17 June 2013

Social Studies Curriculum

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because it's easier to get criticism from a computer than a person.  Imagine your spell-checker grew a brain and pointed out problem areas in your writing.  That's Grammarly. 

Nothing can replace a trained copy editor, but if I were learning the language or had trouble writing, it's definitely something I'd spend the money on for our homeschool.   Take a look at the comments after a news story sometime.  Spell a word wrong, and people focus on that instead of  the perfectly reasoned argument you just wrote.  Unfortunate but true.

So here's what we're using for social studies next school year:  Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Volume 3:  Early Modern Times.  Emperor has already done Volumes 1 and 2.  The first volume begins in ancient times and is written more simply.  Each volume becomes more detailed and is written for a more advanced student.  Emperor will be a sixth grader next year, and I think this is written at a level that he can read, digest and understand.

Sometimes single questions take up an entire page of the test booklet.  I'd rather write those in and save paper and ink.
I got the Test and Answer Key with it, and I also bought the Activity Book.  Neither one of those purchases were necessary, really, if I were pinching pennies.  But they are very nice to have.  The tests are a fair review of each chapter.  I don't use them as tests but worksheets to review each chapter.  The Activity Book could easily provide the backbone of an entire year's worth of reading, art and science curriculum.  There are so many things to do it is genuinely impossible for every family to do them all.  So I take it as an idea book, filled with reproduceable drawings, patterns, maps and the like.

The Activity Book is not needed, but I feel it adds some depth to a child's studies.


  1. I always found my kids loved activity books. I'd buy them as an extra to give them something to do if they got bored in the holidays. At school, any teacher who supplied activities quickly became a favourite, because really, it makes the lessons more fun.
    I saw the pencilled in question there, What was life like for the squatters in Australia. My answer would be hot, HOT, HOT!! and tough like squatters everywhere.

    1. I know some people hate worksheets, but I love them if they're relevant and not just something teachers throw at kids to keep 'em quiet!

  2. Wow! Grammarly is brutal.

  3. I think worksheets can help to break up the monotony of just reading/writing.

    I'll have to check out the Grammarly!


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