So what exactly is a Book of Centuries? Simply put, a BOC is a sketchbook for drawing and recording history in a chronologically-arranged fashion. It has 2 pages dedicated to each century in history, one side blank for the sketches and one side lined to write in the events by date. These sketches and written events are to be of the child's choice, allowing them to record weekly what they have found to be important and significant from their lessons.
The BOC is not to be rushed, or filled in all at once, but it is to become a life-long interest to the child, slowly recording and intentionally choosing what to place in each century. Each drawing chosen is to represent something significant, interesting, valuable, or important to the child. Each child's book will be different and unique, as what they enter will be their personal connection to their lessons. It is supposed to be organic, to flow naturally as they learn about the battles, inventions, discoveries, explorations, and people they find significant in history.
At the very end of their BOCs, there are 10 or so blank pages for map drawings or other special studies. When my children study about a country, they can choose to sketch the country's map in the back of their BOC and briefly write something important that they learned about that country. For a special study, a child may choose to dedicate a page to ships used in battles, explorations, or trades. Or maybe you have a child interested in historical clothing and they will choose to sketch and label how clothing changed over the centuries.
How to make an entry in your Book of Centuries
Because this is a weekly activity in a Charlotte Mason education, hopefully this becomes natural for students to reach for their BOC as soon as they learn or read about something of interest that prompts them to record it in their book. But sometimes students can get stuck on what to record in their BOCs. So to help them think through their lessons, I have created a list of ideas that might help them remember something from the week.
While there are many Book of Centuries resources out there, my favorite is from Riverbend Press. They are hardcover, thick paper, and of such beautiful quality that I simply could not settle for anything less.
If you're looking for a more detailed article on how to keep a Book of Centuries in your home, check out this PNEU article The Book of Centuries.