spiral notebook pencils and paper clips flatlay
Arizona, Musings

In Praise of 4th Grade Social Studies

It’s back-to-school season and, let’s face it, this year it’s a lot different than in the past. But when it comes to curriculum, some things never change.

student at desk texting on phone, teacher writing on chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay

I was just a so-so student in school. My sisters were academics. I was more the class clown. When asked about my favorite topic, I almost always replied, “lunch” or “recess.” There were a few exceptions, of course. I remember fourth grade social studies because it meant LOTS of field trips. For those of you who may have forgotten, fourth grade is when you study the U.S. with a focus on the state where you live.

school picture of boy, vacation picture of girl. both around 9 years old
Somewhere around 9 years old, most kids are in fourth grade.

For Greg, it was all about California and its missions. For me, fourth grade was Mississippi. I know all about the Magnolia State. I’ve been to the home of Jefferson Davis. I can point out the Natchez Trail on a map. All-in-all, my knowledge of Mississippi is useless. 

As an Air Force brat we moved from state to state, base to base and even overseas. No matter where we were, our parents encouraged us to learn about our new home. As an active duty Airman, I continued to move around and continued to do my best to learn about where I lived. 

A little over a year ago, we moved to Arizona. The only time I ever lived “out west” was in kindergarten, so I don’t know much about the west. I sent away to www.visitArizona.com for brochures. I started a list of places to see. That’s when I realized I need to take fourth grade social studies.

graphic of Grand Canyon on welcome sign
Welcome to Arizona sign

I crave a little background about my new home. I want to learn about the Grand Canyon State’s history and people. I want to learn about the Native Americans who call this part of the world “home.” I want an easy-to-read map that shows Congressional districts; another one that shows mountain ranges; perhaps something that shows the different environments in this vast state where the highest point is almost 2.4 MILES and the lowest point is just 70 feet above sea level. 

Sure, I can read wikipedia and look it all up online, but a nice, concise fourth grade class might be kinda fun. Besides … I still like field trips.

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Knowing the background of the place you are visiting — or which you call home — makes exploring even more interesting.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2020 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

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