This is part 3 of my curriculum recap series. Please scroll to the bottom for other subjects. This installment specifically covers history in the high school years. Before the high school years, I feel that history should be taught chronologically. Personally, I prefer that it also be taught chronologically in the high school years as well, but for the college bound student, that is not always possible.
To keep things interesting, and for continuity's sake, I always pair my literature choices with the history/social studies unit. You can find my k-12 language arts plan here.
Each of my kids actually did two year of American History. There is just so much information to cover. We used Hippocampus.org, and studied Discovery to Civil War the first year and
Reconstruction to Modern times the second year. Because we also studied literature that matched up to our history units and wrote papers, and visited museums, our approach was very in depth. In reviewing my daughters work, her accreditation person awarded her US History and AP US History credits. My daughter actually also attempted to get college credits for US History, but missed the required score by two points. The colleges my son applied to also accepted US History 1 and US History 2 that I put on his transcript with no questions.
My son took world history in a classroom setting. Actually, it was a chronological approach, and so he really only studied ancient world history, which is what I put on his transcript. His college choices also had no problem with this. My daughter studied world history independently... She pretty much unschooled this subject. The summer between 10th and 11th grade, she started looking into our family history and found that there is a lot of Irish and Scottish in our families. This led to an independent study of scottish and irish clans, and also did a good exploration of Medieval times as well. The reason is she started writing a novel and wanted a historical background. (The book sits undone, but she says she will finish it.) I realized that she was spending hours and hours delving through this history, and I gave her a journal and asked her to compile everything she read and researched. The accreditation agency found this to be a fitting study of world history. I am not worried that my kids may have missed anything because they had already covered all time periods of world history before high school, so they were able to focus on time periods that interested them in high school. If you are looking for a more structured curriculum for your high school student, I like Glencoe World History textbook with the online resources. They also have a section on literature connections (so I didn't just make this up.)
My son did not study government, outside of helping me work elections and following politics on the news, but I am satisfied that he has a good understanding, and his dad watches political shows almost every evening. We did not put this course on his homeschool transcript. For my daughter however, our plan was to study Hippocampus AP Government and Politics for AP (for a whole credit), but that was changed to the American Government (for a half credit )course when we found out that she would also need to add in economics to her studies. This was also on Hippocampus.org. (with recommended textbook) I recently blogged about this half credit in Government that she finished rather quickly.
As I just mentioned, economics was a last minute add for us. I didn't like the hippocampus course, as it is more of a supplement by Khan Academy, so we went for the good ole textbook.
(with an online resource, of course)
Other history/social studies courses
The subjects above are the ones my kids and I chose to study, mainly because that is what colleges asked for. I have seen homeschoolers get into college with less formal history courses and/or other varied subjects.
Scouting for social studies: For instance, if you have a Scout, who earns badges for different civic and learning exercises, you can design a whole high school program while earning Boy Scout/Girl Scout/ Heritage Girl/ etc., badges. Here is a guide I wrote after helping a Boy Scout put his homeschool portfolio together. (He's in college now and doing great.) His transcript had 1. Citizenship 2. American History 3. American Culture 4. Civics. Each course was compiled of 4 or 5 boy scout badges. (We did this for some of his science and health credits as well.)
Experiential History and Social Studies: Another homeschooler I know spent a good deal of the high school years on the road, traveling. Her parents made it a point to hit every history museum, historical landmark, state park, and historical recreation they could find. They kept a history journal and when they were done, they separated the experiences into more than the required amount of history credits which included, Civil Rights, Civil War, State History, American History, and Geography.
In summation, history is what you make of it. I tried to keep it as light as possible, using Hippocampus as much as possible because of the video approach, and I tied in literature to bring the historical figures and events back to life. I let my kids interests guide there study whenever possible. There is also the option of using experiences to compile a history curriculum. You just need to be able to document the information if the student is college bound.
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