Humanities Program Overview
Reading and writing, thinking and discussing, practicing and revising, memorizing and implementing. These are all elements of our multi-disciplinary Humanities course, and each semester we use these elements to help us complete a summit project (the focus of an expedition or theme that guides learning) that has relevance, meaning and challenge.
In our blended Humanities (6th/7th grade and 8th grade) classes, we look at lessons, patterns, and major ideas from throughout history. Through classes and projects that engage students’ five senses using imaginative travel and artistic, musical, and culinary elements, students experience the cultures of a variety of countries across time and space. The human condition offers rich opportunities for colloquia, simulation, and projects, and we build classes and projects that dive deeply into questions and circumstances that beg to be understood.
The language arts are also woven throughout the curriculum. Reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing are essential to understanding the humanities. Students’ ability to fluently speak, write, listen and read are honed through practice and through projects specifically designed to draw attention to these things.
Literature is a staple that offers insight into the humanities, and it also helps students refine their language arts skills. We use literature that is worth reading and re-reading; we frequently choose texts that have withstood the test of time–yet when we find excellent recent literature, that also becomes a class staple.
In each Humanities class, we emphasize the education of the whole person, including the education of the senses through art and music. We utilize art as one of the great ways to develop the refinement and discernment of the senses. Memorization through also plays an important role throughout each term. Students gain confidence with speaking and presenting, and they become more attentive listeners. By combining beauty, analysis, creativity and discipline within the learning process, the Humanities 6-8 program promotes well-rounded, thoughtful students.
The expeditions encompassed within the Humanities program in grades 6-8 include:
Humanities 6/7A: Liberty Pulse – This expedition covers topics of liberty and its components, World History, civilizations and government. Students conduct “Liberty Pulses” of select countries measuring liberty around the world and create maps representing the degree of liberty in each country we visit.
Humanities 6/7B: Wave to the World – The Wave to the World Expedition focuses on world history, current events, government, liberty and appreciation of diverse cultures, peoples and perspectives. It prepares students for wise use of social media. The Summit Project invites students to collaborate in sending an inspiring message to every country in the world in just 24 hours.
Humanities 6/7C: Neighbors to the South – Students explore the topics of South and Central American history, geography, and culture, and have an opportunity to connect with and serve people living under impoverished circumstances in a South or Central American country. In the Summit Project students work together to fundraise money for a meaningful service goal.
Humanities 6/7D: Citizen Scholar Challenge – Students learn about American History while at the same time following in the footsteps of many American heroes by accomplishing a challenging personal academic goal. The goals students choose for the Citizen Scholar Challenge will help prepare them for greater academic rigor and more engaged citizenship. At the end of the term, students present what they learned and how they grew through their selected Citizen Scholar Challenge.
Humanities 8A: Government – The focus of this expedition is current events and understanding the US political system and a history of its founding and evolution. In the Summit Project, students model a “real world” situation room scenario by preparing a presentation and writing a paper on a current event. They present their findings in a slide presentation as if they are presenting it to the US President in the Situation Room.
Humanities 8B: Worldviews – Students learn about understanding various worldviews and their reactionary, pendulum-like shifts; they also gain deeper self-awareness about their own worldview. At the end of the term, students compose a piece of art that reflects our own personal conclusions about the role of art in society and embodies their own definition of “Art.”
Humanities Courses at Williamsburg Academy
|Courses||Recommended Grade||Credit||Delivery Format||Prerequisites|
|Humanities 6/7 A||6th, 7th||0.5||Live||None|
|Humanities 6/7 B||6th, 7th||0.5||Live||None|
|Humanities 6/7 C||6th, 7th||0.5||Live||None|
|Humanities 6/7 D||6th, 7th||0.5||Live||None|
|Humanities 8 A||8th||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None|
|Humanities 8 B||8th||0.5||Live/Self-Paced||None|