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Medieval History for Middle Grades

This course introduces the students to the ideas, events, and cast of characters that molded the social, political, religious, scientific, economic, and technological history and literature from Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation Europe. This class is paired with a corresponding Medieval Literature for Middle Grades class, taught by the same teacher, and scheduled back-to-back in a “block.” Students who take both courses receive a discount. Either course may also be taken as a stand-alone course. Because of this arrangement, and the nature of history and literature, there will necessarily be overlap between the two classes. This integrative experience of history and literature is one of the benefits of the classical model.

I believe that the Biblical mandate to “love thy neighbor” extends even to human beings that came before us. We desire to know and understand how people in the past lived, what they valued, and how they made sense of the world. Augustine wrote that humans are defined by their loves. We can get a sense for the “loves” of past people and cultures by studying their world and by reading the works that they read. This is an act of Christian charity or love that should stir us to humility and gratitude. My hope is that students come out of this course with a historical mindedness that produces a deeper love of God and love for our neighbor.

The main geographical focus of this course will be on Europe, but will also include portions of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Americas when relevant. Western culture did not exist in a vacuum but was shaped by exchanges and encounters with the broader world before it became the cultural tradition that we inherited. Each class period is intended to be primarily seminar/ discussion style. The instructor may open a history class with a traditional lecture-style lesson to provide historical background and context, but the intention is to keep the classes dialogue driven.

This course is suitable for rising 7th–9th graders. Students are expected to have proficient reading and writing skills as well as the interest and capacity for engaging in discussion about history and literature. Students suited for this course will also be cultivating the following scholarship skills:

  • Actively and independently engage in note-taking
  • 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 medieval/Renaissance/Reformation 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 upper school students (in grades 7-12) 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.

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

  • Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Middle Ages. Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2007. ISBN**: **978-1597313520
  • Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Renaissance and Reformation. Brooklyn, NY: Angelico Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-1597313513
  • Allen, S.J. & Amt, Emilie. The Crusades: A Reader. University of Toronto Press, 2010 (Instructors will provide PDFs of sections used)

Chris Marchand (pronounced mar-shan) is a music pastor and priest within the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), serving in Peoria, Illinois. He holds a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Arts in Music Ministry from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and was trained as a hospital chaplain in a residency program at Saint Francis Hospital. A former headmaster and teacher at Aletheia Classical Christian School, he has taught humanities, history, science, and government courses. He is married to Elisa and they have four children. The author of Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas: a guide for churches and families, he also produces podcasts, composes music, and loves to discuss anything related the arts and his favorite sport tennis.

Phaedra Shaltanis, Chair of the Humanities Department, has taught in private and classical schools for over 25 years and has educated her four children in the classical tradition, which has been the monumental joy of her life. After college graduation, she began teaching high school Writing, Literature, Spanish, and Art in classical schools. Her involvement with Scholé Academy includes teaching American Literature, British Literature, Western History, Rhetoric I, Formal Logic and Well-Ordered Language Levels 1 and 2. She is enthused to serve as the Humanities department chair and appreciates guiding parents and teachers toward restful education. In her Dallas community, she currently directs a high school university-model program, trains and mentors teachers, conducts seminars on classical education, builds curriculum, supports parents, and provides fine art instruction at a classical high school. She and her husband hope to support classical education as avenues present themselves.

Caeli Lanzilotti lives in Northern VA with her husband and two-year-old son. She is passionate about the Liberal Arts and pursuing a life fully realized. She has taught Ancient, American, and World Literature to 9th-12th graders in a private school setting for the past six years. Before moving to VA, she taught Middle School Literature-History, English grammar, and Religion for six years at a small classical school near Philadelphia. She loves the classical model of education, and she is deeply indebted to her former students and colleagues from whom and with whom she has learned so much about the virtuous life. She holds an MA in teaching and a BA in English with a minor in Philosophy. For leisure, she loves trail running and hiking in the woods with her husband, swimming, and baking.

Quarter 1

  1. The Fall of Rome
  2. Germanic culture
    1. Goths, Visigoths, invaders
  3. Byzantium and the Eastern Roman Empire
    1. Justinian, Hagia Sophia
  4. Islam
    1. Origin and growth
  5. Early England
    1. Celts, Anglo-Saxons, languages
  6. Vikings
    1. Lindesfarne, raids, resettling

Quarter 2

  1. Charlamagne
    1. The Holy Roman Empire
  2. Church and the Papacy
    1. Monasticism, Saints, Orders
  3. Feudalism and Knighthood
    1. Manors, systems of economy, culture
  4. Normans and William the Conqueror
    1. End of the Early Middle Ages
  5. Crusades
    1. Saladin, Richard the Lionheart, map work

Quarter 3

  1. The Renaissance in Italy
    1. Venice
    2. Architecture and and Artists
  2. Spain and France
    1. Ferdinand and Isabella
    2. French Monarchy
  3. Early Tudor England
    1. Henry VIII
    2. Humanism, Erasmus, Oxford
  4. Education and Discoveries
    1. Copernicus, Galileo, Spanish conquistadores

Quarter 4

  1. Reformation in German
    1. Martin Luther
  2. Reformers in Switzerland and France
    1. Zwingli, Calvin, Huguenots
  3. Reformation in England
    1. Kings, Queens, and crisis
  4. John Knox, Scotland, and the Bible
  5. Religious Wars
    1. Spain, Netherlands, France
  6. The Counter-Reformation
    1. Reforms in Rome
    2. The Jesuit Order and Saints
  7. Elizabethan England
    1. Economy and government
    2. Significant figures

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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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.


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