Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How I Organize Mystery Of History


Even though I have just started using The Mystery of History in our homeschool, I have already organized it into a system that I believe will work for us.  Sure, Mystery of History (MOH) is basically an "open and go" curriculum for the most part, but I have found in my 13 years of homeschooling that if I don't have everything (or, at least, almost everything) set up ahead of time and easily accessible, then I tend to get bogged down with finding, copying, cutting, and looking for supplies.  Projects and activities that I wanted to get done and that I know my children would have loved get skipped.  No fun.  My children don't want time wasted doing this, and neither do I.  I want to keep the flow of learning going.  The excitement of discovery!  The train of thought!  Okay, so this is almost impossible with the normal interruptions that come daily (baby, doorbell ringing, phone ringing, children needing things, puppy pooing/peeing on the floor, kids bickering, etc.), but it still sounds good.  Being organized and prepared will at least make up for those unplanned interruptions a bit.
File Crate
Locker Crate (more slim than the file crate)

So, here is what I have done.  I use basically the same supplies that I used for organizing My Father's World Kindergarten that I spoke of in this post.  I use the locker crates from WalMart for younger children's work (about 7th grade and younger -- they don't have as much stuff), and I use the larger crates (also from WalMart -- or wherever you can find them) for about 8th grade and up.  I put each subject into a 10" x 13" envelope, and put one pendaflex folder in each child's crate to hold loose papers, miscellaneous stuff, etc.  I also use one large crate for the "correction" or "inbox" sitting on my kitchen counter.  When a child has completed a subject, they place their envelope into this crate for me to correct or review later.  There is a pendaflex folder in this as well for loose tests, etc.  The nice thing about these crates is that I can leave them on my kitchen island (or wherever it most convenient) and then move them out of the way into my bedroom or a closet during the weekend when we don't want them "in our face." 

Now, how about all of those notebooking pages, maps, quizes and such that Mystery of History is famous for?  No way do I want to be printing out and/or copying those at the last minute.  I do that all way ahead of time.  I could do a whole year's worth at once, I suppose, but I didn't this time.  I just did the first 9 weeks worth.  Then, I make up a pendaflex folder for each week of Mystery of History and place them in some sort of file crate (I had this one that I got via a free rebate from Staples).  Week 1 has it's own pendaflex and holds every loose item that I will need, including but not limited to:  Timeline figures, Challenge Cards, Notebooking Pages, Coloring Pages, Pre-tests, Quizzes, etc.  I used to think that doing that would be strangely time-consuming and ridiculous...boy am I glad I gave it a try!  I love it now.  It's definitely worth it.

We like to sit on the coach while doing our reading and such for Mystery of History, so I have a clip board for each child to use for mapping and such.  It has their name right on it.  When they finish their map, notebook page, or whatever, they put the whole clip board into the correction box with their papers on it.

Well, there you have it!

***12/19/2013 - SPECIAL NOTE -- Holy cow, this is NOT how I organize Mystery of History anymore.  I will be posting my new, easier-to-maintain version very soon.  


  1. Please share you new way of using MOH! After being frustrated with all texts, I'm thinking about getting this book out and giving it a shot.Thanks for sharing!

    1. I will soon! Promise! Lots going on with lots of kiddos. I'll do my best to type it out in the next week. ;)