How To Create Mystery of History Student Binder
Home educating History can be fun and intimidating and maybe a bit boring. I have taught History / Omnibus from the Mystery of History textbooks for the past 7 years, going through MOH Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 twice, and Volume 4 once. I have a very organized manner of teaching MOH and how to organize the Mystery of History binder for students (aka: my children). Here are the basics of creating and organizing a student binder for Mystery of History.
Since my approach to teach History is the Omnibus approach, I teach History and Geography in tandem. In addition, our Biblical Studies lessons will also correlate to our historical timeline. I also select Literature books to read that matches up with the timeline in the Omnibus lessons we study. At least once a month, I tie in an art projects that with the history lessons of the week.
Do not be intimidated by this at all. Well-thought out curriculum and pre-planning make for very smooth weeks. Teaching History does not have to match the classical approach at all. I personally find it easier for me to teach when I can smoothly transition from one subject to the next AND they all tie together.
WHAT IS OMNIBUS?
Omnibus is a Latin term meaning all encompassing. Teaching Omnibus is the classical Christian educational approach by teaching history, theology, and literature together.
TEACHING MYSTERY OF HISTORY Volume 1
So, you have purchased the Mystery of History textbooks . . . what next?
Mystery of History employs a chronological (and Christian) approach to teaching history. I recommend beginning with Volume 1 and working your way through to Volume 4 as your children level up a grade. I began with Volume 1 when my son was in grade 4 and my daughters were in grade 2 and kindergarten. By the time my son was in middle school and my daughters were 3rd and 5th grades, I had to begin again with MOH volume 1 as Volume 4 had not yet been completed. So, my daughters have been though volumes 1-3 twice and volume 4 once, which actually worked out perfectly for us.
- Mystery of History Volume I - Creation to the Resurrection
- Mystery of History Volume II - The Early Church and the Middle Ages
- Mystery of History Volume III - The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations
- Mystery of History Volume IV - Wars of Independence to Modern Times
There are a number of supplementals available to purchase along with the MOH textbook. For the younger students, these supplementals are not necessary at all, maybe except for the coloring pages. however, there are so many free printables available online, there really is not a specific need to purchase unless you want to have everything prepared for you ahead of time.
You can certainly teach MOH as it is laid out in the textbook utilizing all supplementals from the companion guide and the notebooking pages, which we did use in the beginning and are quite helpful for teaching note-taking (an essential skill to teach your children in my opinion). After a couple of years of purchasing the companion guides and the notebooking pages, I began creating my own curriculum as the pre-purchased were not working well for my family. I suggest you perhaps sample different supplementals to see what is the best fit for your family.
Be aware there is a lot to select from in the companion guides and extra supplemental that can be purchased. You certainly do not have to do everything, because there is a lot. Here is where pre-planning really comes into play. Here are some questions to contemplate:
- Do you want to include a timeline?
- Do you want to include maps and complete Geography lessons with History or completely skip Geography one year?
- Do you need coloring pages?
- Do you want the kids to take notes?
- Do you want to complete pretests?
After a couple of years, I figured out what we liked and what worked for us. I didn't like the worksheets, pretests, quizzes or tests that were included in the companion guides, so I created my own curriculum that included daily worksheets for each lesson, and I also created quizzes and tests that for each lesson / volume of MOH.
If you are not aware, there are The Mystery of History Yahoo Groups and facebook groups for each MOH volume that has many resources, including weekly worksheets. Again, my children did not like these worksheets, so I did create my own worksheet for each lesson that we read.
There are a number of sites that offer free downloads for timelines and note taking pages. BibleStoryPrintables.com has a entire set of notebooking pages and timeline printables that coincide with Volume 1 AND there is a an incredible set of downloadable notebooking pages at The Notebooking Nook.
Also available to purchase is the audios for the lessons. I never utilized these as I had time set aside to read each week for the lessons. I actually liked to read the lessons to my children because I really like the MOH textbooks. I find the information the author included to be quite well-written and very informative. Also, I can eliminate any information (age-appropriate) that I didn't want my kids to know.
HOW TO SETUP A MYSTERY OF HISTORY STUDENT BINDER
Since there are so many downloads for the Mystery of History curriculum, you need a system to keep all the maps, timelines, notebooking pages and lesson worksheets organized. I highly recommend a 3" 3 ring binder to hold all the worksheets, maps, quizzes, timelines and tests. I created front and back covers as well as a spine cover for all my kid's Omnibus binders.
Each binder has 9 clear tabbed pocket index dividers for the worksheets, maps etc that are placed behind the appropriate sections. I spend a great deal of time printing the worksheets,maps, timelines, notebooking pages, memory for each quarter so my children are not waiting for any printables and can get to work straight away after each lesson.
- Syllabus and Assignment Spreadsheet
- Notebooking Pages
- Blank Worksheets
- Completed Worksheets
- Completed Tests & Quizzes
- Class Projects
In the first tabbed section is the Syllabus which details all the goals and objectives of the class, instructions, books and supplies needed for the school year and all the assignment details. The Assignment Spreadsheet is also printed here for the entire year. This spreadsheet has every assignment detailed, with the due dates. (I print out a weekly spreadsheet with these assignments as well).
Behind all the other tabbed dividers are the notebooking pages, printed lesson worksheets, the maps and the instructions (and as the children level up in grades, the complexity of the mapwork increases), instructions for class projects, and blank timelines.
Each week as I read the lesson, my children are required to take notes and leave these in their binders. They can use their notes and the book to answer the questions on the weekly worksheets. These are used to study for weekly quizzes.
On the day the mapwork is assigned, my children only need to flip to the map tab, take the map and the instructions out for that assignment, and complete the mapwork. Once they have completed the weekly map (s), they simply place the completed map in the back of the map tab. There will be a continuous flow of new and old maps being placed on top of each other, so the maps are always in order.
I keep copies of the comprehension questions, quizzes and tests and only provide those on the week they are due or the day of the quiz or test. The quizzes are kept in the binder once they are completed in the appropriate tab and used to study for the exams.
That is the basics of creating and organizing a student binder for Mystery of History. The binders are kept in their rolling carts, which are placed beside their desks. We used to use workboxes, but have switched to crates now that my children are older.
In order to teach History effectively, I suggest supplementals in your homeschooling room as well. I have a couple of globes in our classroom. I have various maps all over the classroom too. In addition, I have the following books in our homeschool library. I didn't purchase all of these books at once. These are books I have collected over the many years of home educating my children.
- The Student Bible Atlas
- Map Trek The Complete Collection
- Veritas Press History Cards Set of 5
- National Geographic Atlas of the World (this book is huge)
- National Geographic Kids books - Various
- A History of US, Third Edition: 11 Volumes
- DY Eyewitness Books - Various
- Usborne Encyclopedia of World Geography
- Everything You Need to Know About American History
- Legends & Leagues Mr Tardy goes from here to there
- Legends & Leagues Workbook
- The World Reference Maps & Forms (Evan Moor)
- The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide
- A Trip Around the World
- Another Trip Around the World
- Maps & Globes
- Geography from A to Z
- The Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents (book series by Mike Venezia)
As I stated earlier in this post, I do make a good attempt tying in as many subjects as I can. MOH's author does a splendid job of creating a list of Literature books to read that correlate to the lessons read in each textbook. She also lists Bible verses to be read each week as well, which you can add to your Biblical Studies syllabus if you like. Believe me, this is a lot of work that is already completed for you, so I really did look over her lists of books and selected what I wanted my children to read for each textbook.
LITERATURE BOOK LIST FOR MYSTERY OF HISTORY VOLUME 1
The following books are Literature books that are assigned to read for OMNIBUS. I also assign books to read for our Literature/Composition class and do try to take the suggestions from the author of MOH if they work with our school year.
These are the Omnibus assigned books:
- Adam and His Kin, by Ruth Beechick
- God King, by Joanne Williamson
- The Boy’s and Girl’s Herodotus, by John S. White
- Plutarch’s Lives, edited by Arthur Hugh Clough
- Hittite Warrior
- Alexander the Great
- Archimedes and the Door to Science
- D’Aulaires Greek Myths
- Detectives in Togas
- Bronze Bow
- The Golden Goblet
This curriculum can certainly be adjusted in a lot of different ways to the learning style of your children. MOH can also be used through middle school and high school. Obviously, adjustments will need to be made for high school students in order to obtain high school credit for graduation.
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