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Does current events count as 'history'?


lewelma
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posts #9, 14, 21 contain more detail on the problem

 

NZ does not require history in high school, and ds has only 1 course of world history that he did in 9th grade and a 1/2 course in Ancient greek history in 10th.  He has been studying current events with the Economist, Scientific American, and National Geographic for all 4 years of high school.  He reads all of these magazines cover to cover spending at least 1 hour per day 7 days a week getting through all the content. So whatever credit I give him, it is a huge number of hours.  Can this count for history? Current events is like super modern history. :laugh:  DS will have also done courses in Economics and Philosophy but I am seeing 'history' in the listing of both Harvard and Princeton. MIT says history and/or social science which is what made me stop and think.  Do universities consider the requirements of the home country, or do we need to drop Economics and pick up history which would make ds *very* cross?

Edited by lewelma
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I think it's fine to count that type of study for history.  If you delve into each article, there is usually history background that has to be learned and understood.  I'd say with most of those magazines, it's recent history, so maybe a credit for 20th Century History or Modern History or Post-WWII History.

 

I would google search for syllabi or sample exams for courses with those names and see if his study and knowledge cover most of what's taught.

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It would definitely count as a social science, possibly even history, but I would plan on adding in a history for his sr yr. Most colleges are going to see the typical applicant having the 4-4-4-4-4 approach: 4 English, 4 science, 4math, 4 history/social science, 4 foreign language. Typical applicants to those types of schools are probably going to have at least 1-2 AP history courses or IB/DE equivalents. I don't think it would be a strong negative to not have AP, IB, or DE, but I would think his application would only benefit from a strong history his sr yr.

 

This is from Harvard's website:

https://college.harvard.edu/are-there-secondary-school-course-requirements-admission

There is no single academic path we expect all students to follow, but the strongest applicants take the most rigorous secondary school curricula available to them. An ideal four-year preparatory program includes four years of English, with extensive practice in writing; four years of math; four years of science: biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course in one of these subjects; three years of history, including American and European history; and four years of one foreign language.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Well, that is a good idea to rename the current events course. He definitely works to understand the background to the issues discussed in the Economist. I will go look up syllabi online and see what matches. My initial thoughts for his list in history/social sciences was going to be;

 

World History (1850-1950)

Current Events

Philosophy

Macroeconomics

(I was not going to include Ancient Greek History because it seemed a bit too focused, but he was really into it in 9th grade)

 

 

But sounds like it would be better to do something like:

World History (1850-1950)

Post WW2 World History

Ancient Greek History 0.5

New Zealand History 0.5

Philosophy 0.5

Macroeconomics 0.5

 

Is that a better plan? Looks a bit bitsy to me. But he can't do *more* work, so to get him to do more history would require me to drop back on the other courses (Philosophy, Economics) which we are really enjoying. I also think he would be highly annoyed to lose our discussion time with the deep issues of philosophy and economic thought, and replace it with history.

 

Is there a way to parse out more than one class out of all the reading he does every night.  4 year of 7 hours a week year round is clearly more than one class.  Could there be another one in there?

 

Or perhaps I could rename Philosophy to some sort of history of ideas/thought because we worked through all the great thinkers chronologically and how they were responding to each other. And then have been using literature throughout the world to trace how the ideas propagated. 

 

So with that name change I have:

 

World History (1850-1950)

Post WW2 World History

The History of Modern Western Thought

Macroeconomics 0.5

Ancient Greek History 0.5

 

Basically, I think he has done a bunch of work in 'history' in high school, but just not in any sort of traditional American way. By the time he was in 9th grade, he was so done with standard history that he asked for something different. He was ready to move on, so I allowed it.

 

Thoughts? We have a bit of time to make changes, but not much. 

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Edited by lewelma
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While you have enough in credits, I am not sure how that combination of courses is actually going to be viewed. It is skewed heavily modern times. I have no real idea, but 1850-1950 really doesn't meet the definition of world history that I am most familiar with. I would be more likely to that modern world history. AP world history, for example, covers BC to modern times.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I have no basis for my opinion - but I think whichever you decide will be fine. I have a hard time imagining anybody looking at the details; they want to see 3-4 courses in social sciences. I like your last version.

 

Can he do some history in senior year?

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Yes, skewed to modern as that is where his interest lies.  Because we did not plan to have him apply to an American University, I did not design these courses before he took them.  But I have kept records, lots and lots of records.  So I am trying to parse out all of the hours he has done into recognizable courses, and then take the remaining time we have left to top up courses that are short, or add in courses as required.  

 

So for the modern world history, we started at the American Civil war and got up through WW2 and Gandhi. But I have just checked my records and we also did the Cold war and the Space race (I didn't remember as dh was doing this class)  That was in 9th grade.  This Christmas we travelled to Vietnam, and did 15 hours of history prep before we went, and then researched and studied while we were there.  We did serious study into the Vietamese vs American views of the war, and also into communism.   So all together, I've got Modern World History I think, just not all in one continuous year.  However, I need to separate out this course from whatever I call current events, and it sounds like I can make the title more reflective of the fact that he does a lot of history when reading Economist.

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How about this:


 


Modern World History 


Contemporary World Problems


The History of Modern Western Thought


Macroeconomics 0.5


Ancient Greek History 0.5


 


He said he could do a 0.5 credit on NZ history if that might make a difference. 


 


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I don't see a problem with the titles or credits, but your outcome will depend on what the schools your ds is applying to require and if they are flexible. If they require World History, American History, and Econ/Government (one semester each), you will have to explain why your DS doesn't have whichever parts. Many colleges require (or highly encourage) a year of US History and at least a semester of US Government study. You will probably want to add an extra line in one of the documents that is going along with his transcript why he (obviously) doesn't have those. If they miss all the other NZ-aspects of his application, this might not be obvious.

 

Your ds is "pointy." (A definite Hive term!) As others have pointed out, they might not care how strange his other course listings are if they get what a great applicant he is overall. You just want to make sure they don't dismiss him out of hand for not meeting their usual requirements -- that's the only thing that might be tough. But having several 'modern history' courses by itself doesn't necessarily mean he's unacceptable. I think you're going to have more problems with them missing the usual US History/Government courses.

 

Econ is covered.

World History is covered (albeit all modern - which I don't think will be a problem)

US Government

US History (maybe change one of your titles to modern US History?)

Edited by RootAnn
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RootAnn's point requires consideration but only bc you want him accepted as an American and not an international student. I was thinking those would probably be waived bc of his international status, but he isn't applying as an international student. I wonder if expats on CC might be able to shed more light?

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Wow!  You've got to be kidding.  I did not ever think that he would have to take US history.  :huh:   I'll go check out CC and see what I can find. 

 

I could potentially parse out some US history.  We were going to cover all of the foundational documents as a way to help him with the SAT reading section.  And he has covered modern US history in his World history course in 9th grade. He has also studied MLK for English class, and he reads the USA section of the Economist every week, and will have for 200 weeks by the end.  That is a lot of US history.  Sounds like I would just need some time from 1800-1860.  Definitely nontraditional, but it's not like he is clueless of US history.  He covered a ton of it in middle school. 

 

As for Government.  Are you talking US government?  We have an election coming up here in November and could study NZ government then.  We have also been spending a LOT of time thinking through the different forms of communism and democracy the world has seen.  So perhaps I could make a 0.5 credit of Comparative Government.

 

Basically we are looking at 1200 hours of reading over 4 years.  There have got to be some courses in there!  

 

If I switch to the Northern hemisphere schedule, we have 3 semesters left (second half of 11th and 12th grade), we were going to finish Philosophy this semester, and do a full class of Economics in 12th grade. 

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Ok, just looked at AP comparative government, and we can definitely do a dumbed down 1/2 credit version.  We would compare USA, NZ, China, and Vietnam.  We have already done heaps of work on this topic. Still stuck on the US history.


 


Modern World History  


Contemporary World Problems 


The History of Modern Western Thought 0.5 


Comparative government 0.5 


Macroeconomics 0.5 


Ancient Greek History 0.5 


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In general, I think it is fine to embrace what you have been doing, especially if it is in line with the requirements of the home country. I'd be prepared to explain that though, perhaps in the "additional info" section of the Common App. He could possibly elaborate on his interest in contemporary events in an essay.

 

That said, it wouldn't be a bad idea to incorporate a course that provides a comprehensive overview of World History for senior year, if that could be done. But my feeling is that one course is unlikely to make or break a strong application. It just depends on what the school is looking for in that given year. If his application checks those boxes, the history won't matter.

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As far as I can tell he has:

 

Highschool classes taken before highschool:

Math: 5.5

Mandarin 2 (he took 5 years and got through the most difficult university text - Boya book 1, so I think it is fair to give him 2 high school credits)

Music theory 0.5 (with exam from the Royal School of Music in UK)

 

Highschool

Math 8 (unless I count WOOT then it is 11)

Science 4 (physics, chem, and possibly bio at advanced level)

Music 4

Mandarin 2 

English 4

History/Social Studies 4.5 (but no US history, and mostly modern stuff)

 

So although it is not exactly typical, I've worked hard to keep to the USA requirements even though the NZ educational system allows students to specialize. All courses except history/social studies and Mandarin have national exam marks or outside vendors.

 

 

 

 

 

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My husband's high school calls it "Contemporary World Problems" or "Current Social Global Impacts"

 

They have two tracks. Contemporary World Problems is a much denser course that covers history to understand what is going on. CSGI is just current event discussion and debate.

Yep. It is considered history. Essentially modern history. It is a required course around here.

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I wouldn't have brought it up, but there are some colleges that have requirements for such things; not all of them do, though. I wanted to make sure you were aware of it, so if you go with what you already have, you can add a little note right after your point out how he's been brought up in NZ! I have absolutely no experience with the lottery schools, but I've read a ton of threads on here where people point out that most of the applicants have all the boxes checked & they need to stand out. You either need all the boxes checked or you need to point out that a box wasn't checked because of X, Y, and NZ. ;-) Oh, and look at all this shiny stuff over here! Music! Mandarin! Math!

 

:coolgleamA: I'd add a tap-dancing emoji, but I don't have one. You seemed to have covered some modern US History based on what you mentioned up thread. Your kid is just really pointy. I'd say embrace the pointiness and let it go, but it isn't my kid's future, so . . . I dunno.

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Ok, new thoughts.  


 


1) I pull out all the American history (civil war through vietnam) out of the Modern World History (which was more than half) and drop that course. We go back and study all the foundational documents in the US, and especially grab the Great Courses: Federalist Papers (I've listened to it an it is awesome! and fascinating).  We call this new course Topics in US history, as is it not a survey as much as a sampling of the most important events and ideas. 


 


2) We then, loop back to the great thinkers of the Ancients and middle ages so that we are no longer *modern* western thought, but just Western Thought.  These two changes would reduce the modern focus, but still stay allow ds to study what he loves: ideas, great thinkers, current problems. 


 


Contemporary World Problems 


Topics in US History


The History of Western Thought 0.5 


Comparative government 0.5 


Macroeconomics 0.5 


Ancient Greek History 0.5 


 


Does that look more balanced? 


Edited by lewelma
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DS just brought up that he reads a lot of Russian novels and has studied lots of Russian History and Thought through these books and his own personal research.  He has read War and Peace, Brother's Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Master and Margrita.  

 

There has been so much learning.  I think it is just about packaging it.  I need to get some unschoolers over to this thread!

Edited by lewelma
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DS just brought up that he reads a lot of Russian novels and has studied lots of Russian History and Thought through these books and his own personal research.  He has read War and Peace, Brother's Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, and Master and Margrita.  

 

There has been so much learning.  I think it is just about packaging it.  I need to get some unschoolers over to this thread!

 

Honestly, those I would sell as literature, not as history. 

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But generally: how specific do you need to be?

I mean "World History" or "Western Civilization" are broad categories, and you are not required to specify a range of years. Don't believe that every student who takes a Western Civ course thoroughly studies all periods from Ancients through modern - every course sets a focus and selects material and topics.

Instead of going for specific, I would rather package in broad categories: whatever he read on Ancients and modern Russian can belong to either large topic. 

 

In the course descriptions, you can explain the focus.

My DD did not want to study US history separately - but it was embedded in her world history studies - so we called the course "US history in a World Context."

Same as "topics in US history", but sounds less fragmented :)

Edited by regentrude
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1) I pull out all the American history (civil war through vietnam) out of the Modern World History (which was more than half) and drop that course. We go back and study all the foundational documents in the US, and especially grab the Great Courses: Federalist Papers (I've listened to it an it is awesome! and fascinating).  We call this new course Topics in US history, as is it not a survey as much as a sampling of the most important events and ideas. 

 

You are overthinking. You could simply call it "US history" and be done. No high school course covers thoroughly all of US history - that is not possible in a year. Every course selects topics and material and events. Nobody will question what exactly you did.

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Those are excellent points!  I like US History in a World Context title because that is exactly what we have done; I just never thought of it that way. DS is loving philosophy so he would be happy to continue studying thinkers and ideas, so I'm now making that a full class again and dropping Ancient Greece.


 


Contemporary World Problems 


US History in a World Context


The History of Western Thought


Comparative government 0.5 


Macroeconomics 0.5 


 


This means that in 1.5 years we have left to do 1.5 courses, so we have time!  0.5 Macroeconomics, 0.5 of The History of Western Thought, 0.25 of US History in a World Context, and 0.25 of Comparative Government. Totally doable, and continues with the focus that my ds wants.


 


Do I finally have a good line up?!?!?!


 


 


 


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You are overthinking. You could simply call it "US history" and be done. No high school course covers thoroughly all of US history - that is not possible in a year. Every course selects topics and material and events. Nobody will question what exactly you did.

 

This.  I took a year of US history.  We spent two full months on the Civil War.  I remember studying WWI, but I'm not sure we even got to WWII.  I graduated with major gaps in my 20th century US history knowledge.  It still counted as US History.  

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Those are excellent points!  I like US History in a World Context title because that is exactly what we have done; I just never thought of it that way. DS is loving philosophy so he would be happy to continue studying thinkers and ideas, so I'm now making that a full class again and dropping Ancient Greece.

 

I don't see why you would drop Ancient Greek History unless you are including that material as part of one of the other courses.  He did the work.  Grant him the credit.

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