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PeachyDoodle

Help me figure out history output?

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Bear with me because I'm having a mini-freak out! I have never had trouble designing interest-led courses before, but now that it's for "real" credit, I'm getting nervous. Maybe I should just scrap it and go with something out of a box...¬†ūüėę

We are probably going to end up with some kind of interest-led study for dd's freshman history next year. Right now she's leaning toward a study of Asia, particularly Japan. I won't have any trouble pulling together resources for her I don't think -- I have a couple of textbooks in mind already that could serve as a spine, and a mix of books/Great Courses/documentaries to round things out shouldn't be any trouble. I have a project utilizing primary sources that looks promising.

But is that enough? This is not an area in which I have much knowledge, and frankly I'm not going to be able to learn it ahead of her. Most homeschool history curricula I've looked at include study guides and tests, etc., but we won't have that, unless one of these textbooks happens to have chapter study questions (online previews don't show much). We can discuss, but I will be limited by how much study I can do on my own. Is handing her a stack of resources and turning her loose with it really okay (she does learn well independently -- I wouldn't even be considering this if she didn't)? We are going to be working through A Short Guide to Writing About History, so there will be a few writing assignments to go along with that. But what about more daily/ongoing output? Is that a necessity? How do I know we're doing enough?

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Hmmm, I'm not homeschooling a high schooler (my daughter isn't 7 yet, lol) and I never learned history well, but for some reason this brought to mind an IB project my sister, who's a senior in high school, did recently. They do these big essays that involve choosing a question they want answered, researching that question, then writing about it within a fairly constrained format. The idea is kind of to introduce them to how historians work. I really liked the basic idea of it, which is that she got to decide what question to research and then had to figure out how to answer it. 

I don't know if this is appropriate for a freshman in high school, but I thought it was an awesome way to do independent projects, and I'm sure her teacher was NOT an expert on the topic she (or a lot of other students) picked. And I wasn't either, and yet we could have really useful and fruitful discussions about what she wrote and about whether it made sense and whether she made coherent arguments to support her points. 

So I think as long as you have some guidelines for what kind of output you expect, it's totally doable. 

Edited by square_25
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It sounds like it could be potentially plenty. I firmly think that a core high school history course (not an elective) should include some decent writing, but it sounds like you have that.

I'd either plan it ahead of time a little more so that you have a sense of what you're going to do - that way, you can see how much work it is total and that way you can judge from there. Or, you can just go by hours.

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As a daily evaluation, you could just discuss or have her teach you what she learned.  For more concrete output every few weeks, she could write about desired topics - either as simple reports or as longer research papers.  

Edited by klmama
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We had very little official output for history. No tests. We did history together as far as reading, listening to audiobooks, and watching lectures or documentaries. I was fine with this bc, with 1 or 2 students, they are always 'on' for discussion, lol. I knew they were paying attention and comprehending and learning bc we were talking about, well, everything! 

Personally, I found it easier to just go ahead and do everything together as opposed to giving them individual assignments and then having to scramble to be prepared to discuss it at some separate time. And, for me, discussion was the most important 'output' of history by far. We mostly discussed whatever came up, whatever intrigued or confused one of us, not much planning ahead. One series we used was The Humanistic Tradition, and they had summaries at the end of each chapter that I would use for oral testing/review. 

I had some primary source workbooks that we used, and also the guides that went with SWB's history books. I didn't schedule it or aim for any specific amount, we just usually broke them out when we didn't have time to all get together for some reason. If that had not happened fairly often, I might have scheduled it with more intent. 

Daily written output? Nope. 

Edited by katilac
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DS14’s history tutor would assign him weekly written homework. However DS14 isn’t a good writer and need help with note taking and writing for the humanities. So the tutor is more working on his writing skills in the context of history. 

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We've done history in a pretty relaxed way. I read advice here on the boards at some point when DS was middle school age that resonated with me: history is one of those subjects where there is not a defined body of knowledge that one is expected to know and must know in order to advance (unlike math, for instance). We've focused on input - watched Great Courses lectures and read from a spine or two. Very little written output.  As long as you're covering writing skills elsewhere (thesis-driven essays, research papers, short answer responses), I don't think writing specific to history is strictly necessary. I view end-of-chapter review questions as a form of busywork and we don't do them. If there's any doubt about comprehension or understanding of a topic, we just talk about it. I know for sure that DS has learned, retained and understands more about history than his dad or I ever did, as products of public school.

Edited by TarynB
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Following as I have not yet planned history for my rising 9th graders!

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26 minutes ago, mlktwins said:

Following as I have not yet planned history for my rising 9th graders!

I have chosen some materials, but not yet decided how exactly to use them. I need time to read and think, but blocks of time are extra hard to find in May!!!

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This is my first go at history at the high school level and so I'm having my daughter do the work recommended in TWTM. This is what SWB says the goal of the  history study in high school is:

* "Half of each week's study time will be devoted to laying a foundation of history knowledge; the second half, to the the study of the Great Books.

* At the rhetoric stage, one of the goals of the study of history is to "set the stage for his encounter with the Great Books."

*The goal is NOT to "grasp all of history (an impossible task at any age!); it is to develop a sense of the historical context of great works, events, eras, and historical characters."

 

Using The History of the Ancient World as her spine, my daughter does the following:

"At the end of each chapter [of the history spine you choose to use], the student should stop and record the following on a sheet of notebook paper:"

1) Makes a list of the most important dates in the chapter, and why they stand out.

2) Lists 2-3 of the most important individuals in the chapter.

3) 3-4 events that stand out in the chapter.

4) Two events, people, or ideas she would like to investigate further. 

(TWTM, 4th ed., p. 592)

In addition to the above, since we purchased the Study & Teaching Guide to The History of the Ancient World, I have her do the map work assigned  in the guide (with modifications)  as well as keep a timeline.  The guide tells the student to trace over the map under study, using tracing paper, until the student memorizes the lines and locations and can then re-draw the map from memory.  I chose not to have her do that. Instead, I print a copy of the map (you can purchase the digital file of the maps for around $5 from TWTM website), make a list of the places, rivers, etc. they want her to label, I WHITE these out on the original map, re-copy it, have her study the locations, and then write them in from memory and color the map.

Her student planner looks like this:

 

HISTORY OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

(5000 B.C. to A.D. 400)

 

r Ch. 43: ‚ÄúThe Mandate of Heaven‚ÄĚ, pp. 299-305

r History Foundation: Chapter summary (This is the list of important dates, names, events, etc. from above)

r Map Exercise: The Yellow and the Yangtze

r Time Line: Add important dates to the timeline.

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll attach a copy what her final "History Foundation Page" looks like. She chooses to type it out instead of handwriting it.  This is just an example of what we do. It certainly isn't the only way or the perfect way. My hope is to help someone because homeschooling high school has been a little scary and stressful for me at times. Hope this helps.

 

Lily

History Foundation Sample Page.docx

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I don't feel like daily written output is key for history (though might be for some students for retention) and it can definitely be tedious. With a structure like big quarterly assignments or big semester projects or something, even having weekly written output might not be necessary. But coming from the perspective of having been a high school history teacher, it's typically in high school social studies that students learn research and writing about something skills and work a great deal with evaluating sources and bias. A lot of those things, unlike learning about an event, which can be done purely through reading and videos and lectures and so forth, involves written work. This, for me, is sort of like the way that if someone were to say they were planning to do a high school English credit that was all writing, people would chime in to say, hey, usually high school English includes literature.

Which is not to say that I think the OP's plan sounded at all deficient. But when people say, we did very little output, honestly, while it depends on how you define "very little," I wouldn't personally feel comfortable with that unless the history credit was a bonus elective one.

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I definitely want to have SOME output! Mostly in the form of essays, although some discussion too. I think we can probably watch whatever Great Courses lectures we end up using together and that should give me enough to go on. I'm an English major; good writing is very important to me! I was just kind of freaking out over the idea of having to write study questions or some other assignment for every blasted chapter of the textbook!

We already do a lot of work with primary sources and will continue. We'll have a few shorter essays-- or maybe a journal? If I can figure out what that means exactly. And I really like square's suggestion of coming up with a question to research and answer. I dug up this resource about developing good historical questions that I think will be really helpful. Maybe somebody else can use it too.

Thanks for making me feel better. ūüôā

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22 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I definitely want to have SOME output! Mostly in the form of essays, although some discussion too. I think we can probably watch whatever Great Courses lectures we end up using together and that should give me enough to go on. I'm an English major; good writing is very important to me! I was just kind of freaking out over the idea of having to write study questions or some other assignment for every blasted chapter of the textbook!

We already do a lot of work with primary sources and will continue. We'll have a few shorter essays-- or maybe a journal? If I can figure out what that means exactly. And I really like square's suggestion of coming up with a question to research and answer. I dug up this resource about developing good historical questions that I think will be really helpful. Maybe somebody else can use it too.

Thanks for making me feel better. ūüôā

 

All the Great Courses we've used had an outline or summary for each lecture followed by a couple of extension questions for the student to research/write about/discuss/think more deeply about the topic. We've used those as a springboard for discussion here.

But, hey, I've never been a real teacher, so my experience has no validity and you probably shouldn't listen to me. ūüėĀ

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All of DS's history credits were interest-led; we used lots of Great Courses plus assorted readings (no textbooks). Output consisted of lots of discussion plus essays based on the questions in the GC course guidebooks. For each lecture, there is an outline or summary plus two discussion questions, and I let DS choose the discussion questions he wanted to write about. The only requirement was that he had to choose at least one question from each major topic or time period covered (e.g. for American History, he couldn't write 8 essays on the Civil War and 2 on Reconstruction, and not write about anything else). He also wrote a few research papers on topics of interest. 

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18 hours ago, stlily said:

This is my first go at history at the high school level and so I'm having my daughter do the work recommended in TWTM. This is what SWB says the goal of the  history study in high school is:

* "Half of each week's study time will be devoted to laying a foundation of history knowledge; the second half, to the the study of the Great Books.

* At the rhetoric stage, one of the goals of the study of history is to "set the stage for his encounter with the Great Books."

*The goal is NOT to "grasp all of history (an impossible task at any age!); it is to develop a sense of the historical context of great works, events, eras, and historical characters."

 

Using The History of the Ancient World as her spine, my daughter does the following:

"At the end of each chapter [of the history spine you choose to use], the student should stop and record the following on a sheet of notebook paper:"

1) Makes a list of the most important dates in the chapter, and why they stand out.

2) Lists 2-3 of the most important individuals in the chapter.

3) 3-4 events that stand out in the chapter.

4) Two events, people, or ideas she would like to investigate further. 

(TWTM, 4th ed., p. 592)

 

We do something very similar.  We also use the critical thinking prompt for each chapter from the study guide.  I ask dd to answer this in handwritten form and in less detail than the sample answer includes.  This is to help bring together the themes of the chapter and gives dd practice in short essay writing.  I assign longer essays on a monthly basis that ties together her history and literature.  She is usually reading a Great Book from the same period of history she is studying that month.

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History should have some output, although not all of it has to be written. Depending upon the writing level of your student, it could be a research project or several little reading response type papers. IMO, a student should be able to understand the chronology of the period, have read several primary sources from varying sides of historical events, and be able to articulate that knowledge both orally and in written form. 

I TA for an American history course and I was surprised that only a handful of my students had even worked with primary sources in high school or knew how a historical essay should be formatted - ie. footnotes, etc. 

Skills would involve understanding and summarizing primary sources, learning how to write a historical argumentative essay with proper Chicago/Turabian style footnotes. It could be short 3-5 pages at least. 

If you're doing Asian history, I would try to find some community events that go with your study. Our area has a Japanese festival every year, we have also visited the local museum which has a stellar Chinese collection. 

 

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16 minutes ago, elegantlion said:

History should have some output, although not all of it has to be written. Depending upon the writing level of your student, it could be a research project or several little reading response type papers. IMO, a student should be able to understand the chronology of the period, have read several primary sources from varying sides of historical events, and be able to articulate that knowledge both orally and in written form. 

I TA for an American history course and I was surprised that only a handful of my students had even worked with primary sources in high school or knew how a historical essay should be formatted - ie. footnotes, etc. 

Skills would involve understanding and summarizing primary sources, learning how to write a historical argumentative essay with proper Chicago/Turabian style footnotes. It could be short 3-5 pages at least. 

If you're doing Asian history, I would try to find some community events that go with your study. Our area has a Japanese festival every year, we have also visited the local museum which has a stellar Chinese collection. 

 

Wow, really? She certainly knows how to research and cite sources. We've been working explicitly with primary sources since at least 5th grade, and I think she already has a good grasp on how to interpret and evaluate them. We will definitely continue this, as it's one of my favorite parts of teaching history. 

Thanks for all your other suggestions as well -- very helpful!

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Just to clarify, my daughter writes history essays and learns the proper formatting with footnotes for other types of writing but for us, this falls under her Language Arts block. For setting a historical foundation for her Great Books study, she does the work I described above.  She learns and practices writing skills through science and history topics but she does this during a different block of time.

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2 hours ago, elegantlion said:

History should have some output, although not all of it has to be written. Depending upon the writing level of your student, it could be a research project or several little reading response type papers. IMO, a student should be able to understand the chronology of the period, have read several primary sources from varying sides of historical events, and be able to articulate that knowledge both orally and in written form. 

I TA for an American history course and I was surprised that only a handful of my students had even worked with primary sources in high school or knew how a historical essay should be formatted - ie. footnotes, etc. 

Skills would involve understanding and summarizing primary sources, learning how to write a historical argumentative essay with proper Chicago/Turabian style footnotes. It could be short 3-5 pages at least. 

If you're doing Asian history, I would try to find some community events that go with your study. Our area has a Japanese festival every year, we have also visited the local museum which has a stellar Chinese collection. 

 

 

1 hour ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Wow, really? She certainly knows how to research and cite sources. We've been working explicitly with primary sources since at least 5th grade, and I think she already has a good grasp on how to interpret and evaluate them. We will definitely continue this, as it's one of my favorite parts of teaching history. 

Thanks for all your other suggestions as well -- very helpful!

 

I agree, and I would think that some (many?) of the WTM HSers here would already be following this model. DS learned to do these things well with Writing With Skill . . . in middle school.

DS just got back his end-of-semester research position paper in his first-ever DE (humanities) course - he aced it, yay! So something about our relaxed approach seems to have worked. The preferred citation method may be important in certain courses, or at certain schools, but for DS's class, the prof just asked the students to pick a method and use it consistently. He didn't care if it was APA, MLA, or Chicago as long as it was consistently applied. This was an intro level course - a major level course would probably have different expectations.

 

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3 hours ago, TarynB said:

 

 

I agree, and I would think that some (many?) of the WTM HSers here would already be following this model. DS learned to do these things well with Writing With Skill . . . in middle school.

DS just got back his end-of-semester research position paper in his first-ever DE (humanities) course - he aced it, yay! So something about our relaxed approach seems to have worked. The preferred citation method may be important in certain courses, or at certain schools, but for DS's class, the prof just asked the students to pick a method and use it consistently. He didn't care if it was APA, MLA, or Chicago as long as it was consistently applied. This was an intro level course - a major level course would probably have different expectations.

 

Yes, I have a few mixed feelings about WWS, despite having used it all the way through with dd. But this was one thing it did very, very well.

Congrats to your ds -- and to you, Mom! Way to go!

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Stanford's Reading Like a Historian has easy to use primary docs for U. S. and World History--https://sheg.stanford.edu/history-lessons

I also like the essay prompts in Stanford's Beyond the Bubble-- https://sheg.stanford.edu/history-assessments

I throw a few of these things from Stanford into the history assessment pile throughout the year; we do copious amounts of reading and talking, but it's nice to have a paper trail that isn't just end of chapter review questions and bold print terms --I did a year of that for U.S. history with one of my high schoolers, and we both almost fell asleep.  Stanford's stuff is interesting and doable.  

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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