Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mystery of History for High School

People often wonder if the Mystery of History can be used for High School. I'm finding that it can be an excellent fit.

We had used MOH 1 and 2 with Sonlight cores B and C (called 1 and 2 back then) when my kids were younger, and I had always wanted to use them for a 2nd rotation through World History.  I also wanted to follow MOH's schedule, rather than squeeze MOH into Sonlight's 2 year history rotation.  So, when my kids were in 6th and 8th grades, I started with MOH 1 again.  What I found was that MOH 1 was very light for an 8th grader who had used it previously, and who had a strong background in Bible.  Most of the stories were too familiar, and my history-loving son really wanted something more.  It was perfect for my 6th grader though.

So, my son took a break from world history, and did Sonlight's Core 100 for his 9th grade year, while my daughter did MOH 2.  He was looking forward to doing Sonlight's Core 300, but I said he needed to finish the AD years of World History first.  Initially we chose another high school level world history, but after seeing several topics glossed over which I knew MOH discussed with a lot more depth, I encouraged him to give MOH another try.  I gave him one week to decide, but he was instantly hooked!

Volume 2 has shorter readings than volume 3, so he read two chapters per day from Volume 2, and was able to finish up by our semester break.  Now he's reading one chapter per day from Volume 3.  I'm combining this with books from Sonlight Cores G, H, and 200, and he's really enjoying it.

Here's what we're using:

History Resources:
Glencoe World History
100 Most Important Events in Christian History
The Church of the East
What if Jesus had Never Been Born
The Bible Jesus Read
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Heidelberg Catechism

1 - Pontius Pilate - 0-100, 20 pages
6 - The Shining Company - 600's, 20 pages
9 - Son of Charlemagne - 781, 1-2 ch
11 - Trumpeter of Krakaw - 1400's, 20 pages
14 - Leonardo da Vinci - 1452, 1-2 ch
16 - The 2nd Mrs. Giaconda - 1480
18 - The Man Who Laid the Egg - 1500, 2 ch
19 - Luther Biography - 1500, 1 ch
22 - Screwtape Letters - 20 pages
24 - Samurai's Tale - 1500's, 2 ch
27 - King's Fifth - 1541, 2 ch
30 - Mary, Bloody Mary - 1553, 2 ch
32 - Shadow of a Bull, 2 ch.
34 - Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde and other stories


Oliver Twist - 1800's, 1-2 ch (40 days
Robinson Crusoe

Snow Treasure
Outlaws of Sherwood
It's a Jungle out There
Ghost in Takaido Inn
Going Solo

I REALLY enjoyed the Pontius Pilate book, that was a great addition to Core 200.

My 8th grader who is only doing MOH 3 is also listening in on the read-alouds, and many of these line up more with her history in the first semester:

1 - King Arthur of the Round Table - 1-2 ch
2 - Hidden Treasure of Galston - 1171, 1 ch
5 - Ramsay Scallop - 1300's
9 - I, Juan de Pareja - 1600's, 2 ch (this one doesn't fit chronologically, but fits nicely with countries/culture)
11 - Murder for her Majesty - 1558 (Elizabeth is Queen), 1 ch.
14 - Shakespeare Stories, Hamlet - 36 Pages (prelude to Shakespeare Stealer)
14 - Shakespeare Stealer - 1587, 2 ch
16 - Tabitha's Travels (Advent Story)
18 - Shakespeare Stories, The Merchant of Venice (my kids request, there's an Adventure's in Odyssey story based on this I guess!)
19 - Pride and Prejudice (Core 200, just because I wanted to)
24 - Out of Many Waters - 1654, 2 ch
26 - Master Cornhill - 1665 (plague), 2 ch
28 - Escape Across the Wide Sea - 1686, 2 ch
30 - Ravenmaster's Secret - 1735, 2 ch
32 - Kidnapped Prince - 1755, 3 ch
34 - Arrow Over the Door - 1777, 2 ch
35 - The Westing Game - 1960's, 1-2 ch, just for fun

Jane Eyre 1800's, 2 ch
The Sherwood Ring - 1800's or 1900's, 10 days
More Shakespeare Stories

We do a quiz about every other week, and do the semester and final exams.  My son will also be doing a research project, and writes daily narrations on his readings.

MOH provides a great spine text to which you can add a variety of literature and projects to round out your high school year.  Here is the MOH website's information for using MOH in highschool.

You might also like these posts on using MOH 1 and 2 with Sonlight, and MOH 3 with Sonlight.


  1. Hi Merry, I've been stalking your blog and also your posts on WTM forums. I just wanted to let you know how helpful you have been. I have even taken notes on your organization your ideas!! We will be homeschooling for the first time for 2013-2014. Son will be in 4th and my daughter in 9th. We've gone in circles on history and my dd decided she wants to do Ancient History and she really liked the layout of MOH. So this post was super helpful on making my decision...she picked Vol. 1. I was going to do state history of our state with ds but now I'm thinking of having him do MOH as well. I have a question for you, hope you don't mind: Where do you get your readers? are you purchasing them or using the library? My concern is not finding what we need. (I apologize for the lengthy post) Thank you, Angie

  2. Hi Angie! Thanks for your kind note, I'm so glad the blog & posts have been helpful. Congratulations on your first year homeschooling next year! I hope it goes well. I buy the readers mainly from Sonlight, but also purchase from Rainbow Resource Center, CBD, Amazon, and our local group's used sales. (In the past I have sometimes purchased online too--it just depended on the year and what our finances were that year. It's easier/faster to just buy new but some years we weren't able to). Our library isn't that big, and while we can get things through inter-library loan, I haven't wanted to rely on that for timing reasons. Also my kids enjoy re-reading the books, especially my youngest--she has re-read a lot of books that we read years ago. HTH! Merry :-)

  3. yes that was very helpful, thank you again!

  4. Merry, I would love a little more information about how your son did vol 2 and vol 3 during one year. Did he also complete the MOH activities? Any other scheduling advice you have now that he is finished? ~Natalie

  5. Hi Natalie,

    For the first 5 weeks he used another curriculum, which didn't work out well, so we were down 5 weeks starting with MOH. I might have had him do more projects and spread things out a bit more otherwise. What he did was read 2 of the MOH 2 readings per day, and then 1 MOH 3 reading per day when he was done with 2. He did most of the quizzes and all 4 Semester tests. He also wrote daily summaries or notes. We used a note-format called T-notes: You draw a big T on the paper to make 2 columns, with the left column being narrower. On the left side you write the person or event, and on the right side you write a summary of the important information about that person or event, or write notes in bullet fashion etc... It's very handy for studying later. Both of my kids actually retain a lot more when they do T-notes. My son also did a research paper on Luther. HTH some!

  6. Did you do MOH 2&3 for 1 credit of World History?

  7. Thank you for this information. Do you have any detailed schedules that you'd care to share?

    1. The lists above actually are my schedules. The number before each book in the reader and read-aloud lists show the approximate week that I aimed to start each book. After each book, I sometimes say "2 ch" for 2 chapters--meaning that's how much I thought we'd read that day. Or "10 days" meaning I thought we'd spend about 10 days on the book. For readers, my kids read for 30 minutes each day, and for read-alouds, I read a chapter or two, or however long felt like a good amount of time for us. Then, we just took the books in order. The other history resources were just available if I wanted to add in extra detail on a topic--Mystery of History was our main spine, and the other books supplemented as we had time and interest.

      In high school, I aim for an hour per day for history (reading, writing, projects, mapping etc... combined). For an English credit, my students do another 30 minutes of literature reading and 30 minutes writing.

      Each day, we just picked up wherever we left off previously. I found that spending a lot of time creating very detailed schedules didn't help us get more done but did make us more stressed. I preferred to create a yearly schedule like above, and work from that.

      For more on how I organized our subjects, check out my post on my Teacher Binder:

      HTH some!

  8. This is such a great resourse. Thank you for sharing. We will be starting MOH 3 next year. I have 3, 7 and 9 grade kids. Did you count all of these readers along with the MOH as a history credit or did you also give an English credit. From what I understand the student needs to spend 30 min- an hour each day in each topic to count as a credit. I'd really like to use MOH as my history spine and then use research papers and good literature to coordinate and make an english credit. Jen

  9. I'm glad this is helpful! For high school courses, you need 150-180 hours (or about an hour a day) for a credit. Lee Binz's free webinar has more info--I mention that in my blog here:

    I had my kids read or work for an hour per day on history using MOH plus the accompanying mapping, projects, and any writing assignments (plus sometimes reading in the resource books I listed). For an English credit, they read for about 30-45 minutes per day and did Essentials in Writing for about 30 minutes per day. (I have a review of Essentials on my blog here--I should write an updated review, but we really liked this resource and used it throughout high school: We discussed literature a couple of times per week, and sometimes I pulled questions or writing assignments from the free lit. guides from Glencoe (when I had them write, I just did that in place of Essentials in Writing for that day). I do also read aloud to my teens most days, but I didn't include that time--it was just something we did for more exposure to great literature or just fun books for family time. HTH!