Eighth Grade Social Studies Classes and Help

During the eighth grade, social studies courses often highlight aspects of American history from 1820 to the present era. Continue reading to learn more about what eighth graders are likely to be taught in social studies classes and to explore support strategies for frustrated eighth graders.

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Common Eighth Grade Social Studies Curriculum

Schools across the United States do not teach eighth graders the same core social studies curriculum. This said, it's fairly typical for students to complete a year-long American studies course that begins with the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1820 and continues with the following topics: Manifest Destiny, the Reform Era, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and the post-Cold War era. Students investigate these historical developments from an economic, political, geographic, social and cultural perspective. Eighth graders will often be expected to develop critical thinking skills through group discussions, research papers and in-class presentations. They may also be expected to memorize historical data for tests.

Tips for Struggling Students

If your eighth grader struggles with his social studies class, consider hiring a private tutor who has experience teaching or tutoring history. The tutor can discuss complex or intricate historical events with your teen and may be able to help him brainstorm for essay topics. A tutor can also be helpful if your teen needs help revising or proofreading papers he's already written.

You may also consider asking a peer tutor to help your teen. Peer tutors are often high school students who have done well in an academic context. Your son or daughter may feel more comfortable with peer tutors because they are likely to be closer to your teen's age than a private tutor. Similarly, a peer tutor will have taken an eight grade social studies course fairly recently and may recall the topics more readily. Your local high school may have a list of students who act as peer tutors. Alternatively, some local libraries have community tutoring programs with peer tutors on hand.

Finally, if your teen struggles with research for her essays, your local librarian may be able to act as a helpful guide. Social studies courses often ask students to incorporate primary or secondary evidence into essay assignments to strengthen arguments. Even if you child has been told how to conduct research at the library, the research process may still feel daunting. Have your teen write down the specific events and ideas she needs to research. She can then bring this list to a local librarian, who can show her the most up-to-date ways to search for useful information on the Internet or in the library catalog.

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