One of the things I love about Mystery of History is its predictable weekly routine. Lesson planning is greatly simplified because each week follows the same basic pattern. (Read my review here.)
Mystery of History: Weekly Activities
- Pretest–an ungraded learning activity designed to spark the student’s interest in the next few lessons
- Three lessons–each lesson covers one person or event with a reading selection and activities for three different levels
- Memory cards–small summaries for each lesson are written on index cards for weekly review
- Review activities–people and events from the week’s lessons are added to the timeline, and related mapwork is completed
- Cumulative review–either a quiz or a worksheet that covers all material studied from the beginning of the course
So how does this look in a real homeschool week? Join us for a look at our first week of Mystery of History!
How We Use Mystery of History
Day One should begin with a pretest, which introduces the week’s lessons and builds the student’s interest. However, we rarely fit these into our schedule. Although I’m certain the pretests would be beneficial, I don’t believe they are absolutely essential. On to the lesson . . .
Kaylee and Keaton each read the day’s lesson individually. I had originally dreamed of reading the lessons aloud together, but both Kaylee and Keaton are avid readers and prefer to read and process information on their own.
After completing the reading, the children have the option of completing a related activity. Each lesson has a fabulous list of projects for younger, middle, and older students. These are not just “filler” or “busy work,” but real learning activities. Younger students generally have a hands-on project, while older students may do extra reading or research for a writing assignment.
While most families love Mystery of History’s wonderful activities, my children actually disdain hands-on anything. They would much rather read for hours than dig into a creative project. So while I’m a little disappointed that they aren’t interested in all the fun activities Mystery of History offers, I love that I can adapt the course to fit their learning style.
Instead of doing the suggested activities at the end of the lesson, Kaylee and Keaton complete a notebooking page about what they have learned. I also have plenty of related historical fiction and non-fiction books for them to read as a supplement to the daily lessons.
For this lesson, the children completed a notebooking page about Creation. They each wrote what they felt was most important from their reading; then they colored the picture. Keaton also read the first chapter of Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechick. (Kaylee was engrossed in another book at the time.)
Today’s lesson is about Adam and Eve. After reading the lesson silently, Kaylee and Keaton completed their notebooking pages. Keaton also read another chapter or two in Adam and His Kin.
Today’s lesson is entitled “Jubal and Tubal-Cain.” Both kids were interested in learning more about these important but little-known Bible characters. After reading the lesson, each child completed a notebooking page with a summary of what he/she read. Keaton continued reading Adam and His Kin.
After completing the lesson on day three, students should make the memory cards for the previous three lessons. I have to confess that we have not gotten our memory cards started yet. I do believe that the continuous review is essential for reinforcing what has been learned, so we WILL be getting to these soon. Hold me to it, won’t you?
After completing three lessons, it’s time for a review! The review activities consist primarily of updating the timeline and doing mapwork.
Kaylee and Keaton keep individual timeline notebooks. (I’ll be sharing more about the timeline notebooks in the next week or two.) Both children color timeline figures for the lessons they’ve covered earlier in the week. After coloring the figures, they cut out around them and use a scrapbook adhesive to adhere them to the timeline pages.
Download FREE timeline notebook pages to make your own timeline notebook!
Day Five is used for cumulative review. Students complete either a quiz or a worksheet that reviews all the material they have studied since the beginning of the course.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a peek into how we use Mystery of History! We are truly loving our study of history this year. In fact, just a few days ago I heard Keaton say, “This is the best history I’ve ever had!” I don’t think I could praise it any more highly than that.