Welcome to the 4th year of the Virtual Curriculum Fair which was started by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds. Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science—includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc. is the theme this week. So without further ado, I’m sharing about what our high school boys are doing for social studies this year.
Disclaimer ~ This post on High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics in our homeschool this year contains a few affiliate links. Many thanks to anyone who chooses to click through and make a purchase that provides a small income for the blog.
Exploring Our World ~ Ancient History
For my 9th grader, we are working our way through ancient history using Omnibus 1. We were blessed to receive a year’s access to the self-paced online course to review this past summer and are diligently working through it.
I honestly do NOT think my son would be making progress if we didn’t have the online courses. Mr. Etter presents mini-lectures on the topics, people with specialized knowledge are interviewed on particular topics, they take it ‘on the streets’ to see what people have to say on particular issues, material is reviewed through ‘games’, and then material is tested through graded quizzes and an exam at the end of each term. For some of the sessions studying ancient Greece, the ‘lectures’ take place in parts of Greece being discussed. In many ways, some of the leg work in the print course is removed for the student while still giving them full access to the information and helping to tie it all together for a Christian worldview.
We just finished the first semester officially this past week and I can’t wait to see what the next semester holds. I am going to guess that Mr. Etter will be visiting Rome to do some lectures on location like he did for the Greece studies. While I have not been reading all of the source material, I am sitting alongside my son for the lessons and reading the essays from the Omnibus 1 text. The online course provides those essays as needed, so I am saving the pdf files to my computer and reading while he reads the same off the iPad.
If asked for a downside, I’d say for many people it is the cost. While the essays are provided, you still need to purchase all of the books read throughout the course. I have found that many of the books for the second semester are available in Kindle format, so we are going that path to save a little cash and adding to the overflowing bookshelves in the house. Another consideration for a Catholic homeschooler is that this program is taught from a reformed theological viewpoint. While many aspects fit within Catholic Church teaching, there are points where a parent would need to discuss the Catholic Church teaching with their child. R is rather grounded in our faith and since I am sitting alongside him it is easy to do.
Exploring Our World ~ American Government
I remember having a year long civics course during my 9th grade year as the school system believed everyone needed a background in our country’s government. However, by the time I graduated and was eligible to vote, I found that I didn’t remember a lot from it. So, I held off putting this into the schedule until the end of my son’s senior year so that he can both appreciate the knowledge and retain it as he enters into adulthood.
A little over a year ago, we won a copy of American Government: Citizenship and Power (EMC Publishing) at a charter school function. I am actually getting the schedule set up for my eldest son right now as we are doing this as a semester course and not likely to use all 23 chapters by the end of April. You can buy this as an interactive ebook subscription from EMC (although I don’t know how it works for homeschoolers outside of a school ‘entity’) or buy a used copy of the book on Amazon. Something that appeals to me for this particular textbook is their use of conversational style to draw the student into learning and hopefully taking an active role in politics and government.
Exploring Our World ~ Economics
When deciding what to pair with American Government this year, I began considering economics for him. Along with knowing how our government is supposed to function, I believe it important to understand our economy and how it all works. While there is a section for economics in the Academic Decathlon materials, I went looking for something to help explain basic concepts and not cost a lot in the process. Our charter school had a student and teacher book combo on the used shelf for the Explorations in Economics which a quick search on the web told me it should be a decent fit. (You can either purchase or rent this book from Amazon.)
Although I haven’t used it, the author has a blog for teachers to help with using the materials. He does not have a lot on there, but the few articles are interesting. And, I really like his philosophy that “with a better understanding of economics, students will be able to make better decisions and be better prepared for their futures.”
Exploring Our World ~ Academic Decathlon®
This year the focus for the Academic Decathlon® has been less based on a historical time period or geographic reason than in recent years. The theme for the 2014–2015 Academic Decathlon® season is New Alternatives in Energy: Ingenuity and Innovation.
The boys spent the fall attending a weekly study group of interested students at one of the charter school’s locations. Earlier this month, all of the students took qualifying exams to determine team placement. Hopefully, we’ll know by the end of this week if either of my high school boys made one of the two teams the charter school will send to the state competition.
This program is a wonderful way for a high school student to see how a common thread can run through multiple disciplines. Given the focus on alternative energy with lots of science integrated throughout, the boys are earning a half credit for Environment Science this year instead of a generic elective half credit. With the integration of speeches in the competition and the weekly impromptu speech practices, they are also earning a half credit for speech and debate.
Here’s the overview description from the website:
- SCIENCE: The science topic will be an introduction to energy conversion and will include a discussion of traditional energy generation as well as nuclear energy and renewable sources of energy.
- LITERATURE: The literature curriculum will include critical reading, one long work of literature, eight poems, and one short prose work. The long work of literature will be Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.
- ART: The art curriculum will include art fundamentals and will cover innovations in art from the ancient world through the twentieth century.
- MUSIC: The music curriculum will include basic elements of music theory and will cover innovations in music from the Middle Ages through the modern era.
- SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum will cover energy policy, the environment, and the new energy economy.
- ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum will cover fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. The economics curriculum will also include a thematic section on the economics of energy.
- MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum will cover general mathematics, geometry, and an introduction to differential calculus.
While I didn’t sit in on all of the sessions, I did spend some time delving into the music component as I helped lead an overview of several units with the group. The pieces included were quite varied in style covering hundreds of years. And, I might be doing a music theory overview session for the study group before the competition at the end of February.
Curious about past years for our homeschool? Visit Social Studies in Our Homeschool (2013 – 2014), How We Are Exploring Our World as Homeschoolers (2012 – 2013) and Learning About The World Around Us which covered the 2011 – 2012 school year.
How do YOU approach learning the social sciences in YOUR homeschool?
Any favorite products or curriculum that you absolutely loved?
See what other homeschoolers are sharing on this theme:
Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue
Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter
Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun
Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats
Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees
Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
History Social Studies and Science…VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest
Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma