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Setting Up for Missions to Modern Marvels

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From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Missions to Modern Marvels

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

First, I slide the extra preprinted full color MTMM Student Notebook cover in the front of my 3-ring binder. 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.)

Setting Up the President Study Notebook Pages’ Binder

For the President Study, Missions to Modern Marvels’ Introduction suggests using a 1/2 inch 3-ring binder. The President Notebook already comes preprinted and 3-hole punched.  So, I just slide the preprinted full color President Notebook cover in the front of my 1/2 inch binder. Then, I place each notebook page in a clear page protector. Throughout the homeschool year, my child takes out the notebook page he is using for the week. Then, he simply puts it back in the page protector for safe keeping when he is done.

Label History, Economics, 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 Missions to Modern Marvels’ history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. If I have an older child using the history extensions, I place any completed 3-5 paragraph summaries or written narrations including his opinions here as well. Then, I label my second tab “ECONOMICS.” I put MTMM’s Economic Principles’ Student Notebook pages behind this tab. Next, I label my third tab “GEOGRAPHY.” I place any of my child’s completed Map Trek assignments here (or, these can be put in a separate smaller binder instead). Then, I label my fourth tab “HISTORY PROJECTS.” I place any completed flat projects that are not part of the History Notebook here.

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 binder, I’d label my fourth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” For DITHOR, I would include some completed workbook pages. Likewise, for R & S English 5 or 6’s written work and for dictation, I’d include a handful of completed pages. For Write with the Best Volume II, I’d include samples of my child’s writing.  Likewise, for Storytime, I would include some of my child’s completed Bookmarks. (Even though MTMM’s Storytime is history-based, I feel it fits well within the Language Arts tab.) Finally, I’d label my fifth tab “MATH” and include some completed math workbook pages.

Getting Ready for Science

For SCIENCE, I either photocopy 37 (nice to have a few extra) “Science Lab Forms” from the Appendix, or I do this as it comes up in the plans. MTMM’s Introduction also notes students will need loose leaf notebook paper, as well as a place to store their notebook entries, answers to questions, written narrations, and science experiment forms. So, I just follow the Introduction’s notes to get a one-inch 3-ring binder and label one tab  “Science Work” and label another tab “Science Lab Forms.” Then, continuing to follow the Introduction’s notes, I get another one-inch 3-ring binder with a place to insert a cover page for The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe. 

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 GEOGRAPHY, I either print the Map Trek maps right away, 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. For STORYTIME,  as noted in the Introduction, I either photocopy the Bookmarks from MTMM’s Appendix, or I do this as it comes up in the plans. If I choose to photocopy them all at the start, I make 8 (nice to have a few extra) back-to-back copies following the ‘Storytime’ instructions on Unit 1, Day 1 of the daily MTMM plans.

Setting Up for Grammar, Writing, Math, Nature Journal, Bible Quiet Time, Biblical Worldview, and Common Place Book Entries

For the written work in English GRAMMAR, I label a lined composition book ‘GRAMMAR.’ Then,  for WRITING, I label a lined composition book ‘WRITING’ or ‘WRITE WITH THE BEST.’  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 BIBLE QUIET TIME as noted on Unit 1, Day 1 of the MTMM plans, I photocopy from the Appendix Preparing Your Heart for Prayer. For BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW, I label a lined notebook or journal for my child’s written work. Finally, I choose a special lined and bound book for my child’s COMMON PLACE BOOK, which is described in the Copywork section of MTMM’s Introduction.

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 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack, I see ’15 days’ next to Biography: Stonewall Jackson. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Stonewall Jackson by 15 and fill out the Reading Calendar accordingly. 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 MTMM 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’m going to photocopy the Science Lab Form as it comes up in the plans, I label another tab “SCIENCE LABS.” Likewise, if I’m going to photocopy the Storytime Bookmark as it comes up in the plans, I label another tab “BOOKMARKS.” 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 MTMM 

There are a few special items needed for MTMM. Some things I noted when I read my MTMM Intoduction and first week of plans were a globe, a  Bible, and a small set of oil pastels. I also noted I’d need a CD player for What in the World Volume III? and for Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Volume II. Likewise, I noted I’d need a CD-ROM computer player for the Map Trek CD. I also noted I’d need a DVD player for The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents DVD, for the Evolution: The Grand Experiment DVD, and for the American Testimony Set 2 DVD (if using the extensions). For Worthy Words, I noted I’d need 35 index cards and a place to store them. Similarly, for the Nature Journal and for Independent Science Exploration, I noted any special supplies from MTMM’s Introduction. Finally, I noted to order my State Study things from www.statehistory.net, as well as order some state tourist information.

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 Tips: Teacher’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 MTMM 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. I just skim the History Project plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin MTMM, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, colored pencils, thick and thin markers, a few permanent markers and high-lighters, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough/modeling clay, sticky notes, 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 MTMM’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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