Classical Historian materials and online courses are inspired by the best that is offered in the Western educational tradition: openness, analysis, respect towards opposing viewpoints, recognition of an absolute truth, and honesty. The Classical Historian promotes individual liberty in its understanding, perspective, and teaching of history, economics, and government. Using the Socratic Discussion, students and teachers love learning history!
In a home school setting, the teacher follows the 32-week guide detailed sequence of lessons. In this guide, the teacher is shown which lessons to teach, along with the progression of lessons. The guide was created for home school classes meeting once per week, for about one hour to one and a half hours per session. The class works with single students, as well as with groups. When a teacher only has one student, the teacher can have the student understand and argue for two or three different sides to each open-ended question.
For the first few lessons, students learn the tools of the historian during class time. This can be accomplished by using our DVD program, or the teacher can watch the DVDs in advance and teach the lessons herself. We've found that the DVDs work extremely well with junior high students in classes of 15 students or less. If you have a larger co-op, it is better if the teacher trains herself by watching the DVDs and completing the Tools of the Historian DVD on her own before teaching them to the students.
During the week, students learn the tools of the historian in class, read history for homework, answer simple questions based on the reading, and review the questions at the beginning of each class.
Once the tools of the historian are learned, the students focus their attention on an open-ended question from the Take a Stand! book. In class, and for homework, students research their secondary source and primary source materials. During class, it is helpful to read these sources out loud to foster class discussion. Depending on time, sometimes students will have to do all of the reading on their own. Then, in class, students will share their research. After students have completed their research to answer the open-ended questions, and have filled in the research activities found in the Take a Stand! books, the teacher will lead the Socratic discussion.
Teachers learn how to lead the Socratic discussion by watching the DVD lessons which teach the tools of the historian, and through the "Teaching the Socratic Discussion" book. There are common questions that the teacher asks for every Socratic discussion in history. It is best if the teacher completes the readings with the student, but very often, it is better if the teacher is not an expert in history. It is the responsibility of the students to complete the readings and bring their ideas to the discussion.
The Classical Historian has taped discussions for three complete years at the junior high level (Ancient Civilizations, Medieval Civilizations, American History). The teacher can view these to get an idea of how the Socratic discussion in history works. Or, these can be shown to the co-op students as examples of good Socratic discussions.
In the junior high grades, students will not usually have over one hour per week of reading and preparation. In high school, students will have between 2-4 hours of reading per week, based on the reading ability. Time spent on the writing assignments depends on each student. Typically, the junior high student has approximately two hours per month of writing, and the high school student has about two to three hours per month.
After the discussion, students begin writing their essays. The historical writing process is presented to the students in a systematic method. Students first learn how to write a thesis statement, how to write an outline, how to write a rough draft, and how to revise essays.
After the essay is completed, students then focus on the next open-ended history question from Take a Stand!, and the process repeats. If the student already has enough writing in another class, he can skip the essay and just do the research and participate in Socratic discussions.
"From Adam and Missy Andrews, Center for Literature: "Adam and Missy Andrews have long been searching for effective history curriculum materials with little success. They are happy to report that the search is over! In 2012, they discovered The Classical Historian, a Socratic method for teaching history that shares many of the same principles advocated in Teaching the Classics. Click here for More!
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