california history curriculum

California History: Homeschool Curriculum and Online Classes

Are you looking for a California history curriculum for your 4th grader?

Explore California Out of the Box! The curriculum is geared for a full year of study. Using a literature approach, families will read five historical fiction books, plus selected short stories and the Audubon Field Guide to California to explore history, geology, social studies, and plant and animal life in California. The curriculum is interdisciplinary: What does that mean? Using California as the glue, all areas of study that are interesting are on the table! In interdisciplinary learning, areas and modes of study such as the arts, baking, flora and fauna, poetry, folklore, earth science, and even animal tracking can be explored.

Scope of the Curriculum

Using the historical fiction story modeled after the real life tale of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, the study begins with an exploration of the Channel Islands and Native peoples. The curriculum then surveys Pleistocene fauna both at the asphault seeps at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, as well as the story of the Santa Rosa Pygmy Mammoth who swam to Santa Rosae Island – both of these are always popular with kids! Then reading Valley of the Moon, the students will consider life in the Missions and the Ranchos time period.

The year continues on with other monumental events: The California Gold Rush, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and the Dust Bowl by way of the story of a migrant farmworker. In the last three parts, students will read By the Great Horn Spoon, The Earth Dragon Awakes, and Esperanza Rising. Alongside these books, students will cover State and National Parks, geology and tectonic plates, life in the 1840s, Pony Express, Transcontinental Railroad, and California agriculture.

Online Classes

We first launched our curriculum several years ago. For families desiring help with pacing – or who want their student to have a teacher – we put together live online homeschool classes. The classes meet once a week and reading and other projects are assigned between class meetings. Even though the course is online, it is very much hands-on. Both in-class and out of class exploration projects are assigned which will deepen learning.

Here are some fun projects we did last year. Alina created a Minecraft video about the San Francisco earthquake devastation. She did an awesome job!

San Francisco, 1906

When we explored a brief unit on nature poetry, Abdullah created this beautiful poem about the Sequoias.

Where to Get More Information

california history curriculum

The curriculum Teacher’s Book can be purchased on Amazon, the Carrier Shell Curriculum Bookstore or the Excellence in Education online store. Additionally, complete literature boxes are available in our store.

For families wanting a class, explore one of our online sections, offered Tuesday-Thursday. This year we have two teachers: Tracy Yeoh and Christine Echeverri. Come to our Open House on Monday, Aug. 16 to meet everyone! Here is a link to information about that event.

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