Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Social Science Curriculum

As I mentioned on my previous post I am researching quite extensively to find the best 1st grade curriculum to homeschool my son. I have been asking professionals and exploring the Internet. The last two days I worked on the Social Science curriculum, where I planned the methodology of my teaching based on the requirements of the Standard Common Core of Illinois State. The Illinois State has all the information about  homeschooling and the learning standards -

I summarised the learning standards given by the Illinois State just for 1st graders. The following are the requirements described by them for the Social Science subject. I typed the learning standards with blue ink, and my approach with black ink.

STATE GOAL 14:  Understand political systems, with an emphasis on the United States. Why This Goal Is Important:  The existence and advancement of a free society depend on the knowledge, skills and understanding of its citizenry.  Through the study of various forms and levels of govern­ment and the documents and institutions of the United States, students will develop the skills and knowledge that they need to be contributing citizens, now and in the future.

A.   Understand and explain basic principles of the United States government.
14.A.1   Describe the fundamental principles of government including representative govern­ment, government of law, individual rights and the common good.

To meet this criterion I will work on to make him understand and comprehend the principles of USA government teaching him the following:

a)    Democracy: direct and representative.
b)    Monarchy: absolute and constitutional.
c)    Oligarchy: Aristocracy, Meritocracy, Military, Plutocracy, Stratocracy, Technocracy, and Timocracy.
d)    Anarchy.
e)    Authoritarianism.
f)      Anarchy.
g)    Despotism.
h)    Dictatorship.
i)      Kritarchy.
j)      Republic.
k)    Theocracy.
l)      Totalitarim    

B.  Understand the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the United States and other nations.
14.B.1  Identify the different levels of govern­ment as local, state and national.

To understand the structure of the political systems I will explain the following: local: city council, town meeting and Mayor; State: Congress, Governor, and Supreme Court; National: Congress, President and Supreme Court. I will also use ways to explain the meaning for the Executive, Legislative, Judicial, the Constitution, Federal Agencies & Commissions, Election & Voting in USA and other countries.

C.   Understand election processes and responsibilities of citizens.
14.C.1   Identify concepts of responsible citizenship including respect for the law, patriotism, civility and working with others.

To be able to comprehend responsibilities of citizenship I will teach him what it means to be a U.S. citizen and how citizenship is obtained. He will compare and contrast personal and political rights with social responsibilities and personal duties. He will explore global citizenship, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in other countries. He will also learn about community engagement by selecting a problem of their own and creating a plan to solve it.

D.  Understand the roles and influ­ences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the United States and other nations.
14.D.1   Identify the roles of civic leaders (e.g., elected leaders, public service leaders).

I will cover the early days of slavery in USA through the momentous 1950s and 60s and the modern Civil Rights Movement. Discover the people, groups, and events behind the Civil Rights Movement. Learn about means of non-violent protest, opposition to the movement, and identify how it took all three branches of the federal government to effect change. Protest posters, fictional diary entries, and a map of the movement's major events develop a greater understanding of the struggle for civil rights. Its also important to mention the American Revolution, Constitutional Convention, 1st election, Washington DC, Declaration of Independence and the written of Bill of rights.

E.  Understand United States foreign policy as it relates to other nations and international issues.
14.E.1   Identify relationships that the federal government establishes with other nations.

He will learn about the complex interactions that exist in our globalized world. Examine the evolution of diplomacy and international interdependence by looking at recent and historical global events.

F.   Understand the development of United States political ideas and traditions.
14.F.1  Describe political ideas and tradi­tions important to the development of the United States including democracy, individual rights and the concept of freedom.

For this area I will present firstly the People who were very influential in the history of USA such as: George Washington, John Jay, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Benjamin Banneker and Pierre L’Enfant. Secondly I will explicit the symbols of Freedom: Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, US Flag and White House.

STATE GOAL 15:  Understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
Why This Goal Is Important:  Why This Goal Is Important: People's lives are directly affected by the economies of cities, states, nations and the world.  All people engage in economic activity:  buying, selling, trading, producing and consuming.  By understanding economic systems—and how economics blends with other social sciences, students will be able to make more informed choices, prudently use resources and function as effective participants in the economies around them.

A.            Understand how different eco­nomic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
15.A.1a  Identify advantages and disadvantages of different ways to distribute goods and services. 
15.A.1b  Describe how wages/salaries can be earned in exchange for work. 

Present and promote ways to make him understand some Economics Concepts Definition:


Resources are limited, so people cannot have all the goods and services they want.

Deciding between two or more possible alternative objects or actions; called an economic choice for decisions among goods, services, or resources.

Opportunity Cost
The next best alternative that must be given up when a choice is made. Not all alternatives, just the next best choice.

Goods and Services
Objects (goods) or services (activities) that can satisfy people's wants.

Anything used to produce goods and services; all natural, human and human-made aids to the production of goods and services, also called productive resources.

The direct trading (barter) or any exchange (trade) of goods and services between people without the use of money.

People depend on each other to provide goods and services; occurs as a result of specialization of production.

Production can often be best done by several or many people where each person specializes: does only a part of the job--the part that the person is skilled to do.

Money/Medium of Exchange
A medium of exchange, which is a good (like shells or metal coins or pieces of paper) that can be used to buy other goods and services.

Not spending all of one's income; the part of income not used for consumption.

Purchase of currently produced goods or services; using income to buy for consumption.

People who use resources to make goods and services, also called workers./ The making of goods and services using resources.

People whose wants are satisfied by using goods and services/using goods and services.

Factors of Production
Resources used by businesses to produce goods and services.

Any setting where buyers and sellers exchange goods, services, resources, and currencies.

The value of a good or service stated in money terms.

Giving up one thing or activity to get some of another.

A schedule of how much consumers are willing and able to buy at each possible price during some time period

A schedule of how much producers are willing and able to produce and sell at each possible price during some time period.

Rivalry among sellers to sell (supply) goods and services, or among buyers to buy (acquire) a service or good.

Equilibrium Price
The market clearing price at which the quantity demanded by buyers equals the quantity supplied by sellers.

The human resource (person) who assumes the risk of organizing the other productive resources to produce goods and services.

The difference between the total revenue and total cost of producintg and selling a good or service in a business; entrepreneurial income.

Functions of Money
Money is used as or "functions as" a medium of exchange, as a store of value, and as a unit of account.

Circular Flow
A model of an economy showing the interactions between households and business firms as they exchange goods and services and resources in markets.

Public Goods
Goods and services that are provided by the government. They are often goods that individuals don't buy enough of, but provide everyone benefits if widely consumed, such as education or national defense.

Economic Systems
The way a society organizes the production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services.

Role of Government
The economic actions and results of government activities.

Required payments of money made to governments by households and business firms.

The purchase of something using a promise to pay in the future.

The situation in which people are willing and able to work at current wages but cannot find jobs.

Shortages and Surpluses
The situation resulting when the quantity demanded exceeds (shortage) or is less than (shortage) the quantity supplied at the current price of a good, service, or resource.

Barriers to Trade
Government policies or regulation that restricts international trade, such as tariffs and import duties.

Exchange Rate
The price of the currency of one country in terms of another currency, e.g dollars per euro.

Things that motivate and influence the behavior of households and businesses. Prices, profits, and losses act as incentives for participants to take action in a market economy.

The ratio of output (goods and/or services) to input, or the amount of output produced per unit of productive resources over a period of time.

Economic Goals
The objectives that economies pursue, such as full employment, stability, economic growth, and efficiency.

Market Failures
Situations in which the outcome of the market is not efficient from society's point of view, e.g., the market participants might have no market incentives to avoid polluting the environment.

Economic Indicators
Measures constructed to show where the overall economy has been, is now, or is going.

A persistent rise in overall prices.

Monetary Policy
Policy done by a central bank to support the economy, relating to the supply of money, credit, and interest rates.

Fiscal Policy
Policy done by a central spending authority of the government to support the economy, relating to spending and taxes.

Economic Institution
Customs, behaviors, or organizations that are commonly found in an economy. Often used to refer to specific agencies or organizations that have a particular economic objective.

Federal Reserve
The central bank of the United States that makes policy for the money supply, credit, and interest rates.

Income Distribution
The way national income is divided among households in the economy.

Comparative Advantage
Describes a basis for specialization and trade between people or countries based on differences in their resources distribution.

Economic Growth
Percentage increases of some overall measure of the economy, such as GDP.

To explain salaries/wages I will use the book “A Chair for My Mother”, which is a story about a little girl and her family saving money in a jar to buy a chair after their furniture is destroyed in a fire. I will design a lesson to make my son understand about human resources, comprehend that the work of people allows them to earn income and also learn about savings.

B.  Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers.
15.B.1  Explain why consumers must make choices.

I will design a lesson where my son has to make a decision of what to buy. I will use M&M's, Jelly Belly beans, and Starbursts.

C.  Understand that scarcity neces­sitates choices by producers.
15.C.1a  Describe how human, natural and capital resources are used to produce goods and services.
15.C.1b   Identify limitations in resources that force producers to make choices about what to produce.

Identify and categorize examples of productive resources used to produce a good or service.  Use modeling clay to represent these resources. Use books based on productive resources such as “Extra Cheese, Please!Mozzarella’s Journey from Cow to Pizza” by Cris Peterson, or  “The Goat in the Rug” by Geraldine  the Goat.

D.  Understand trade as an exchange of goods or services.
15.D.1a   Demonstrate the benefits of simple voluntary exchanges. 
15.D.1b  Know that barter is a type of exchange and that money makes exchange easier. 

I will use the book “The Wampum Bird” and “Welcome to the Trade Museum” as a source of folk tales to make him recognize the inter-relatedness of goods, services, and money. The lesson plan will make him locate information about barter as a means of trade, use folk tales as an historical instrument. The idea is to brainstorm situations were he exchanged money for service, or goods for goods or services for goods. Ask/discuss how people long ago acquired goods and services without coins or currency. Read the “welcome to the trade museum” book and ask him to answers to the Pop Quiz at the end. Afterwards, ask him to explain in his own words, why barter became too impractical, cumbersome, and complicated. Returning to the primitive form of money in early North American history, tell or read the folk tales from “the wampum bird”.
I will also use the following source to plan a lesson called “where do your cornflakes come from?

E.  Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy.
15.E.1  Identify goods and services provided by government.

Many goods and services are provided by the Government, including buildings and maintenance of roads. Children and their families make use of roads daily, seemingly free of charge. I will plan a lesson that explores the true cost of a 'free ride'. I will explain that there are many goods and services which the government provides for us which individuals do not need to pay for it directly, an example is the schools. The link below is the lesson plan “free ride”.

STATE GOAL 16:  Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations. Why This Goal Is Important:  George Santayana said "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  In a broader sense, students who can examine and analyze the events of the past have a powerful tool for understanding the events of today and the future.  They develop an understanding of how people, nations, actions and interactions have led to today's realities.  In the process, they can better define their own roles as participating citizens.

Historical eras
Local, State and United States History (US)
  Early history in the Americas to 1620
  Colonial history and settlement to 1763
  The American Revolution and early national period to 1820s
  National expansion from 1815 to 1850
  The Civil War and Reconstruction from 1850 to 1877
  Development of the industrial United States from 1865 to 1914
  The emergence of the United States as a world power from 1890 to 1920
  Prosperity, depression, the New Deal and World War II from 1920 to 1945
  Post World War II and the Cold War from 1945 to 1968
  Contemporary United States from 1968 to present

World History (W)
  Prehistory to 2000 BCE
  Early civilizations, nonwestern empires, and tropical civilizations
  The rise of pastoral peoples to 1000 BCE
  Classical civilizations from 1000 BCE to 500 CE
  Fragmentation and interaction of civilizations from 500 to 1100 CE
  Centralization of power in different regions from 1000 to 1500 CE
  Early modern world from 1450 to 1800
  Global unrest, change and revolution from 1750 to 1850
  Global encounters and imperialism and their effects from 1850 to 1914
  The twentieth century to 1945
  The contemporary world from 1945 to the present 

A.  Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
16.A.1a  Explain the difference between past, present and future time; place themselves in time.
16.A.1b  Ask historical questions and seek out answers from historical sources (e.g., myths, biographies, stories, old photographs, artwork, other visual or electronic sources).
16.A.1c  Describe how people in different times and places viewed the world in different ways.

Design a lesson on Long Ago and Yesterday discussing changing customs and lifestyles about our family. He will learn about the differences between life today and life long ago including how technology has changed over the years. He will see the similarities and differences in technology, music, transportation, communication, and television. Read the books: “The Hundred Penny Box” and “The Quilt Story”.

B.  Understand the development of significant political events.
16.B.1a (US)  Identify key individuals and events in the development of the local commu­nity (e.g., Founders days, names of parks, streets, public buildings). 
16.B.1b (US)  Explain why individuals, groups, issues and events are celebrated with local, state or national holidays or days of recognition (e.g., Lincoln’s Birthday, Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Pulaski Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving).
16.B.1 (W)    Explain the contributions of individuals and groups who are featured in biographies, legends, folklore and traditions.

I am going to present this topic through books such as: “Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and what the Neighbors Thought)” by Kathleen Krull, and “My Fellow Americans: A Family Album” by Alice Provensen, and “Happy Birthday, Grandma Moses!” by Claire Bonfanti Braham. I will also use the following website to inspire me with ideas for lesson plans about national holidays -

Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and Brer Rabbit are important names of the American tall-tale figure, as well as Davy Crockett, Annie Oakley and Johnny Appleseed are individuals whose life stories became legendary, and which I will introduce to my son. I will use the following books to guide me: “From Sea to Shinning Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs” by Amy L. Cohn, and “John Henry: An American Legend” by Ezra Jack Keats, and “Tall Tales Series” by Steven Kellogg, and “Yankee Doodle: A Revolutionary War Tale” by Gary Chalk.

C.  Understand the development of economic systems.
16.C.1a (US)  Describe how Native American people in Illinois engaged in economic activities with other tribes and traders in the region prior to the Black Hawk War.
16.C.1b (US)  Explain how the economy of the students’ local community has changed over time.
16.C.1a (W)  Identify how people and groups in the past made economic choices (e.g., crops to plant, products to make, products to trade) to survive and improve their lives.
16.C.1b (W)  Explain how trade among people brought an exchange of ideas, tech­nology and language.

In this category the children need to know the different ways people earned a living in the past. Books I will use to research these topics: “ Terri Cohlene” by Watermill Press, “Wild and Woolly Mammoths” by Aliki, Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World” by Laurie Carlson, “Ben and Me” by Robert Lawson, and many more available at by the books I recommend.

D.  Understand Illinois, United States and world social history.
16.D.1 (US)  Describe key figures and organizations (e.g., fraternal/civic organizations, public service groups, community leaders) in the social history of the local community.
16.D.1 (W)    Identify how customs and traditions from around the world influence the local community.

To ensure that my son learn the customs and traditions of people of Illinois, the United States and the world, I will describe it through books, as well as the following website to plan my lessons:

E.  Understand Illinois, United States and world environmental history.
16.E.1 (US)  Describe how the local environ­ment has changed over time.
16.E.1 (W)  Compare depictions of the natural environment that are found in myths, legends, folklore and traditions.

To explain how people in Illinois, the United States and the world changed their environment in the past I will use books to illustrate it, as well as the following website for inspiration for my lessons. It is a great website full of brilliant ideas to teach our children:

The website also provide a list of folklore books:

STATE GOAL 17:  Understand world geography and the effects of geography on society, with an emphasis on the United States. Why This Goal Is Important:  The need for geographic literacy has never been greater or more obvious than in today's tightly interrelated world.  Students must understand the world's physical features,  how they blend with social systems and how they affect economies, politics and human interaction.  Isolated geographic facts are not enough.  To grasp geography and its effect on individuals and societies, students must know the broad concepts of spatial patterns, mapping, population and physical systems (land, air, water).  The combination of geographic facts and broad concepts provides a deeper understanding of geography and its effects on individuals and societies.

A.  Locate, describe and explain places, regions and features on the Earth.
17.A.1a   Identify physical characteristics of places, both local and global (e.g., locations, roads, regions, bodies of water). 
17.A.1b   Identify the characteristics and pur­poses of geographic representations including maps, globes, graphs, photographs, software, digital images and be able to locate specific places using each.

I will use “Geography from A-Z” by Jack Knowlton and “How We Learned the Earth is Round” by Patricia Lauber. I also found a website with ideas of lesson plan:

B.  Analyze and explain characteristics and interactions of the Earth’s physical systems.
17.B.1a    Identify components of the Earth’s physical systems.
17.B.1b   Describe physical components of ecosystems.

In this criterion I need to teach my son to be able to understand the physical features of the Earth: Land: mountains, valleys, hills, plains, pleatues, deserts, and forests; Water: seas, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
As well as locate visual representations of global address: community, state, country, continent, world, identify landforms, identify bodies of water, tell the difference between weather and climate, describe how climate affects people’s lives, compare places that have different climates, describe and identify landform regions, describe and identify plant regions, explain the difference between natural and synthetic resources and between renewable and nonrenewable resources, describe effects on the environment when people use natural resources to meet their needs and wants. After presenting all these subjects he will develop skills to be able to locate on a globe the poles, identify intermediate directions, identify the main idea and supporting details of a passage.

C.  Understand relationships between geographic factors and society.
17.C.1a  Identify ways people depend on and interact with the physical environment (e.g., farming, fishing, hydroelectric power).
17.C.1b  Identify opportunities and constraints of the physical environment.
17.C.1c   Explain the difference between renew­able and nonrenewable resources.

The lessons for this criterion are also mentioned above on the common core 17B.

D.   Understand the historical significance of geography.
17.D.1   Identify changes in geographic character­istics of a local region (e.g., town, community).

To explain why people move to different places and regions I will present the topics of urban and rural communities and I will explain migration. I will use books and also helpful websites such as:

STATE GOAL 18:  Understand social systems, with an emphasis on the United States. Why This Goal Is Important: A study of social systems has two important aspects that help people understand their roles as individuals and members of society.  The first aspect is culture consisting of the language, literature, arts and traditions of various groups of people.  Students should understand common characteristics of different cultures and explain how cultural contributions shape societies over time.  The second aspect is the interaction among individuals, groups and institutions.  Students should know how and why groups and institutions are formed, what roles they play in society, and how individuals and groups interact with and influence institutions.

A.  Compare characteristics of culture as reflected in language, literature, the arts, traditions and institutions.
18.A.1  Identify folklore from different cultures which became part of the heritage of the United States.

I will teach my how identify groups that most people belong to, describe the leader’s role in a group, tell why rules are important to a group, identify the characteristics of a community and a neighborhood, explain that people can work together to improve their neighborhoods and communities, compare characteristics of cities and suburbs, explain relationships between cities and suburbs, describe the characteristics of a rural community, describe the relationships of rural communities to urban communities. Afterwards he will  develop the following skills : Compare maps and globes, use symbols and use a compass rose to identify cardinal directions, compare stories and art from different regions and times, find places on a neighborhood map, using a simple number-letter grid, and read a calendar.

B.  Understand the roles and interactions of individuals and groups in society.
18.B.1a  Compare the roles of individuals in group situations (e.g., student, committee member, employee/employer).
18.B.1b  Identify major social institutions in the community.

The lessons for this criterion are also mentioned above on the common core 18A.

C.  Understand how social systems form and develop over time.
18.C.1    Describe how individuals interacted within groups to make choices regarding food, clothing and shelter.

I will teach my son to describe how children learn beliefs and values from their families, explain that Americans or their ancestors come from all over the world, describe contributions of various cultures to American life, analyze art and language to find evidence of other cultures, explain the importance of American symbols and landmarks, describe how a work of art reflects the cultural heritage of the community or country, explain the differences among national, state, and religious holidays. My son will be able to use a timeline to determine sequence, tell how people make choices to change society, use decision-making skills.

Books I will use and recommend:

1.    The Usborne Book of World History (Picture World)
By Anne Millard
2.    Time Traveler: Visit Medieval Times, the Viking Age, the Roman World and Ancient Egypt (Usborne Time Traveler)
By Judy Hindley, James Graham-Campbell, Patricia Vanags
3.    Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharaohs: A Book About Ancient Egypt
By Gail Gibbons
4.    George Washington [Paperback], Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
5.    Columbus [Paperback], Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, Ingri D'Aulaire
6.    Abraham Lincoln (Bicentennial Edition) [Paperback], Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
7.    Pocahontas [Paperback], Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
8.    Draw Write Now, Book 2: Christopher Columbus, Autumn Harvest, Weather (Draw-Write-Now) [Paperback],Marie Hablitzel, Kim Stitzer
9.    The Fourth of July Story [Paperback] Alice Dalgliesh, Marie Nonnast
14. The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh 
15. Wee Sing America by Susan Hagen Nipp
16. Buffalo Bill [Paperback], Ingri Parim D'aulaire
17. Benjamin Franklin [Paperback],Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
18. Minn of the Mississippi [Paperback],Holling C. Holling
19. The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith [Hardcover],Stephen J. Nichols, Ned Bustard
20. Meet Thomas Jefferson (Landmark Books) [Paperback],Marvin Barrett, Pat Fogarty
21. If You Traveled West In A Covered Wagon [Paperback],Ellen Levine, Elroy Freem
22. The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide [Paperback],Millie Miller, Cyndi Nelson
23. United States Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book) [Paperback],Winky Adam
24. Wonders of the World Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book) [Paperback] G. Smith
25. The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History [Hardcover], Jennifer Armstrong, Roger Roth
26. Children's Encyclopedia of American History (Smithsonian) (Smithsonian Institution) [Hardcover], David C. King, David C. King
27. DK History of the World [Hardcover], Simon Adams
28. Timelines of History [Hardcover] DK Publishing
29. What Presidents Are Made Of [Hardcover], Hanoch Piven
30. The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis
31. The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston
32. They were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson
33.  Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and what the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
34. My Fellow Americans: A Family Album by Alice Provensen
35. Happy Birthday, Grandma Moses! by Claire Bonfanti Braham
36. From Sea to Shinning Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs by Amy L. Cohn
37. John Henry: An American Legend by Ezra Jack Keats
38. Tall Tales Series by Steven Kellogg
39. Yankee Doodle: A Revolutionary War Tale by Gary Chalk.

I will also include many trips to the main museums in Chicago to enhance his learning. After designing my curriculum for all the subjects I will put it on a monthly plan which I will post as soon as I finish. 

I would love to hear from you giving me any suggestion or comment about this matter in order to improve my methodology. Thanks :).


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