Middle-School American History
Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: Grades 6–9 (see placement details below)
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
Course Sections (choose one)
Section 1: M/Th 2:00 p.m. ET with Kristie Stoddard
M/W 11:00 a.m. ET with Peter Bradshaw (Section Full)
History/Literature Discount: Save $195 when you enroll in this course and the corresponding literature course! The discount will be applied automatically to your shopping cart when you add both courses.
Ongoing Enrollment and Placement
- if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
- if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
- if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
- if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
- If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
- If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
“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!
Our study of American history will teach students to cultivate historical thinking, learn facts, memorize a timeline, and gain and apply research skills and organization through outlines and writing—all through the engaging study of real people and events that have helped shape the nation they call home. Beginning with viewpoints exercises (from Socratic Circles by Matt Copeland), progressing to annotation of small sections of text, and moving on to asking one another questions from their annotations, students will learn the basics of Socratic discussions. These skills and conversations will guide class interactions as they begin to see the 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. Learning how to summarize, complete outlines, and write papers will help them connect information, seeing causes and effects.
While the focus of this class is historical study, there will be some integration of American literature in order to provide a richer experience of the past. This middle-school course will invite students to take a closer look at a few seminal and primary works while utilizing a main history text to provide context and understanding of the broad strokes of American history. Like other scholé history courses, this class will blend “surveying the landscape” (considering the whole) and deep dives into Great Books from American history.
Students are asked to consider and engage carefully crafted questions as 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 on their curiosity, participation, and diligence during discussions, as well as by means of short response papers, essays, projects, and occasional quizzes.
This class is paired with our middle-school course on American literature, 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.
- 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.
- A History of US: Ten-Volume Set (ISBN: 0195327268)
- Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac
- The Courage and Character of Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant (also called Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Teddy Roosevelt)
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course
Atlas of American History (Rand McNally, ISBN-10: 0528015346)
We will also be reading The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (both of which are in the main text) and various fables, tales, Native American stories, and poems. Additionally, we will be viewing famous paintings such as George Washington Crossing the Delaware and several by Winslow Homer. Most of these will be in class, but there may be a few pdfs for outside reading.
Kristie Stoddard holds an M.Ed. in History from American College of Education and a BS in Government from Evangel University. Born into a military family and spending her early childhood and teenage years living in Germany, Kristie has traveled extensively and served on mission projects all across Europe and Africa. Currently, she travels regularly to Northern Italy in partnership with her home church to assist church planting missionaries. Teaching has been one of Kristie’s passions for over 20 years, beginning with a love of learning for personal enrichment, she taught adult basic education in NM, then went on to home-school her six children – three of whom have gone on to higher education – and finally has taught in the formal classroom setting for 12 years. In addition to studying and teaching Latin, History, and the Liberal Arts, Classical Educational is one of Kristie’s central passions, believing that Classical Education, enlivened by a Christian worldview, can help “repair the ruin of our first parents” (Milton). When not teaching, traveling, and spending time with family, Kristie enjoys reading, trail running, and gardening. She looks forward to cultivating a vibrant learning environment in which the subject matter comes to life for students in fresh and meaningful ways that train their minds to think, to perceive wisdom, pursue virtue, and proclaim truth. firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Bradshaw grew up on land in the warm chaparral of Southern California. He was introduced to the great works of the Western world through a Great Books program in high school. Peter studied English literature at Covenant College and hopes to complete his master’s through a distance program at New Saint Andrews College in the summer of 2020. Since graduating from Covenant, Peter has taught a range of subjects over the past six years. He particularly enjoys teaching Literature, History, Formal Logic, and Rhetoric. When not in the classroom, he enjoys painting, poetry, guitar, and watching the little unnoticed things of the world. He and his wife are expecting their first child at the end of March. He currently lives and teaches in Cairo, Egypt, and is planning on enrolling in a Fluency of Ancient Greek program offered by the Polis Institute in Jerusalem in September 2020. email@example.com
Computer: 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.
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.
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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.