Book of Centuries ~ CM Carnival

One of the most intriguing components of Charlotte Mason’s approach to learning is the Book of Centuries. Essentially it is a timeline kept in a notebook, a growing resource that a child adds to continually. The original description was literally one page of writing selected events and one sketching page per century. It may include essays, booklists and sketches, as well as dates, names, and events.

When we started homeschooling in August, this was one of the first things I set up and started using. Though I don’t know how long I’ll continue to homeschool (my hope is at least through 8th grade), the Book of Centuries is one component that I know we will continue to use through adulthood. It is just such a great idea! I wish I had had one when I was growing up.
The first thing we did (once the notebook/binder was put together) was to add photos of ourselves, as DH and I were both born in the 1970s and the kiddos were born in 2002 and 2005. We also put a photo of DH and I at our wedding (1995) and one of the kids and I dressed in our period costumes (1880).

Whenever we read or watch something that applies ~ Art Study (Renoir, Degas, etc.); Emperor Qin (the first emperor of China); Marco Polo & Genghis Khan; Helen Keller (we attended the play, “The Miracle Worker”); Serum Run and the 1st Iditarod ~ we add the date, a brief description and a photo (sometimes from the internet, sometimes copied from a book, other times hand-drawn).

It is such a great learning tool because it provides a visual of what was happening in the past and connects subjects that are typically taught independent of one another. For example, on the page 1800 – 1899, we’ve already included Renoir (fine arts/France), Helen Keller (Eastern USA) and ourselves as living history volunteers (Western USA). It makes the past come to life – puts it all into perspective in regards to what was happening throughout the world at any given time.

We are, of course, just beginning, so there are many, many blank pages, but as we progress, I know it will become more and more useful. It will be fun to compare the writing she has done this year in comparison to what she will be doing 10 years from now.

Though there are many different styles and pre-made timeline books one can purchase, I chose to create a simple one in a 3-ring binder with tabs for easier navigation. We can expand it if the need arises later. If you would like a simple one of your own, follow this link to download a free Book of Centuries document that labels each two-page spread with a date (in hundred-year increments) from 4000 B.C. to A.D. 2099, and follow the easy steps below to create your own.

I Love China: China Activities for Kids

My daughter, Sweetie, is my guest blogger today.  She shares some of the activities she enjoyed through our China Unit Study.

China Activities for Kids

I have been learning about China. These are some of the things I have made. The first one is a map that I made. The map shows the Himalayan Mountains, the Gobi Desert, and the Yellow and the Ygantze Rivers. China is west of the Pacific Ocean. The yellow section shows where they grow rice. The green is where wheat is grown. Rice is white and is a very important food in Asia. The capital of China is Beijing.

The Great Wall is in the northern part of the country. The first emperor of all China, Qin, built the Great Wall to keep other armies away and keep China safe. He had his people build the soldiers to keep him safe when he died. The soldiers were found by farmers digging a well. I made a model of the terracotta soldiers.


This panda is made of Model Magic. Pandas live in bamboo forests and like to eat bamboo and honey. When baby pandas are born, they are orange and very little. The mom is very protective. Pandas are endangered. Some people try to kill them for their fur. Also, their forests are sometimes cut down for building new places for people. Pandas then have less space to live.

I have been making a lapbook about China. It has lots of mini-books and pictures. Here a couple of the mini-books. One is a mini-book of animals in China. The other one is a book of words about China.


I love learning about China. I hope to visit China when I am older.

Admin Note: Sweetie dictated to me what she wanted to say about each photo. I helped elicit more details by asking questions.