They missed out on whatever it was I wanted to teach. It might be that way in your home, too, and that's why I created the blank TimeFrame Timeline for you. All you have to do is hand it to them and let them go. What could be simpler?

TimeFrame is straightforward, simple, and yes, it’s even fun. I think you'll be happy you chose it.