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Western History

This course will trace the transformation of culture beginning with the early Enlightenment and ending with the late Industrial Age. It will investigate the relationships between ideas, institutions, and practices; consider the roles of science and reason in promoting the Age of Enlightenment; analyze components of the American and French Revolutions; follow burgeoning thought throughout the Western world; recognize the influence of the Enlightenment on the Industrial Age; and examine the interplay between philosophical, political, religious, scientific, intellectual, technological and social ideas vital to the advancement of these eras. The primary sources studied will present themes and ideas that require active reading and discussing.

Using tracts, essays, books, and treatises, the teacher will guide the class in contemplating questions of purpose and perspective. Studying influential writings will further students’ abilities to make connections and follow the progression of ideas throughout a changing culture. Students will derive satisfaction from the deep commitment of hard work and serious inquiry, leading to an enhanced capacity for responsible citizenship. Students will be expected to take dialectical notes, write essays, expound on thesis statements, and debate informally with their peers. Additionally, participants will practice rhetorical skills through presentations and essays.

Throughout the year, students will:

  • Engage actively with others through discussion and debate, practice respectful listening and thoughtful speaking, and construct logical arguments as they synthesize ideas
  • Grow in critical reading skills and learn to analyze primary documents by asking questions and comparing sources
  • Progress in writing ability, particularly in the realm of persuasive essays, succinct response papers, and expository summaries
  • Broaden their breadth of knowledge and understanding in regards to people and events of the Enlightenment and Industrial Age
  • Recognize attributes and behaviors of human nature recurrent throughout history

While this course primarily features historical study, it also integrates some study of literature from the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution eras, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. This class is paired with our upper-school British Literature course, taught by the same instructor, 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.

The target grades for this course are 9th–10th grade. Students must have successfully completed an 8th-grade-level writing course; they will be expected to have competency in vocabulary, annotation, essay-writing (various forms of written discourse) and know how to write a summary and reflect on a text (though the instructor will work to develop and extend these skills throughout the course). Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as the interest and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students well suited for this course will continue refining the following scholarship skills as they approach mastery:

  • Generally understand the historical events leading to the Reformation
  • 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

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in history.

**How much time will students spend on homework? **
This varies by student according to his or her pace. However, the average reader can expect to spend approximately 1.5–2 hours per week reading course materials, and approximately half an hour to an hour working on the questions. Students will be asked to write persuasively and analytically using text and conversations to form their thesis. Students should anticipate involvement in class discussion, quite often in the framework of informal debate.

**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.

  • The English and Their History, Tombs
  • Magna Carta
  • A Modest Proposal, Swift
  • Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens
  • The Social Contract, Rousseau
  • On Liberty, Mill
  • The Communist Manifesto, Marx & Engles
  • Second Treatise on Government, Locke
  • Democracy in America (Excerpts), DeTocqueville
  • The Wealth of Nations (Excerpts), Smith
  • Animal Farm, Orwell
  • Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche
  • Self-Reliance, Emerson

Please note: Many of the readings are public domain and readily available online. Texts marked with need to be purchased in advanced.

Other Materials:

  • Notebook for annotating, dialectical exercises and class notes.

Optional Course Texts: The following may be helpful to the ambitious student who desires to pursue a deeper understanding of concepts throughout the course:

  • How to Read a Book, Adler
  • The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon
  • From Dawn to Decadence, Barzun

Christine Seaward was born and raised in central California. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and earned her elementary teaching credential at California State University, Stanislaus before becoming an Air Force wife in 1992. During the nomadic years of military life, she lived in various places: Oklahoma, Colorado, South Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Florida. She is blessed to be a wife and mother of two teenage girls. Christine has served as the President of the Protestant Women of the Chapel at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. She has also served as a group and administrative leader in Bible Study Fellowship. She completed her M.A. in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and her Ph.D. in Humanities with a concentration in Literature from Faulkner University where the Great Books program changed the way she viewed education. Christine has taught high school English in a traditional Christian school. She also taught a course on Aquinas and Dante and served as the faculty adviser for the student book club at Kepler Education. She is a long-time admirer of C.S. Lewis, and she continues to grow in her appreciation for the Great Books of the Western World. She enjoys supporting her daughters, taking long walks with her husband, following sumo wrestling, and the pleasure of reading.

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.

Quarter 1

  1. The English and Their History, Tombs (selections)
  2. The _Magna Carta _
  3. “A Modest Proposal,” Swift
  4. _Meditations on First Philosophy, _Descartes 

Quarter 2

  1. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1859)
  2. _The Social Contract, _Rousseau 

Quarter 3

1. On Liberty, John Mill (1859)
2. The Communist Manifesto, Marx
3. Second Treatise on Government, Locke 

Quarter 4

1. _The Wealth of Nations _(excerpts), Smith
2. _Democracy in America _(excerpts), DeTocqueville
3. Animal Farm, George Orwell 

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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