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Setting Up for Resurrection to Reformation

Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours
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From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Resurrection to Reformation

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for Resurrection to Reformation (RTR). My first step is to read through RTR’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 RTR Binder

First, I make a color photocopy of my RTR cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Or, I just slide in the extra preprinted full color RTR Student Notebook cover. 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. (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 History Projects 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 RTR’s history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. My child takes out the notebook page he is using for the week and puts it back in the page protector for safe keeping when he is done. If I have an older child using the history extensions, I place any completed 3 paragraph summaries or written narrations including his opinions here as well. Next, I label my second tab “GEOGRAPHY.” I place any of my child’s completed A Child’s Geography Vol. I: Explore His Earth travel logs or completed Map Trek assignments here. Then, I label my third tab “HISTORY PROJECTS.” I place any completed flat projects that are not part of the History Notebook here.

Label Science Tab Dividers 

For science, RTR’s Introduction suggests using either a 3-ring binder with clear page protectors, or a bound sketchbook with unlined pages for the notebook assignments. It also notes lined paper should be used for the written narrations. Personally, I like to use a separate 3-ring binder for RTR’s science. I just find it easier to keep it all organized in one place. However, you can choose whatever you’d most prefer!  If you do choose to use a 3-ring binder for science, Carrie suggests making three tabbed sections.  So, following those directions, I label my first tab “NOTEBOOK ENTRIES.” Behind this tab, I place my child’s completed science notebook assignments. Then, I label my second tab “WRITTEN NARRATIONS.” Behind this tab, I place my child’s completed written narrations. Finally, I label my third tab “SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS.” Behind this tab, I place any of my child’s completed science lab forms.

Label Language Arts and Math Tab Dividers

For language arts and math, there are many options. I could add more tabs to my history 3-ring binder or start tabs in a new smaller 3-ring binder. Or, I might not have a binder at all, but instead simply keep on hand the actual notebooks and workbooks in their entirety. If I choose to add to my history 3-ring binder, I would label my fourth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” For DITHOR, I would choose some completed workbook pages to include. Likewise, for the R & S English 4 or 5 written work and for the spelling/dictation written work, I would choose a handful of completed pages for the binder. For Medieval History-Based Writing, I would include samples of my child’s key word outlines, mini-lesson assignments, first drafts, and final drafts in order for each writing piece.  Finally, I’d label my fifth tab “MATH” and include some completed math workbook pages.

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 and label a composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’ For SCIENCE, I photocopy 37 (nice to have a few extra) Science Lab sheets from the Appendix. For GEOGRAPHY, I either print the Map Trek maps and some A Child’s Geography travel log choices, or I do this as it comes up in the plans. Personally, I like to print all of the already labeled Map Trek maps in color and the maps for my student to write on in black and white at the start. However, you can always view the colored maps on your computer screen instead of printing them and just print the black and white maps. In contrast, I like to print the A Child’s Geography travel logs as they come up in the plans, so my child can choose the layout he prefers.

Setting Up for Grammar, Math, Shakespeare, and Common Place Book Entries

For the written work in English GRAMMAR, I label a lined composition book ‘GRAMMAR.’ 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 choose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’ For SHAKESPEARE, I put the notebooking pages in a small 1/2 inch separate binder and slide the full-color notebook cover in the front. Finally, I choose a special lined and bound book for my child’s COMMON PLACE BOOK, which is described in the Handwriting/Copywork section of RTR’s Introduction.

Setting Up for Storytime and Medieval History-Based Writing 

For STORYTIME, I paper-punch the top left corner of 12 lined or unlined index cards (as noted in the Storytime section of RTR’s Introduction). I label 2 cards each with the following: Vivid Descriptions, New Vocabulary, Plot Twists, Strong Moods, Great Lines, and Life Lessons. Then, I put the cards on the ring. (Or, you can just do this as it comes up in the Storytime daily plans if you prefer!) Next, I follow Carrie’s directions for printing what I need to for compiling my Medieval History-Based Writing Student Resource Book.

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 startI fill out the DITHOR 6/7/8 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 6/7 Book Pack, I see ’10 days’ next to Biography: Behind Rebel Lines. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Rebel Lines by 10 and fill out the first 10 days of the Reading Calendar accordingly. Then, as I see ‘5 days’ next to Biography: America’s Paul Revere, I divide the total number of pages by 5. As there are 46 total pages, I divide 46 by 5 and fill in the reading calendar for about 9 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 RTR 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.” Likewise, if I have a child using Science Option #2’s, I put a sticky note in the Appendix for the Option 2 Our Weather and Water plans. 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 RTR

There are a few special items needed for RTR. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction or first week of daily plans earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a children’s Bible. I also noted I’d use Wikipedia for the history research, but if you are not using Wikipedia, you’d need one or more comprehensive history encyclopedias. Another note I had in my margin was to get a dictionary for the Storytime ‘New Vocabulary’ assignment. Or, you could use your computer search engine or phone as a dictionary resource, if you prefer. I also noted I’d need a CD player for What in the World? for the Independent History Study box, as well as for the Philippians CD for Bible Quiet Time.

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 RTR 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 RTR, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, colored pencils, thick and thin 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, a flashlight, deck of cards, 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 RTR’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!

In Christ,


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