Q&A: Book of the Centuries


“I’ve heard great things about keeping a Century Book. Will you please explain how to make and use one?”


Keep in mind there is no one “right” way to construct a century book. When these books were used by students in Charlotte Mason’s schools they originally called them a Museum sketchbook.

That’s why I like to make them using sketch paper. You could buy a blank sketch book or fill a three-ring binder with sketch paper, regular blank paper or lined paper. The type of paper isn’t the crucial aspect, it’s how you label the top of each sheet that matters and it isn’t hard to do.

Perhaps the easiest way is to begin at the back of your book and label the top of the page “21st Century” or “2000” or both. Proceeding backwards allow one or two pages per century going into the B.C. centuries as far back as you care to.

The purpose of the book is to have a place to make notations or illustrations of an historical event on the correct page. Museum visits provide a chance to sketch artifacts, weapons or anything on display. It’s not all sketching by any means, however, as children can make entries from books they have read. Pages will eventually fill in with unrelated events and that is the whole point. Children learn a lot from watching this occur.

It’s such a tangible way for children to store the information they receive and serves as a portable timeline. When families stop relying solely on textbooks and begin to branch out and use well-written books they often ask, “Where will the children put all this information, how will they hang on to it?” This provides the answer.

By the way, I recommend that Mom start one of her own as soon as possible. One of my biggest regrets is not starting mine in the ’80’s. If I had it to do again, I’d have a rather filled-in book by now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Levison — long-time homeschooling mother of five and popular conference speaker to parenting and educational audiences throughout the USA and Canada — is the author of several books on Charlotte Mason-style home education.  Visit Catherine Levison’s Amazon Author page here:  Levison on Amazon

You can order Levison’s books online at:

  1. A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-to Manual
  2. More Charlotte Mason Education
  3. A Literary Education: An Annotated Book List

One response to “Q&A: Book of the Centuries

  1. I started a Book of Centuries for myself as I always wanted to know where things fitted in history and the relations between the history of countries. And I wanted to know how it will work for my children now 7 and 3 years. Hope to start soon with the 7 year old.

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