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When I first heard about a Book of Centuries, I was relieved. Here was the perfect way to contain that wall timeline that was threatening to overtake my house—a timeline in a book! But, as usual, Charlotte Mason’s method was designed to do so much more than just keep things tidy.
With Charlotte’s Book of Centuries, the child creates his own keepsake of his studies, recording those people and events that have caught his interest and piqued his curiosity. And that’s when history really becomes memorable—when it’s personalized. What a great method!
So each of my older children (and myself) have kept a basic Book of Centuries over the years. That basic book template is available as a free download on our website.
Recently my friend Christie Groff encouraged me to dig more deeply into how Charlotte Mason’s Book of Centuries was set up and what all it included. Such a fascinating and helpful format unfolded before my eyes!
Charlotte Mason’s Book of Centuries
The Book of Centuries that Charlotte’s students used provided spaces for
Summaries of selected centuries
The children were encouraged to write brief narrations about the eras of history that interested them most.
Drawings of artifacts
Each century had room to draw items of interest from that century. Those items could be sketched from a museum exhibit or copied from an illustration in a book. Plus, the children could trace the development of a particular item of interest. For example, a child who was interested in violins might draw the various models and styles that were used through the years.
“The Book of Centuries, is a great joy to the owner, and even in these busy days it is possible to find some time, however short, to add an illustration from time to time. Children always take a keen delight in their books. There is no need to be an artist in order to have quite an interesting book—neatness and accuracy are essential though. Museums will be clothed with fresh interest to keepers of these books, who will be able to recognise objects which have already become familiar old friends through their Books of Centuries” (The Parents’ Review, Vol. 34, p. 724).
Certain pages were set aside to help the children chart main events during specific years. Each chart contained spaces for one hundred years. So the children could put a symbol for “war” on each year that World War I was raging, for example. Those simple representations of key years created a helpful century-at-a-glance overview.
But Christie did more than encourage me to research; she also designed her own wonderful Book of Centuries that includes all of those CM components. When she took her design to a local printing store, it ended up costing quite a bit to produce the beautiful book she had in mind. And when her friends saw her book, they loved it and wanted one too! So Christie contacted us to see if we could find a way to make her Book of Centuries design available to everyone at a more reasonable cost.
A New Book of Centuries Book
We are pleased to announce My Book of Centuries. The expanded four-pages-per-century format features designated spaces for Brief Narrations, Century Artifacts, Century-at-a-Glance, and Noteworthy people and events to be a friendly guide through the years.
This timeline in a book is printed on heavy-gauge paper with a sturdy spiral binding to make it last for years of study. Create one all together as a family or have each older student make his own. However you choose to use it, My Book of Centuries will be sure to become a treasured keepsake.
Download a free sample to see all the great details that Christie has included.