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Social Studies in our house is approached quite a bit differently than it is when I grew up going to public school. When I went to school, there was a special book that we opened for Social Studies. We learned about geography from our own town to our state and the world. We learned about how to read maps and how to find places we needed to go. Social Studies also consisted of learning about other cultures, what types of foods they ate, the types of homes they lived in, their economy, their topography and their forms of transportation. We learned about dinosaurs and radio carbon dating. We learned about the theory of evolution and how animals and humans evolved from a lower less complex life form. Social Studies for me was separated from other subject matter. It had no blending with other subjects. It didn't include creationism or God anywhere!
Today, we will be going to the grocery store. We have a menu planned and food to purchase from that menu. We have personal items to buy like shampoo, vitamins, herbs and deoderant. We may also go look at the camping items to see if there is anything we would like to get this year for when we go camping. We will go to the craft and sewing area to get some winter fabric from the clearance bin to make another dress for Heidi. We'll also go to the yarn area to get yarn for another afghan for a Christmas present. We'll visit the clearance racks in the girls and boys areas to see if there is anything more there that we could purchase for a good price for next year. While we're there, we'll look for a couple baby boy outfits for a friend of mine who is having a baby soon. After there, we'll go to the dog care area and get more dog food and bones for our dogs. Since the cleaning items are right next to the dog food, we'll take a look at our list and see what cleaning items we need. We'll also probably discuss why we purchase the items we do and explain that no one way of cleaning is the right way, but that it is more important to get the cleaning done to care for the things the Lord has blessed us with. We have to visit the candy section to pick up a little bit of chocolate. We'll go to the produce section to get our "roughage" and go from there to get the rest of our groceries.
Does this sound much like what you do when you go to the grocery store? Does this sound mundane or boring? Well, for us, it is a learning experience. We get certain foods because they're good for us. We buy clothes on clearance because it saves us some money. We talk about everyone we see. We have a college in our town, so we see people from foreign countries. The children occationally talk with them. The children talk with the people who work at the store with name tags to see what their jobs are as community helpers. Every time we go to the grocery store, it is a different experience. The children ask questions about nearly everything and we talk about it while we do our shopping. People have asked me if there have been days off school or something while we are at the store, but we honestly tell them that we home school.
We discuss everything we see and experience blending it in to everything we do. I do not have a set curriculum that I adhere to because Social Studies is all around us encompassing every day of our lives. This method of doing things makes sense to us. Our children learn everything in context and it makes sense to them. How else would we learn? From a book or experiencing it?