Many homeschoolers associate classical education with two things: Dorothy Sayers’ idea of the Trivium as stages of child development and the four-year world history cycle that Susan Wise Bauer describes in The Well-Trained Mind. I’ve argued that neither of those things has much at all to do with what the term classical education meant before the 1980s (and still does in Europe), but that fact, in and of itself, doesn’t mean they’re not perfectly legitimate ways to approach homeschooling generally and the study of history specifically.
However, they’re not the only way. Traditional classical educators continue to teach the Trivium as subjects, not stages. Likewise, there are other ways to teach the subjects that fall under the umbrella of Social Studies: history, geography, and civics. The Charlotte Mason approach covers ancient, world, and national history in parallel streams, and uses Plutarch’s Lives as a core text in civics. Core Knowledge splits each year between world history and American history, combining geography with both.
My preferred approach makes more room for the study of geography and civics than is generally provided in any of these frameworks. It also makes space for state history, which is required in some places. Here’s what it looks like.
|Grade||Social Studies Topic|
|1||[Geography] [World History]|
|2||[Geography] [World History]|
|6||American History w/Civics Unit|
|7||American History w/State History Unit|
|9||World History I|
|10||World History II|
|12||Civics/Economics w/Current Events study|
- Topics in brackets may be taught informally through read-alouds or in conjunction with other subjects (e.g., Exploring the World through Story combines geography with world literature).
- Supplement spines with other materials. See The Well-Trained Mind or Build Your Library for ideas.
- Check for updates to the NY State outlines linked above.
You can download a PDF copy of this K-12 Social Studies Sequence for personal use.
© 2021 by Andrew Campbell, PhD. All rights reserved.