Liberal Arts Level 7: Classics of Christendom History

This course introduces high school students to some of the classical literary texts, or Great Books, of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. These texts have influenced the development of both Christian culture and the secular West, and while studying them, students explore the ideas, events, and figures that molded societies, arts, and ideas from the Middle Ages through the Reformation.

This course focuses on history, but also integrates some study of medieval and Renaissance literature, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. In this upper-school course, students will examine and discuss events, trends, ideas, achievements, and failures found in these historical periods, while also comparing and contrasting such study with their own contemporary period. While students focus on primary classic texts, they also read a survey text for broader context and understanding.

Students are asked to consider and engage with carefully crafted questions as their window into the Great Conversation. Occasionally, the teacher will present historical context through brief lectures, but otherwise, classes are seminar-style discussions on the classical texts. Students are assessed for their curiosity, participation, and diligence during discussions, as well as by means of short response papers, essays, and occasional quizzes.

This class is paired with our high school course Upper-School Classics of Christendom Literature, taught by the same teacher, and scheduled back to back with that course in a “block.” Students who take both courses receive a discount. This course may also be taken as a standalone history study.

Placement: Please read about our new process above.

This course is suitable for rising 11th–12th graders. Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as an interest in and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students enrolling in this course are expected to:

  • Read at or above a 10th-grade level
  • Compose paragraphs and basic essays with confidence
  • Use a planner and track assignment progress
  • Listen, take notes, and be willing to engage in group discussions (extroversion not required!)
  • Type well enough to transcribe paragraphs without frustration
  • Possess basic computer skills—browsing, accessing assignments, scanning, e-mailing, and managing files without significant help from parents
  • Have some exposure to medieval history and have taken a course in the Great Books of antiquity

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in history.

How much time will students spend on homework?
This varies according to each student’s pace. However, students are assigned approximately 1.5–2.5 hours of reading each week. Additional time may be required to supplement their own studying and paper or project development.

How does this course compare to the middle-school medieval history course?
The chief differences between the middle-school and upper-school levels for this course are noted below. While there will be some overlap of content taught, the upper-school course will be much more challenging and assume students taking the course are more mature, have more background knowledge, and possess greater facility in reading, writing, and scholarship.

How is faith integrated with these courses?
The seminar-style discussion unfolds organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors, but by contrast, we seek to read charitably. Classic authors are treated as though they are friends, whereby students glean every available truth while also examining the authors and their works from a robustly Christian perspective.

At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper-school students (in grades 7–12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues, and mores through the lens of orthodox Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the Church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. Read more about our Faith & Culture.

 

Syllabus

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For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.

  • With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
  • Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
  • Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.

Schoology

  • Mastered
    • Be able to manage Schoology assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Schoology notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
    • Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
    • Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
    • Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Schoology discussion boards.
    • Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Schoology messaging.
    • Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.

Writing

  • Mastered
    • Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
    • Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
    • Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
    • Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
    • Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
    • Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
    • Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
    • Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
    • Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Reading

  • Mastered
    • Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
    • Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
    • Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
    • Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
    • Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.

Typing

  • Mastered
    • Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
    • Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
    • Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
    • Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.

In-Class

  • Mastered
    • Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
    • Follow along with instructor-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
    • Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
    • Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
    • Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
    • Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.

Study

  • Mastered
    • Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
    • Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
    • Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
    • Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
    • Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).

Required Materials*

Students will need the posted translation and ISBN. They will require printed texts (no digital editions). They will need their own text (not a family library copy) as they will be expected to annotate and mark the text. If you think you have a version that is substantially the same and would like to check, feel free to contact the instructor.

  1. The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World (978-0141014494)
  2. Augustine, City of God (978-0140448948)
  3. Early Christian Lives (978-0140435269)
  4. The Rule of St. Benedict in English (978-0814612729)
  5. Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People (978-0199537235)
  6. John Damascene, Three Treatises on the Divine Images (978-0881412451)
  7. Chronicles of the Crusades (978-0140449983)
  8. Peter Kreeft, The Summa of the Summa (978-0898703009)
  9. Atlas of the European Reformations (978-1451499698)
  10. Machiavelli, The Prince (978-0226500447)
  11. Vasari, The Lives of the Artists (978-0199537198)
  12. Foxe, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (978-0199236848)

*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course. When available, we have supplied links to Amazon for convenience, but you may purchase the materials wherever you prefer.

Casey McCall holds a BA from Samford University and a MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is currently completing a PhD in Church History. He pastors a Baptist church near Louisville, Kentucky (ashlandoc.org) and has five years’ experience teaching Latin, Logic, and Humanities in classical schools. Casey desires to cultivate historical awareness among students and deeply believes that historical thinking is necessary for living wisely in the modern world. He enjoys connecting all learning to Christ and teaching students to treasure truth, goodness, and beauty. When not pastoring or teaching, Casey enjoys spending time with his wife, Niki, and five children, coaching his sons in baseball, reading, and blogging at caseymccall.com.casey@ashlandlex.org

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

 

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

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