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What is the Difference Between History and Social Studies?

what is the difference between history and social studies

What is the Difference Between History and Social Studies?


"Social studies" and "history" may be interchangeable terms for some colleges. You may have noticed that some college websites require four years of social studies while others require history. What is the difference between history and social studies?

When colleges request four years of social studies or four years of history, they both probably mean the same thing. Social studies (also called social sciences), is actually a broader term having to do with human social interaction. It can include history, government, economics, psychology, sociology, and probably some other "ologies" that I can't think of right now.

Geography can consist of either political geography (a social science) or physical geography (which could also be a science - not to confuse you or anything).

Many colleges specify what KIND of social studies they want to see. Often they require American history, American government, economics, and world history. You don't have to stick with just these four though. You can branch out and have your child study even MORE social sciences if you want to. We did in our homeschool because my kids loved social studies!

What social studies are you covering in your homeschool? Please share in the comments!



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Please note: This post was first published in June 2009 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Comments 14

Guest - Christine Marsh on Sunday, 17 April 2016 19:24

Thank you, Lee!

Thank you, Lee!
Guest - Lee (website) on Sunday, 17 April 2016 19:20

Christine, you can call it honors if the authors/publishers of your curriculum, Apologia Science, say it is a honors course, then you can call it honors or if your child passes a honors level test after taking taking the course, then you might call it honors. (AP or CLEP exam from Collegeboard.com)
If your child does more than the expected work, beyond high school level, then you might call it honors. (Adding a college textbook or college level supplement.)
There is no country-wide definition of “honors.” It just generally means “more than usual or expected.” I hope that helps,
Blessings,
Lee

Christine, you can call it honors if the authors/publishers of your curriculum, Apologia Science, say it is a honors course, then you can call it honors or if your child passes a honors level test after taking taking the course, then you might call it honors. (AP or CLEP exam from Collegeboard.com) If your child does more than the expected work, beyond high school level, then you might call it honors. (Adding a college textbook or college level supplement.) There is no country-wide definition of “honors.” It just generally means “more than usual or expected.” I hope that helps, Blessings, Lee
Guest - Christine Marsh on Sunday, 17 April 2016 18:36

If my daughter is taking Biology with a lab (Apologia) as a freshman, can I count it as an honors class on her transcript? Also, Algebra II as a freshman?

Thanks!
Chris

If my daughter is taking Biology with a lab (Apologia) as a freshman, can I count it as an honors class on her transcript? Also, Algebra II as a freshman? Thanks! Chris
Guest - Tina H. on Monday, 07 March 2016 15:15

There's more to it than that, actually. The term "social studies" was invented to begin the process about 100 years ago of minimizing history, civics, and geography. All the various "-ologies" are are meant to undermine the importance of those three major areas of importance and as that happened those key areas (especially history and civics) were also polluted with politically correct, revisionist lies. We'll be sticking to what's really important here - accurate history along with related geography and a full study of civics, particularly the Constitution. The "-ologies" are just humanistic clap-trap. And we won't be calling any of it "social studies" on our transcripts.

There's more to it than that, actually. The term "social studies" was invented to begin the process about 100 years ago of minimizing history, civics, and geography. All the various "-ologies" are are meant to undermine the importance of those three major areas of importance and as that happened those key areas (especially history and civics) were also polluted with politically correct, revisionist lies. We'll be sticking to what's really important here - accurate history along with related geography and a full study of civics, particularly the Constitution. The "-ologies" are just humanistic clap-trap. And we won't be calling any of it "social studies" on our transcripts.
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 08:22

Dear Tina,
That's an interesting way to look at it. We study the constitution too, my husband insisted on it.
Blessings,
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Tina, That's an interesting way to look at it. We study the constitution too, my husband insisted on it. Blessings, Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Jo Anna on Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:31

Our Family lives in the SW corner of Washington...next to Portland Oregon and it rains slugs clear down here too = )
Be Blessed!
Jo Anna

Our Family lives in the SW corner of Washington...next to Portland Oregon and it rains slugs clear down here too = ) Be Blessed! Jo Anna
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 08:23

Dear Jo Anna,
I imagine it would be tough to keep them out of your garden then!
Blessings,
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Jo Anna, I imagine it would be tough to keep them out of your garden then! ;) Blessings, Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Lee (website) on Sunday, 11 November 2012 13:06

Sharon,
I'm not familiar with that test, so look it up online first. Then make sure colleges will accept that test for dual enrollment.
Blessings,
Lee

Sharon, I'm not familiar with that test, so look it up online first. Then make sure colleges will accept that test for dual enrollment. Blessings, Lee
Guest - Sharon on Saturday, 10 November 2012 13:46

When should my high schooler try the PERT test for dual enrollment?

When should my high schooler try the PERT test for dual enrollment?
Guest - Joshua on Thursday, 30 August 2012 23:02

Thank you for the clarification, but what if the college requires 3 years of a Social Studies class and ALSO 3 years of History. What does that mean than?

Thank you for the clarification, but what if the college requires 3 years of a Social Studies class and ALSO 3 years of History. What does that mean than?
Guest - Assistant to The HomeScholar (website) on Thursday, 30 August 2012 23:20

Dear Joshua,
The expectations of colleges vary. As Lee was saying above, "Many colleges will specify what KIND of social studies they want." If you have a specific college in mind, you may want to consider joining the Gold Care Club, and Lee can help you navigate through the specific requirements for that particular college: http://www.thehomescholar.com/gold-care.php
Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Dear Joshua, The expectations of colleges vary. As Lee was saying above, "Many colleges will specify what KIND of social studies they want." If you have a specific college in mind, you may want to consider joining the Gold Care Club, and Lee can help you navigate through the specific requirements for that particular college: http://www.thehomescholar.com/gold-care.php Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Guest - Becky on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 17:17

Thanks so much for such a simplified answer. It's great to have an easy answer.

By the way, I'm from WA, too, so I sure understand raining slugs! Disgusting critters. lol

Thanks so much for such a simplified answer. It's great to have an easy answer. By the way, I'm from WA, too, so I sure understand raining slugs! Disgusting critters. lol
Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 20 October 2011 07:57

Lisa,
thanks so much for your feedback! Let me tell you a Seattle story, so you won't miss it so much. Last week I found a slug on our car windshield. Parked in the garage. It's like he came out of nowhere, and dropped on my windshield in the middle of the night inside the garage. We've had LOTS of jokes about how it rains slugs..... And yes, major mizzle this morning
Blessings,
Lee

Lisa, thanks so much for your feedback! Let me tell you a Seattle story, so you won't miss it so much. Last week I found a slug on our car windshield. Parked in the garage. It's like he came out of nowhere, and dropped on my windshield in the middle of the night inside the garage. We've had LOTS of jokes about how it rains slugs..... And yes, major mizzle this morning :) Blessings, Lee
Guest - Lisa on Thursday, 20 October 2011 07:48

Lee, you are a dear! Love your SIMPLE explanations for things.

I'm reading your book "Setting the Record Straight" and it is SO helpful! I truly thank the Lord for you and all your help. You're helping take the fear out of this for me.

God bless and keep up the awesome work,
Lisa

PS - I'm from Washington, too! We had to move 3 years ago and I miss my lovely rainy state so much. So I feel like I'm talking to a "friend" when I read your stuff or write you. Take care and enjoy the mizzle!

Lee, you are a dear! Love your SIMPLE explanations for things. I'm reading your book "Setting the Record Straight" and it is SO helpful! I truly thank the Lord for you and all your help. You're helping take the fear out of this for me. God bless and keep up the awesome work, Lisa PS - I'm from Washington, too! We had to move 3 years ago and I miss my lovely rainy state so much. So I feel like I'm talking to a "friend" when I read your stuff or write you. :) Take care and enjoy the mizzle!
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