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Common Arts IIB | Spring

The common arts are the skills by which we meet our basic, embodied needs in the world through the creation of artifacts or the provision of services. Growing food, cooking nutritious (and delicious!) meals, caring for animals, crafting with materials, repairing broken artifacts, healing injuries, defending ourselves, and many more foundational skills fall into this category. Through the practice of the common arts, the liberal arts of language and mathematics are made manifest in physical ways, ways that transcend paper practice and abstraction. An awareness of the goodness, truth, and beauty of God’s creation and providence becomes more profound as we learn just how deeply he has provided for us if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, as well as minds to reason and skilled hands to craft.

Common Arts II builds upon the foundations established in Common Arts I, expanding into novel categories and as-yet-unexplored avenues of skills, practice, and refinement. From a foundation of GOST (goals, objectives, strategy, and tactics), armament, and apprenticeship, students will explore medicine (nutrition), cooking, agriculture (spring gardening), material-working arts, animal husbandry (chickens, ducks, rabbits), military history, and principles of self-defense.

NOTE: This course could be taken as a stand-alone, without prior experience in Common Arts I or in the Common Arts IIA.

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

  • Common Arts Education, Chris Hall, Classical Academic Press.
  • commonplace notebook
  • drawing kit
  • ruler
  • various materials suitable to the practice of the common arts included in the course description

Chris Hall, Lead Science Instructor, has a BA in philosophy from Gettysburg College and an MAT in elementary education from Towson University. He has been a classroom educator and administrator for 25 years, having served in public, independent, and classical schools. In that time, he has served as a classroom teacher in grades K-12, primarily as a science educator, PK-8 Science Department Chair, and a Lower School Academic Dean. Along with his professional pedigree, he is a lifelong practitioner of several of the common arts profiled in his book Common Arts Education: Renewing the Classical Tradition of Training the Head, Hands, and Heart, and the founder of Always Learning Education, an organization dedicated to teaching, learning, and propagating the common arts. He lives on a small, homesteaded farm in central Virginia with his wife and three homeschooled sons.

Quarter 3

  1. Introduction to the Common Arts: Definition, Resonance with Liberal and Fine Arts, Apprenticeship Model
  2. Multi-Sensory Observation Refinement
  3. Commonplacing
  4. X-Working Arts: Leatherworking and Stonemasonry Tools and Techniques
  5. Crafting Projects: Independent Research and Artifact Creation, The Five Rights
  6. Spring Agriculture: Planting and Propagation Techniques for Staples (Potatoes, Small-Scale Grains); Old vs. Modern Methods, Soil Evaluation and Health, Early-Season Pruning
  7. Armament: GOST Review (Goals, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics)
  8. Armament (Napoleonic to WWII Era)- Studies of the Gettysburg Campaign, Blitzkrieg, Iwo Jima

Quarter 4

  1. Animal Husbandry: Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys, and Rabbits
  2. Under the Hood: Basic Automotive Maintenance and Care
  3. Self-Defense Principles and Basic Techniques- Escapes from Common Grabs and Attacks, Evasion
  4. Situational Awareness and De-escalation Techniques
  5. Preparedness Kits for Homes and Vehicles: First Aid, Ten Essentials, How to Build and Store Kits

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
  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.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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