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 master teachers. This unit is taught by Wes Callihan and Peter Leithart. With decades of teaching experience, they guide students through the story of Western civilization. Rise of England contains 12 video lessons (approx 30-45 min each).
Each lesson begins with a brief review before jumping into summary, commentary, analysis, and inter-disciplinary connections of the works covered. After each lesson, students complete the assigned readings, and answer comprehension questions in the Student Workbook or online workbook.
Rise of England is 1/2 High School Credit in either literature or history. 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 and Peter Leithart 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 Rise of England?
Our web app includes access to everything you’ll need for the course which includes:
● Video access
● PDFs of:
◦ Student Workbook
Physical discs and printed versions of the materials can be purchased as add-ons. We highly recommend physical versions of the books, whether you purchase our Readers or your own physical books.
Course Usage Recommendations:
Highly recommended: Physical Books
The Great Books are a central aspect of this course. We highly recommend that you read the works in physical form. You can use your own books or purchase our Readers.
Recommended: Physical Workbooks
The physical Workbook is a good alternative to printing your own workbook, but will depend on personal preference. Our goal is to support the course in the most flexible manner, so we leave the choice to you, and offer the PDFs at no extra charge for those who prefer to print.
Optional: Physical Discs
For a small extra charge, we can send you physical discs. Physical discs are only recommended for those with weak internet, since the best experience is the Roman Roads web app (which does not expire).
The workbook gives the student questions to answer for every reading assignment and lecture, discussion questions to think about, and discussion questions for further study, reflection, or as paper topics. 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.
This unit includes an “A” and “B” exam which allows students to either take a practice test, or retake an exam. A Teacher’s Guide includes suggested answers to all the essay questions, as well as tips for grading essay questions.
This unit has a Reader which includes all the required texts for the course. Go to our Reader page for more information.
Lecture List for Rise of England:
Average lesson length: 30-40 min
1. Introduction to Early Moderns (Wesley Callihan)
2. Introduction to Shakespeare (Peter Leithart)
3. Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Peter Leithart)
4. Shakespeare’s King Lear (Peter Leithart)
5. Shakespeare’s Richard III (Peter Leithart)
6. Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Peter Leithart)
7. Metaphysical Poets: John Donne (Wesley Callihan)
8. Metaphysical Poets: George Herbert and Marvell (Wesley Callihan)
9. Introduction to Milton (Wesley Callihan)
10. Paradise Lost I (Wesley Callihan)
11. Paradise Lost II (Wesley Callihan)
12. Paradise Lost III (Wesley Callihan)
Previews for Rise of England coming soon!
Meanwhile, enjoy the numerous excerpts and samples from Old Western Culture on our Sample Page.
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
The Old Schoolhouse reviewed Old Western Culture, Grammar of Poetry, Dave Raymond’s US History, Visual Latin, and Economics for Everybody.