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  1. #1
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default AP European History WHY???

    This is sort of a rant but sort of a discussion question. Why is this the social sciences course for high achieving high school sophmores?

    We're setting up DS1's schedule for next year and we're trying to decide whether to do the accelerated courses (Honors, AP, IB) or the college prep classes for everything. He did really well with Honors English this year and he'd like to continue next year BUT he can only take it if he ALSO takes European History AP and that's frustrating.

    Because I think that is a dumb class for high schoolers to take! I don't have a problem with European History at all. I actually have an MA in Medieval History. I just think that the CP option, World History, presents a much more balanced and useful course for high schoolers! I can't imagine knowing only about European royalty and not about the history of Egypt or China or many of the other topics the CP class will undoubtedly cover. As a history major, I feel like the World History curriculum is much better for general mastery of the subject of history and for preparation for college! I wish that was an option for my honors/AP/IB bound kid.

    I think we'll probably end up doing CP English and History. While DS1 has taken mostly honors classes this year, I don't think he necessarily NEEDS to take every single class available. At the same time, I'm sad he'll have to skip out on English Honors this coming year. He loves reading, writing, and great literature.

    But does anyone else think that the kids who are high achievers are getting cheated out of a better high school experience by having this be the required coursework for high school sophmores? I feel like in this day and age, European History just seems so much less relevant and useful than a curriculum in World History could be.

    Did any of you run into this problem with your kids in high school? Or otherwise wants to weigh in on the subject?

  2. #2
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    Well European history was my favorite class ever. It motivated me in ways no other class did.

  3. #3
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly Mom View Post
    Well European history was my favorite class ever. It motivated me in ways no other class did.
    Actually that's good to hear! As an Medievalist I love the subject too. I was just thinking (and knowing my own child) that otherwise he'll miss hearing about the Gupta Empire and Mali and the Mongol Conquests (that might touch Europe) and all those amazing stories. I'm too much of a history buff for my own good, lol.

    I do think that it is good to remember that any high school course is going to be incomplete. Maybe the passion over a small section is better than a broad (and boring) swath.

  4. #4
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by bisous View Post
    This is sort of a rant but sort of a discussion question. Why is this the social sciences course for high achieving high school sophmores?

    We're setting up DS1's schedule for next year and we're trying to decide whether to do the accelerated courses (Honors, AP, IB) or the college prep classes for everything. He did really well with Honors English this year and he'd like to continue next year BUT he can only take it if he ALSO takes European History AP and that's frustrating.

    Because I think that is a dumb class for high schoolers to take! I don't have a problem with European History at all. I actually have an MA in Medieval History. I just think that the CP option, World History, presents a much more balanced and useful course for high schoolers! I can't imagine knowing only about European royalty and not about the history of Egypt or China or many of the other topics the CP class will undoubtedly cover. As a history major, I feel like the World History curriculum is much better for general mastery of the subject of history and for preparation for college! I wish that was an option for my honors/AP/IB bound kid.

    I think we'll probably end up doing CP English and History. While DS1 has taken mostly honors classes this year, I don't think he necessarily NEEDS to take every single class available. At the same time, I'm sad he'll have to skip out on English Honors this coming year. He loves reading, writing, and great literature.

    But does anyone else think that the kids who are high achievers are getting cheated out of a better high school experience by having this be the required coursework for high school sophmores? I feel like in this day and age, European History just seems so much less relevant and useful than a curriculum in World History could be.

    Did any of you run into this problem with your kids in high school? Or otherwise wants to weigh in on the subject?
    I'll weigh in...why is this a "we" decision? If he wants to take the class combo that includes it, he absolutely should get to make that decision. Also, it's only sophomore year- it's not like he can't take a more diverse history one of the other years (or double up, like some kids at our school do- kids with a passion double up subjects a lot, like ds1 will be taking 2 AP sciences next year and his friend is taking 2 AP history courses).

    There are no requirements like that though- they simply need a math, English, history and some other classes each year. There aren't really any prerequisites as teachers can recommend that you can skip a level if you want.

  5. #5
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    I'll weigh in...why is this a "we" decision? If he wants to take the class combo that includes it, he absolutely should get to make that decision. Also, it's only sophomore year- it's not like he can't take a more diverse history one of the other years (or double up, like some kids at our school do- kids with a passion double up subjects a lot, like ds1 will be taking 2 AP sciences next year and his friend is taking 2 AP history courses).

    There are no requirements like that though- they simply need a math, English, history and some other classes each year. There aren't really any prerequisites as teachers can recommend that you can skip a level if you want.
    I have to sign the form, that's why I said "we". DS1 doesn't know which one to take. He really liked his English class but wants to specialize in science more than English or the social sciences. He plans on taking lots of science! By contrast, he won't have much room in his schedule for history. I emailed the counselor to get clarification on if there's really no other way to take honors English or if it will be a big deal if he skips honors his sophmore year, to pick it up again junior year. He just really wants to get as far as he can in science. Physics is his passion.

  6. #6
    robinsmommy is online now Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    The feedback I have heard is that the World History had too much in it, so it was trimmed- and what was left was basically European History anyways. I donít think you can do any justice to world-wide history with only a year. AP classes are kind of a bust in my opinion, anyway- I would rather that schools just taught honors and let the College Board go make their money somewhere else.

    ETA- I think that it depends greatly on the teacher. AP Euro class at our school has either a great or mediocre teacher. Get feedback and use that to guide a decision. Dd had an awesome teacher and loved the class. Others who had previously had the other had a ton of work, and didnít really get inspired. School at any age is often more about the teacher than the philosophy or curriculum.
    Last edited by robinsmommy; 03-04-2019 at 08:22 PM. Reason: More info

  7. #7
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    We are doing AP European History and honors English is actually the APSeminar class. History is DS love! I figure it will be hard to come back to honors English if you skip it one year. If the history class is the only AP class he has this year, then take it!! DS took AP Human Geography this year. It is good to have a year of AP under your belt before junior and senior year. He is learning a ton about how you take AP classes. Unfortunately, thatís a necessary skill these days. And colleges frown on kids taking easier classes if harder ones are available. Granted, itís a bad idea to take a hard class and get a C, but if you can do it and get aB, itís worth it
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    I'll weigh in...why is this a "we" decision? If he wants to take the class combo that includes it, he absolutely should get to make that decision. Also, it's only sophomore year- it's not like he can't take a more diverse history one of the other years (or double up, like some kids at our school do- kids with a passion double up subjects a lot, like ds1 will be taking 2 AP sciences next year and his friend is taking 2 AP history courses).

    There are no requirements like that though- they simply need a math, English, history and some other classes each year. There aren't really any prerequisites as teachers can recommend that you can skip a level if you want.
    I agree 100% with this. DS1 is in 10th grade and I will have to sign his course form also, but all decisions and questions will be between him, his teachers, his advisor who he sees weekly, and the college counselor who also has to sign off on all course schedules for 10th grade and up. Any emails, etc would be for DS1 to be writing. The thought of emailing the counselor myself wouldn't even cross my mind. Once it's all been figured out by him, I'll sign it. He needs to learn to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for himself, just like he will have to do in college and life. I'd step back and have your DS figure it out. Also, FWIW DS1's school and most of the private schools and some charters in Los Angeles are phasing out all AP courses. Next year is the last year that DS1's school will off AP courses and I'm very happy about the decision. My only advice is for my DS1 is to take advanced classes in subjects he loves because that's where he's most likely to do well when he's genuinely interested in the subject.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by essnce629 View Post
    I agree 100% with this. DS1 is in 10th grade and I will have to sign his course form also, but all decisions and questions will be between him, his teachers, his advisor who he sees weekly, and the college counselor who also has to sign off on all course schedules for 10th grade and up. Any emails, etc would be for DS1 to be writing. The thought of emailing the counselor myself wouldn't even cross my mind. Once it's all been figured out by him, I'll sign it. He needs to learn to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for himself, just like he will have to do in college and life. I'd step back and have your DS figure it out. Also, FWIW DS1's school and most of the private schools and some charters in Los Angeles are phasing out all AP courses. Next year is the last year that DS1's school will off AP courses and I'm very happy about the decision. My only advice is for my DS1 is to take advanced classes in subjects he loves because that's where he's most likely to do well when he's genuinely interested in the subject.

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    your kid gets a lot of support from the school! Around here, they get a ONE TIME 10-15 minute slot with a counselor to figure it out and sign off - no advisors- and Did I mention the teachers are in pre-strike mode?
    I definitely gave my input, though yes, my 10th grader made the final decision for next year’s classes.
    OP, I agree with you that I would prefer world history, But I suppose he can take that later.
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  10. #10
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Globetrotter View Post
    your kid gets a lot of support from the school! Around here, they get a ONE TIME 10-15 minute slot with a counselor to figure it out and sign off - no advisors- and Did I mention the teachers are in pre-strike mode?
    I definitely gave my input, though yes, my 10th grader made the final decision for next year’s classes.
    OP, I agree with you that I would prefer world history, But I suppose he can take that later.
    Yep! Thatís our reality. There isnít enough information given. The counselor will know if taking a lower course for a year will affect his college chances (based on the individual schools heís comsixereinh) or even his ability to get back on the Honors track if he takes a year off. His school has an IB program that heís not sure if he wants to be a part of or not. There are 5 counselors at school for 2500 kids and theyre all picking classes right now. DS1 wants input so Iím helping him and Iím quite comfortable with that plan.

    All the info about the course you guys are providing is really helpful. I wish that the school would drop AP classes but still offer accelerated classes. I think Iíll poke around and see if I can get feedback about the teacher. As someone mentioned upthread the teacher makes all the difference and I couldnít agree more!

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