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The Mystery of History Teaching Through the Trivium
Teaching the TriviumYounger (K-3rd)Middle (4th-8th)Older (High School) Co-ops & Classrooms

Frequently Asked Questions for Older Student Ages (High School)

Q: What age is considered an "Older Student"?

A: Older Students are best defined as those between 9th and 12th grade or students younger than that who are particularly bright and needing a challenge.  The Mystery of History is designed with high school students in mind.  Scroll down or continue reading to see how a high school “credit” can be obtained using this curriculum.  Keep in mind that a high schooler will be adding to The Mystery of History through additional reading and taking provided activities to the highest level.   

Q: What additional items are needed for an Older Student?

A: The most important things an Older Student needs to complete The Mystery of History are atlases.  A historical atlas will provide them with geographical information that changes over time.  They’ll need this information to complete the weekly mapping exercises.  For example, in Volume I they will be asked to place the boundaries of Alexander the Great’s empire on a map – but they are not given the answers.  They will need an outside resource.  A highly recommended one is A Historical Atlas of the World by Rand McNally which is available at the MOH Online Store.  Additionally, students will need a Bible atlas to complete significant Bible history maps.  For example, in Volume I great emphasis is placed on understanding the 12 tribes of Israel and the dividing of the kingdom of Israel .  For those on a tight budget, maps in the back of a Bible may be adequate for Older Students.  However, if looking for something colorful and easy to handle, The Student Bible Atlas by Tim Downey is recommended and available on the MOH Online Store.

Q: What are Memory Cards?

A: Memory cards are student-made flashcards.  They are a valuable tool for all ages, but are particularly key to the Older Student who ought to be able to put into his own words the main points or more interesting points of the lessons.  Writing out the cards may seem tedious but it is valuable in preparing students for note taking in college or university.  Before quizzes they can be used as study tools.  The cards make a wonderful way to pull ideas, threads, and trends together across time and cultures. You can use 3 x 5 index cards and store them in an index card holder.

Q: What is a good way to make a timeline for an Older Student?

A: The point of a timeline is to see a big picture of what was happening around the world at the same time.  However, most Older Students would find it juvenile to place figures on a wall or sewing board. For them the author suggests making personal timeline notebooks.  For an artistic and easy to use notebook, the author recommends Homeschool in the Woods Timeline Notebook, Figures (on card stock or cdrom), and Placement Guide.  This beautiful keepsake is one to be proud of. 

Q:  What is a credit?

A: In high school, a “credit” is a unit of measurement.  A credit usually reflects the number of hours needed to complete a course of study.  An acceptable high school credit ranges from 135 to 180 hours of instruction per school year.  For example, a science course that meets 4 days a week (for an hour each day) would provide a student with 144 hours of instruction in a 36 week school year.  This course would receive one “credit” on a high school transcript.  A drama course that meets only 2 hours a week for 36 weeks would provide a student with only 72 hours of instruction.  In that case, the drama course would receive a “half credit” on a high school transcript.

In most states, high school history requirements include:


World history
1 credit
American history
1 credit
1/2 credit
1/2 credit

3 credits

Q:  How do you define World History?

A: World history, by definition, can be the study of any time period of history ranging from ancient times to modern times.  It is not necessarily the entire history of the world in one course.  Therefore, a student may choose any volume of The Mystery of History for their world history studies.  For example, on a transcript, Volume I may be recorded as “Ancient World History”.  Volume II could be listed as a study of “The Early Church and The Middle Ages.”  Volume III, in general, would be a study of “The Renaissance and Reformation.”  These are broad definitions of the time periods covered. Bright students may choose to use two volumes of the MOH in one school year by reading the lessons at a rapid rate and choosing activities accordingly. 

Q:  How do you calculate The Mystery of History as a credit? 

A: Calculating a high school credit for any volume of The Mystery of History is easy.   To meet the minimum requirement of 135 hours of instruction in a 36 week school year, a student would need to spend 3.75 hours per week on the course.  To meet the maximum of 180 hours of instruction in a school year, a student would need to spend 5 hours per week on the course.  An average of those figures would require a student to spend 4.3 hours per week on the course to qualify as a standard “credit” on a high school transcript.  To simplify your planning, round that figure to somewhere between 4 -5 hours per week giving more time or less time as your schedule dictates.   

Q:  How does a high school student spend approximately 4 -5 hours per week on The Mystery of History for credit?  

A: This is the fun part.  The Mystery of History is laid out in a manner that allows students flexibility and choice.  Most students will start by working the curriculum exactly as it is written.  We will call that the Basic Layout.  It includes:

Basic Layout

  1. Pretest
  2. Three lessons
  3. Timeline work
  4. Mapping exercises
  5. Quiz or Exercise


The Basic Layout can be completed in 1-3 hours per week depending on the ability of the student.   Students working without younger siblings may arrange the Basic Layout in any way they want.  For example, independent students may prefer to read all three weekly lessons in one sitting and the review pages on another day freeing up the rest of the week for additional reading and activities.  A high school student working in the confines of a family with younger siblings, would do better to read the lessons at the same pace as the family and spread additional readings and activities in between the lessons.  It will be easier on the family to be at the same pace.

No matter how the student completes the Basic Layout, the high schooler should then look at doing a combination of three things to complete their required number of hours for the week.  We will call his or her additional workload the Supplemental Layout.  It includes:

Supplemental Layout

  1. Bible reading
  2. Additional literature
  3. Older Students Activities

Let’s look at each of these elements individually:

1.  Bible Reading:  At the end of Volume I, a reading list is provided which keys the entire Old Testament in chronological order to the lessons contained in The Mystery of History.  Older Students should enhance their study of Volume I by reading all or as much of the Old Testament as possible.  There is so much Bible reading involved in Volume I that some may choose to give a 1/2 credit of Bible alongside the credit received in world history.

2. Additional literature: Books and films are also recommended at the back of the book to challenge students to a higher reading level and to broaden their studies.  Classics, original works, non-fiction, and historical fiction are all included.  This reading list is ever-growing and being added to by other MOH users on the Yahoo discussion loop for high schoolers. 
(Visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryofHistoryHS)  Original works are highly recommended and will be most satisfying and challenging to those bent toward a classical education. 

3.  Older Student activities:  Activities covering the gamut of learning styles are listed after every lesson in The Mystery of History.  The author would never expect a student to complete all these activities but rather encourage students to choose them based on their interest and the need to add hours to complete a credit.  For example, out of 6 research paper projects that might be suggested in one month, a student may choose one or two depending on the demands of the rest of their course load.  But most importantly, the high school student should receive grades for his or her completed activities.  (This is not the case for Younger or Middle Students.)  The author suggests a grade scale of 1-100 for projects and papers where students can be rewarded points for presentation, neatness, timeliness, content, etc.  These “grades” can be factored along with the accumulation of quiz, exercise, worksheet, and semester test grades as given in the texts. 

In summary, by the time a student has completed the Basic Layout of the book and the Supplemental Layout, he or she should have accumulated 4-5 hours of work per week thus satisfying a credit.  Please note that students who work fast on the Basic Layout, will need to choose more reading or activities to fill up 4-5 hours per week.  Slower students will need to pace themselves in choosing supplemental work that does not overload them and greatly exceed their 4-5 hours per week of required work.  It may take some experimenting to find just how much extra reading and activities are needed for each student.  Enjoy the flexibility of tailor making a course that is meaningful and challenging to your student.  Because of varying interests, no two courses will look the exact same.   

Q: What kind of activities are there for Older Students?

A: Examples found in Volume I  

Noah and the Flood: investigate a feasibility study on the measurements of Noah’s ark

The Sumerians: research the archaeological discoveries of Sir C. Leonard Woolley

Joseph:  research modern-day famine and where it exists

The Phoenicians: utilize the Phoenician alphabet as provided

Homer:  read the classics Iliad and/or Odyssey

India: compare/contrast  Hinduism to Christianity

Peloponnesian War: research the origin of the helots of Sparta

Plato and Aristotle: read original works

The Qin Dynasty: sketch facial features of terra cotta soldiers of Shi Huang Ti

Cleopatra: discover the recently excavated underwater palace of Cleopatra

Examples found in Volume II

Paul’s Missionary Journeys: define Stoics and Epicureans

Josephus:  read original works regarding creation

Dead Sea Scrolls: visit authentic documents via the Internet

Golden Age of India: try your hand at Hindu algebra

St. Patrick: research the ancient Druids and their influence today

The Spread of Islam: compare/contrast Islam to Christianity

Eric the Red: research the frozen mummies of Greenland

The Magna Carta: re-enact a court room drama with a trial by jury

Dante: read and analyze Divine Comedy with what the bible says about heaven and hell

The Inkas: design a 3-D scene and miniature rope bridge

If you have any questions and would like someone to contact you, please feel free to send an email to one of these ladies:

Debbie debbie@mauelshagen.com
Diane mysterymom@charter.net
Heather siloamlogos@yahoo.com 
Jackie thebetancourt6@gmail.com

Or you can call one of these ladies (please be mindful of their time zones and the time you call):

The Mystery of History Answer Line:

Eastern Time Zone:

  1. Maureen - (585) 359-0017
  2. Anne Marie - (386) 569-8400

Central Time Zone:

  1. Jackie - (615) 275-9189
    “Not available on Thursdays”

Mountain Time Zone:

  1. Lisa E. - (720) 280-8300
  2. Lisa K. - (505) 860-6772

Pacific Time Zone:

  1. Toni - (503) 608-4699
  2. Rebecca - (541) 928-7799


Classical, Chronological, Complete
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