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  1. #1

    Default Seeking a secular first grade history program

    I'm new to HS and am having a hard time finding a history program that is 100% secular for a first grader. Also, at this age, is it typical to focus on world history, American history, ancient history, or all of the above?

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    My experience is that dabbling exposure seems to provide the most satisfactory social studies experience. Ive heard that there are theoretically younguns who enjoy learning about history, but I havent actually seen any yet. Dabble however you like, its not going to make your kid advanced or behind, no matter what you do.
    What are his / her interests? Do you live next to Mesa Verde? Next to the Liberty Bell? Those things could have a big impact on what part of history you make exciting.
    When you go to a state or national park, check out the Junior Ranger activities. Anything more involved or studious than that seems to have been an unpleasant experience for my older boy.
    If youre annoyed with Story of the World for its not quite secular and its biases, you can look for a world history atlas, and go from there. If your darling likes making lapbooks, there are a ton of free resources online, or you can pay money to History Pockets for their glorified lap book activities.

    Go to Ye Olde Towne (whatever they call it in your neck of the woods) and see if anything catches your imaginations. Or the museums.
    Study ancient Egypt, mummify a chicken. Ancient Greece, wear togas and eat stuffed grape leaves. Go on the lake in a boat one foggy morning and pretend to be viking explorers. You know, stuff that will make memories for both of you. And your darling will say "Oh I remember the Egyptians, they mummified chickens and we danced to that weird Bangles song." Which is a far better response than "Dunno."

    No, there is no secular curriculum for first grade history. Public schools dont teach it - I think because kids arent interested in things happening millenia ago on continents far far away. Progrqms like WTM have it, perhaps to look busy, perhaps just because they like torturing kids. (Hey, Dante is in 2nd grade!)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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    Well... it depends on what you mean by "100% secular"...

    Do you mean absolutely no mention of religion? Are you wanting to teach evolution? Do you want to explore faiths of all kinds of people all over the world? Do you want religion neutral where no one faith, including lack of faith, is favored over another? Do you need something secular to satisfy a homeschool charter that is buying your curriculum for you? There are many, many shaded meanings of "secular" in the homeschooling world.

    Honestly I agree with Alexsmom about dabbling in history in first grade. Typical public schools focus on citizenship, national holidays and learning about community in first grade. There is no typical course of study for homeschoolers. Some followers of certain homeschool philosophies have typical courses of study, such as WTM/Classical homeschoolers studying ancients in first grade but there is no typical course of study that all homeschoolers follow or strive for.

    I tried WTM style history in first grade when my oldest son was that age. He loved the Egyptians and pyramids and mummies, but now at 19yo, he has no real memory of it. Think about it, do you remember much of anything you studied in first grade? With my other kids, I did more of a relaxed dabble in social studies and history in general a la Five In A Row unit studies. Much, much better fit for us and while they might not remember all of the lessons from first grade off the top of their head, they do remember most of the wonderful books we read together. Oh, and I did it completely secular, we skipped the little bit of Christian content there was (mostly in the teacher's guide) but I didn't expressly teach evolution or anything at that age.

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    What worked for us through 1st and 2nd grade (and what I plan to continue through 3rd as well) is learning history and geography through living age-appropriate books. Read a book - look at the map where is it happening - look at the timeline when it is happening - relate it to other books we read, places we visited - done. Young kids learn new information much better after you relate it to something they already know, interconnect it with something else.

    Magic Tree House books have a lot of history throughout them, as do a lot of good quality picture books. You can tie your readings with whatever interests your kid has and go from there.
    mom to 3 girls: DD10, DD9, DD6

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    Senior Member Arrived lakshmi's Avatar
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    I've only ever used one curriculum I am super boring that way.. Moving Beyond the Page. They have a video on the website.

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    Senior Member Enlightened Artmama's Avatar
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    Jan 2015


    In NY first grade Social Studies focuses on families and communities - similarities and differences from around the world. An easy entry point into this is holidays and celebrations. You can also use "National __________ Month" as a guide. (It is Hispanic Heritage Month right now). The Magic Treehouse books do give a nice accessible bit of information about a time and place. There are companion books that include more facts too.

    Last year we did a lot of history of NYC - which is considered 4th grade in public school. We have learned to read maps and studied the globe (PS 5th grade) This year the plan is world history / ancient cultures (PS 6th grade). It is the beauty of homeschooling - you can follow their interests!

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    Check out libertys kids by pbs on YouTube and Joy Hakims history of US.

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    I am using the book "A History of Just About Everything" with my kids.

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    Thumbs down Have you looked into Build Your Libray?

    I think that for secular social studies for 1st grade Build Your Library would be my first choice. There is also a program called Complete Curriculum that is secular and includes all grades on PDF downloads. It does include social studies for first grade.

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Seeking a secular first grade history program