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Texans: Any reason for 7th grade Texas history?


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Is there any reason a student homeschooling for 7th grade, but returning to public school for 8th grade, needs to take the 7th grade Texas history course? Specifically, will the student entering 8th grade be in some way required to have taken it? Will it be tested on at any point in TEKS or STAAR or whatever the test is these days? And assuming the answer is "no" all around--which it obviously is--can anyone give a link to something official-looking, for the reassurance of anxious parents?

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If I lived in Texas, I actually would be seriously tempted to cover Texas history in depth one year.  Texas takes such pride in its history, and it really is genuinely fascinating.  

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8 hours ago, Terabith said:

If I lived in Texas, I actually would be seriously tempted to cover Texas history in depth one year.  Texas takes such pride in its history, and it really is genuinely fascinating.  

Now you have to take it in college too. And one of my friends' schools teaches TWO years of it now in middle school. It's a lot of Texas history these days, lol. 

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23 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Now you have to take it in college too. And one of my friends' schools teaches TWO years of it now in middle school. It's a lot of Texas history these days, lol. 

Yes I've had about all I can take in one lifetime about the Heroes of the Alamo. Not that I don't enjoy Texas history -- I just finished a long biography of Charles Goodnight. 

What brings this on is that I'll likely be homeschooling one of Wee Girl's friends next year (to the delight of both girls). Mom is from a country where nobody doesn't send their kids to the excellent public schools, and wants me to cover the 7th grade material from the ISD's scope and sequence. I've said (gently) that I'll just be teaching the material I'd planned to use for Wee Girl for 7th grade, and Dad seems fine with that (after making sure I wasn't using Creationist science). But I want to soothe poor Mom's anxieties about not covering the Official History Topics. 

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1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Now you have to take it in college too. And one of my friends' schools teaches TWO years of it now in middle school. It's a lot of Texas history these days, lol. 

Yeah, that seems seriously excessive.  One year could be interesting.  Multiple years, just no.  

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39 minutes ago, Violet Crown said:

Yes I've had about all I can take in one lifetime about the Heroes of the Alamo. Not that I don't enjoy Texas history -- I just finished a long biography of Charles Goodnight. 

What brings this on is that I'll likely be homeschooling one of Wee Girl's friends next year (to the delight of both girls). Mom is from a country where nobody doesn't send their kids to the excellent public schools, and wants me to cover the 7th grade material from the ISD's scope and sequence. I've said (gently) that I'll just be teaching the material I'd planned to use for Wee Girl for 7th grade, and Dad seems fine with that (after making sure I wasn't using Creationist science). But I want to soothe poor Mom's anxieties about not covering the Official History Topics. 

That is nice of you to do! I really hope they’ll waive the testing for everyone’s sake too. Maybe that’ll help put her mind at ease. 

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9 hours ago, Terabith said:

If I lived in Texas, I actually would be seriously tempted to cover Texas history in depth one year.  Texas takes such pride in its history, and it really is genuinely fascinating.  

My 7th grade history class sparked my love of history in general, such that when I later moved to Washington the first thing I did was look into local history (And found Seattle history more interesting than state history there)

 

(They also teach Texas history in 4th grade now. If they did it when I was a kid, I don't remember it! So her daughter probably had Texas history already not that long in the past)

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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8 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

That is nice of you to do! I really hope they’ll waive the testing for everyone’s sake too. Maybe that’ll help put her mind at ease. 

Oh it's definitely in my own self-interest. Wee Girl has been so desperately lonely that last year I signed her up with a hybrid school; she loved being with other kids, but learned nothing in class. They're reasonably close in level, except in French and Latin (which I can accommodate) and already in the same chamber music quartet. And she's a fundamentally good, bright kid from a nice family.

Fingers crossed for waiving testing.

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Huh. I had never realized this and we've been in Texas for 7 years. I just looked up what most people remember, which is basically the Alamo, San Jacinto, and the six flags/republic of Texas type of thing. If she wants a little Texas history, I feel like you could do the basic ideas in a single week with some elementary-type library books. (Plus the John Wayne movie, lol.) Just from living here, we've been to the San Jacinto battlefield/monument, and to the San Antonio missions and the Alamo many times. They all have beautiful exhibits and being there is memorable! So even if she missed it during covid, she could seriously make it up by her family driving a bit on a long weekend when this is all finally over. 

But I think people are kidding themselves if they think 7th graders in a B&M school are really taking in and remembering much more than those basic 3 items. I would guess at least..?!

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Wait, it’s not required to be taught in homeschools, is it? We are relocating to TX and I have a rising 7th grader. I was under the impression that there were no specific curricular requirements in TX. Is that wrong?

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4 minutes ago, JHLWTM said:

Wait, it’s not required to be taught in homeschools, is it? We are relocating to TX and I have a rising 7th grader. I was under the impression that there were no specific curricular requirements in TX. Is that wrong?

It is not required for homeschool. You just have to teach the 3r's in a physically existing curriculum and Good Citizenship. That's about it. 

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41 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

It is not required for homeschool. You just have to teach the 3r's in a physically existing curriculum and Good Citizenship. That's about it. 

Plus you don't actually have to register with anyone or tell anyone you're homeschooling. So as far as the state is concerned they won't even know some new homeschoolers have moved in when you arrive! Lol. Welcome!

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1 hour ago, Emily ZL said:

Plus you don't actually have to register with anyone or tell anyone you're homeschooling. So as far as the state is concerned they won't even know some new homeschoolers have moved in when you arrive! Lol. Welcome!

Exactly. We're all under the radar around these parts! 

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On 7/23/2020 at 11:23 AM, vonfirmath said:

(They also teach Texas history in 4th grade now. If they did it when I was a kid, I don't remember it! So her daughter probably had Texas history already not that long in the past)

I reentered public school after homeschooling in 4th grade in '94, and they did Texas history.  I found it to be extremely fun!  I vividly remember both 4th and 7th grade Texas history.  I'd say for OP's special situation that you are doing this person a big favor, so don't feel bad about sticking to your plans.  They can do Texas history on their own for fun--studying native American cultures, ecoregions of Texas, and general people-type history can be done in a casual, fun way.  Also Texas Park and Wildlife has some free materials to do this available to print on their website.  I think they could do it over the weekend if they are concerned.  (Example: https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_p4000_0016.pdf).  I do the Texas birds resource as nature studies--they are pretty nifty.  

For us, I'm planning to homeschool middle school for each child, so we are going to lean in to Texas history each year while they are doing it in 4th grade (weekend field trips to notable cities, etc.--the gravy), and we are going to completely skip it during middle school.  The purpose for us planning homeschool for middle school in particular is so that they have more time for personal interests, so we need to cut some subjects in favor of "productive time" and covering the basics well.   

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4 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

Huh. I had never realized this and we've been in Texas for 7 years. I just looked up what most people remember, which is basically the Alamo, San Jacinto, and the six flags/republic of Texas type of thing. If she wants a little Texas history, I feel like you could do the basic ideas in a single week with some elementary-type library books. (Plus the John Wayne movie, lol.) Just from living here, we've been to the San Jacinto battlefield/monument, and to the San Antonio missions and the Alamo many times. They all have beautiful exhibits and being there is memorable! So even if she missed it during covid, she could seriously make it up by her family driving a bit on a long weekend when this is all finally over. 

But I think people are kidding themselves if they think 7th graders in a B&M school are really taking in and remembering much more than those basic 3 items. I would guess at least..?!

Honestly -- I knew Alamo, San Jacinto and the republic of Texas before I ever GOT to 7th grade. San Jacinto was a common field trip place in Elementary school. Our scouting troop had gone to the Alamo and Washington-on-the-Brazos (where the constitution was signed while the men died at the Alamo slowing down the Mexican army).  7th grade Texas history filled in the gaps between those landmarks and additionally showed up the importance of places like Gonzales, Goliad. and the Black Bean Lottery. We also learned about how Texas was first settled by a succession of people and how it changed hands and got those famous six flags in the first place.  And even how the Republic fell apart.

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4 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

But I think people are kidding themselves if they think 7th graders in a B&M school are really taking in and remembering much more than those basic 3 items. I would guess at least..?!

It depends on the kid as to how much they actually remember and take in. It’s not required for homeschoolers to teach, so don’t stress!  I’ll say that I remember a TON from Texas History. It included a lot of physical geography as well and learning about Native American cultures and notable Texans. My teachers had us make a lot of hand drawn maps with added detail and used a lot of primary source material as read alouds. We had a traveling club that would visit notable locations as field trips. Overall I’m not really a big history person, but these courses really hit me. Looking back Texas History was my favorite one in middle school!  

Edited by JoyKM
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It would indeed be tempting to cover Texas history this year with Friend of WG if we hadn't covered it last year, from the Narvaez Expedition to the "Drouth" of the 1950s. And if all the field trip destinations weren't now closed. And if I hadn't already planned and prepared this year's Ancient History, Mostly Rome curriculum. 🙂  Really I just need to reassure anxious Mom it's not actually required in any sense. The STAAR standards link should help; thanks Ælthryth!

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Now y’all are making ME want to learn Texas history.

Our state used to do state history in fourth and seventh too, but now it’s just in fourth and there’s y’all of getting rid of even that. Private schools don’t cover state history at all. Which is really sad because although not as illustrious as the Republic of Texas, I find it fascinating.

@Violet Crown A friend and I are forming a pod school this year to enable us to meet even if we are shut down again. The mom and I are splitting up subjects between us for the two families. So not quite what you are doing but the children are all friends and it should be quite a lot of fun to have them all learning together. Before this, I had always dreamed of finding someone eldest’s age to “adopt” and this set up will be the closest to that.

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12 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

It is not required for homeschool. You just have to teach the 3r's in a physically existing curriculum and Good Citizenship. That's about it. 

What do they mean by a physically existing curriculum?

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1 hour ago, Mom2mthj said:

What do they mean by a physically existing curriculum?

That it must exist in some sort of visual form- be it online, a book, or.....I'm not sure what other form it might take, but that's what it specifies, that it needs to be bona fide (not a sham) and in visual form (I guess so they could see it if they ever wanted to.) 

Honestly, it's super easy here, so do not stress! 

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Posted (edited)

The curriculum requirements are from the Leeper case, of course, and are almost universally misunderstood by Texas homeschoolers. The two important points:

1. The 3-Rs-plus-Good-Citizenship language was not the Texas Supreme Court announcing what curriculum should be followed by homeschoolers. The Court found that, when the compulsory education law was enacted in 1915, it wasn't meant to outlaw homeschooling, but that homeschools were considered private schools. (Going by memory here; too lazy to look up Leeper for verbatim.) As part of that finding, the Court found that these were the statutory requirements for schools in Texas in 1915, and therefore remained the only requirements for private schools. On my reading, it was the Court inviting the Texas Legislature to revisit the statute and beef up the curriculum requirements, by pointing out how minimal they were. But the Lege of course did no such thing. So there we are.

2. Even those minimal requirements are meaningless, as the SC didn't provide for any agency to have oversight of homeschoolers. The TEA has grudgingly admitted that nobody has the authority to require homeschoolers to cough up their curriculum. The only exception to this (and it's a significant one) is Family Court judges, who can require homeschoolers to hand over their curriculum and any other thing that pleases the judge, in order to determine the best interests of the child. As far as I can tell, we homeschoolers don't even need to tell anyone who asks that we have a curriculum at all. (An attorney on this board helpfully christened this the "pound sand" interpretation of Leeper.)

ETA: I'm not a lawyer and none of the above should be taken as legal advice.

Edited by Violet Crown
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Posted (edited)

Okay, I talked to Mom this morning, and told her it wouldn't show up on the 7th [ETA: I mean 8th] grade testing. Turns out even the 7th grade STAAR doesn't cover the Texas history. What clinched it was mentioning Ancient History; turns out her ISD hasn't yet done any world history, and she's been unimpressed. So we're good!

Edited by Violet Crown
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