Full 28-week curriculum, including lectures, assignments, and readings.

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Listen to a sample lecture here.

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Included in This Curriculum

Full 28-week curriculum, including lectures, assignments, and readings for:

  • History: Our first semester focuses on Europe from roughly 1688 (when William and Mary took the throne of England in the Glorious Revolution) to the French Revolution in 1789-1799. In the second semester, we’ll turn to the Victorian era, which begins with Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837 and continues through her death in 1901. Students will read a variety of primary and secondary sources and write comparative, analytical, and DBQ essays during each semester.

  • Literature: During the first semester, we’ll focus on the wide variety of literature made possible by improved printing techniques (and looser printing regulations), including journalism and non-fiction, poetry, drama, and the beginning of the novel. In addition to selections of all of the above, we’ll be reading Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and another novel (chosen by the student from a list of options) in their entirety. In the second semester, our focus will be Victorian literature, specifically the fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry that served as a link between the Romantics and the modern writers of the 20th century. In addition to shorter selections, students will read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and another novel (chosen from a list of options). Students will explore specific works and the broader generic (as in genre-specific, not the more common definition of not specific) connections and implications of each period. Written output includes critical, comparative, and rhetorical essays in addition to frequent timed free response essays.

  • Philosophy: With so many impassioned essays and reasoned arguments to explore, philosophy this year will concentrate on evaluating arguments, including recognizing biases, fallacies, rhetorical appeals, and more. In addition to considering history and literature readings through this lens, we’ll also be reading selections from Immanuel Kant (in the fall) and John Stuart Mill (in the spring) as philosophical representatives of their times.

  • Composition: Our focus in composition this year will be on writing better essays, so we’ll be working through major essay forms, including comparative, analytical, rhetorical, narrative, and argumentative essays. We’ll also focus on building a toolkit for self-evaluation and revision so that students can develop and improve first-draft essays.

  • Latin: We’ll be using the Ecce Romani 1 textbook as a resource for improving English grammar skills while learning the fundamentals of Latin grammar and vocabulary. 

  • Biology: Our biology year uses Miller & Levine Biology to explore cells, energy, reproduction, genetics, human systems, and of course evolution—as biologist Ernst Mayr says, “there is not a single Why? question in biology that can be answered adequately without a consideration of evolution.” In addition to labs (designed to be done at home with minimal equipment, with additional options for students who want to use more sophisticated lab tools), students will engage in projects and activities to develop understanding of concepts and ideas. Students will also read primary sources in addition to the textbook readings.


Supplemental Units

(These are optional units that you may use for summer learning, independent projects, or enrichment.)

  • Film Studies (A nine-week introduction to film history that focuses on the tools and techniques needed to read movies as a text)

  • The Ramayana (A five-week investigation into the history, art, literature, and significance of India’s great epic poem)

  • Music Appreciation (A 14-week study of the music of the Enlightenment and Victorian periods)

  • Book Club (A six-month guide with discussion topics, mini lectures, and and reading guides, focused on modern African literature)



  • History: Enlightenment

  • History: Victorians

  • Literature: Enlightenment

  • Literature: Victorians

  • Philosophy: Building and Evaluating Arguments

  • Composition: The Essay

  • Latin: Year 1 (Includes English Grammar)

  • Biology: Lesson Guide

  • Biology: Lab Notebook

  • Parent’s Guide to the European History Year

  • Audio Lectures for All Subjects


Provided by You:

  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (at the library, free ebook, or—my favorite—the Norton Critical edition)

  • Great Expectations (at the library, free ebook, or—my favorite—the Norton Critical Edition)

  • Secondary novels (student choice)

  • Miller & Levine Biology (available used on Amazon)

  • Ecce Romani 1 (available used on Amazon)

  • Films for Film Studies, optional (available to rent on Amazon)

  • Music for Music Appreciation, optional (available to stream on Amazon)

  • The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic by Ramesh Menon, optional (available on Amazon)

  • Book Club Books (all available on Amazon)

  • Math curriculum


Important Notes

  • This curriculum was designed to cover two 14-week semesters, for a total of 28 weeks of structured academic time. Because of the short time span, it’s a very focused, rigorous curriculum—you could definitely slow down and spread it across more time if you wanted to.

  • This is a reading- and writing-intensive curriculum. While you could definitely modify it to make it less so, critical reading and writing are such essential parts of it that if you hate those things, this curriculum might not be the best fit for you.

  • All of the information in this curriculum was reviewed by and created by or in close collaboration with people with advanced degrees in the subject area.

  • This is a secular curriculum, and it’s our biology year. There is a lot of information about evolution in this curriculum.

  • Our science program alternates traditional biology with primary texts as part of our goal to emphasize critical thinking and the scientific method.

  • This sample does not include complete lessons and is only a sample—the completed curriculum may differ from what you see here. 

  • If you pre-order a copy before July 15, I will give you a bonus: You can choose one student essay from each subject in this program to send me, and I will give your student individual feedback. (I will note that my essay feedback is famous among the students at my husband’s school, so I hope that’s a good bonus!)

  • You can order a digital or a print edition of the curriculum. Each subject comes as its own file or book so that you can work through them at the speed you prefer.