Get Started
Get Started
Living Books
Living Books
Reading Levels
Reading Levels
Recommended Sequence
Outline Maps
Academy FAQs

Get Started Using the
Independent Study Academy Course

Every student who creates a Heritage History account is enrolled in an Independent Study course. This course allows students to read books from the Heritage History Library on any topic and record their progress. It does not offer the type of in depth, structured program that our other courses provide but does allow students to customize their own reading-based history program.

If you are new to the Heritage History Academy, the information below will help you get oriented. Each block provides brief instructions and links to more detailed pages. The first two sections are intended for families that are new to the Heritage History Academy. The following sections offer guidance for Independent Study students who intend to develop their own reading program.

Create a Reading List     Download e-books     Schedule Reading Time    

Learn About the Academy

The Heritage History Academy offers a flexible, self-paced reading program based on classical children's histories. Read the Academy user information pages to learn more.

  • Living Books—the advantages of a reading-based, living book, approach to history; important differences in learning styles.
  • Reading Levels—differences in student reading and comprehension levels; advice for selecting enjoyable books for students of all abilities.
  • Recommended Sequence—an overview of available Academy courses and the order in which we recommend they be studied.
  • Academy FAQ—answers to common questions about Academy courses.
About the Independent Study Course

As soon as a student registers for the Heritage History Academy he is enrolled in an Independent Study course. This allows him to access any book on the Heritage History website and use many of the features of the Academy while he considers the benefits of enrolling in one of our more in depth, civilization specific courses.

Most of the civilization based courses offered by Heritage History focus on a single period and include a carefully selected library of books on a particular historical subject. Study resources associated with these courses include reading recommendations, timelines, maps, character lists, review questions, and printable reference documents. Students must purchase an Academy Course in order to download e-books from its library and have access to its study resources.

The Independent Study course, however, does not attempt to provide a comprehensive introduction to a specific historical period. Instead it offers a broad survey of many different civilizations. The Independent Study program has a library of over a dozen books associated with it but most feature stories from many different world cultures. Since the course is organized as a 'World history' survey instead of a comprehensive study program, its historical divisions are based on the Heritage History Civilization Libraries listed below.

Ancient Greece
Legendary to 146 B.C.

Trojan War to Hellenistic Era

Ancient Rome
756 B.C. to 476 A.D.

Romulus to Fall of Rome

British Middle Ages
56 to 1714

Roman Britain to Last Stuart Monarch

British Empire
1707 to 1920

Act of Union to Aftermath of Great War

Early America
1492 to 1900

Voyage of Columbus to Spanish American War

Spanish Empire
418 to 1922

Visigoth Rome to Mexican Revolution

Christian Europe
500 to 1715

Baptism of Clovis to Death of Louis XIV

Modern Europe
1700 to 1920

Enlightenment Era to Bolshevik Revolution

The Independent Study program has two purposes. First, it allows all registered students to read any book on the Heritage History website online, track their progress, and create reports that detail their reading progress. The second purpose is to expose students who have not yet purchased one of our civilization based courses to some of the resources offered by our more in depth courses.

Most of the study aids (timelines, maps, reading recommendations, etc.) that were created for the Independent Study program are simplified versions the resources offered by our other other Academy courses. Independent Study students may find them helpful, but they are intended as a preview of our other courses rather than a serious program of study. They are provided to give students who might benefit from our more in depth courses an idea of the resources available.

Step 1: Create a Reading List

Independent Study Students who would like to design their own study program can access books from all ten Heritage Histories libraries from the View Libraries page. View Libraries is one of four 'Book Information' pages that list suggested book titles, and it is the only one that allows students to modify their 'Active Library'. It is of special interest to Independent Study students, since students enrolled in regular Academy courses often confine their reading selections to those in the course's dedicated library.

To access books from the historical period of your choice, modify the 'Active Library' menu on the View Libraries page. Both View Libraries and Book Summaries will be updated with a new list of book titles, but the other two 'book information' pages offer fixed reading suggestions and are not affected by changing libraries. All four 'Book Information' pages are accessed via the Read lefthand sidebar with the icons shown below.

To add a book from any of the four 'Book Information' pages to your reading list, click on its Title link. Your selected book will display in the top corner of the Read window. Then click on "Add to Book List" to place it in your Reading List. Once a book has been added to your Reading List, you can check off chapters read and keep a permanent record of books read.

view libraries
View Libraries
The View Libraries page displays all of the book titles in the current 'Active Library' and allows you to add them to your reading list. It allows you to switch libraries at any time, and view titles from all ten Academy libraries. book summaries
Book Summaries
The Book Summaries page lists both the title and a brief description of every book in the 'Active Library'. It defaults to the Independent Study Library, but its contents are updated when the 'Active Library' on the View Libraries page is modified.
core reading
Core Reading
The Core Reading page provides recommendations for a short World History program. It references 'core' reading selections from several historical libraries and 'supplemental' suggestions from the Independent Study library. reading by era
Reading by Era
The Readings by Era page shows reading assignments for the ten historical divisions into which the World history program is divided. It recommends selections from both the Independent Study collection other historical libraries.
Step 2: Download e-Books

Independent Study Students who are content to read all Heritage History books online will not need to download any books and can skip this section. But students who prefer to do most of their reading offline on their own laptaps, e-readers, or tablets, should consider purchasing a Library Pass. A library pass allows students to download electronic versions of any book on the Heritage History website and is of special interest to students who wish to design their own study program using books from many different civilization libraries.

We recommend that students who will be reading e-books from an electronic device download all the books they have added to their reading list and transfer them to the appropriate device. Instructions for downloading ebooks from the Heritage Academy to your home computer and transfering them to various e-readers can be found by clicking on the links below.

Even families who prefer printable versions are advised to download the PDF files of selected books to their home computer so they can be easily printed. For families who prefer printed copies, the Electronic Text Self Publishing guide has ideas for reducing printing and binding costs.

No matter what you decide for a reading strategy it is important to make sure your student has a variety of books to choose from. Students enjoy having options and making a selection of books available to them will help assure that they never run out of reading material.

Step 3: Schedule Reading Time

Once you have created your reading list we recommend preparing a schedule that sets reasonable goals and establishes milestones. The amount of reading expected of a particular student may vary we recommend about three hours per week for intermediate students. Avid readers may enjoy reading beyond their allotted time, but establishing a weekly minimum gaurentees that steady progress will be made and even motivated students are likely to neglect the subject if it is not part of their regular routine.

We recommend assigning students a fixed minimum number of hours to read per week rather than setting goals in terms of chapters read. This is because requiring students to complete a certain number of chapters discourages in depth reading and rewards students who merely "skim" the material. Most students retain more information and enjoy their studies more if they are not given an incentive to rush. The following page provides advice for developing individual reading schedules. It is indended for students who are enrolled in one of our regular Academy courses, but much of the information applies to Independent Study students as well.

  • The Scheduling and Review page discusses our system of reading credits, and introduces several approaches to scheduling reading and study review sessions.