From Our House to Yours
Setting Up for Creation to Christ
So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota ‘box day,’ and am setting up for Creation to Christ (CTC). My first step is to read through CTC‘s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. As each Introduction includes options (i.e. one large binder or several smaller binders, etc.), I like to note my chosen options in the margin of the Introduction. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and “Getting Started” section in the Appendix of Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR).
Setting Up the Front of My CTC Binder
First, I make a color photocopy of my CTC cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1: Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)
Label History, Geography, and Science Tab Dividers
Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY.” Behind this tab, I place CTC‘s history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. If I have an older child who is using the history extensions, I place any completed 2-3 paragraph summaries or pictures with one paragraph summaries here as well. Next, I label my second tab “GEOGRAPHY.” I place any of my child’s completed A Child’s Geography Vol. II: Explore the Holy Land travel logs or mapping assignments here. Then, I label my third tab “SCIENCE.” Here, I place my child’s completed science notebooking assignments and lab sheets. If I chose to use loose leaf notebook paper for the Day 3 science questions and answers, I place those here as well.
Label Language Arts and Math Tab Dividers
Next, I label my fourth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” For DITHOR, I either choose some completed workbook pages to include, or I just keep his entire student book. Likewise, for the cursive workbook (if my child was doing cursive this year because it was not done previously), for the R & S English 4 or 5 written work, and for the spelling/dictation written work, I either choose a handful of completed pages for the binder, or I just keep the entire workbook and notebook(s). For Write with the Best, I either would include samples of my child’s prewriting, first drafts, and final drafts in order for each writing piece, or I would just keep his entire notebook. I label my fifth tab “MATH” and include any completed math workbook pages, or I just keep the entire workbook.
Options for the Poetry Study’s Watercolor Paintings
One very special part of CTC is the poetry study, which includes children responding to Robert Frost’s poetry by creating lovely watercolor paintings. There are many options for storing these special paintings. One option would be to label another sixth tab “POETRY.” If I chose this option, I would simply place my child’s completed watercolor paintings here, in page protectors if they fit (depending on the size of paper chosen). Or for another option, I might have my child make a special folder by stapling 2 pieces of 12 x 18 construction paper together, decorating them, and sliding his completed paintings carefully inside. Another possibility would be to have my child make a cover for his watercolor paintings and have them bound as a special booklet somewhere. Finally, yet another possibility would be to purchase a special art case to hold/display the paintings.
Things Either to Do at the Start Or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans
If I want to use photocopies of DICTATION instead of the Appendix, I photocopy the passages. I also label a lined composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’ For SCIENCE, I photocopy 37 (nice to have a few extra) Science Lab sheets from the Appendix and put them in a folder. For GEOGRAPHY, I either print the maps and some travel log choices, or I do this as it comes up in the plans. (Personally, I like for my child to have a say in which travel log template he prefers each time, so I usually print these as they come up in the plans.)
Other Things to Do
For the written work in English GRAMMAR, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘GRAMMAR.’ For the Day 3 SCIENCE questions, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘SCIENCE QUESTIONS, unless I chose loose leaf paper instead. For MATH, I choose to either have my child write directly in the textbooks/workbooks, to use loose-leaf paper, or to use a lined notebook. If I chose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’
Finally, I choose a special lined and bound book for my child’s COMMON PLACE BOOK, which is described in the Bible Quiet Time section of CTC’s Introduction. Personally, if my child didn’t use all of the pages of his Common Place Book from the year before in PHFHG, I have him finish that one out first. However, if you didn’t do PHFHG, or if you prefer for your child to have a separate Common Place Book for each guide, a new one works great too!
Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)
You can either set up DITHOR at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the start, I fill out the DITHOR 4/5 Student Book “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 3 Book Pack, I see ‘5 days’ next to Biography: Louis Braille. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Louis Braille by 5. As there are 10 chapters, I just write “Ch. 1-2” on ‘Day 1’ of the Reading Calendar, “Ch. 3-4” on ‘Day 2,’ and so on.
Then, as I see ’10 days’ next to Biography: Alexander Hamilton, I divide the total number of pages by 10. As there are 114 total pages in Alexander Hamilton, I divide 114 by 10 and fill in the reading calendar for about 11 pages a day. I might do this for each genre or just the first one. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.
Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the CTC Guide
Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tabs “DICTATION,” “POETRY,” and “MATH,” placing them in the Appendix. Likewise, if my child is using the extensions, I label another tab “EXTENSIONS.” If I am photocopying the Science Lab sheet as it comes up in the plans, I label another tab “SCIENCE LAB.” Finally, for DITHOR, I label 2 tabs “DAILY PLANS,” placing one in the teacher’s guide and one in the student book.
Special Items for Creation to Christ
There are a few special items needed for CTC. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a children’s Bible. I also noted I’d use Britannica online for the history research, but if you are not using Britannica, you’d need one or more comprehensive history encyclopedias. Another note I had in my margin was a Bible dictionary would also be helpful, but not necessary. One area that has special items in CTC is the poetry watercolor paining supplies. I just use the list from the Introduction to gather these supplies. Many are available inexpensively at Miller Pads and Papers, or even at Walmart. I also had noted in the Introduction for science that we’d make our own 3 booklets. However, you might have chosen to purchase a hardbound nature journal.
Teacher and Student Narrations Skills’ Lists
One final thing I liked to do is make a photocopy of the Narration Tips: Teacher’s List, How to Narrate: Student’s List, Written Narration Skills: Teacher’s List, and/or Written Narration Skills: Student’s List. Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s list for me to reference and the student’s list for my child to reference. However, you can always just put another tab in your CTC guide and label it “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.“
Shopping for Supplies
Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. I just skim the History Project and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin CTC, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough/modeling clay, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, deck of cards, CD player (Philippians 2 CD), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.
Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes
One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins. I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of CTC’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!
As you can see, the steps you take to set up will vary based on your personal preferences. I’m writing this post so the end result is a lovely 3-ring binder portfolio with tabs alongside any completed notebooks, workbooks, and journals. This will be a wonderful way to show what your child has done! However, there are many options. For example, instead of one large binder, I sometimes choose several small 1 or 2 inch binders (i.e. one for history, one for science, etc.). Or, I sometimes buy one big 4-subject tabbed notebook, and label the sections DICTATION, GRAMMAR, SCIENCE, and MATH. Usually, I base this on my child. If he prefers several small binders or notebooks, we do that. Or, if he prefers just one large binder and notebook, we do that. So, by all means, set up your year how YOU’D like!