Yesterday in the first post of this series, we considered choosing a time period to study. Now we’re going to think more about the specifics of what to study.
Tip #2: Survey or In depth Study? There are two main ways to approach the study of history. A survey study is a broad overview of a set time frame where you cover the main events of the period. For example, you may choose to do a survey of US History from the Jamestown to the present day in one school year. It won’t be possible to give in depth attention to all events ,but you will be able to cover the biggies, like the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution, early reform movements, industrialization and the like.
An in depth study is where you choose a few specific events, themes or people and take time to learn about them in more detail. This works well in elementary years when children’s history knowledge is starting to grow but they are interested in one particular topic. It also works well for older students who may know the general history of a topic quite well and find that they would like to spend extended time on more obscure topics that don’t generally get much attention. A high schooler might like to spend a year studying US wars in depth- American Revolution, the Civil War and World Wars I and II. If you have high schooler who is considering the study of history in college, in depth studies at the high school level would be inspirational.
What if I Miss Something Important?
One of the things you will begin to notice as your children grow older is that you will cover the main history courses more than once. Your child may go over US history three or four times during the course of homechooling. That means that you will have an opportunity to do both in depth and survey studies, as well as fill in details that you may have missed in a previous study. It’s NOT possible to cover EVERY aspect of ALL history. It is possible to give your child a good foundation of history knowledge that he can use later in life to build upon for greater understanding.
TO DO: * Brainstorm a potential list of history interests, topics, themes or time periods. Decide if you want to do a survey or in depth study. If your child is old enough, solicit his/her ideas and do the brainstorming together. Don’t make the process long and drawn out for fear of getting it wrong or missing some important detail.
* Take a half hour to look over the North American Division’s social studies curriculum guides for K-8, and 9-12. The guides show how social studies has been organized for NAD schools and make a great reference source.
For example, we will do a survey of US History (from Jamestown to the Civil War), highlighting the American Revolution, the Constitution, the War of 1812, Westward Expansion, etc.
Tomorrow- Literature Resources for History