This live, graded world history class traces the social, economic, and political development of world civilizations and the growth of important ideas from ancient times through the Early Modern Period. Live class sessions will cover both Western and non-Western cultures, with particular attention devoted to the history of China and surrounding regions, India, the Mediterranean World, and Europe.
Outside of class time, students complete lessons focused on particular topics in Modern World History (either audio-visual or text-based, depending on learning style), deepen their understanding of world geography, learn how to interpret primary documents, and delve deeper into related topics of their choosing. Monthly quizzes based on live class sessions and weekly history lessons encourage the students to synthesize the historical content they are encountering. Students are given two chances on every monthly quiz.
Students will master much historical content. They also have plenty of opportunities to think critically about what they are learning. Our time together is built around questions that I pepper throughout our live sessions. For example:
- When we discuss the ancient Greeks, I ask students, “What options does a society have when they don’t have enough resources to feed their people?”
- When we’re talking about the Middle Ages, I ask, “Why would people who are living in oppressed conditions continue to go along with the status quo?”
- When we’re talking about worldviews in medieval Europe, I ask, “Why do you think this time period was not famous for many rebellions against the status quo?”
Student contributions get woven in meaningful ways into the class material. My aim is to make the course as interactive and thought-provoking as possible. I’m also interested in all of us having a good time together while we learn history. From the feedback I’ve received over the years from parents and students, I am confident that I’ve been able to create a class environment where we have a lot of fun while exploring the past and improving critical thinking skills.
The course is built on a pattern of eight Units, each containing four weeks: Weeks A, B, C, and D. Certain assignment types fall dependably on particular weeks so that students and parents can rely on a regular, repeated schedule of work throughout the year.
Live class sessions are designed to engage students at different levels. Homework assignments are designed to meet the needs of the average student. However, for families who wish a more challenging, honors-level course, additional homework and testing expectations can be added to the course. Parents simply have to contact me to opt their students into the honors-level track. For the typical student, weekly workloads should average about 4 or 5 hours.
For families who are interested in a more detailed example of how our live sessions tend to operate, please click on this link to watch a 20 minute compilation of four short excerpts from a Modern European History class on World War I.
Students at the honors level in World History I do a significant project each semester, with detailed instructions provided for them. For the first semester, students design their own ancient civilization, addressing several topics (geography, leadership structure, religion), demonstrating their understanding of how ancient civilizations were affected by the landscape, resources, and other people groups near them. They create a presentation (preferably audio-visual) to introduce their civilization. In the second semester, students create a “class” on ancient and medieval Japan, using my own question-driven classes as a model. In addition, students at the honors level also read about 4 extra lessons each month. They need to take notes on those lessons. The notes should be detailed enough to act as a study aid if a test were given. They also need to generate at least one good historical research question based on the information in each lessons. There will not be additional quizzes or exams for honors level, unless a parent opts into a midterm and final for the student to take. If a student signs up for honors level at the beginning of the year through Aim Academy, but at some point later in the year needs to drop to the regular level, that can be done with no grade penalty.
Who should enroll?
This course is designed for 9th-12th graders, although parents of mature 8th graders can contact me about the possibility of their son/daughter joining. I have had 8th graders enjoy and have success with the course in the past.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
The course is designed to improve critical thinking and historical reasoning skills particularly during our live class sessions. Regular homework assignments promote mastery of content.