Middle School American History
“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present.
History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.”
Here, Chesterton illuminates the necessity of knowing history. But why should your students study American history? To give them the advantages of learning to understand more about God, themselves, and the world around us; to train their minds to think, to perceive wisdom, to pursue virtue, and to proclaim truth!
This Middle School American History course is paired with the same level American Literature course so that the two fields are integrated, enhancing each other, although either can be taken independently. Students will receive a lively portrait of the history (and literature, if taking the literature class as well) of the U.S. from engaging tertiary texts like H. A. Guerber’s The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic and Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, Volumes 3 and 4 and selections from primary historical sources such as John Wintrhop, William Bradford, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, to name a just a few. This class takes a storytelling approach to history.
Students will be immersed in the life, times, and writings of the story of the United States and will be required to discuss and write about what they are learning as well as demonstrate their mastery of the material in more generic ways like quizzes and tests.
Our study of American Literature and History will teach students to cultivate historical thinking through the engaging study of real people and events that have helped shape the nation of America. Beginning with Breakout exercises (from Socratic Circles by Matt Copeland), progressing to the annotation of small sections of texts, and moving on to asking one another questions from their annotations, students will learn the basics of Socratic discussions, which will guide our interaction as they begin to see shades of gray and the nuances of people and events. Posing and answering questions will take them deeper into historical events and advance their thinking skills. Learning how to summarize, complete outlines, and write papers will help them connect information, and see causes and effects.
Students are asked to consider and engage carefully crafted questions as to their window into “the Great Conversation”. Occasionally, the teacher will present historical context through brief lectures, but all other classes are seminar-style discussions on the American texts. Students are assessed for their curiosity, participation, and their diligence during the discussion, as well as using short response papers, essays, projects, and occasional informal quizzes. It is understood that students of this age are at varying abilities and skill levels and the goal is to improve and increase the skill level of each student.
This class is paired with our middle-school course on American literature, often 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 6th–8th graders. Students are expected to have proficient reading and emerging writing skills as well as the interest and willingness to grow in discussion skills about literature and history. Students suited for this course will also be cultivating the following scholarship skills:
- Actively engage in note-taking
- Practice outlining
- Apply teacher critiques
- Adhere to deadlines
- Be responsible for class and project preparedness
- Take initiative to ask questions for understanding and comprehension
How much time will students spend on homework?
This varies by student, according to his or her pace. However, students are generally assigned about 1.5–2.5 hours of reading each week. Additional time may be required to supplement the student’s own studying and paper or project development.
How does this course compare to the upper-school ancient 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 a more mature student with more background knowledge and greater reading, writing, and scholarship facility.
How is faith integrated with these courses?
These seminar-style discussions unfold organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors. By contrast, we seek to read charitably. We treat classic authors as if they were friends, gleaning every available truth while also examining them 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 middle-school students (in grades 6–8) 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.
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.
These scholarship skills are a prerequisite for beginning this course.
Introductory – no background knowledge of either history or literature or a particular skill level is assumed or required.
Survey – students will gain a broad perspective on civilization, reinforcing what they have already learned and preparing them for future studies.
The following scholarship skills will be developed and honed throughout the course:
General Scholarship Skills
Socratic Discussion: Formulate questions, define terms, offer examples, compare, contrast, and discover relationships between ideas.
Inspectional Reading: Skim, preview books, study the table of contents and other parts of the book, and search for information.
Analytical Reading: Identify key passages, terms, and definitions, outline a passage or short chapter; determine an author’s message; evaluate key arguments.
Mark a Text: Underline key terms, add marginal notes; annotate; introduction to color-coding.
Composition: Keep a reading journal, compose a short narrative, and respond in paragraph form to a prompt.
Geography: Identify important information on historical maps; identify the relationship between geography and history.
Timeline: Follow a timeline of events that tells the story of the development of the United States, along with its relationship with world history.
Research: Become familiar with the methods of primary research used by historians and archaeologists.
Literacy: Learn the vocabulary of the specific period (names of people groups, political entities, wars, places, and artifacts) and general historical inquiry (especially economic, religious, artistic, and political concepts)
Appreciation: Cultivate a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the rich inheritance of civilization that we enjoy today: art, architecture, science, religion, medicine, literature, philosophy, mathematics, law, ethics, education, and so much more.
For Sections with Vixie Friedman
- American History: A History of US Ten volume set ISBN: 0195327268
- Timeline Book of Centuries: Create Your Own Unique Record of History by C Whitney ISBN: 979-8597579009
- Various primary source documents, fables, tall tales, etc. provided by the teacher.
- OPTIONAL: Atlas of American History by Rand McNally ISBN:-10:0528015346
- OPTIONAL: The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers — 7th Edition may be a helpful resource since papers and essays will be submitted using basic MLA formatting guides.
For Sections with Allen Rushing
- Story of the Thirteen Colonies by H. A. Guerber
- Story of the World Volume 3 by Susan Wise Bauer
- Story of the World Volume 4 by Susan Wise Bauer
- Numerous primary source readings (including a Journal of Christopher Columbus, sermons by John Winthrop and Jonathan Edwards, selections from William Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, and various works of Cotton Mather- Heath Intro, Wonders of the Invisible World, and Magnalia Christi Americana) to be supplied by teacher through PDF files
Vixie Friedman Since she was a little girl, Vixie Friedman always wanted to be a teacher and lined up her dolls and stuffed animals to compose her classroom. That dream became a reality when she began homeschooling her oldest son in 1988, a journey that continued with her six children until her youngest graduated from their family’s homeschool in 2015.
Vixie has taught in a formal classical education setting since 2008 and assisted with curriculum development and staff training with a classical Christian curriculum company.
Graduating with a BS degree in nursing from Western Carolina University, Vixie entered the US Army Nurse Corps, where she was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. This fueled her love of travel and history as she married and left her Army commission to raise a family. She and her husband lived in Germany for nine years and enjoyed traveling throughout Europe, studying the region’s history as they traveled.
These days she continues to travel as she and her husband travel to Israel, Europe, and Africa through their ministry, Children of Jacob. She is continuing her education as she pursues a Master of Classical Studies in History and enjoys enriching her personal education through Bible studies, individual reading, and book clubs. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, including a growing number of grandchildren, cooking, and crafting. firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen Rushing has always loved story, and that love only grew when, at the age of 14, the Lord saved him. Since then he has joyfully studied the truth, beauty, and goodness of The Story found in Scripture and reflected in the great works, from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. One of the delights of The Story is taking the time to delve deeply into it, which is why the “restful” philosophy of Scholé is so appealing to Allen. One of the reasons such an approach is natural for him is because of the way he was homeschooled K-12 in the Classical Christian educational tradition. Allen was able to expand on this solid spiritual and educational foundation through his undergraduate degree in Classics with a History focus; in the process of earning this degree, he enjoyed taking classes in Classical Latin, Koine Greek, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology. While in graduate school, he was able to broaden his historical knowledge base, gaining a greater understanding of Western civilization as a whole and focusing particularly on the periods of the Greco-Roman world, Late Antiquity, medieval period, twentieth century world history, the World Wars, and the Cold War. Since graduate school, Allen has taught the humanities from a biblical worldview. Some of Allen’s favorite ways of enjoying the adventure upon which the Lord has set him are reading, writing, building his house, climbing trees, playing ping pong, and spending time with his wife and two children. email@example.com
High-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.
Headset: 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
Zoom: 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. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Explore our courses!
First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
Read the Student-Parent Handbook.
Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
Double-check the course section dates and times.
Make sure they don't conflict with other activities in your schedule or other courses you are purchasing. Our system will not catch double-bookings!
You're ready to add course selections to your cart!
Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.