World History/Western Civ I

From: $88.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 9th–12th

Live class: Tuesdays 12:15–1:30 p.m. EST

Course dates: August 28th–May 6th

(Please note that class will not meet April 15th–April 22nd. Mrs. Hawkins does not follow the standard Aim Academy spring break week.)

Price: $625

Instructor: Lisa Hawkins 

Instructor email:

Note: Parents of interested 8th graders should contact instructor before registering.


Course Description

Description: This course will trace the social, economic, and political development of world civilizations and the growth of important ideas from ancient times, beginning with Mesopotamia and Egypt, progressing through Greece and Rome, and then focusing on European developments from the end of the Roman Empire through the mid seventeenth century.   It addresses the needs of students who are looking for either a World History course or a Western Civilization course.   Not only will students be mastering much historical content, they will also be learning how to ask questions, seek answers, and make arguments like historians.  Students will engage in a variety of learning methods, including textbook study, primary document exploration, literature exploration, group discussions, and other projects.  Dozens of additional, optional practice quizzes will be uploaded for students who want extra preparation towards a standardized exam.    My choices for assignments are well-considered and my classes are very lively.  I do everything I can to overcome the limitations of the ‘virtual divide.’

This course will be run on the learning platform called Canvas.  Canvas is a user-friendly, powerful platform where parents can be linked to their students and access student material, see grades, and contact the instructor at any time. In addition, families can visit my website,, for more information.


Want to get a sense of one of our live class sessions?  Watch a recording!


Live Sessions: Weekly class meetings will be conducted on Tuesdays 12:15-1:30, EST almost every week the course is in session for discussion and reviewing of material.  We spend between an hour and the full hour and fifteen minutes in each week’s class session.   When we do not have a live class scheduled, students will usually be directed to view a related presentation or video. Attendance at the live sessions is not required, but highly recommended!  We really enjoy our live sessions together.   Just about every class involves student interaction with the material and each other in a way that they have always found engaging and beneficial.   I like to ask my students a lot of questions, and build on their answers as I keep teaching them new material.   If a student cannot make the live session, he or she will need to view the recorded class sometime in the course of the week because material in the classes will be tested in biweekly exams.



Course Structure: The course is divided into eight “Units,” with each Unit divided into Weeks A, B, C, and D.  Our live meeting begins a week, and certain repeated assignment types are due at the end of the week.  The typical  student will spend 5-8 hours per week on this class. This includes time for reading the assigned texts, completing weekly homework, and participating in weekly class sessions (via live session or archived recording).


In addition to learning the content of Western and non-Western history through the mid 17th century, parents can also opt their students in to writing one or two optional history research papers as a requirement for this course.  They will be given instructions about the various components of research-paper writing, including choosing an appropriate topic, engaging in useful research, taking notes, developing a strong thesis, and writing a well-developed argument.   



Special Group Project: For Unit Six, we play our Game of Thrones War of the Roses Game (rated PG, I assure you).  Each student chooses a man or woman who was caught up in the long-running Medieval political conflict called the War of the Roses.  Students earn points depending on how well their chosen ‘champion’ does (Gain the throne?  Start a dynasty?  Avoid a violent death?) as well as on how well they anticipate choices made by the various historical players at certain key times.

Course Outline: We will cover material from chapters 1 through 15 of Spielvogel’s Western Civilization and use the final few weeks of the course to review and talk about larger themes in the history of this time.  The live sessions focus on Western developments, while substantial student work focuses on non-Western historical developments.


Below is our schedule (subject to change as necessary):


World History I Date of beginning the week (Class meeting) Textbook Chapters and Potential Additional Topics to Cover in Class
Unit 1 Week A Aug 28 Chapter 1

Overview of class structure and expectations
Origins of Civilization


Unit 1 Week B Sept 4 Chapter 1, continued

Egypt and Mesopotamia

Unit 1 Week C



Sept 11 Chapter 2

Between the Empires – The Hebrews and Phoenicians


Unit 1 Week D Sept 18 Chapter 2, continued

Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians


Unit 2 Week A


Sept 25 Chapter 3

Intro Early Greek Culture

Unit 2 Week B Oct 2 Chapter 3, continued

Sparta and Trouble

Unit 2 Week C


Oct 9 Chapter 4

Height of Greek Civilization

Unit 2 Week D Oct 16 Chapter 4, continued

Alexander the Great

Unit 3 Week A


Oct 23 Chapter 5

The Roman Republic

Unit 3 Week B Oct 30 Chapter 5, continued

Religion and Philosophy in Rome – The Minority Report


Unit 3 Week C


Nov 6 Chapter 6

Rome Deteriorates

Unit 3 Week D Nov 13 Chapter 6, continued

Fall of the Roman Empire

Unit 4 Week A


Nov 20

(this is Thanksgiving week, but we will meet)

Chapter 7

Passing of the Roman World into Late Antiquity

Unit 4 Week B Nov 27 Chapter 7, continued

The Church and Early Political Developments in Medieval Times

Unit 4 Week C


Dec 4 Chapter 8

Carolingians, Vikings, and the Holy Roman Empire


Unit 4 Week D Dec 11 Chapter 8, continued

Semester Review

Unit 5 Week A


Dec 18 Chapter 9

Middle Ages Overview – Welcome to a Dreary World

Unit 5 Week B Jan 8 Chapter 9, continued

The Norman Conquest and Magna Carta

Unit 5 Week C


Jan 15 Chapter 10

The Hundred Years War

Unit 5 Week D Jan 22 Chapter 10, continued

The Great Plague

Unit 6 Week A


Jan 29 Chapter 11

Special Focus: War of the Roses (Plantagenets and the Peasants’ Revolt)

Unit 6 Week B Feb 5 Chapter 11, continued

Special Focus: War of the Roses (Lancasters)

Unit 6 Week C


Feb 12 Chapter 12

Special Focus: War of the Roses (Yorks)

Unit 6 Week D Feb 19 Chapter 12, continued

Special Focus: War of the Roses (And the Winner is….)

Unit 7 Week A


Feb 26 Chapter 13

The Renaissance

Unit 7 Week B March 5 Chapter 13, continued

The Reformation

Unit 7 Week C


March 12 Chapter 14

Europe Prepares for Expansion, Part One

Unit 7 Week D March 19 Chapter 14, continued

Europe Prepares for Expansion, Part Two

Unit 8 Week A


March 26 Chapter 15
Galileo Documentary – no live meeting
Unit 8 Week B April 2 Chapter 15, continued

Elizabethan Worldview

Unit 8 Week C


April 9



Comprehensive Review, Part One
Spring Break April 16 No Meeting
Unit 8 Week D April 23 Comprehensive Review, Part Two

Course will break during the following periods:

Winter – December 24-Jan 6

Spring –  April 15-April 22 (Mrs. Hawkins does not follow the standard Aim Academy spring break week)


Required Texts

Required Texts:

  • To purchase: Jackson Spielvogel: Western Civilization, volume 1, eighth edition. ISBN: 978-1111342128  You can also get the seventh edition, ISBN: 9780495502869, although homework and quizzes are specifically based on the eighth edition.  Used, cheap copies are widely available on,, or similar websites.
  • To purchase: Perry, et. al., The Humanities in the Western Tradition: Readings in Literature and Thought, Volume I. ISBN: 978-0395848142  (Be sure you’re buying the correct title and volume.  This has an orange cover.  Don’t stress over the price of new copies.  Buy used!!)
  • To purchase, borrow, or stream: Students will also need to acquire a copy of the movie, Henry V, directed by Kenneth Branagh (1989) or the version of Henry V  in the “Hollow Crown” series starring Tom Hiddleston.   The Branagh version is much preferred.  It is typically available through interlibrary loan systems or can be purchased cheaply online.  The Hiddleston version is not as good but is more widely available through streaming.   Students will be watching  one of these versions of Henry V near the end of the course.
  • Students will be encouraged to read additional versions of literature from this time period available in book form. The vast majority of these are available through the library.  For families that have difficulties getting books via a local library system, we will come up with alternatives.  Since students will often have choices available to them, instead of being required to get the same book on a topic, I will not list all of the possibilities here.  However, parents who need more information before the class begins can contact me.


  1. Ginny B.(Mom of former & Future Aim Academy Student)

    This was the first class my daughter took with Mrs. Hawkins, two years ago. (The original review is tied to the US History class.) Since that time she has also taken US History as well. I cannot say enough about her teaching style. Her classes have made it an enjoyable high school experience for her and an enriching one. She intensely disliked history prior to Mrs Hawkins’ classes.I am really grateful for that as I wanted her to enjoy her homeschool journey. Her love of history definitely comes out in her teaching. I have no problem keeping up with how she is doing as the grades are available for parents to view, along with the entire course requirements. She is also quite accessible and responded well to all of my inquiries. I only wish she was teaching economics/government or another type of history class so that I can sign her up for it. I also hope her college teachers are exactly like Mrs. Hawkins.

  2. Christine Atherley

    I have two high school students that took Mrs. Hawkins Western Civ I class this past year and they loved it. My 9th grader will be taking her Western Civ II class in the Fall and my 10th grader will be moving on to her American History class. She is a wonderful teacher, a pleasure to listen to and has given both of my children a deeper love of history and learning. They worked harder for Mrs. Hawkins than they had previously in their homeschool co-op and I appreciated her level of expectations and assignments. Additionally, Mrs. Hawkins is very thorough in her explanations and responds immediately to emails. Aim Academy has been a wonderful experience and we will continue to pursue classes here because of the quality of teachers like Mrs. Hawkins.

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Instructor Bio

Lisa Hawkins

I love history, I love teaching, and I love students. I put a great deal of thought and time into constructing courses that are engaging, challenging, and well-organized. I also care a great deal about humanizing the on-line experience, and you will see that priority woven into many aspects of my course. I majored in history at Swarthmore College, where I also earned my high-school teaching certification. I also did graduate work at Widener University with a focus on English and education. I worked for four years at an inner-city classical high school, where I taught American History and American Literature and served as Dean of Students. In 1997, I earned my Masters in History at Temple University, and soon began teaching college courses for Drexel University and Peirce College for adults returning to school. In 2005, I began teaching online, and to date have independently created nine different online college courses, ranging from survey American History courses, to the History of American Business, Colonial History, Revolutionary History, and Western Humanities surveys. I have been awarded “Outstanding Adjunct Faculty” by one of the universities I currently teach for. I am also an official grader of AP US History exams, receiving extensive training in the process and participating in College Board and ETS seminars. Despite all my experiences at the high school and college level, and despite my appreciation for the more profound academic and cultural expressions, I am nevertheless a shameless fan of English Premier League soccer, The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, and MST3K.

US History
Western Civilization I
Western Civilization II
AP US History


All classes taught by Lisa Hawkins