Mystery of History is a BIG program to sort through. I have found that it is easier on me if I do the majority of my planning and preparing before I read the first page to my kids.

planning mystery of history

Step 1: Make a Lesson Planning Grid and Fill it Out

For me, the first step to planning is to print up a simple grid to use as a planner. I used Google Docs to make a four column grid and included enough rows for two weeks worth of lessons per page.

As I glanced over the lessons, I took notes for each lesson. In the first column, I wrote the title of each chapter, lesson number, and page numbers. The second column is for writing additional readings. I also used it to jot down map activities and quizzes I planned on doing. The third and fourth columns are to jot down notes on narrations and activities I want my kids to do. Most of the activities come straight from Mystery of History, but a few come from Story of the World Activity Book 2.

After going through the book and filling out the grid, I jotted down the titles of relevant library books at the top of each page so I can quickly go to our library’s website and reserve the books I need. I found most of these books by browsing through the literature recommendations at the back of the book and in the Story of the World Activity Book 2. I also checked to see if our library had the books I wanted before writing the titles down.I used the bottom margin to jot down notes on lessons that I want to include. I plan on doing a lesson on William Tell, because he is part of my heritage. I also plan on adding lessons on ancient Mexico, because that is a part of my husband’s heritage. 

I still have to write in my son’s additional readings, which will be from books like Adam of the Road and the Adventures of Robin Hood, but I don’t have all of those books in my hands yet.

Step 2: Make Copies and File Them Behind the Relevant Planning Page

I hate making copies. Since I hate making them as much on busy school days as on lazy summer days I decided to put on a podcast and make all the copies that I would need for history for the year.

​It actually took a few podcasts to get the job done.

After making copies, I filed them behind the relevant lesson planning page.

Not all of my copies were from the Mystery of History book. Some I found online and some of the other supplement books I drew from were:

I reviewed some of these supplemental activity books in this post and discussed how I used them.

Step 3: Pick a Storage System and Put Everything Away

I store my copies and plans in colorful folders and a file box. I include 12 lessons per folder. This is what my finished folders and file look like:

That’s it! Since I’m already familiar with Mystery of History, once I got started, it only took a few hours to plan my year and a couple more hours to make copies and file them.

If this is your first year using Mystery of History, you will probably want to take a couple more hours to read the introductory chapters and familiarize yourself with the book.

Here’s everything, shelved and ready to go! Here is a link to my exact small file box and large file box. Both are super sturdy and I’ve used them for years.

Be sure to read my next post in this series: Activity Books to Use With Mystery of History, Vol. 2

You could just as easily store everything in a binder and pull out pages as you need them.

Whenever I pull out a set of copies, I usually just put them in my Mystery of History book at the relevant chapter, so I have them ready to go the minute I open the book.