Monday, March 24, 2014

How I Organize The Mystery of History Curriculum (updated 8/26/2014)

***8/9/16 -- Well, it's time I update this again, since MOH now uses "Comapanion Guides"  I think you can still use this for now.  Just don't tear apart your book!  Lol...  I'll get to this update as soon as I can.***

As promised, here is the new way that I organize our The Mystery of History homeschool curriculum.  Tweak this to however it works best for you.  Remember, this is just how I like to stay organized.  Everything I do may not be exactly what you want to do.  That's okay! In fact, let me know if you tweak something...I might join you.  None of these links are affiliate links, in case you are wondering.  Not that I see anything wrong with that, but Maine (where I live) law doesn't allow that due to taxes not being charged...or something like that.

Supplies needed  
  • Two or more (2+) File boxes -  1 for your Mystery of History supplies (and supplemental/additional curriculum supplies, if you wish); 1 to be used as an inbox/needs to be corrected box (whatever you wish to call it); plus 1 file box for each child ("school box")
It does not really matter what type you use, as long as they are the type that can hold the pendaflex-type hanging file folders.  I have three types of boxes.  Not for any particular reason; they were just on sale.  These were all purchased at either WalMart or Staples.  I'm sure similar stores carry them.  I actually got two for FREE from Staples with a "free after rebate" offer they had.  I get LOTS of things for free that way.  LOVE IT!
This file box originally had a lid that snapped on.  You can keep the lid or remove it, like I did.

Large "crate" purchased at WalMart (cute kitty adopted from humane society)

Small "locker crate" purchased at WalMart.
  • One (1) 2-inch view binder.  This will be used to keep your The Mystery of History book in.  I remove the front and back cover, tear out all of the pages (they are already perforated), and place them inside the binder.  Do I put them in page protectors?  No.  Why not?  Because I am the only one who has access to these, and therefore don't have to worry about many hands messing them up.  Also, I make copies of many of the pages for my kiddos, and don't want to have to keep taking them out and putting them back into page protectors.
  • Six or more 1" flexible binders.  Two will be for your "teacher book," (1/2 year in each one) and four additional folders for each child that will be using the program (one for each quarter)  Now, remember, these are CHEAP!  I get them for about $1 each at WalMart.  I use the flexible/bendable binders for my teacher and student books because I think they are easier to handle.  It's just our preference.  I also only keep one quarter's worth of work in them at a time, just to keep them from getting so cumbersome.  My children keep these on their laps during our history reading time (they might be doing a coloring page, for instance, while I read a lesson), so for them to be holding a year's worth of papers on their laps may feel a bit big and heavy.  
  • Pendaflex-type hanging folders - I'd say about 20 or so would do.  You will need about 10 in your Mystery of History box (my plastic file box above with the yellow hanging folders in it), and 1 or 2 for each child in their school box for loose papers.
  • A printer and/or copy machine, or access to one.  I copy a LOT of my MOH (Mystery of History) book (Well, that is, until MOH3 came I just purchase the disc with all of the printables on it, the downloads, and, if needed, let the children share the text book).  If I didn't have a copy machine or printer/copier, I'd probably purchase the Mystery of History Vol 1 Reproducibles found here.  If you can't copy your text, no big deal...just let the children take turns (to get the answers for the notebooking pages).
  • These awesome little bookmark tabs.  They remove easily and can be reused.  Regular bookmarks just fall out.
    These little gems can be found pretty much anywhere office supplies are sold.  I got mine at WalMart.
  • Red ink pens - I use these when I correct my children's work.  They see the red much better than if I use blue or black.  It stands out and is an "attention getter."  ;)
  • All Through The Ages by Christine Miller - I use this guide to pick my readers and read-alouds for each child.  It's the best guide I've found with over 7000 of the best in quality historical narratives, historical fiction, literature, and “living books."  I bought the PDF, printed it out, and stuck it in a 1" binder.
  • Mystery of History Vol 1 Super Supplemental Collection (Download or CD).  I don't use the folder books at this time, but it was cheaper to buy the whole set at my time of purchase (I waited for their Black Friday Sale and got 20% off...I think.  I use the coloring pages, notebooking pages, and challenge cards.
  • History Through The Ages timeline figures.  You will only need "Creation To Christ" for MOH Volume 1.  If I had to do it again, I think I'd buy the CD that has every set.  MOH doesn't use every single timeline figure, and if you own the CD you can just print off the ones you need and not waste paper.  These can be purchased online straight from Bright Ideas Press, and various other locations like Christian Book Distributors.  Look for a deal, or even buy them used!  Lots of people (and you should, too) just copy them for their personal use and them resell them when they are through.
  • Whole page label paper.  This is what I copy my timeline figures onto.  I found these at Amazon.  You can get 100 sheets for about $15.  You won't need that many for MOH Volume 1, but I figure why pay $10 for about 25 when I can get 100 for $5 more?  I'll use them all eventually.
  • Card stock for the Challenge Cards.  About 100 pages should do.
  • Key rings for the Challenge Cards, if you'd like to organize them the way I do below.

    Take Apart MOH Book
    1. Remove covers and pages from MOH book and place into 2-inch binder view binder.  Place front cover into slot on front, and back cover into slot in back.  I do this so that I can copy the pages easily, and keep some of them in my Teacher Book.

    Teacher Book
    1.  This is where I keep my schedule and lessons.  I keep 1/2 of a year's worth at a time in a 1" flexible binder.  I don't want a huge 2" binder on my lap while reading.
    2. Join the Yahoo Group called The Mystery of History, Volume 1 if you'd like to use my schedule for MOH1. This is where I upload all of my files.  The document I use to schedule our lessons is titled, "MOH1Schedule.docx."  It's under:  Files > Tracey's Journal Files > MOH1Schedule.docx.  Feel free to change this around to however you can use it.
    3. Edit the MOH1Schedule to your liking.  THIS is what takes the most time, especially if you want to change the schedule, but it's worth it!  I'm constantly changing and editing this file to suit our family.  You'll notice that the first nine weeks of this schedule aren't even completed.  Sorry!  I started using it AFTER I had completed those lessons, and haven't gotten back to the beginning yet.  Put in whatever books you like (I think it is just missing readers/read-alouds?).
    4. Put your schedule, as well as the lessons from the MOH1 book (all that will fit comfortably) into your binder.  So, in other words, each week you will have a schedule page followed by that week's lesson right in your binder.
    Front of Teacher Book
    Page of schedule from Yahoo Group
    Followed by that week's lesson from MOH1 book
    Student Book(s)
    I put in all worksheets to be done in the order of which it is to BE done.  I don't separate by continent, etc.

    1. Depending on the age of your child(ren), here is how you organize your student book(s).
    It's simple:  Put in whatever you feel they are at the maturity level to work on, in the order of which it is to be done.  I copy all necessary pages from the MOH book, type up any type of forms they might need to complete for certain activities (basically, making it a bit easier for them to figure out how to do the lesson independently), and put them in their notebooks in the order in which they are to be done.  I'm not allowed to share mine due to the you will have to type up your own if you so desire, sorry!

    When a student has completed their day's work, they turn it into the "Correction Box" (one of the large file boxes) that I designate.  I correct it, right in their notebook, then put their notebook right back into their school box.  No papers to file!
    Well folks, I think that's about it.  Hopefully I remembered everything.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I will definitely edit this when needed and try to make it as simple to understand as possible.  
NOTE:  5/25/17 -- Well, now that the books come out differently, I'll need to update this again...coming soon!


  1. Just found your blog from Homeschool Review site where you reviewed MOH! Love your review and your blog! Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is great! I just found your blog and will be starting MOH 1 with my kids in January. I am just starting the planning process now. This has been really helpful to me to see this. So many different ways to organize. Thank you for these helpful ideas! And congrats on your adoption. He looks like such a sweetie.God Bless you and your family!

  3. Glad to be of help! And thank you, he's a sweetie. :)

  4. This is so great, it is exactly what I was seeing in my mind to do with my MOH vol. 1 that we're going to be doing this fall with my 9th grader. Thank you so much for taking the time to type this up so that I can see that it will actually work the way I was seeing it in my brain. I no longer feel guilty for wanting to rip all the pages out of my book and put in a binder since it is drilled and every page is perforated :)