Over the years we have done timelines several ways from the big one on the wall that everyone contributed to when the kids where younger to one they taped together accordion style so it could fold out of their notebooks and stretch the room. This year after taking a year or so off of history timelines we decided to made some changes.
First of all I love having a timeline. It's a great way to review. You can go back through and read off the names, events and dates you've placed on them and ask your children to tell you something about that person or event. Because it's visual it also gives another way that you mind can recall the information. My biggest reason that I love having a timeline especially for ancient history is to incorporate how Biblical history fits with "secular" history.
Growing up in a public school I learned to compartmentalize my learning. You know this is Bible, church learning and something else is school learning. It resulted in a thinking disability. Thinking disability? What in the world do I mean? Well basically without knowing it you start to put things you come in contact with into one box (church/Bible) or the other (public/secular.) This is not in lines with having a Biblical worldview.
I want my children to look at EVERYTHING through the GOD glasses (Biblical worldview.) The danger is that if they don't a lot of heretical thinking and down right anti-Biblical views can creep in and become part of their Worldview.
So with the timeline they can see for instance that Paul (from the Bible) was in Greece when we're talking about Athens and Greece. These are not separate but integrated events.
This year we are combing several history programs and picking and chooses from each. Today we did some reading from Truthquest and Mystery of History both which we have used before. We put our dates on our timeline and made cards for each event.
In past years we've used a lot of notebook pages that we keep in our notebook and then did a timeline separate. This year we're combining the two. The girls write on a 3X5 card information about the person or event and then put in in a "pocket" (envelope) we've glued right to the page of their timeline that it goes with. This way as they review and look at their timeline if they forget who is who they can pull from their pocket and remember key facts. It was a simple change but I'm loving the way it's working.
Whatever way you chose, try a timeline! I think you'll like the way it helps you see the continuity of history!