Here's how to find out what your kids will learn in class this year
Our kids were at home all summer: going to day camp, playing, watching TV and just lounging. We've tried to bridge the summer learning gap by sneaking in "educational" activities to help prepare them for their next grade. Now that they're going back to school, here's how you can align learning activities with what they'll actually study in class this year.
First, remember each state has a department of education where you can usually find state learning standards by grade level. Find your state's department of education website, and once you're there, just use the map to go to your state to learn about your state's curriculum by grade level.
For example, my daughter attends school in South Carolina, and will be a rising seventh grader. On the South Carolina Department of Education page, I can see all kinds of resources — including state learning standards for all subject areas.
I click on my daughter's grade level for social studies, and see that this year she will be studying Contemporary Cultures: 1600 to the Present. In Virginia, students are studying U.S. history to 1865, while in Ohio, seventh graders study world history, beginning with ancient Greece and continuing through global exploration.
Each state also has a list of resources for parents that will be helpful for your child throughout the school year. Ohio has its resource page divided up by school levels: elementary, middle and high school.
You can also use Google as a tool to take a more direct route to find out what your child is learning in school this year. Just type "(My state's) learning standard for (your child's grade)" into the search box. For example, my search for “Georgia's learning standards for seventh grade” yielded results that told me seventh graders there study the social, geographic and economic histories of Asia and Africa.
If you're a homeschooler, this information can also help you prepare your own curriculum for your child, because you can align what you teach your child with what her peers are learning in public school.
Now that I know that my South Carolinian seventh grader is about to learn about modern world cultures from 1600 to the present in her social studies class, I'll look for books and websites with fun games for us to explore together.
Some excellent resources for educational games and activities: