High School Humanities Program

The Program:

Year One: From the Rise of Civilization to the Hellenistic Period

Year Two: From the Rise of Rome to Beowulf

Year Three: From the Rise of Islam to the Protestant Reformation

Year Four: The Modern World

The High School Humanities Program contains elements that will be familiar to homeschoolers of the Classical Education or Great Books school; however, it differs somewhat in reading list and approach from examples of either that we have seen in the past.

We do make use of modern (college level) text books to provide overall historical context to the program. We have done our best to select high quality ones, and we believe that although reading primary sources and special topic secondary sources is very important, a good text book can be very important in providing a good overall understanding for a period.

We also include a number of secondary sources in the program. Despite our great admiration for the Great Books approach, it's been our experience that while high school and college students are definitely ready to tackle many of the Great Books of Western Civilization, good secondary source works by modern academics are often invaluable in helping students to understand and appreciate the Great Books.

Our purpose in selecting which works to include in the program has been to try to give students an understanding of how people thought, and what events shaped their thoughts, throughout Western history. As such, we've passed over some books which are often included in Great Books lists (Euclid, most of Aristotle, Cervantes, Hobbes, Locke, Darwin, Freud) and included some other works which are not often seen on such lists.

The goal has been to achieve as much as possible in the four years of high school a general impression of how people's ideas about themselves and the world have changed over the last 4,000 years of history, and so we have at times selected shorter or easier works that seem indicative and avoided longer more famous ones in which the student may simply become bogged down.