Tag Archives: State standards

7. Social Studies Goals

I’ve added our 2013-2014 social studies goals to the GGP Teacher Manual page.  You’ll see individualized goals for Ashby and Ryan as well as blank forms you can download for your own use.

Social Studies- Ryan 2

Social Studies Goal Sheet

I like to approach history from a world-centered viewpoint.  This is different from the CA state standards, but it just makes more sense to me.  In CA, 4th grade social studies is all about California history; so our 4th grade goal sheet reflects this.

Ashby and I are both excited to study CA history, even though it basically means we’re adding another subject to our lessons.  I have yet to decide just how we’ll do this.  I may schedule our CA history as a separate subject, or I may work it into our schedule mainly as reading assignments (which we always include anyways).  When I work on our history schedule, I’ll figure out just how in-depth our CA history work will be, and that will determine whether it is a standalone subject or an add-on to our world history studies.

For Ryan’s second grade social studies goals, I have generally adhered to the CA standards.  I did select our Historic Individuals from the middle ages so that they will correlate with our Story of the World (SOTW) readings.  The list of individuals on his goal sheet is not comprehensive, but I will specify more people when I create his history and reading schedules.

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3. Standards

I’ve spent the past few days reviewing the CA state standards for education (slowly becoming the national Common Core Standards).  This is always my first step in preparing for the new school year.  I realize that many homeschoolers want nothing to do with state standards; that’s partly why we homeschool, right?  But, for me, the standards are a natural starting point.  Maybe this is a byproduct of my time as a public school teacher.  My credentialing program taught me to design lesson plans based on the state standards.  Additionally, I was encouraged to write those standards specific to the day’s lesson on the whiteboard so that the students would know why we were studying whatever we were that day.  I’d be shocked to learn, though, that even one student paid any attention to what I wrote.  Kids don’t care about state standards.  Why  would they?  The wording is so convoluted that, often, even adults have to reread them several times to understand the meaning.  From the students’ point of view, standards are just another set of rules they are asked to follow without question.  Writing the standards on the whiteboard might have made my classroom appear more focused and exemplary to visitors and administrators.  But, did it actually serve a useful purpose and benefit the kids?  No.  In fact, I think it might have overwhelmed some of them.  I stopped writing the standards on the whiteboard.

So, why do I still read the standards?  I believe they are worthy goals for teachers.  Granted, it’s very difficult to achieve these standards in a classroom setting with 20-30 students.  With just two students, though, I can do it.  Also, as a teacher and mom who likes to plan, I feel most confident organizing my curriculum around concrete goals.  The standards give me a framework.  In reality, as I read the state standards for each kid’s grade level (which can take a while and be somewhat tedious), I find that Ashby and Ryan are already secure in many of them.  So, I just highlight the ones I want to address in the coming year and build from there.  As the school year progresses, I occasionally review the  highlighted standards to make sure we on track and adjust future lessons accordingly.  This review process takes only a few minutes at a time and gives me a sense of reassurance that we are headed in the right direction.  Of course, I never ask Ashby and Ryan to read the standards; they’re just for me.