Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yet another post on the Book of Centuries

If you want to read my previous posts outlining our process of figuring out what to do for the Book of Centuries, you can read them here and here.

To see what an actual Book of Centuries looked like in the P.N.E.U. school, you can see one here. Load times are extremely slow on the Redeemer site where the article resides so you will have to be patient. It seems the book used in the article is a plain old composition book with a blank page on the left for drawings, and lined pages on the right for the century chart.

I settled on something a little nicer and more durable with thicker paper that a fine tip Sharpie would not bleed through - the Moleskine A4 Sketch Book. It was recommended to me by my friend Shannon, who was kind enough to talk to me multiple times and explain to me how exactly she made her BOC using this notebook. Most of what I'm sharing in this post is what she shared with me.


The notebook has 96 pages, 160 g/m2 and goes for about $20 on Amazon. Unfortunately, it doesn't have an option with lines on only one side so that meant I had to draw the lines in by hand. I would *not* recommend you do this unless you really are set on a book that looks just. like. this. You can find an alternate option here, or consider purchasing a thinner paper notebook with one side lined, or you could print and spiral one the way you want it via Staples or Fedex Office. If you do come across a nice notebook that has both thicker pages and is lined on only one side, please make sure to post it in the comments here, I'd really like to know - I have 3 more BOC's to make in the not too distant future!

Here's a picture of our actual notebook:


The first page is left blank for her to fill in Creation however she likes. The second page is dated 7000 - 4500 (either B.C. or B.C.E based on which notation you want to use), the reason there are 2500 years on one page is that there are not enough pages to cover the vast number of years in this notebook so the years from 7000 B.C. to 2000 B.C. are condensed into the first two pages, each with 2500 years, and each of the 100 cells on the page will represent 25 years instead of 1 year. 

The P.N.E.U. notebook began with the different ages - stone age, bronze age, etc. 

The second page is from 4499 to 2000 B.C., the third page begins the actual century pages with the years 1999 to 1900 B.C.

Many of the pages are still blank waiting for me to stencil them in as needed - it's still a work in progress. For now her entries have mainly been in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. 

To line the pages, instead of measuring every time, I made a stencil on a separate sheet of paper marking off lines to make 5 columns and 20 rows. My stencil as you see here left a little room at the top of the page for a heading and had columns 1.5 inches wide marked off across the top and bottom, and rows .5 inches high marked off across both sides. With the stencil in place on my notebook, I could mark the page, remove the stencil, and use a ruler to draw in the lines with a pencil. 

Here's what a full page looks like.

In the A.D. years, the numbers get higher as you head down the page as you see here:

The notebook on the Redeemer page I linked to earlier had a red line through the middle of the century, splitting it in half - mine is a darker pencil line for now.

Remember that in the B.C. years, the numbers head the other way - from bottom to top. Here's another page - she's chosen many familiar things to fill in - her siblings' birthdays, her grandfather's death, the year we got our cat, and the handicraft fair all made it in there. 

Here's a drawing of a book cover she liked, it's the only drawing so far. 

Last week we read about the Acropolis in Pericles and the Book of Marvels so I suggested a portion of Pheidias' frieze along the lines of something she might add to her BOC. I'm leaving it up to her what she wants to include. I'm sure it'll all develop in time as we head to museums, etc. and this cute picture will give her a smile in years to come.

I also added the BOC to her weekly schedule based on a recommendation by Higher Up and Further In so she remembers to add to it regularly.

Here's a great pictorial post on the BOC by Amy over at Fisher Academy for inspiration. Good luck and let us know what you chose for your children's BOC in the comments.


  1. Wonderful! This reminds me that I really, really need to post on ours - so long overdue.

    From joy to joy,

  2. Thank you for sharing this! It is *so* helpful to see the visuals! I'm wondering if there's a particular reason why you prefer a notebook over a binder? I still have a while to go before deciding on a format for my oldest two, but I was thinking of making a lined template, then printing on cardstock (or something similar), one side for drawings and one side for the century chart (like yours)...but I'm wondering if there's an advantage to a notebook format? Thanks!

  3. It's probably more of a personal preference, I like binders for schedules and things needing to be added to and changed, the notebook just seems more permanent and nice to me, like a hardback vs. spiral bound book.

    1. I figured that was it. Actually, I like binders for things I'll be using for a long time because I'm not so worried I'll mess something up--I could always change out the page. LOL But yes, I definitely think the moleskin gives the feel of something permanent. Thanks for the response!

  4. i think your book has turned out beautifully! and i'm absolutely certain NOW after more than a year's worth of use that i'd much prefer the moleskin binding. i thought i wanted it to lay flat, but our spiral binding puts us at dire risk of losing stuff...
    oh, thanks for the linkup! :blush:

  5. It's worked out really well. I'll try to post a few photos when I get a chance.

  6. Hi Naomi! I'm so thankful to have attended the meeting last summer on the topic of BOC - even though we are well into Year 4 and haven't done one - I'm determined to help get it going - and over time, catch up :) One question - did you leave the back of every page blank to use for drawings, etc.? Thanks Naomi - I wanted to ask here as I am sure I'll forget to when I see you next! Amy Smith

    1. Hi Amy, yes, the left side of every 2-page spread is blank for drawings :)

  7. Hi, Naomi! Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm currently in the throes of creating a BOC in this manner, and I can tell that it's going to work well for us. The Moleskine is just right, and I managed to work up a template for making the lines...only forty-odd more centuries to go. ;)