Upper-School Classics of Christendom Literature
Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: 11–12
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
Section 1: M/W 12:30 p.m. ET with Rhea Bright
History/Literature Discount: Save $195 when students are enrolled in this course and the corresponding history course! The discount will be applied automatically to your shopping cart when you add both courses.
Joint Enrollment: This course is offered as a joint-enrollment class between Scholé Academy and St. Raphael School. Students from both schools are welcome and encouraged to enroll in this dynamic upper-level course.
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.
This course introduces high school students to some of the classical literary texts, or Great Books, of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation. These texts have influenced the development of both Christian culture and the secular West, and while studying them, students explore the ideas, events, and cast of characters that molded the social, political, religious, scientific, economic, and technological history of the Middle Ages through the Reformation.
This course focuses on literature, but also integrates some study of medieval and Renaissance history, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. In this upper-school course, students will seek and examine the virtue and wisdom in a selection of the Great Books, while also noting the ways in which the authors influence one another and participate in the Great Conversation of Western civilization.
Students are asked to consider and engage with carefully crafted questions as their window into the Great Conversation. Occasionally, the teacher will present historical context through brief lectures, but otherwise classes are seminar-style discussions on the classical texts. Students are assessed for their curiosity, participation, and diligence during discussions, as well as by means of short response papers, essays, and occasional quizzes.
This class is paired with our high school course Upper-School Classics of Christendom History, 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 literature study.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
This course is suitable for rising 11th–12th graders. Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as the interest in and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students enrolling in this course are expected to:
- Read at or above a 10th-grade level
- Compose paragraphs and basic essays with confidence
- Use a planner and track assignment progress
- Listen, take notes, and be willing to engage in group discussions (extroversion not required!)
- Type well enough to transcribe paragraphs without frustration
- Possess basic computer skills—browsing, accessing assignments, scanning, e-mailing, and managing files without significant help from parents
- Have some exposure to medieval history and have taken a course in the Great Books of antiquity
Syllabus: View course syllabus here.
How much time will students spend on homework?
This varies according to each student’s pace. However, students are assigned approximately 1.5–2.5 hours of reading each week. Additional time may be required to supplement their own studying and paper or project development.
How does this course compare to the middle-school medieval literature 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 students taking the course are more mature, have more background knowledge, and possess greater facility in reading, writing, and scholarship.
How is faith integrated in this course?
The seminar-style discussion unfolds organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors, but by contrast, we seek to read charitably. Classic authors are treated as though they are friends, whereby students glean every available truth while also examining the authors and their works 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.
Students will need the posted translation and ISBN. They will require printed texts (no digital editions). They will need their own text (not a family library copy) as they will be expected to annotate and mark the text. If you think you have a version that is substantially the same and would like to check, feel free to contact the instructor.
- Boethius, On the Consolation of Philosophy, translated by Victor Watts, ISBN: 978-0140447804
- Dante, The Divine Comedy, translated by Anthony Esolen
- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, translated by Neville Coghill, Penguin Classics, ISBN: 978-0140424386
- Hamlet, Oxford School Shakespeare, ISBN: 978-0198328704**
- Macbeth, Oxford School Shakespeare, ISBN: 978-0198324003**
- Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Folger Shakespeare Library, ISBN: 978-0671722876
- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Hackett Classics, ISBN: 978-0872207332
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course. When available, we have supplied links to Amazon for convenience, but you may purchase the materials wherever you prefer.
**Note: If the Oxford School Shakespeare Macbeth or Hamlet are not available on Amazon, they can be purchased directly for $9.95 each from Oxford University Press here.
Rhea Bright holds a BA from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and an MA in classics from Dalhousie University, also in Halifax. Her classical studies involved Latin and Greek, as well as classical and medieval literature, philosophy, and theology. King’s Foundation Year Program, an early integrated Great Books curriculum, and the Dalhousie classics department formed and nurtured what became a lifelong love of the classics and a deep appreciation of the contribution of the ancient world to whatsoever is good and true and beautiful. Rhea also has a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She taught ancient and medieval humanities at the University of Central Oklahoma for 9 years, and over the course of 10 years at Providence Hall and the Academy of Classical Christian Studies, she taught Latin, logic, Bible, and integrated ancient literature and history. Rhea is married to Father Patrick Bright, an ordained Anglican priest who served for over 24 years at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Oklahoma City and recently retired from full-time ministry. Together they raised 5 sons, now grown. They now live in a 170-year-old house in rural Nova Scotia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.