Great Books I: Foundational Texts of Ancient Greecegreat-books-i-classical-learning-resource-center

This rigorous Socratic tutorial covers the literary, historic, and philosophic classics of the ancient Greeks. The class provides a unique vehicle for understanding the roots of our culture: the fundamental concepts and choices of the past 4500 years.

This class meets once a week. Classes are two hours in length. Students should expect approximately 6 hours of homework (reading, study questions, and composition) per week. Because of this rigorous amount of work, the course may be counted for up to two high school credits, depending on your state's requirements.

Great Books I is a course in Literature, Composition, and History:

Classical Literature:

Major themes in the course come from the works themselves including the values they endorse and the metaphors for understanding life they offer. Learner-active strategies are employed including a wide range of student response essays and engaging Socratic discussions. Texts include the following in their entirety:

1)     Homer - Iliad, Odyssey

2)     Aeschylus - Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides

3)     Sophocles - Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone

4)     Euripides - Medea

Composition:

The composition component of Great Books I covers the history and basic principles of classical rhetoric. Students learn how to determine the structure of spoken communication (speeches, debates, arguments) and of written works of many genres. Students read and discuss primary sources from the Great Books I Literature and History texts and compose weekly summae – written responses of approximately 300 words in response to ideas presented in the texts. Other writing assignments include classical rhetorical exercises, literary analysis, writing about history, persuasive writing, and occasional creative responses to texts. The writing process is emphasized — from outline to draft to revision. Students receive extensive feedback from the instructor at each stage of this process with multiple opportunities to revise and re-submit their work. Students learn to use MLA format for in-text citations and bibliographic references for each essay and summa.

"We absolutely love Sue Ellen Turscak! She makes material that would usually not be of high interest for my daughter extremely engaging and enjoyable. The amount of effort she puts into grading and giving the students feedback on their writing is amazing. She is a rare gem!" -- Lisa L., Virginia

"Great Books I really prepared my daughter for future academic work.  The class taught her rhetoric, critical reading and thinking skills, and made her extremely comfortable writing a five paragraph essay in a short amount of time."
-- Shawna J., California

History:

To study and understand the long stream of history and thought, and to comprehend our place in that stream, is to increase our appreciation of our cultural inheritance, our ability to use wisely and build faithfully upon that inheritance, and our ability to understand and respond to history. This course will engage with the events, persons, and ideas of Greek antiquity through Socratic discussion, debate, and analysis. Texts include the following in their entirety:

1)     Herodotus - Histories

2)     Thucydides - Peloponnesian War

3)     Plutarch - Greek Lives

4)     Plato - Euthyphro, Apology, Republic

5)     Aristotle, Ethics

Additional note:

The CLRC Great Books program focuses on literary and historical primary sources from the ancient world through the Renaissance and the early modern world. The literature is read for its own merit and studied within the historical and cultural time period in which it was written.

In Year 1, as we read the Iliad and Odyssey, the backdrop of Homer’s great epic is an assumed faith in the Olympian pantheon. Students are not required to express belief in Zeus, Hera, Apollo and the other Olympian gods. The class will not seek to criticize or disprove the religious underpinning of the text. However, students must understand that this is the religious assumption on which the epic is based. Similarly, Year 2 focuses on the Foundational Texts of Ancient Rome. In the first semester students study the pre-Christian authors Vergil, Caesar, Livy, Sallust, Tacitus and Plutarch. The second semester moves on to the period of history which is dominated by the rise of the Christian Church. Students read Eusebius, Augustine, Athanasius and other early Christian writers. These texts and this period of history are essential to an understanding of the texts studied in Great Books 3 – the period of the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance – which is dominated by the conflict of Faith and Reason. As with the religion of Ancient
Greece and Rome, students are not required to subscribe to belief in particular Christian doctrines, but they should understand that foundational texts of the Christian faith will be read in the second half of Year 2.

Students from all faiths and creeds are encouraged to read, understand, and write about the texts through the lens of their own beliefs, in an environment of open, caring, and conscientiously moderated discussion. Students who have questions or doubts reading ancient Greek and Roman texts, or texts of the early Christian church, may wish to contact the instructor for more information or choose a CLRC Literature and Composition class instead.


"The level of analytical and critical thinking skills taught in Mrs. Turscak’s Great Books class is remarkable.  Great Books is the single best homeschool class that any of my children have taken!  I am beyond thrilled with the thoughtful and careful reading that is required and taught, with the writing assignments that are given and produced, and above all, with Mrs. Turscak's detailed feedback on every assignment!!" -- Tanya D., Massachusetts

"I have been homeschooling my son since 1st grade and I consider your class to be the best I have ever experienced. My husband teaches at Georgetown University and has a similarly high view of your class. We are quite grateful to you for what our son has learned and how he has been challenged - all in a caring environment." - Liz C., Virginia

What students have to say about the importance of reading, discussing, and wrestling deeply with the Great Books:

By reading the “Great Books” we gain the insight and knowledge of our ancestors and begin to understand how we have been formed. These books are our guide through life by giving us morals, understanding, and perspective beyond ourselves.

These fundamental themes of Western Culture help us come to a better understanding of how our society was formed, and help us understand the problems and issues we face in our daily lives.

For the complete text of this student's essay, CLICK HERE.

Fall 2020 Registration for this Course Opens on February 27.

Section A

Prerequisites: Student should be an avid reader and have strong critical reading skills. Student should have strong, proven skills in analytical and expository writing.
Instructor:  Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A. 
seturscak@gmail.com
Age Level:  13 – 18 years
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Minimum Enrollment Required: 4
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Tuition per Semester:  $425
Early Registration Discount (before June 1): 10% off!
Class Meets: Wednesdays, 8:00 - 10:00 AM Pacific
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Fall '21 - Spring '22 Registration is Open!

Section B

Prerequisites: Student should be an avid reader and have strong critical reading skills. Student should have strong, proven skills in analytical and expository writing.
Instructor:  Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A. 
seturscak@gmail.com
Age Level:  13 – 18 years
Grade Level: 9 - 12
Minimum Enrollment Required: 4
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Tuition per Semester:  $425
Early Registration Discount (before June 1): 10% off!

Class Meets: Thursdays, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Pacific 
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Fall '21 - Spring '22 Registration is Open!

(If you would like to enroll in this class but cannot attend at the posted time, please contact us.  We may be able to open an additional section.)

Problems Registering?    Click here    for help.  

Sue Ellen Turscak, M.A.

sue-ellen-turscak-great-books-clrcSue Ellen Turscak has been a teacher of Great Books, Literature, and Composition at Heritage Classical Academy in northeast Ohio since 2006. Prior to that she taught English for ten years at Western Reserve Academy, an independent college preparatory school, and before that, Russian language and literature at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

She earned her A.B. In History and Literature, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1986, and a Master in Humanities, summa cum laude, from Tiffin University in 2009. Her thesis was on the forms of contemporary classical Christian education.

During the summer months, from 2010-2017, she was the director of her own Merely Players Shakespeare Camp, a two-week day camp for 7th grade through early college focused on exploring Shakespeare thematically through performance. In 2013, she was the recipient of the American Shakespeare Center’s Words in Action Award “to deserving teachers to honor their commitment in bringing Shakespeare to life for their students.”

Sue Ellen homeschooled her two children through high school. Her son works as a data scientist for a major consulting firm, and her daughter is a software developer for Microsoft. Sue Ellen resides with her husband and one very grumpy cat in Northeast Ohio, and attends St. Elia the Prophet Orthodox Church. She enjoys reading, cooking, international travel, and all things Russian and Slavic in general.

Textbooks

Students in this course are  REQUIRED  to use the SPECIFIC EDITIONS  of the texts listed below.
In a course based on detailed discussion of classic  works, it is imperative that students use editions with the same pagination, section divisions, and line numbering.   These particular editions also contain helpful maps, summaries, etc. which are extremely valuable for students.

Amazon links for textbooks and materials are provided for the convenience of our parents and students. 
The CLRC is an Amazon Associate.


The Iliad
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The Odyssey
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Aeschylus:   The Oresteia
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Sophocles: The Theban
Plays

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Euripides: Medea and Other
Plays

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The Landmark Herodotus
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The Landmark Thucydides
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Plutarch’s Lives: Volume 1
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Plato: The Last Days of Socrates

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Plato: Republic

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Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics

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