Creating a Student Binder for The Mystery of History

The Mystery of History curriculum makes a great read-aloud for the entire family but this year my seventh grader is working through volume 4 on her own.

That meant that she not only needed a history binder but also a checklist to follow so she knew exactly what to do each day.

Keep reading to see how I set up The Mystery of History student binder and grab your FREE download of my volume 4 student checklist.

Creating a Student Binder for The Mystery of History FREE checklist

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The Mystery of History Student Binder Set Up

I used a 3-ring binder to hold all of the assignments. I chose one with a clear pocket on the front so that I could slide a custom cover into the binder. I created the cover in Canva which is free to use. I love free resources!

The Mystery of History student binder

Next, I divided the binder into four quarters and placed all of the worksheets and handouts behind the appropriate section. I spent one evening printing off all of the pages I would need from the Companion Guide that is included in volume 4.

The Mystery of History student binder divided into 4 quarters

Finally, I placed the checklist in the front of the binder and all the maps in the side pocket. The checklist allows my student to work independently. Don’t forget to grab your FREE download below!

A Closer Look Inside

Let’s take a closer look inside the binder to see how it all works.

In the left pocket are all the maps for the entire year. The Companion Guide includes all of these maps along with a helpful list of each map and how many are needed for the year. This makes it super easy to print off the correct amount for each map. My student is able to grab the map she needs each week without having to wait on me to print it out.

The Mystery of History maps

In the front of the binder, before the dividers, is the student checklist. This checklist includes everything my student needs to accomplish for history on any given day for the entire year. I have the checklist divided into quarters so my student can easily see everything that needs to be done for the quarter she is on.

At the beginning of each quarter, I look through the different activities on the Companion Guide and write in the ones I want my student to accomplish. That is the extent of my lesson planning for history! Four times a year I have to spend a few minutes writing in the quarter activities.

The Mystery of History

After she completes an assignment, she writes the date in the column on the right. If you would like more details on how she uses the checklist, watch this video.

The Mystery of History student binder checklist for volume 4. Grab your free copy!

Behind each quarter tab are the following:

  • Pretest
  • Lesson notes that my student takes on lined paper.
  • Map work instructions
  • Exercise or quiz
  • Activity (if it was something done on paper that can easily fit in a binder.)

The pretest is taken before the student reads any of the lesson material. It is meant to see what information the student already knows on the upcoming topic and to wet their appetite for what is coming. My student usually misses every single question but that’s expected since she’s never learned this information before.

The Mystery of History pretest

As my student reads each lesson, she is required to take notes. That means that each week she has three different lesson notes to add to her binder. Confessions of a Homeschooler and Simple Homeschool have some great tips for note-taking.

The Mystery of History student binder

The map work instructions are already in the student binder. When it is time to do the map work my student takes the instructions out, grabs the appropriate map from the side pocket and then completes the map work. When she is done, she puts the completed map in place of the instructions. The instructions she puts in the recycling bin.

The Mystery of History map work

If there happens to be an activity that can be stored in a binder, then it will be placed behind the map for that week. I chose not to print out the activity sheets. Instead, I write on the checklist what activity I want my student to accomplish and then she looks it up on the Companion Guide.

She can print out the activity instructions herself if she needs to but she usually just reads them on the computer. Since my student is in 7th grade, I am choosing one or two activities geared for the middle student.

The Mystery of History activities

At the end of each week there is either an exercise or a quiz. I allow my student to use her textbook and notes for exercises. Quizes she does from memory. It is good practice for the big semester tests.

The Mystery of History exercises and quizes

With this student binder, my 7th grader is able to work completely independently for history. I have her check the pretests and exercises herself and immediately correct any mistakes. I grade the quizzes, semester tests and occasionally look over her notes.

Get Your FREE Checklist

The student checklist I created has been the backbone of our history class this year. It allows my student to work independently without me having to plan lessons each week.

If you are using The Mystery of History volume 4, you can download your own copy by clicking here.

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