Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Differences (3): School Subjects

If you want to know more about the A to Z Blogging Challenge, click here.

I write YA fiction, which has led me to wonder how growing up is different for young people in different countries. In my first post we spoke about school systems: how the different years are organised/labelled, private vs public schools and when/how long school holidays are. In my second post we spoke about school dances: when they are, who they're for, and how over the top they become!

Today I want to know what you actually studied (or pretended to study!) at school.

I live in South Africa and when I was in high school I did:
Science (that's Chemsitry + Physics)
Additional Mathematics

Other common high school subjects in this country are Accounting, Business Studies, Drama, History, Geography, and all the different African languages.

So, tell me: where do you live and what did you study at school?


Siv Maria said...

Both of my children go to school here in Norway and since I grew up in the states, I have had trouble understanding the school system here. First off high school ends at 9th grade. After that you are on your own, which means you have to pay for much more and basically know what you want to do the rest of your life. Then there is secondary high school if you choose, which is up to grade 12. Another thing, there are no school busses here. Students either walk, are driven or use public would just take to long :)transportation. I could go on forever but I am out of space :)

Rachel Morgan said...

Cool, I haven't had a response from Norway before! I can't believe high school ends at 9th grade! That is so young... And the rest of high school is just optional... That's kinda scary.

Elena Solodow said...

My American high school was pretty standard. English, Math, Science, History, Language.

Laura Josephsen said...

American high school required classes were pretty basic. Foreign language, English, Math, History/Geography, Science (that could be anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics). You had to take some electives, and there were tons of options for those. Photography, music, sports, theater, etc. I was homeschooled for most of high school, and I only had two classes left to take my last year, so I worked through the school year while doing my last two subjects.

NiaRaie said...

That sounds pretty much like the American high school experience. Most of the foreign languages studied were: Spanish,French, and German. My school was small so there weren't many electives. Just band, choir, yearbook, and sports.

Nicole L Rivera said...

I grew up in south Florida. We studied: Spanish, English/Literature, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, History, All kinds of Math, P.E. was always dreadful, Economics, I took Meteorology so I wouldn't have to take Drama, Stage Crew, and I'm sure there are more that I'm repressing :) Oh...Ethics, Bible, World Religions, ect. -- I went to Catholic School.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Some of the same, only Americanized. And no PE - physical education? I took that every semester.

Cherie Reich said...

I live in Virginia. Classes seemed pretty typical from what others have mentioned. I took:
Maths (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus)
Sciences (Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry)
History (World Geography, World History, US History, US Government)
English (4 years of it, mainly literature)
Two years of Health/Physical Education
Five years of Spanish (they also offered German, French, and Latin, which I've taken in college)

There are many other classes, but I didn't take them. Some I would've liked to, but I couldn't fit them in my schedule.

Michael Offutt said...

I live in Utah. When I was in school I studied: Calculus, Computers, Programming, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Statistics, English, American History, Anatomy and Physiology, Telecommunications, and Art.

J.L. Campbell said...

In Jamaica, we do 5 years of high school and then 2 years at A Level is optional.

In fifth form, I did English, English Lit, Math, History, Commerce, Spanish, Accounts - can't remember if I continued with Geography.

Before I got to choose my subjects at fourth form level I also did French, Religious Knowledge (In the Catholic school I went to, this is mandatory), Science, Physics, Biology, plus all the extra-curricular stuff.

In sixth form, I did Caribbean and European History, General Papers and English Literature.

Faith said...

I'm in Canada and I went to high school in Alberta, at a school that had really dull, bland choices compared to what the students can choose from where I live now (Ontario)!

I took things like English, Advanced French, Spanish, Chemistry, Phys. Ed., Choir & Jazz Choir, Math, Social Studies (history & geography combined), oh and there was one class which I can't remember the name of where we learned practical living skills like writing cheques, balancing a budget, environmental awareness, etc.

The Golden Eagle said...

It's so interesting to read people's responses!

As you know, I'm homeschooled--I study History, Math, Science, Language, English, Art, Life Arts, (cooking, budget, etc.), and there's P.E.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I live in Washington State and studied Language Arts as it was the easiest subject by far. There were some term papers that didn't sit right by me only because I didn't want to write them, but aside from that I really enjoyed the courses.

Math, on the other hand, was a whole other matter.

Following you via the A-Z Challenge!

Fourth Grade Teacher said...

I went to high school in the USA in the early 1970s. I studied English (Freshman English, Speech, Creative Writing, Literature on Trial, etc.), Spanish, Algebra, Biology (one year each math and science), Social Studies (Man & His Culture, Black Man in American History, Native Americans, Sociology), Values Clarification, and Contemporary Adult Living. I forget the rest. It wasn't rigorous because I was a girl and no one cared if I was going to college or not.

Kittie Howard said...

The commenters pretty much covered high school subjects in the States. Basics usually include math, English, science, and history. Physical Education used to be mandatory. Electives vary among school districts.

Languages are commonly taken as electives. Tourists are sometime taken aback. They speak native languages and don't think anyone around understands. It's not wise to do this in the U.S.

Kids who drop out of high school can obtain a GED (general education degree), usually at a community college, usually at night, and usually for free. The GED isn't viewed in the same positive light as a high school diploma but does blunt the drop-out stigma somewhat. The GED is, however, a foundation for entrance into college. Once there, college takes over and the GED stigma disappears. (One's gotta show forward movement.)

If you had a rough character who got lost in life and turned around, the GED would be a positive step.

Angela Felsted said...

I live in Virginia. And I remember studying English, Algebra, Biology, Chemistry, World History, Orchestra, and on and on.

Music theory was an interesting class.

India Drummond said...

It is VERY different... like that my son was nominated to be a prefect, and his American cousins all said, "Oh, like in Harry Potter?" LOL

India Drummond

Sylvia Ney said...

I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I love these posts. It's so interesting to learn about cultural differences. Thank you for sharing.

The Words Crafter said...

I live in NC (USA) and I studied French, Spanish, concentrated in English, also Western Civ. 1 & 2. I took math and science as required, but hated it. I do love various kinds of science. Not math. Ick!

I also love geography and sociology and psychology.

Gina Blechman said...

Everyone always gets here first and steals my answers!

I live in the US and I took
MATH (geometry, precalc, discrete, algebra II)
HISTORY (US I, US II, and World)
SCIENCE (bio, physics, chem, and geology)
WORLD LANGUAGE (i took italian, but my school also offered, Latin, Spanish, German, and French)
ELECTIVE COURSES (fashion design, wood tech, guitar, genocide and holocaust, sociology, gender studies, and creative writing)

<3 Gina Blechman

Madeleine said...

I recently studied creative writing at home, does that count? :O)

Cally Jackson said...

Most of the subjects offered in Queensland, Australia seem pretty similar to those offered in South Africa and the USA. Compulsory subjects up to year ten are English, Maths, Social Studies and Science.

In year 1l and 12 the only compulsory subjects are English and Maths, but then we have board subjects which count to your OP (Overall Position, which determines what courses you can get into at university), and non-board subjects, which don’t count towards your OP. Board subjects include accounting, drama, art, history, languages (German, Japanese, French…), catering, aerospace (!), business principles, legal studies, chemistry, biology, physics, HPE etc. Non-board subjects include typing, animal husbandry, basic English, maths for life etc. You have to do at least five board subjects to be eligible for an OP.

Still totally digging this series, Rach! :)