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Old Western Culture: Christendom
$199.00 – $388.00
Old Western Culture: Christendom is a full-year literature and history curriculum for high school students (and above). Hosted by storyteller and veteran teacher Wesley Callihan and other classical educators, learn about the greatest and most influential works in Western Civilization. Learn about St. Benedict, Charlemagne, and Alfred the Great in the first unit, Early Medievals. Discover the real story behind the Crusades in the second unit, The Defense of the Faith. Travel through through Dante's Divine Comedy in the third unit, The Medieval Mind. And finally, sit down with John Calvin and other Reformers and learn about the Reformation in the final unit, The Reformation.
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Old Western Culture: Christendom is a full year of instruction divided into four units: Early Medievals, The Defense of the Faith, The Medieval Mind, and The Reformation. With over 25 hours of video instruction, reading assignments in the “great books”, accompanying exercises after each lecture and reading assignment, and 4 end-of-term exams, Christendom offers the homeschooler a complete literature and history course. Intended for high school aged students (14+), as well as for the adult enrichment student. As an integrated humanities curriculum, Christendom explores history, theology, philosophy, poetry, and art from the perspective of the greatest works of influential literature of the Western world. Hundreds of classical paintings, maps, timelines, and more are woven into the video lessons! Click on the individual titles above for more information on each unit.
WHAT IS “OLD WESTERN CULTURE”?
“Old Western Culture” is a literature curriculum named after a term coined by C.S. Lewis to describe the fabric of ideas that shaped Western Civilization. For centuries, a “Great Books” education lay at the heart of what it meant to be educated. It was the education of the Church Fathers, of the Medieval Church, of the Reformers, and of all the Founding Fathers of the Unites States.
– It is a CLASSICAL EDUCATION, based on the great books of western civilization.
– It is a CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, which sees the history and literature of the West through the eyes of the Bible and historic Christianity.
– It is an INTEGRATED HUMANITIES CURRICULUM, bringing together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography, and art.
– It is a HOMESCHOOL oriented curriculum, made by homeschoolers with the needs of homeschooled in mind, including flexibility, affordability, and ease-of-use.
We bring a master-teacher into your home, and encourage parents to gain an overview of Western Civilization themselves by watching the video lessons with their children.
HOW DOES OLD WESTERN CULTURE WORK?
Old Western Culture is a video course. It is built around a master teacher, Wes Callihan. With decades of teaching experience, he guides students through the story of Western civilization. Each unit of Christendom contains 12 video lessons (48 in year 1, approx 30-40 min each).
Each lesson begins with a brief review before jumping into summary, commentary, analysis, and inter-disciplnary connections of the works covered. After each lesson, students complete the assigned readings, and asnswer comprehension questions in the Student Workbook or online workbook.
WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE WES CALLIHAN?
Wes Callihan is a master story teller! With a remarkable ability to communicate a passion for history and literature, he makes profound ideas accessible, relevent, and interesting. Also known for his distinctive “rabbit trailers,” forays into funny and obscure historical anactodes, which have a way of showing up at the dinner table. (After all, rabbit trails are “hooks for the imagination and memory.”) Wes Callihan is a true classical scholar, fluent in both Latin and Greek. He lectures only from the notes in the margins of his worn copies of the Great Books. “Meet him” through THIS VIDEO TOUR of his personal library, which doubled as a mini-lecture!
Old Western Culture is intended for mature and discerning students. We recommend this course for ages 14 and up. The course will deal with mature themes such as paganism, sexual immorality, battle scenes (mostly in actual reading), and classical paintings. Old Western Culture is meant to equip your child with a Biblical lens from which to process these themes. We assume your child has a working knowledge of the Bible and basic Christian doctrine.
Each year of Old Western Culture is a double-credit Humanities course which is most commonly broken down into 1 Literature credit and 1 History credit. The double-credit assumes that the student will watch all the videos, read the required reading, answer the daily worksheets, and take 4 exams (one for each unit). This a robust course academically, and requires a fair bit of reading. Wesley Callihan will coach your student on how to approach the reading in the video. Average daily reading load is 30-40 pages.
As an “integrated humanities” course, Old Western Culture will constantly be incorporating history, literature, theology, philosophy, art, and art history, all through the eyes of the Great Books.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN YEAR 3, CHRISTENDOM?
When you purchase Old Western Culture: Christendom you receive access to the online streaming portal for Christendom. If you choose the “Add DVD” option, you will also receive all 4 DVD sets.
Accompanying materials include:
– A Student Workbook and Answer Key in PDF format for each unit (optional physical versions available).
– An A and B exam with teacher guide and answer key for each unit.
– All required texts in eText (PDF and Kindle edition). Physical books recommended for the pleasure of the reader.
The workbook gives the student questions to answer for every reading assignment and lecture, discussion questions to think about, and a host of further resources for the student that wants to go further (or study for a paper!). The Answer Key at the back of the textbook will give the recommended answer to all the essay questions. We encourage students to answer the questions on their own before referencing the Answer Key.
COMPLETE LECTURE LIST FOR CHRISTENDOM
Early Medievals Lesson List:
1. Historical Overview of Christendom
2. Benedict’s Rule and Monasticism
3. Transition to the Middle Ages
4. Procopius and Gregory
5. Maximus the Confessor
6. Celtic Christians
8. Bede I: Early History of England
9. Bede II: The Coming of Christianity
10. Bede III: The Confirming of Christianity
11. Lives of Charlemagne and Alfred
12. John of Damascus
Defense of the Faith:
1. Historical Overview of the High Middle Ages
2. Anselm’s Ontological Argument
3. Anselm’s Monologium 1
4. Anselm’s Monologium 2
5. Anselm’s Why God Became Man 1
6. Anselm’s Why God Became Man 2
7. History of the Kings of Britain 1
8. History of the Kings of Britain 2
9. The Golden Legend
10. Historical Overview of the Crusades
11. The Conquest of Constantinople
12. The Life of St. Louis
The Medieval Mind:
Aquinas and Dante (lecture list coming soon!)
Chaucer, Erasmus, Calvin, Cranmer, and Spenser
(lecture list coming soon!)
The Great Books are the focus of this course. Each year of Old Western Culture is divided into four units and each unit covers selections of the Great Books. No specific editions of these works are required. Here are a few options to make sure you have the books you need:
- Buy the available readers from our Old Western Culture Reader Series
- Use or buy your own books
- Use e-versions of our readers
- A combination of the above
Old Western Culture Reader Series
Each reader in the Old Western Culture Reader Series pairs with a unit in the Old Western Culture Curriculum and provides all the works that you need to read for that unit. We’re currently working on The Medival Mind and The Reformation.
Here are the links to each reader in this year:
- Early Medievals
- Defense of the Faith
- The Medieval Mind (still in production)
- The Reformation (still in production)
Buy or use your own books
If you already have the required books, you’re set to go. The course material will give you the details on what parts to read and when.
If you’d like to buy the books, here are the selections you’ll be required to read and our recommended books on Amazon:
1: Early Medievals
- The Rule of Saint Benedict
- Procopius’ Wars of Justinian 1.24, 4.9
- Gregory of Tours’ History of the Franks 1.36-48, 2.27-43, 6.46
- Gregory the Great’s Dialogues Book 2
- Gregory the Great’s Book of Pastoral Rule Book 1, 2
- Confessions of St Patrick, Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus
- Adomnan of Iona’s Life of St Columba
- The Voyage of Brendan
- Selections from Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People Book 1, 2, 4, 5
- Eihard’s Life of Charlemagne Introduction and Section 9-29
- Asser’s Life of Alfred
- John of Damascus’ The Fount of Knowledge Preface; On Heresies Section 101; On the Orthodox Faith 1.8, 2.2-6, 3.2-6, 4.11-13, 15-17
2: Defense of the Faith
- Anslem’s Proslogium, Monologium, Cur Deus Homo
- Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain
- Jacobus De Voragine’s Golden Legend: Lives of Nicholas, Anthony, Agnes, Julianna, Longinus, Patrick, George, Petronilla
- Geoffrey of Villehardouin’s Conquest of Constantinople and Jean De Joinville’s Life of St. Louis Part 1, Part 2 Chapter 1-4
3: The Medieval Mind
- Aquinas’ Compendium Chapter 1-15, 72-83, 103-107, 114-117, 127-130, 142-157, 172-184, 241-246
- Dante’s Divine Comedy
4: The Reformation
This unit is still in production. Please check back later for updated information.
Our materials page includes links to digital versions of all the necessary texts. You’ll need to get an account to access the page, but it’s free and takes less than a minute to sign up.
Visit our Sample Page to take Old Western Culture for a test drive!
World class teaching by classical educator Wesley Callihan. Demanding, challenging, mesmerizing content that will leave your student, no matter how steeped in history and classical studies, begging for more.
Lisa Nehring, Golden Grasses
This has to be the best curriculum we have found for studying the great classics! We’ve been homeschooling for about 15 years and have not found anything like this. Mr. Callihan is knowledgeable, engaging, and entertaining. He speaks to the students as if he is right there with them. Not only have they chosen excellent books but all the information that he shares with the student makes this a perfect Literature and Social Studies course. On top of that, they have included a booklet with some of the most beautiful artwork to accompany the course. It’s like walking through a museum. Frequently, my son shares a story at the dinner table about what Mr. Callihan said. We all get to enjoy his stories. It also lets me know he’s “getting it.” I would highly recommend this to any family interested in a Classical Christian education. You will not be disappointed with Old Western Culture or Roman Roads Media.
Stephanie White, Homeschool mom
Mr. Callihan speaks so eloquently on these topics and always keeps a Christ-centered approach. We can learn much from past mistakes and see clearly where God was left out – much chaos reigned. Teaching that to the next generation is not an option – it’s a must for Christians. To approach such pagan instruments is often difficult so this is a valuable resource for those intimidated by the subjects like I am.
Melissa Langley, Homeschool mom, Grace Christian Homeschool
The Greeks is taught by Wes Callihan, quite possibly the most engaging teacher of classical material I have encountered since my days at the University of St. Thomas. It is obvious that he loves what he is teaching, which is the mark of a truly great teacher. When he talks about Achilles and Agamemnon, you know that he feels their conflict and their emotions. You never have any doubt that he is going to lead you safely through the turmoil of Achilles’ last days. He teaches with confidence and enthusiasm, and it is infectious. If you want your child to have a Great Books, classical education – either the kind you had or the kind you wish you had – Wes Callihan is the man to teach her.
Laura, Homeschool mom
Wes Callihan is an incredible mentor. His style is that of an armchair story teller. Instead of breaking down the technical nuances of a text (and the Vandiver Great Courses Company Course on The Iliad does that beautifully), he invites us into his personal library, shows us his well-worn Lattimore text and then proceeds to tell us stories…. Friends have asked if the reading load in these courses will dominate their high school student’s reading time and leave no room for other goodness. As a former high school teacher, I confess to being impressed by the layout of the course and the breakdown of the work.
Sara Masarik, Plumfield and Paideia
It is a program my kids have loved the most this year. And I love that I am able to learn alongside then too. After many years of misunderstanding some of The Great Books, I can safely say I am closer to realizing what they mean now. I am truly amazed by this program!
Amy Fleeker, Homeschool mom
Callihan is a gifted teacher—so much so that I think parents might want to watch the lectures along with their students for their own enlightenment.
Cathy Duffy, 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum
I really like the idea of a classical education for my children. I was considering Omnibus by VP but was very intimidated by teaching that myself and their online classes were so expensive. When I found this DVD series I felt like this was exactly what I was looking for! My ninth grader and I sit and watch Wesley Callihan talk to us from his study chair. He really makes the Greek Classics accessible to us. I also love that he comes to the classics from a Christian world view. This series fits the bill for a classical education!
R. Andrews, Homeschool dad
As a homeschool mom just venturing into classical education, I can tell you that Old Western Culture: The Greeks is super-easy to use. With schedules carefully laid out for you, you can easily plug and play. I like that all preparation is done for me and I need simply to enjoy listening to my children as they begin to think and talk and discuss ideology together.
Lynn, Homeschool mom
I’ve tried a lot of “great books” materials in the past. All have left me feeling inadequate and incapable. All of them. Old Western Culture though? This one is different.
Debra Brinkman, Footprints in the Butter
But what if there was a single program that adequately covered key texts of Western literature; that was well-written, accurate, and Christ-centered; and that didn’t just mimic all the other courses? Well, there is. Old Western Culture: A Christian Approach to the Great Books is everything other Classical-style courses wish they were.
Caleb Crossman, Exodus Books