Do you know the difference between History and Social Studies? 'Cause when I first started homeschooling I noticed that I kept hearing the word "history" and realized "history" isn't really taught too much in public schools. (well, not in elementary anyway) Why do all these homeschoolers talk about history so much? I wondered. So...do you know the difference?
Social Studies begins in Kindergarten focusing on studying "all about me" and also their family and classroom. First grade widens the circle a bit and focuses on themselves in relation to their classroom, school, and community (focus is still on "me"). Second and Third graders focus a lot on the community the child or school is in. Fourth grade students study the state they live in, and Fifth graders learn about our country. That's how it was where I taught, and I checked the web and it is still true today. Do you see how "ME" is in the middle of the target, with ever-widening circles going around? It really IS all about me as far as Social Studies goes! :)
I got curious just now as to what goes on beyond the elementary school in Social Studies, so I had to look it up. Sixth graders study the contemporary world. So...it's not world history, but present day world studies. Seventh graders still study Texas history, just like I did in 7th grade (no doubt taught by a football coach who puts his all into his classroom time!). Eight graders learn about American History, mostly focusing on Colonial times through Reconstruction. Ninth grade, get this....continues the study of American history from reconstruction to present times. This is intended to build on what was taught in 5th grade, but deeper of course. And I'm sure that works great because by the time a student is in 9th grade I am POSITIVE they remember what they learned in 5th grade. *cough cough* Courses in World History, World Geography, and United States Government round out the child's education.
I never once questioned the way Social Studies was taught before I began homeschooling. But now I'm thinking about the very phrase "social studies" and what it means. Here's a definition for you. Do I want my children studying our society? Yikes! Not to mention the fact that there is more included under the social studies umbrella than anyone could hope to teach a group of students in a year!
I'll be back later today to tell you about the history curriculum we are using this year--where the focus is definitely NOT on "me."