History is one of those subjects that has the potential to be engaging and exciting, but is often taught in a manner that is dry and boring. I know that when I was in school, it was one of my least favorite subjects. Actually, I think it was my least favorite subject.. But with homeschooling, I have learned that history is full of interesting facts and have come to really like it. But finding a curriculum or supplement that brings excitement into the format, can be a challenge.

Knowledge Quest offers a change to that "same old" style of learning. We have been blessed to review their products not once, but twice. Back in the summer of 2012, we reviewed their TimeMaps computer program and loved it, and this year we received for review their Timeline Builder for iPad APP. 

First a little bit about who Knowledge Quest (KQ) is. KQ was started in 2001 by Todd & Terri Johnson. They are a homeschooling family that set out to develop black and white maps to help supplement lessons on American and World history. Over the years, they've expanded their products to include wall timelines, hardcover timelines, and historical biographies which included geography. In 2011 they took their products to a whole new level and created mobile apps of the iphone and iPad. You can read more about the Johnson family and Knowledge Quest here.

Our original review of, TimeMaps, introduced us to KQ's exceptional products. The goal of TimeMaps "is to communicate history in a truly engaging way", by merging historical timelines, maps, and information into one resource. 
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Now with KQ TimelineBuilder for the iPad, we have their wonderful software in a portable platform. 

Timelinebuilder is not exactly like TimeMaps, as you and your student build the information yourself. 

TimelineBuilder has fully customizable timelines for any subject.

As KQ put it, "TimelineBuilder is THE timeline resource tool that will organize and display chronological events the way YOU want to see them" (KQ).

So How Does It Work?

With the TimelineBuilder, you can choose from a "sample" timeline or customize your own, choosing your own dates, title, subject, pictures, and description. There is a direct link to wikipedia that automatically pulls up a relevant search based on the event name you put in. You have the option of using that info or searching for something different. You also have the choice of which pictures you want to use for each event. Photos can come from an outside source (ex. wikipedia) or your own photo files.

The following photo shows an enlarged image of the bottom of the Apps main screen (seen in the image above).

To begin, you would select "About this App" which gives you a great introduction on how to use it. After viewing this, you then will choose either "New Timeline" or "Sample Timeline". Whichever tab you select, the following screen (image on the left) will come up and you there will create the "Timeline Name". Once you've selected that you can dates, description and select a background, then click the "done" button, which will come up when you start typing. If you've chosen a sample timeline, one will automatically be generated based on your timeline name. A "New Timeline" will generate a blank template where you can add your own events. Whichever timeline you started with, you will have the option of adding a "new event". The image below, on the right, is a screen shot what pops up. Here you add an Event Name and/or dates. You can add images and search Wikipedia, too. The event then will show on your timeline.
We created a few timelines using the Sample option and the New option. 
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This timeline was started as a sample and we added in "The history of paper" and "Be Thou My Vision". Once the date is added, the program automatically places it on the timeline in chronological order. We chose images from Wikipedia for our added events. We were also able to adjust the sizes of the images simply by dragging it. Each of the events can also be moved around to fit the screen or to adjust to your preference. 

In the image, you can see that "Be Thou My Vision" is highlighted in red. I had chosen it to modify. At the top of the screen shot, you can see 3 tabs that allow you to either edit, delete, or "snap to vertical", which will return you to your main timeline.

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In this timeline, my daughter (17yo) was practicing. You can see "practice timeline" on the left hand side of the screen. When she created the timeline, she added this in the description. She was able to choose her background and used images from our own photo files for each event. 

She had fun matching images to her selected dates. 

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We used this timeline to build our family tree. I used just the "start date" and added the full birthdate and date of death (for my dad) in the description. The description is seen by clicking the image.

I've been playing around with this using different photos and adding my husband's family info, too. It's an interesting way to create a family tree : ^ )

Another option that KQ TimelineBuilder for iPad has is to "Share" the timeline. You can share either by sending an email using the events alone or the entire timeline. You can save the events and/or timeline as photos, and even save the file to share via iTunes.

Below are shots from my email after sharing my daughter's timeline. The first photo is a share of the timeline, which includes a photo of the main timeline and a listing of the events. The smaller image (to the right) is a share of the events only. The photos of each event is included along with the description of the events. We though this feature was pretty cool. 

How To Purchase: You can purchase the KQ TimelineBuilder for iPad for $6.99. That is an excellent price for this great App. You will have tons of history right at your fingertips.

TimelineBuilder is for ages 10 and up, but I believe that children of all ages could have benefits from using it.

What We Thought: We enjoyed being able to review this App. We had fun creating different timelines and played around with all the different features. Since we are studying Medieval ages right now, we did try to create a few within this time period. I like the fact that we had instant access to Wikipedia to come up with the descriptions and photos, too.

There were a couple of things we didn't like. First, with the sample timeline, all the event descriptions that are created by the program itself are in Latin. Though we studied Latin some, we couldn't really figure out what was being said. We could go in and edit the descriptions, but it would've been nice to have it in English from the start. There may be a way to do it automatically, but we weren't able to figure that out yet. 

The other thing is when you are creating an event, if you touch outside of the popup, it takes you back to the main timeline and your info is deleted if it wasn't completed. This became frustrating for my daughter because she wasn't used to using the iPad and kept touching the wrong spots.

Overall though, we loved this App and plan on using it with our history lessons. I believe you will like it, too.
 


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