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Setting Up for World History

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From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for World History

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for high school World History (WH). My first step is to read through WH’s Introduction/Overview, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. Each high school credit includes its own specific course description, required resources, course materials, and suggested grading. So, taking time to read through these is time well spent. As I read, I make notes of supplies I need and don’t have on hand in the introduction’s margins. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes.

Setting Up the Front of My World History Binder

First, I slide the preprinted full color World History Journal cover in the front of my 1  1/2 inch 3-ring binder. Second, I print the Overview 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). Likewise, I include the Earning Credits and Possible Grading Scale in my binder to show how credit was earned.  Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. Some states require a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school. The Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview for this. (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 World History and Living Library Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my WH binder. My goals are to show what my student did to earn his credit and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “WORLD HISTORY.” Behind this tab, I place WH’s history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. Throughout the homeschool year, my student takes out each notebook page he is using for the week. Then, when he is done with each page, he simply puts it back in a page protector for safe keeping.

If my student is doing the World History Living Library 10% extra credit option (which is an option I personally love for my children to do), I label my second tab “LIVING LIBRARY.” From the WH Appendix, I photocopy about 22 (I like a few extra) “Literary Synthesis” sheets and about 10 “Word and Idea Helper” sheets.  These will be used alongside the Living Library resources.  I 3-hole punch these and put them behind the Living Library tab. Then, my sons take these out one at a time to use. When the pages are completed, they put them back. I don’t put these in clear page protectors, but you certainly can if you like.

Setting Up the Book of Centuries’ Binder

For the Book of Centuries (BOC), the WH Introduction suggests using a 1 inch 3-ring binder. This already comes preprinted and 3-hole punched.  So, I just slide the preprinted full color BOC Notebook cover in the front of my binder. Then, I place the 3-hole punched BOC pages in the binder. As many different BOC pages are used at a time and there is gluing involved, I don’t put these in clear page protectors. (If you used World Geography the year before, just keep using your BOC from last year). Next, following the “Course Materials” section in the WH Introduction, I print the History Through the Ages: World Timeline Figures from the Timeline Figures CD. I put these in a pile in order and staple the top left corner to keep them together. Last, I slide the stapled together timeline pages inside the front of my BOC binder’s pocket.

A Few Other Noteworthy Things About Setting Up for the World History Course

Throughout the year, my student follows the WH daily plans to make photocopies for Critical Thinking Using Primary Source Documents. If you have more than one student, your extra student will also need to make photocopies from Short Lessons in World History. I help with this the first time it comes up in the plans. Then, my student follows the directions to do this on his own. I also let my student know he will need a computer CD drive, a DVD player, or an MP3 compatible CD player to listen to You Are There! World History Collection. My sons enjoy using earbuds for this, as they can hear it better. I enjoy them using earbuds as well, as my other children can’t hear it and be distracted!

Setting Up for the Fine Arts: Art History/Appreciation Course

For the Fine Arts: Art History/Appreciation Course, World History’s (WH) Introduction suggests using a 1 inch 3-ring binder. The Fine Arts Notebook already comes preprinted and 3-hole punched.  So, I just slide the preprinted full color Fine Arts Notebook cover in the front of my 1 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.

Per the ‘Course Materials’ section of Fine Arts in the WH Introduction, I also plan for my student to have a DVD player to watch the lessons for God and the History of Art. Likewise, if my student is doing the 1 full credit option, I plan on him having a DVD player to watch the Art Project DVDs. My sons enjoyed using our laptop computer attachable DVD drive to do this, as they could put it on the table and do each step of their project as they watched it at the table. Finally, I look at the back of each Art Project DVD’s “Materials Needed to Complete Project” section to gather all the materials. I like to do this prior to the start of school and put them all in a tub or tote, so they are gathered and ready for my student as the projects are assigned.

Getting Ready for Bible

For Bible, students keep a prayer journal. Any bound book with lined pages can be used. We found some beautiful, inexpensive journals at Walmart. They had Scripture verses on the cover and were so lovely I bought one for myself! Students use their Bible to look up Scriptures each day; it truly becomes personal and special to them throughout high school!  So, enjoy choosing whichever Bible you and your student would like best. Students also need to have a CD player to listen to their Selah: Greatest Hymn’s CD. I like to have my sons do their Bible Quiet Time in their bedrooms, first thing in the morning if possible. This helps them develop the habit of doing their Bible Quiet Time first thing each day, in a private setting that is quiet. They each have a small CD player on their nightstand.

They can also use their CD player if you are choosing for them to use the Piligrim’s Progress audio. Finally, if you have more than one student using Pilgrim’s Progress and/or if you don’t want your students to write in their hardcover Pilgrim’s Progress book, follow the plans to print assigned questions from the Student Resources for the Pilgrim’s Progress CD, as they come up in the plans. I help with this the first time, but then my sons follow the plans to do this on their own throughout the year.


Getting Ready for English II

For English II, I use either 3 bound and lined composition books (1 for English Grammar, 1 for Literature, and 1 for Composition), OR I use 1 large bound and lined composition book with 3 section dividers (1 for English Grammar, 1 for Literature, and 1 for Composition). If my student is still completing his dictation levels, I use 4 composition books, OR 1  large book with 4 section dividers. I also make sure to have index cards on hand for Essentials in Writing’s research paper.

Likewise, I make sure I photocopy 12 copies (I like a few extra) of the “Plot Diagram” from WH’s Appendix. I 3-hole punch these and keep them in my student’s binder, or put them in a folder if I didn’t choose to use a binder. Finally, I have fun choosing a Common Place Book with my student. Any keepsake-like bound, composition book with lines to copy memorable passages throughout the high school years can be chosen. We found some beautiful cloth bound and hardback options at our local Christian bookstore, and my sons each had fun choosing one!

Getting Ready for Health, Spanish, Biology, and Math

For Health, I get 1 bound and lined composition book for the “Chapter Review” and “Explain” portion of the WH plans. I either plan to have my students write directly on the tests or quizzes from the Total Health: Test and Quiz Master Book or have them write directly on loose-leaf paper instead. Tests and quizzes are not reproducible. For Spanish, I plan for my student to listen and practice with assigned Spanish CD tracks as scheduled in the Spanish I: Student Books. Likewise, I use the Spanish I: Teacher’s Guide “Audio Scripts” section to help my student write the assigned audio CD number and Track number on the blank next to each CD icon in each unit of each Student book. I might do this as it comes up in the plans, or all at the beginning of the year, whichever I prefer.

For Biology, I have a DVD player for the labs. I also let my student know that the lab sheets can be found in the middle of each activity book as a tear out section. If I have decided for my student to do some of the labs alongside watching the DVD, I gather the necessary lab materials. However, keep in mind, students can earn lab credit by simply watching the lab DVD, so there is no need to do the labs unless you prefer to do so.  For Math: Geometry, I gather whatever special materials are noted in the Geometry I chose. In general, I have on hand a compass, a protractor, a rule, a bound lined notebook that lays flat easily, and a graph paper.

Thoughts on Record Keeping

For high school, I keep my student’s completed notebooks, binders, and workbooks. I put these all in order on a shelf each year, along with the checked off Heart of Dakota guide itself. Together these create a detailed record of the work that has been done to earn credit. Using www.transcriptmaker.com, I create my student’s transcript. I also keep on file any required paperwork for my state, such as approved homeschool exemption forms and completed standardized test results. Each state can vary slightly in requirements for homeschooling, so be sure to check out your own state’s requirements at www.hslda.com.

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the WH 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. If you are going to do things more as they come up in the plans, rather than how I’ve previously described setting up for WH, then you would also want to make sticky tabs for “LITERARY SYNTHESIS,” “WORD AND IDEA HELPER SHEET,” and “DICTATION,” placing them in the WH guide’s Appendix. One final thing I liked to do is make a photocopy of the Narration Tips, Written Narration Tips, and Written Narration Skills.  Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep these lists for me and for my student to reference throughout the year. However, you can just put another tab in WH’s Appendix for “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. However, to get ready to begin WH, I just stock up on usual art supplies – like 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, sticky notes/tabs, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards and page protectors. Finally, a flashlight, 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 WH’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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