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Book of Centuries

What is a Book of Centuries? 

Every child’s ‘Book of Centuries’ should bear witness to ‘a liberal and generous diet of History’…The children should be free to enter on their pages events and drawings which have interested them in their wide general reading of History (that ‘inexhaustible storehouse of ideas’) and of Literature.

The Book of Centuries and How to Keep One, by G.M. Bernau

A Book of Centuries is a timeline notebook in which each century is given a two-page spread. Charlotte Mason insisted on keeping it simple so students could view an entire century with just one glance.

Students age 10+ should add history dates, events, and people to their Book of Centuries. It will be an ongoing project over the course of their education. 

Students should spend approximately 5-10 minutes per week adding important historical details from their weekly lessons. Making a visual connection between people and events by using a Book of Centuries will help students value and retain historical details. Over time, students will notice the web of history. 

A Book of Centuries is most engaging if students are involved in choosing the people, dates, and events that are meaningful to them from their lessons. For this reason, begin a Book of Centuries by adding important family dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries.

The Book of Centuries is not limited to history lessons. When learning about historical people/events in any subject area, add details to the Book of Centuries. Examples of things to include in a Book of Centuries are: scientific inventions, mathematical discoveries, artists, hymns, poetry, quotes, maps, etc.

Students should feel free to include small drawings that represent objects, people and events. No two century notebooks will be exactly alike. 

Book of Centuries Tips

  • Purchase The Book of Centuries: A Personal Timeline of History. 
  • Write clearly and neatly. Write lightly in pencil, in case there is a need to erase. 
  • Personalize The Book of Centuries by adding family dates such as birthdays and weddings.
  • Remind students to bring The Book of Centuries on the next trip to the museum.