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Progression of Social Studies....Civics/Government vs. US History

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What is the usual progression of studies in high school, as far as U.S. History I, II, Modern World History, and Geography?  Our state requires all of these, for a total of 15 credits.

However, I don't see any requirement at all for U.S. Government/Civics.  We definitely want to include this.  


Would appreciate any recommendations about the order of these courses.  I'm thinking of U.S. History I and U.S. Government/Civics simultaneously.  Would this be a problem?



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Here in California US History is done in 11th grade while Civics/Econ are done in 12th.

I can't imagine there being an issue with doing both in one year, especially when the transcript you will most likely create will have a list of courses under headers, and not under their year (freshman, sophomore, etc.)

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I often see government and econ offered senior year. That could be because they are most relevant to students about to graduate and who are nearly or already voters and workers. Or it could be because they are one semester classes that are a bit easier than big history courses.


US History is often junior year. Sometimes this is because they are taking it as an AP and it requires a lot of reading and writing.


World is often an early course as a broad survey that sets the stage for further studies.


I did Modern World/US, US Govt and Comparative Government, European History, US History.


Second kid had Government, Euro, US, Micro and Macro.


Third kid will have US Govt and Macro, followed by three more years that I haven't picked out.

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We spread World History over 9th and 10th. He also had Comparative Government in 10th.


This year (11th) is United States History and a semester of geography. Still deciding when to do American Government and what to do for 12th.


I think you have a lot of options.

Edited by Penguin
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The typical public high school progression of Social Studies tends to be 4 years (4 credits):
9th = World Geography
10th = World History
11th = American History
12th = Government and Economics (1 semester/0.5 credit each)

However, there is a ton of variation -- that's not really set in stone. Students sometimes do Gov't or Economics in 9th grade in order to take AP tests. Some homeschoolers or public schools combine World Geography and World History as just 1 credit rather than 2 credits. Some homeschoolers do 4 years of History in order to do a full chronological cycle (Ancients, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern) and blend in Geography, and then do additional 0.5 or full credits of Economics for a total of 6 credits of Social Studies.

It looks like your area has different requirements, so this might be one way of working in the additional Gov't and Econ:
9th = 1 year = Geography
10th = 1 year US History 1 + 1 semester Gov't/Civics
11th = 1 year US History 2
12th = 1 year Modern World History  + 1 semester Econ/Personal Finance


9th = 1 year Modern World History  + 1 year Geography
10th = 1 year US History 1
11th = 1 year US History 2
12th = 1 semester each: Gov't/Civics and Econ/Personal Finance

Or other combination. ?

I'll just note that Government is an *excellent* go-along with colonial/early US History (development of our system of gov't as part of our our history!), and Geography is a great go-along with World History. The Macro Economics portion of Economics is a good go-along with Modern History.

Just as a side note: 15 credits is a somewhat atypical accounting of credits; the majority of high schools seem to count 1 year = 1 credit. So that makes it a little difficult to translate traditional required credits to match your area's 15 credits. ?

BEST of luck, whatever you decide on! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you for all the replies so far...so it seems that most start with geography in 9th grade.  And that the order is most typically (although there is some room for variation):



World History

U.S. History



What if we were to follow this rough order:


U.S. History + Government/Civics

World History/Geography

U.S. History II

Modern World History + 1 semester Economics/Personal Finance

(not sure yet about the order of these last 2 years)


What would be the pros/cons of this?  Or at least starting first year with U.S. History I and Government.  And if we did, what would you recommend for following years?


We are just interested in doing a year of U.S. History and Government now, especially in terms of current U.S. politics.

I should include that we did take a chronological/classical approach to history early on, so DS has had world history from ancients to modern already.  These would just be more in-depth courses.


P.S.  As far as our state's requirements -- how on earth do we interpret "15 credits, to include modern world history/geography, U.S. history I & II"?

I'm wondering how you would decide which courses are 1 year long and which only a semester.  The earlier comments look like some people do geography as 1 year and some not.


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On 8/31/2017 at 5:56 PM, provenance61 said:


1. It looks like NJ integrates Gov't/Civics and Econ with History/Geography studies. Here's the big detailed NJ Learning Standards for Social Studies, if you want to see a grade-by-grade break-down. I just skimmed the first few pages but it looks like NJ requires "at least 15 credits in social studies... five credits in world history; and the integration of civics, economics, geography, and global studies content in all courses."

So, it sounds like 1 year of World History, and I assume that means that the other 2 years are US History 1 and 2. And in all 3 years, the schools integrate Gov't/Civics, Economics, Geography, and Global Studies in with the History.

2. However, it also looks like in NJ, homeschoolers do not have credit requirements for high school graduation, nor do homeschoolers have to use the curriculum or the schedule used by public schools. So you are free to plan the amount of Social Studies credits as you choose -- no need to do US History I and II, Modern World History, and World Geography if you don't want to. ?

For admissions, colleges accept Social Studies credits in Anthropology, Archeology, Philosophy, Sociology, Geography, History, Political Science... So you have LOTS of options for Social Studies beyond just US History, World History/Geography, or Gov't and Econ! ?

3. In your other thread, you posted the NJ minimum credits for a diploma. It looks like NJ's 5 credits = 1 credit (1 year) for other states:

Your list of NJ requirements:
20 credits (including English I-IV)
15 credits = Health & PE (4x3.75 credits, as 150 minutes per week for 4 years)
15 credits = Math (including Algebra 1, Geometry)
15 credits = Science
15 credits = Social Studies  (including Modern World History/Geography, U.S. History I & II)
5 credits = World Languages
5 credits = 21st century Life & Careers
2.5 credits = Financial, Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy
5 credits = Visual and Performing Arts
15 credits = Electives
120 = total credits (when I add up this list, I only come up with 112.5 credits total -- so, I guess it is implied that another 7.5 NJ credits (1.5 years) of additional academic courses/electives must fill in that gap...)

NJ diploma credit min. ----> translated into more traditional credits 
20 credits = LA Literacy  ----> 4 credits (4 years) = English
15 credits = Math ------------> 3 credits (3 years) = Math
15 credits = Science ---------> 3 credits (3 years) = Science
15 credits = Social Studies --> 3 credits (3 years) = Social Studies
5 credits = World Lang. ------> 1 credit (1 year) = Foreign Lang.
5 credits = Life & Careers ---> 1 credit (1 year) = Career Exploration
2.5 credits = Financial/Econ -> 0.5 credit (1 semester) = Personal Finance & Econ
15 credits* Health/PE --------> 3 credits (spread out over 4 years) = Health & PE
5 credits = Visual/Perf. Arts --> 1 credit (1 year) = Fine Arts
5 credits = Career-Tech ------> 1 credit (1 year) = Career-Tech (Computer, Vocational-Tech, Career Exploration)
15 credits = Electives --------> 3 credits (3 year) = Electives (credits beyond the above requirements) 
[7.5 credits to cover gap] ----> 1.5 credits (1.5 years) = additional academic classes/electives
120 credits total ------------> 25 credits total
* = as 3.75 credits/year, which equals 0.75 credit or 3 nine-week quarters per year

4. That's a good amount of credits, it's just some of the requirements are a little light on the academic credits needed to be college prep (meet admission requirements for a majority of colleges). Below is a pretty standard "college prep" amount of credits. I've marked in red where colleges want more than the NJ requirements, and marked in blue where NJ requirements that are not needed for college admissions could be placed:

4 credits = English (typically 1/2 Lit. & 1/2 Writing)
4 credits = Math (Alg. 1, Geometry, Alg. 2, and a 4th higher math with Alg. 2 as the pre-requisite)
3-4 credits = Science, with labs (a few colleges want Biology & Chemistry, most have no preference)
2-4 credits = Social Studies (most colleges want 1 credit = Amer. History; some also want either 1 credit = World History or World Geography, or 0.5 credit each of Gov't & Econ)
2-4 credits = Foreign Language (same language)
1 credit = Fine Arts
4-8+ credits = Electives (Computer, Logic, Health, PE, Bible/Religious studies, Personal Finance, Vocational-Tech, Career Exploration, personal interest areas, "Academic Electives" (additional credits in the first 5 subjects above, beyond required); additional credits of Fine Arts, etc.)
22-28+ credits = total

Looks like you have a lot of lee-way for your high school planning. ? BEST of luck! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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