I can’t tell you how excited I am to tell you about this product! Ok, you already know that I am a huge history buff. I love to read the stories and learn the lessons from those who came before us. The only problem is that I have a hard time linking separate events that are going on in different parts of the world at the same time. For that reason I have always wanted to utilize timelines. I love how seeing it all laid out can help you connect the dots in ways that you wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, knowing that The War of 1812 was happening at the same time that Napoleon was trying to conquer Europe can give us some insight in to the events of the time. Or seeing how the French Revolution affected Beethoven’s compositions.
I love timelines! So why have I never used them in our homeschool? They take over the house. I just don’t have enough wall space to accommodate the amount of historical detail I want to document. That is why I am SO excited to tell you about Knowledge Quest and the TimelineBuilder iPad APP.
Available for iPad, TimelineBuilder iPad APP is a wonderful tool for keeping track of historical events with as much or as little detail as you like while saving your wall space free for pictures. To create a timeline you select the yellow tab labeled “New Timeline”. From there you name your timeline, enter a description if desired, and start and end dates. You can also choose from nine different backgrounds.
TimelineBuilder is very easy to use and customize. Once you have created your timeline you can adjust the size and location of the picture you are using, hide the pictures all together, and edit the events. Since I always keep my iPad with me it was a seamless addition to our schooling. To see the detail of the a specific event you just double tap on it. Every time we read something out of our history books we would add it to the appropriate timeline or start a new one. We started studying Napoleon so I created a timeline for 1800 – 1850. We snagged some copyright free images from wikipedia and added some historical detail in the description. One of the really neat features of this app is the “search Wikipedia” button. After you type in your event name and press “search wikipedia” it will open Safari to the wikipedia entry that best corresponds with your event name. This was especially nice because we could read directly from wikipedia to learn more about the subject in question. From there you can save the image to your library for cropping to import or copy and paste.
To see the event after you have entered it just double tap on the image. For good measure I also added my children’s commentary (I cannot be held responsible for the politically incorrect things my children say).
You can also zoom in and out so you can see things close up or all at once.
We also made timelines for the French Revolution, Columbus, and our composer study. One of my favorite timeline project was my family timeline. I have really enjoyed reminiscing and searching for things worthy of adding to the timeline :)
While this is an excellent app that I would highly recommend, I did see some room for improvement.
- The default size for images on the timeline is a square so if you import rectangular images they can look squished. You can easily resize to correct proportions, but I found that doing so was tedious and it was actually easier for me to just crop the image before I imported it. I would like to avoid the extra step.
- I would LOVE the ability to copy an event from one timeline and paste it on to another timeline. My timelines often overlap and not having to enter the events in from scratch multiple times would have been awesome.
- I know I said I don’t want to have my timelines on my walls, but I would like the option to be able to print a timeline with the events (including details) easily while keeping the same basic format.
- In a perfect world I would be able to import my own images to use as backgrounds and customize the font
- The default iPad finger pinch to zoom in or out would be helpful rather than having to use the buttons
I would say that at ten years old, Lucy would easily be able to navigate this app on her own (though access to wikipedia would defiantly warrant some parental supervision). You can buy TimelineBuilder iPad APP for the special price of $4.99 at Knowledge Quest (regular price $6.99). They have several other apps (including pre-made timelines) as well that are well worth checking out!
Prices are accurate as of the publication of this review and are subject to change
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