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What do you want your children to "get" out of History in Middle School/Junior High?

 

There is so much to "cover" that it can be daunting.

 

Are your goals content specific? More general? Both?

 

How do you define your History goals?

 

How would you answer these questions:

 

I know that my student is ready for the study of history at a high school level when _____________.

 

I know that our Middle School (Junior High) studies have been successful if ___________.

 

Please share your thoughts in answer to any or all of the above.

 

Thanks,

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My goal for middle/Jr high history is to acquire a broad overview of the historical developments that shaped the world as it is now. Because we are from Germany and live in the US, we focus on Western Civilization and only touch a little on the Far East and Africa.

 

I want my kids to have a broad understanding of the sequence of history periods, to be able to roughly know the sequence of important historic events and their approximate date, to be able to place important personalities in the correct period, and to see history as interconnected developments rather than a collection of isolated events.

I do not put much weight on the memorization of specific dates.

 

I know that our studies are successful when this is accomplished. I can then move into high school level history which builds on the content knowledge developed in the earlier grades and focuses more on an in depth analysis, intertwined with a study of great literature of the period.

 

Sounds too vague? Maybe it is. It's a case of "I know it when I see it".

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Are your goals content specific? More general? Both?/How do you define your History goals?

 

I'd like them to have a good understanding/familiarity with both the history of our own country and the world. I want them to have some knowledge of great people and the events that shaped the world we live in, to be able to roughly place those events/people in time and context--like regentrude, I do not focus on memorizing dates, but instead want them to see the interrelatedness of historical events. Based on that, my goals are both broad and specific. I do not want their understanding of history limited to an understanding of Western history, but to incorporate as much of the world as possible - I do know there are limits to this!

 

I know that my student is ready for the study of history at a high school level when...

 

When we have successfully built a good basic understanding of world history, I think we will be ready to go back and study in more depth, and with greater emphasis on personal interest.

 

I know that our Middle School (Junior High) studies have been successful if...

 

If my children have a basic understanding of the tapestry of history, a familiarity with important names, events, and places, then I will know we've been successful.

 

I was talking with an English professor I work with, and she said that so many college freshmen do not have any real familiarity with history, as they often spend so much time in schools teaching to the test. That is something I am hoping to avoid by teaching my own at home!

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My goal for middle/Jr high history is to acquire a broad overview of the historical developments that shaped the world as it is now. Because we are from Germany and live in the US, we focus on Western Civilization and only touch a little on the Far East and Africa.

 

I want my kids to have a broad understanding of the sequence of history periods, to be able to roughly know the sequence of important historic events and their approximate date, to be able to place important personalities in the correct period, and to see history as interconnected developments rather than a collection of isolated events.

I do not put much weight on the memorization of specific dates.

 

I know that our studies are successful when this is accomplished. I can then move into high school level history which builds on the content knowledge developed in the earlier grades and focuses more on an in depth analysis, intertwined with a study of great literature of the period.

 

Sounds too vague? Maybe it is. It's a case of "I know it when I see it".

 

This sums up how I feel about our history goals as well. There are a few dates in the world history arena and a few more in the American history arena that I want memorized, but my main goal is to give a framework for things to come.

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I agree with everything Regentrude said.

 

History is a large subject. We found, however, that learning history at home is easy. We have always done history (and geography). We started the process in Kindergarden. All we did was read SOTW and fun picture books. We did lots of fun projcets. We talked about it. Sometimes we wrote a narrations. That's it all the way through grade 4. In Middle School we started over at the beginning. We are actually reading SOTW again. We are doing the maps again. We are still doing some of the projects. But this time we added lots of other research with Encyclopedias, the Internet, more games, longer Readings, books like Critical Thinking in US History and Primary Sources.

 

How do I know it is working?

 

The boys are in 7th and 8th grade. They can both carry on a good conversation about most subjects that come up related to almost anything. I credit that to our history studies. Almost everything is in some way related to history and geography. It shows that they know.

 

Is it enough to get ready for High School Study?

 

Yes. I believe it is. They have an excellent frame work to start with. But even more important are skills they have learned (and are still working on) outside of history study. They learn how to take notes, sketch, outline, write essays, study lots of words and work on two foreign languages. I think this is more than enough to be ready. These skills, btw, are much more difficult to work on for us. History is easy. Even fun.

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