The Heritage Classical Curriculum is a free, versatile study program based on traditional, public-domain student histories. It combines the best 'story-based' histories of the past with helpful study aids, interactive quiz games, and a timeless "living books" learning philosophy. It is an excellent resource for homeschoolers, independent learners, or curious dabblers.
The Heritage Classical Curriculum is unique among World History courses. We promote it as a "traditional" history program, not because it is our idea of what an old-fashioned history course might look like, but because it is based entirely on student histories that were widely read in the early 20th century. Our books have all of the virtues of traditional, patriotic, narrative histories and the imperfections of their own age rather than the errors of ours.
The decline in the quality of student histories over the last generations is lamentable, especially the tendency to view history as a "social science" and a tool for indoctrination. Fortunately, previous generations have left us an invaluable legacy of introductory histories that are more engaging and less politicized than recent effforts. It is this timeless heritage, the knowledge and insights of previous generations, that our curriculum draws upon. Our program was essentially developed by some of the most talented children's history authors of yesteryear. We at Heritage History are merely the currators.
The Heritage Curriculum provide a wealth resources for motivated students. Everything needed to study World History from ancient times through the 19th century can viewed online, or downloaded for free so there is no need to track down hard-to-find titles, or purchase expensive matterials.
The Heritage Curriculum is composed of nine courses of study that focus on historical periods most relevant to Western Civilization. These programs are organized as follows:
The Study Programs listed above are intended for middle school ages and above. They can be studied in any order, or used to supplement more conventional curriculum. Each program corresponds to about a one semester high school history credit. Younger students may benefit from Heritage History's Young Readers program. It consists of age-appropriate, easy-to-read history stories covering a broad range of topics.
Two additional programs will eventually fill out our World History series, but for now they exist as only book lists.
The Heritage Curriculum differs from other world history courses in that each of our programs focus on a single historical topic, (Britain, Spain, Greece, etc.) instead of covering all world events chronologically. In conventional survey programs students jump from topic to topic, usually without really getting acquainted with any particular civilization.
We believe our approach of emphasizing national histories is easier to understand and more conducive to in depth learning. Our preferred sequence recommends an initial emphasis on Greek, Roman, and Anglo-American history, followed by a closer look at Europe, Latin America, and other advanced topics. But as a practical matter we have adapted our curriculum to make it compatible with conventional 'period-based' programs since this is the approach generally expected of modern students.
The Heritage Curriculum is simple to use and can be adapted to many situations. Each Study Program consists of a booklist, reading assignments, and study aids. Everything needed can be easily accessed from the Heritage History website. There is nothing to purchase and students can either follow the recommended sequence or study courses in any order. The books, printable study aids, and quiz game associated with each program can be used together or independently.
Download Books and Study aids—All books and study aids can be downloaded to a tablet or laptop in either EPUB or PDF format. The EPUB versions can be read on device with an e-reader program, and the PDF versions are presented in compact, two column format so they can be printed and read efficiently.
Note:Once all required books and resources have been printed or downloaded, there is no need for internet access. This is an important concern of many homeschooling families.
Historical Divisions—Each Program is divided into approximately eight study units so students can progress on a predictable schedule. Students working on a semester basis are typically assigned one unit every two weeks.
Each division includes reading assignments, an era summary, a timeline, and short biographies. These Study Aids help students recall important characters and events associated with each period. They are especially helpful for review before using the History Quest quiz game to earn knowledge medals.
Supplemental Reading—Introductory students need only read the 'core' assignments to learn the essential points of each unit. Advanced students, however, are likely to be interested in additional reading options. All Study Programs include exceptional supplementary texts that are well worth reading and there are excellent options for students of all abilities.
In addition to advanced texts, there are many easy-to-read selections suitable for younger students. These include biographies, legends, historical fiction, and adapted literature that entertain as well as inform.Quiz Game—In order to make Heritage resources as accessible as possible, we created History Quest, a quiz game app based on the Heritage Classical Curriculum. The Quiz game is organized along the same divisions as the curriculum and most Study aids are included. The Quiz game contains hundreds of multiple choice review questions so students who have completed their reading assignments can review what they have learned and earn medals to demonstrate mastery.
At this time four Study programs are incorporated into the Quiz game. History Quest is still under development but it is already available from the Google play store. Like all other Heritage History resources, it is free.
Overview—Each Heritage Study Program focuses on a particular nation-state or empire and includes a selection of books and study aids. Programs are subdivided into about eight historical periods and reading assignments are suggested for each division. Study aids and review questeions are also organized by historical divions so students working in a supervised study environment can progress through the material in a timely manner.
Books—The most important part of each Study Program is the selection of books associated with it. The 'core' reading suggestions are generally assigned from a few introductory level histories, but there are dozens of other books in each collection as well. These additional volumes include biographies, folklore, adapted literature, military history, historical fiction, and other genres. Some are short and written in a manner that is appealing to elementary students, while others are intended for high schoolers and young adults.
It is this broad range of engaging history stories that allow motivated students to fully explore the subject matter and gain historical perspective. Students who complete only core reading assignments will have a good working knowledge of the essentials but those that go beyond the basics will be the historians and great thinkers of tomorrow.
Historical Divisions—Each Study Program is divided into approximately eight units. These divisions are usually chronological but sometimes they are dedicated to special topics. For example, six units of the British Middle Ages program are chronological, but two units are dedicated specifically to Scottish and Irish history.
Specific chapters are assigned for each unit, as are timelines, character lists and other study aids. The organization of the History Quest Quiz game matches that of the Heritage Curriculum Study Programs and most review questions are based on the 'core' reading assignments. Students using History Quest can earn 'Knowledge Medals' for each division they have completed and the entire quiz game was designed to make reviewing history facts easy and enjoyable.
Study Aids—Most of the Study Aids associated with the Heritage Classical Curriulum are also organized along the same lines as the Study Programs. Timelines, character lists, era summaries, maps, study questions, and battle dictionaries have been created for most programs. These resources were develped to help students recall important details after they have completed their reading assignments. Narrative histories are are often written in a way that engages student interest, but it can be difficult to remember details over long periods or in the context of complicated conflicts. Study aids such as timelines and character lists are therefore intended as a review of, rather than a replacement for the assigned reading.
Other study aids were provided to enhance learning in other ways. Historical and outline maps help students visualize the regions in which historical incidents occurred. The Wars and Battles summaries provided by Heritage History are based on a well known Battle Dictionary published in the early 20th century. It provides information of particular interest to young men interested in military history. Finally, the selection of study questions associated with each historical division are intended to help students review for knowledge based multiple choice quizzes, such as those offered by the History Quest quiz program.