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Recommended Course Sequence

Heritage History has a unique approach to learning history. Like all World history programs we expect students to be familiar with noteworthy characters and events. More than most other programs, however, we recommend that students take time to learn about key civilizations in depth rather than trying to cover all of world history at a superficial level. Bearing in mind that there are wide ranges in ability and interest among school age students, we have organized our courses and curriculum CDs in the manner outlined below.

Recommended Sequence     Young Readers (3rd-4th grade)     Essential Foundations (5th-9th grade)     Electives (high school)     Four Year Programs    

Recommended Sequence

Each of Heritage History's Civilization-specific libraries includes books for students of all ages, so they can be studied in any order. The recommendations below are organized by approximate grade level, but they are intended only as a guideline. We make a distinction between topics that are an essential foundation for all students and those electives we consider to be of great interest, but better suited to older students.

Young Readers (3rd - 4th grade)

Young Readers
Children's History Legends, Anecdotes, Hero Stories

The Young Readers collection includes 80 easy-to-read histories with a special focus on Biblical, European, and American history. These books can be read in any order and provide a child-friendly introduction to many of the major characters and events of Western Civilization. The collection of American histories is more than adequate for elementary students and can be supplemented by lapbooks, unit studies, or similar learning activities.

Essential Foundations (5th - 9th grade)

*Biblical Kingdoms

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome
Ancient World   2000 B.C. to 500 A.D.

The legends, romantic heroes, and exciting conflicts of the Ancients keep younger students interested while they are introduced to important themes related to western culture. Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, are the three pillars of Western civilization, and are excellent topics for the intermediate student.

Brit. Mid. Ages

British Empire

Early America
British-American History   500 to 1930 A.D.

The story of the English-speaking people touches upon all major themes of the middle ages and modern times. Topics such as feudalism, the crusades, the Reformation, colonization, invention, and revolution all play themselves out in British history and and are essential for understanding American civilization.

Electives (high school)

Christian Europe

Modern Europe

Spanish Empire

Eastern Empires
European, Latin American, and Asian Electives

The complex themes of European, Hispanic, and Oriental history make them more suitable for older students than younger ones.

*Biblical and Eastern libraries exist online, but Curriculum CDs and Academy courses are not available.
Young Readers

One of the most important differences between our program and most other world history programs is our approach to the grammar school years. There are great variations in reading ability, comprehension, and interest in the younger grades, so we do not promote comprehensive histories until a student is reading fluently and able to remember important facts. The Young Readers program was designed to keep history enjoyable and engaging for the transitional years. It offers dozens of short history stories and introduces students to hundreds of important historical events and characters, but its books can be read in any order, used to supplement unit studies, or read aloud, without making history a chore for novice readers!

In addition to short histories, the Young Readers collection includes legends, adapted literature, historical fiction, and short biographies. Such books provide an excellent transition from children's fiction to serious historical works. Reading even a fraction of the books in this collection will expose students to hundreds of famous historical characters and provide an excellent foundation for future learning.

Essential Foundations

Once a student is reading fluently with good comprehension, they are ready to study comprehensive history. This means they will be learning the whole story of selected civilizations rather than covering just a few highlights. Instead of trying to squeeze all of world history into a few years, the Heritage History program for intermediate students focuses on Ancient, British, and American history from Roman times to the nineteenth century and we encourage students to cover these topics in moderate detail. We call the Heritage History program 'Essential Foundations' because it focuses first on the civilizations that most influenced Anglo-American culture and we encourage students to study these critical topics in depth.

We begin with the histories of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome in late elementary school because the Ancients are key to understanding the roots of Western Civilization. We recommend younger students focus on Ancient history for two years partly because it is so rich in interest, but also because its legendary origins and romantic heroes are appealing and worthy of in depth study. It is our foremost goal to make history an enjoyable subject for students and study of the Ancients offers both a solid foundation for future learning and an pleasurable transition from childhood legends to authentic history.

Once a child is acquainted with the Ancients, we focus specifically on British Middle Ages. Virtually all the major themes of the Middle Ages, including barbarian invasions, the rise of Christendom, feudalism, the Crusades, the Renaissance and Reformation, play themselves out in British history, but in a personal manner that is easier for students to understand than a thematic approach. Most young teens are still concrete thinkers so making history personal and specific rather than abstract and general is crucial to holding their interest. There are two other reasons that British history is worthy of special focus. First, it is critical to understanding American history, and secondly, the selection of English folklore and literature of the period, from Beowulf, to King Arthur, to Chaucer, to Pilgrim's Progress, is extremely rich and simplified versions are of great interest to intermediate students.

By the mid 1700's British civilization split into two distinct cultures. The Early America course covers American historyfrom Colonial times to the dawn of the twentieth century and is of undeniable interest to young Americans. Since the Great Wars of the 20th century, America has become the dominant world power, but during the 18th and 19th century, the British Empire was far more influential, expanding its dominion throughout the world as a juggernaut of modernization both technologically and culturally. It was Britain, rather than America that promoted Anglo-Saxon ideals such as religious freedom, parliamentary democracy, global commerce, and industrial progress throughout the developing world so the history of the British Empire, as well as that the the United States, is critical for understanding modern history.

Elective Areas of Interest

By the time a student is in high school it is necessary to consider individual learning goals as well as general instruction. Heritage History intends to provide four units that offer specialization in areas of world history not covered in our "Essential Foundations" program. However, we do not suggest limiting these subjects to high school. We see history as an area of life-long interest and hope that history lovers will be inspired to investigate all of these topics during their high school years and beyond.

  • Christian Europe focuses on the history of the diverse societies of continental Europe from the 5th to the 17th centuries, with Christian culture as the unifying principle.
  • Modern Europe covers post-enlightenment Europe from the rise of Prussia and the French Revolution to the cataclysmic wars of the early 20th century.
  • Spanish Empire offers fascinating stories from the history of Spain, the age of Exploration and Conquest, the indigenous peoples of Latin America, and the revolutionary era of Mexico and South America.
  • Eastern Empires will include histories of Japan, China, India, and the Mongol and Ottoman Empires.

Complete libraries for all of civilizations listed above already exist, but the elective courses for high school are still under development. High school students may also want to consider an in depth, college-prep history of the Ancient World, British, or American history. Certified college prep-courses generally require essay writing and discussion which cannot be duplicated by an online, self-study program, but many of the advanced books in our selection would be appropriate reading assignments for a variety of college prep or university level courses.

Four Year Programs

Most independent world history programs emphasize a systematic study of world history over a three or four year period rather than an in depth focus on critical periods. A typical four year program is organized such that Year One is Ancient History, Year Two is Middle Ages, and Years Three and Four are "modern". It is expected that students will repeat this cycle at least twice during their school years. Because this is such a common and popular arrangement, the Heritage Classical Civilization Libraries are organized so that they can be used with these programs.

Year 1: Ancient History Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Biblical Kingdoms
Year 2: Middle Ages British Middle Ages, Christian Europe, Spanish Empire
Year 3: Modern World British Empire, Modern Europe, Early America

More ideas for using Heritage libraries with other "Living Books" style curriculum programs, such as Ambleside, Truthquest, Veritas, or Tapestry of Grace, is provided on our Curriculum Alternatives page.