Western Civiliation I Course Outline

I have completed the course outline/sylabus for our Western Civilization I course. I hope to have the readings etc. completed no later than August 15th of this year. We will be selling the complete course as a PDF file for $15. For that purchase you will have continued use and ownership for your family only. You may not transfer, gift or sell this file after purchase. Here is the course outline for those of you adventorous souls who might wish to generate your own course off the outline.

Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648 

Description: This course covers material regarding the civilizations of Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Near East; the Middle Ages; the Renaissance and the Reformation; and Early Modern Europe.

Knowledge and Skills to Be Acquired:

  • Understanding important factual knowledge of Developments in Western Civilization
  • Identifying the cause and effects of major historical events
  • Analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating textual and graphic historical materials
  • Distinguishing the relevant from the irrelevant
  • Reaching conclusions on the basis of facts 

Outline of Topics to Be Covered: Ancient Near East

I. Steps in the rise and development of the first civilizations

A. Requirements of a civilization

B. Characteristics of a mythmaking worldview

II. The significant religion, legal, political, military, and intellectual developments of Mesopotamia

A. Characteristics of Hammurabi’s law code

B. Significant religious, political, military, and intellectual developments of Mesopotamia

III. The significant political, religious, intellectual and military developments of Ancient Egyptian civilization

A. Characteristics of Egyptian religion

B. Significant political, intellectual, and military developments of Ancient Egyptian civilization

IV. Characteristics of the Hittite Empire, Phoenician society, Aramaean society, Assyrian Empire, New Babylonian Empire, and Persian Empire

A. Characteristics/components/achievements of the Phoenicians and Aramaean society

B. Characteristics/components/achievements of the Hittite, Assyrian, Neo- Babylonian, and Persian Empires

V. The significant political and religious developments of Hebrew society

A. Hebrew leaders and patriarchs

B. Characteristics/components of ancient Hebrew religion/ancient Judaism

Ancient Greece

I. Characteristics of pre-Classical Greek civilizations

A. The works (and characters) of Homer

B. Characteristics of Greek religion

II. Economic, intellectual, political and military developments of Sparta and Athens

A. Characteristics of Spartan society

B. Characteristics of Athenian society and democracy

C. Greek political leaders and institutions

D. Characteristics/beliefs of Sophists

E. Characteristics/beliefs of Socrates

F. Characteristics/beliefs of Plato

G. Characteristics/beliefs of Aristotle

III. Political, social, philosophical, and scientific developments of Hellenistic Greece

A. Steps/events in the rise of the Hellenistic empire

B. Intellectual achievements in Hellenistic Greece

Ancient Rome

I. Trace the rise, developments and fall of the Roman Republic

A. Characteristics of Roman Republican government

B. Trace the rise, development, and fall of the Roman Republic

II. Political, economic and literary developments of the Pax Romana

A. Political/economic/social achievements of the Pax Romana

B. Cultural and literary achievements of the Pax Romana

III. Trace the rise and fall of the Roman Empire

A. Rise of the Roman Empire.

B. The causes of the fall of the Roman Empire.

IV. Trace the emergence and spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire

A. Roots of Christianity within Judaism

B. Characteristics/components of Christian scriptures, doctrine and early beliefs

C. People in the emergence and spread of Christianity

Middle Ages

I. Elements in the rise, fall and legacy of the Byzantine Empire

A. Rise, fall, and legacy of the Byzantine Empire

B. Religious beliefs of Eastern Orthodox

II. Steps in the rise and development of Islam

A. Islamic beliefs

B. Events leading to the emergence and spread of Islam

C. Muslim intellectual accomplishments

III. Events, leaders and characteristics of the Kingdoms of the Goths, Anglo-Saxons and the Franks and the church of Latin Christendom

A. Reasons Germanic tribes could not maintain Greco-Roman civilization

B. Roles of the church in Latin Christendom

IV. Characteristics of the social and economic systems of feudalism and manorialism

A. Reasons leading to the emergence of the systems of feudalism and manorialism.

B. Culture of knighthood and chivalry.

C. Culture of the medieval peasant.

V. The political, social, religious, and economic changes occurring in the High Middle Ages

A. The Magna Carta

B. Causes/events/results of the Crusades

C. Characteristics of medieval worldview/philosophy

D. Characteristics of Dante’s Divine Comedy

E. Characteristics of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

VI. The causes and ramifications of political, cultural, religious, social, and economic decline during the Late Middle Ages

A. Causes/results of the Black Death

B. Causes/results of the Hundred Years’ War

Early Modern Europe

I. Aspects of Renaissance society, culture, and politics

A. Characteristics of Renaissance society and culture

B. Characteristics of Machiavelli’s Prince.

C. Renaissance authors and works

D. Renaissance artists and works

II. Causes/results of the emergence and spread of the Reformation beliefs.

A. People involved in the emergence and spread of the Reformation

B. Beliefs of Calvinism/Lutheranism/Anglicanism

III. Aspects of early modern European economy

A. Causes/results of the rise of the slave trade

B. Conditions encouraging investments in early mercantile capitalist Europe

IV. Characteristics of early modern European popular culture and attempts to reform it

A. Characteristics of early modern European popular culture

B. Results of European witch hunts

V. Aspects of early modern European monarchs’ attempts to consolidate power in their respective nation-states

A. Requirements for early modern European rulers to consolidate power within their nation-states

B. Steps in the rise and consolidation of monarchical/centralized power in France

C. Steps in the rise and consolidation of centralized power in Russia

D. Steps toward the consolidation of power and the development of a constitutional monarchy in England

Ad Hominem Attacks and The Food Stamp Recipient

I want to be honest here for a moment about some comments made in athread about a healthy meal assignment from a public school. It may not occur to some of you exactly how offensive some of your comments are.

If it is your business what my family eats wouldn’t it be equally my business what your family eats? Being disabled and poor due to that circumstance does not grant you right of intrusion into my home or my meals.

Why is it that you think you have a right to decide what I am permitted to eat based soley upon my receipt of Food Stamps? I’m poor, not incapable of making choices.

I hear constantly that you are paying for my food and that is why you have the right to have a say, but honestly that’s not true. You may pay medicare and SS taxes (15% of pay) but less than 40% of all working Americans pay actual income tax. Your family is most likely not one of them as you most likely have 1 income.

This portrayal of those who need assistance for whatever reason as the enemy is a tactic used by the political elite to keep us attacking one another rather than looking into what they are doing and banding together to fight them. We will never change things so long as we are attacking one another.

Yes, I buy some junk food. Do my children not deserve to have a birthday cake, or a treat now and then just because mom can’t work? Is it better that I not buy Coke to help with my severe migraines when Gov. Corbett removed almost every effective medication from Medicaid? Let’s not even get started on what medications are available for Fibromyalgia on Medicaid.

Is it honestly better that I not get anything nutritionally questionable with my EBT card that helps me function to take care of my children? I spent the better part of this extra cold winter at a friends house because I couldn’t take care of my children by myself this winter and my teen was a Job Corps to get vocational training. You really think I should live everyday of the year like that, or worse give my kids up? You don’t know anyones personal situation, so unless you take the time to get to know us or why we buy what we buy, how about we hold the criticism with the side of judgment and sense of superiority.

{For those interested I have received 16 different messages thanking me for being the one person who said something about my right not to be judged or dictated shopping choices just because I receive Food Stamps. That means there are at least 17 of us on this list who are hurt by your callous and hurtful comments. How about we all agree to think about how hurtful these types of comments are, and we withhold these statements from our discussions. These comments don’t improve our argument. Ad hominem attacks like this just show we haven’t fully developed an arguement against our opponent.}

I love spirited debate, but am asking that we avoid any type of personal attack, including those directed at entire groups of people.

The Opinions of Others

We spend an inordante amount of time worrying about the opinions of others. I couldn’t figure out why we spend so much time worrying about what others will think of us. Then I read a statement that said:

“One of the most profound lessons schools teach us, perhaps unintentionally, is to rely on other people’s judgement of our accomplishments” ~ The Homeschooling Handbook

It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks, the source of all this competing with the Jones’ and worry over what others think of us has a very real source. Between the judgement and comparison we all endure in school, and the judgement we endure from the modern Pharisees who make church a place of judgement instead of a place of encouragement and acceptance, it is little wonder that we are all pretending to be someone we are not.


I have been challenging myself to stand up and be me, even when that is uncomfortable. This was all spurned by an uncompfortable happening last September when I discovered I didn’t know how to stand up for myself and deflect unwanted attention. It litereally tore my gaming life apart and took months to recover from the damaged caused not by the unwanted attention but by my inability to do anything that might cause others to judge me.


It’s time we all stopped worrying about the opinions of others quite so much, and began focusing upon our opinions of ourselves.


So goodbye was said to the long hair that others loved but I did not. Goodbye was said to the false friends who I was hesitant to hurt by telling them to get lost. Goodbye was said to not doing things I wanted to try because others may judge me. Good bye was said to the things I did but really had no interest in. I tossed and donated many items in my home kept just to avoid hurting another’s feelings. My life is happier, and my home much emptier and more manageable with my health. Please take the time to step out of worry over what they might think. You’ll be happily surprised.

Trip to Juniata College

Posted using Tinydesk blogging app

English and Literature Resources for Middle School









I couldn’t Survive Homeschooling Without….

Bookshelves (at least 2 that are 5 shelves high). We even store the printer up top when not in use.

Kindle. I can’t stress this one enough. Once they are reading somewhat fluently in early chapter books, you will save so much time and space by having the pearl ink kindles for kids classics and vintage textbooks. This is which type of kindle I am talking about. http://www.amazon.com/…/B007HCCNJU/ref=as_li_ss_tl… The keyboard is great for an older student to take notes but notebook works fine too if you want to save the difference. Getting the Kindle with offers saves money but you will need to charge your Kindle more often.

Printer with a scanner and a digital camera. At first, you will be so proud you will want to save everything. Digital copies take up less space. At the end of the year we scan our portfolios and evaluation letters and put them together as one long pdf file on a CD with a document for each kid all on one disk. It saves space and prevents school district officials from feeling like they can regrade kids work thus marring their examples.

If you can afford it a laser duplex printer so you can print out awesome vintage books (though kindle is cheaper, I really do love our kindles.)

Simplify. Simply own less stuff but higher quality. Do you need 12 different baking pans, 15 different frying pans, etc

Space saving storage. We store our DVDs in CD storage cases and toss the cases and artwork. We don’t do that with our blurays and games however. But we own more DVDs than all the others combined so it works.

Use printable math manipulatives and laminate them. They take up so much less space than the ones you buy, they are cheaper, you can print more when needed and you don’t feel bad if you toss them between children. (I will try to post links into this post later so that you don’t need to search for these printable manipulatives.)

That’s how we make things work. And remember you don’t need to own everything, Libraries are free and can hold so many more books than your house (There are multiple buildings when you consider Inter Library Loan)

The Reality of Hunger

As those of you who follow me on Facebook may have already noticed, I posted a link to this several hours ago (technically it was yesterday). This is an area where I am uniquely touched, torn and most importantly qualified to speak about. I know hunger, the SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) program, the lines at the food banks, and the utter disrespect and hatred from others simply for needing these programs. I have seen friends post on their Facebook statuses such hateful vitriol against those who receive SNAP using their food stamps to buy practically anything and everything. Whenever I post a response about receiving them as well, there is inevitiably a post about how I need them but most people are getting them because they are just lazy. As the last presidential election taught us less than half the country pays income tax (most of us pay medicare and social security tax only and that is offset for more than a third of all employed persons by the EIC {Earned Income Credit}).  Furthermore, we learned the currently more than 40% of all Americans (almost 50% last time I checked we were at 49%) are receiving SNAP benefits. Lazy is not the problem. A broken economy and system is the heart of so many people needing help. In the interest of stopping the hatred and increasing understanding, I am throwing pride and self preservation to the wind. Here is what life hungry in America looks like. These stories are all true. They are primarily from my life, though some are from those of others I know personally. Remember we are real people who want nothing but to live, preferably in dignity without your hatred and ridicule.

I live with a list of health problems. Many days I can barely take care of my children, the physical toll of my conditions proving to be too much. Yet despite this, I find it impossible to get disability. When I apply they tell me due to my education that they expect me to get an office job. Yet I had that office job and due to my photo-sensitivity migraines and seizures triggered what appeared to be a stroke but was a new type of migraine. It left me for months unable to use my vocabulary, and unable to express myself with even the appropriate small words. It was a half year nightmare and totally demoralizing. This happened with a part time job. Yet I am unable to receive help as of yet. Getting that financial help is a battle I am still fighting. Until I achieve success in that battle I am left with no way to keep my children and myself fed but to use the SNAP program and the food banks. This is what life looks like for us.

I frequently describe what is wrong with me as Alphabet Soup. Not only do I have many conditions, many of them have acronyms and listing them on a regular basis when some of them cause cognitive difficulties. I actually carry a list of the conditions to my medical appointments, as I can never remember all of them on the fly. I currently live in PA, which means at least 6 months of the year are spent in pain that would have many running to the doctor for opiates. I however realize that if I start living on those now at 35 years of age, I will be in a pickle when I am 80. So daily I do my best to be a good trooper and make it through with nothing but over the counter medications and anti-inflammatory substances. Some of these are Krill Oil, and Mobic. I take a variety of substances that have been shown to provide relief for my medical issues in scientific studies. My medicaid pays for none of these. I spend an average of $60 a month for those on top of $10-$20 for Rx copays. This all comes out of $454 a month in TANF benefits while I fight yet again for disability. I can not afford to move to a warmer climate, where I “might” be able to work a max of 20 hours a week. My husband fights his own bi-polar disorder, substance abuse etc. and is currently incarcerated for something he did not even know he was doing. It took that event for someone to finally give him the mental health assistance he so desperately needed as they system gave me and my children medical coverage but denied him the same assistance due to his gender. There is much up in the air on that whole relationship, though he was my first love and we continually keep one another in our lives and keep coming back together. Nearly 20 years of history is wrapped up and connected to one another. He has changed the diapers of 2 of my 3 kids, and I have changed the diapers of 3 of his 4. As it stands he will definitely not get to see one of his children until at least November of 2016 when he is 15 years old. Seeing the other 3 is up in the air and not guaranteed. All due to the fact that the poor have very little access to mental health services despite the fact that mental disease is the largest contributing factor to poverty. Mental disease is a greater contributor to poverty than race, or even where one resides. Universal mental health care access is one of the greatest achievements in reducing the level of impoverishment we currently have in this country.

I am going to break this post into topics covering specific areas of stress for the hungry and poor in America. I won’t cover every area where stress occurs just the ones closest to my heart. I hope this opens your eyes and hearts enough to check yourself next time you want to hate on those who need your support most.

Not Enough Money for the Month

Every family who receives any hunger assistance or SNAP has this particular struggle. We have limited resources and more needs than funds to meet them.

In my home this is what our money situation looks like.

Income = $454/month (child support is sporadic and only the oldest gets anything on a regular basis).


Rent = $100

Car Insurance = $65

Phone and Internet = $85

Supplements for Health Needs = $60

Rx copays = $20

Gasoline = $80

This leaves $44 to cover clothing, school materials, etc. There is never enough money and we forgo tv services. A friend donates our access to Netflix as their contribution to my kids education and our ability to relax/have fun. Some people make comments about not needing internet as well as phone, however the difference between having phone with unlimited long distance to stay connected to families and Dr.s  and the cost of the combined package is less than $15. That $15 gets us access to study materials, access to new studies on my conditions, access to my medical testing results, access to support groups, access to disability advocates, and so much more. We would spend more than $15 to travel once a week to the local library to have free access to the internet for 30 minutes, and those chairs contribute to my pain as does being outside in the cold.

As you can see there is no money left over to contribute towards food. I frequently forgo the supplements and Rxs I need to keep my children in clothes and shoes. They don’t stop growing just because we don’t have the money for clothes.

Food is Medicine Too

One thing many people forget is a balanced diet is medicine too. The amount of purchasing power in a SNAP grant even at the maximum for family size isn’t sufficient to achieve a balanced diet. I resort to sneaky tricks from the third world to boost the nutrients we receive such as boiling the bones we get in the bone in chicken from the food bank until they are brittle enough to crush into a nearly powder and returning to the broth for cooking. The marrow and bones provide added nutrients to everything we cook with it. Yet even with tricks and such our diet is never quite balanced and healthy. There simply isn’t enough. We would grow food but we can only afford to live in public housing.

Price Disparity

As has been demonstrated more than once, stores in rural or urban areas have more costly food. You almost need to live in the suburban environment to afford to eat. When everything costs more you can’t afford everything you need to construct a balanced diet. I often eat bread because it is plentiful from the food bank. Problem is gluten triggers an immune response for me. While not full blown Celiac’s like many in my family it makes eating painful, and causes some unpleasant side effects. But sometimes it’s all I can eat in order to have a meal. And any produce you get from the food banks is starting to spoil. Separating the already spoiled from the about to spoil is tedious and what you are left with is questionable for those of us with depressed immune systems.


Waiting, and Waiting Some More


We waste a lot of time waiting. Often this waiting is done in circumstances that is health impairing. Standing outside in the bitter cold with temperatures well below zero and a windchill even lower is commonplace at food banks. Sitting more than an hour past the appointment time for an interview in chairs that cut off circulation in those already mobility impaired. I won’t lie, I often eat only once a day in the winter months to make food ends meet rather than stand outside in cold that will leave me unable to move for several days afterword.


I also wait at the Doctors office with impatient children in tow because I can’t afford a sitter. After losing patience with the waiting and impatient children I always forget multiple important items needing discussed, or the Doctor rushes through the appointment seeing my children as an annoyance. Add the fact the medications that Medicaid will pay for are fairly ineffective, cause more problems than solutions, or just plain old don’t work and my frustration and despair with even attending these appointments hits a point where I give up even trying to make my life a little better, a little more manageable.


The Screw Ups and Mismanagement


Several years ago, I only ate once a day while pregnant with my son because the local assistance office miscalculated our SNAP grant. They discovered their mistake after months of me calling them pointing out the figures they had on our notice were incorrect. We eventually got a portion of the grant that we were entitled to during the months they screwed up but that didn’t undo the damage of a pregnant woman starving herself to make sure her babies ate.
I know of a pregnant single mama with a preschooler in an under-heated house with no heater, who is living without her SNAP grant because of mismanagement at the local assistance office. We had to play some head games to get her to allow us to feed them for one meal. They are in a dire situation yet struggling to not ask for anyone’s help or pity. Trying to get by on hope alone.

You probably think this is uncommon but I can’t count the number of times I have seen pregnant moms just not eating, not due to not qualifying for SNAP or other programs but because of human error.  Add the fact our safety net has the bar set so low, that women often go hungry because their household income is $1 too high to meet strict guidelines that don’t take into account the higher utility bills inherent in living in substandard housing. No first world nation should have starving pregnant women and children yet we do.


It Could Easily be You Too


If there is one thing inherent in the skyrocketing numbers of people on SNAP over the last few years, it is that it could just as easily be you. No one is guaranteed their job, health etc. will be there tomorrow. We are all one catastrophe away from being Job, from having everything we depend upon ripped away. Can you really continue to hate those who’s story you don’t know? Is it really that important to you to tear apart the family in front of you for a  couple cases of soda that help them cope with the pain of disease, and keep them functioning at their best?

Do You Really Need to Tear Them Down to Make Yourself Feel Superior/Better?