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NEW!! European History Series 1: The Middle Ages through the Early Modern Era

Euro History 1

This is part one in the NEW full year European History class series. Part two will be coming soon in spring 2024.

This 12-week course on European history is the first class in a series of two dedicated to covering European history from the fall of Rome into the modern day. The first installment of European history begins with ancient Rome’s collapse, then week-by-week we move forward through the history of the European continent until ending just before the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s.

Students will learn about many of the most important events in Europe’s history, from the Crusades to the Enlightenment, and they will craft and practice critical thinking, research, and writing skills in the process. The ultimate goal of this course is to build foundational knowledge in students that can later be used as a springboard to dive into other, more focused topics in history that might interest them.

*Note* The first class in this series starts after the fall of Rome, and there will not be a class in this series that covers the period of time before. If you are looking to learn that information first, I highly suggest taking my Ancient Civilizations course. It is not a prerequisite, but that class covers much of the information that would be focused on in a dedicated ancient European history course while also placing those civilizations within a broader global context.

Disclaimer: This is history, not math. There is not a right and wrong, black and white answer to everything! So much in history can be subjective and argued over endlessly. I’m presenting the facts the best I can from various sources I’ve researched. I don’t consider any history book to be 100% accurate. It’s impossible. And same with this course. I compiled my research and put together the most authentic story I could, considering I wasn’t personally privy to the goings on during this time period.

No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for both- the depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format. 

Week 1: Consequences of Rome’s Fall
The first week of the course introduces the Middle Ages in Europe, a period of time that is popularly seen as an in-between era of European history (even if that popular perception is not quite true!). After discussing the fall of Rome, we will be focusing on what arose from its ashes: squabbling petty kingdoms in western Europe, a successor to Rome in the East, and a fledgling religion appearing in Arabia.

Week 2: Empires Emerge
After building an understanding of the immediate aftermath of the fall of Rome, we transition into some of the empires that arose from the groups we talked about in week 1. The kingdoms of western Europe see some centralization under the renowned Frankish leader Charlemagne, while the Byzantines in the East attempt to continue the legacy of ancient Rome. Meanwhile, a new Islamic empire on the peripheries of Europe threatens both with new religion and territorial expansion.

Week 3: Religious Reform and the Crusades
The Christian kingdoms in Europe and Byzantium found themselves in direct competition with the Islamic caliphate in the Middle East, North Africa, and Iberia. In response to this new threat, Christians in Europe began reforming their practices and belief systems to strengthen the religion. Additionally, they begin large-scale direct armed conflict with Islam, fighting over places considered holy to both religions.

Week 4: The High Middle Ages
The fourth week of the class is dedicated to the period of time most people think about when they picture the medieval era. The High Middle Ages was the time of the Crusades and knights and castles. However, those popular images of the period are only a small slice of the changes
happening in Europe at the time. Other events, such as the rise of the university, set Europe on a course to many technological and scientific advancements that came in later centuries.

Week 5: Medieval Europe Falters
Though the High Middle Ages appear to be a resurgence of the splendor of days long past, cracks in the façade were present. In this week’s lesson, students will learn about the problems medieval society began experiencing in the High Middle Ages. Longstanding institutions weakened, while new additions struggled to find their place in the world.

Week 6: Disaster and Renaissance
The final week of the Middle Ages unit begins with disaster striking Europe. A plague unlike any seen before threatened to rock European civilization as its death toll soared astronomically. However, it is not all bad. After the plague died down, some European cities experienced a
rebirth and a return to classical Greek and Roman ideals.

Week 7: Exploration and Reformation
Week 7 kicks off the second half of the class and the unit on the Early Modern era. We begin with a look into the Age of Exploration that connected Europe with the rest of the world in ways never before imagined. From there, we move into the religious reformation of the Catholic Church, a force that had dominated Europe’s religion and politics for over a thousand years.

Week 8: Wars of Religion and Revolution in the Sciences
Reformation in the Christian faith and the splitting off of new Protestant denominations did not happen easily. Europe experienced massive instability in some areas as a result of new interpretations of Christianity, leading to bloody warfare. Meanwhile, priests and other Christian
scholars began studying the world around them in new ways.

Week 9: Absolutism and Constitutionalism
As Europe experienced religious, social, and scientific changes, it also witnessed changes to its political systems. The local lords and small kings of the Middle Ages were being quickly replaced by large, centralized governments. Some of these systems relied on the absolutism that
monarchy had provided the world for thousands of years before, however others sought new methods of interaction between rulers and subjects. Instead of subjects being conquered and controlled by kings, constitutionalism brought forward a more cooperative relationship between the masses and the elites.

Week 10: The Atlantic System
The Age of Exploration led Europe into near total control of the Americas and the immense amount of wealth contained within them. A new system emerged that moved that wealth into the hands of the Europeans that propelled them into the forefront of world economics and politics at the time. This week is dedicated to learning about that system and the millions of lives it touched.

Week 11: Enlightenment
The Enlightenment followed closely on the heels of the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. This “Age of Reason” is responsible for many of the political, religious, philosophical, and scientific ideas that shaped the rest of the Modern Era and the present day.

Week 12: Revolution
Week 12 concludes our class with a look into the revolutions in Europe and the Americas in the late eighteenth century. Based primarily on Enlightenment ideals, these revolutions sought to place the people in a position greater than that of the state. Each was met with varying degrees of success, as we will see in the lesson.

Course Features

  • Schedule September 5 - December 5
  • Activities History
  • Lessons 12
  • Suggested Ages 10-17 Two Levels
  • Time This class is currently closed for enrollments. Please join our mailing list to find out when it is open again.