Summary Description

The Components of The Greats Honors Program

• The Great Books Program
The Great Courses Plus™
• Weekly, Live, Socratic Discussions
• Individualized Student Assessments, Mentoring and Tutorials
• Monthly Progress Reports to Parents and Students
• All Courses Online
• Available for All Students – Grades 9 and Up

Greats Honors students will read one of the greatest books ever written, then discuss it live, online for two hours each week with two, experienced Academy moderators and fellow students at regularly scheduled, Socratic discussions. At their convenience, The Greats Honors Program students will view The Great Courses Plus™ lectures presented by many of the “World’s Greatest Teachers,” hailing from many of America’s most prestigious universities.

Creating unique learning experiences since 1990, The Great Courses Plus™ is the online streaming provider of the nation’s leading developer of premium-quality media for lifelong learning and personal enrichment by providing access to a world of knowledge from the most accomplished professors and experts. More than 300 courses and 8,500 lectures are available, all designed to expand horizons, deepen understanding and foster epiphanies in the arts, science, literature, history, music, philosophy, theology, economics, mathematics, and high school curriculum.

The Great Books Academy has selected approximately 30 of these courses for inclusion in The Greats Honors Program high school curriculum, and prepared a means of student assessment after each lecture. Students will submit a reasonable, modest amount of written work or take short tests, and occasional essays, to allow the Academy to assess where they may need further explanation, study or guidance, which is offered on request by the mentor assigned to them, and in subject-area, live tutorials with experienced Academy tutors. Monthly progress reports are emailed to Greats students and parents.

Our forefathers, once they learned the liberal (i.e., learning) arts: grammar (including of Greek and/or Latin), dialectics and rhetoric (the “trivium”), began to apply them to the most excellent works of Western civilization by reading them and discussing them. This millennial-tested and highly effective educational approach began to be replaced at the beginning of the 20th century with so-called progressive educational methods – the very ones which have failed and continue to fail our public schools. Unfortunately, most private schools followed suit.

Inevitably, sages aware of the causes of the educational collapse responded: in the 1930s Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins initiated the Great Books Movement, which set forth the restoration of the trivium, and the study of the Great Books of Western civilization including in Socratic discussions, as central for authentic education. The Great Books Academy is that part of the Great Books Movement that continues that restoration, in homeschooling, distance education and in numerous schools which offer our program.

In the Greats Honors Program, the study of the trivium and the great classics is restored, as well as those other studies which traditionally followed the trivium: the quadrivium (originally arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy). Reflecting the advance of science over the centuries, the modern version of the quadrivium is broader, composed of the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), higher math, music and art). These subjects are offered to Greats Honors students via The Great Courses Plus™, as selected and assessed by the Great Books Academy faculty, mentors, tutors and graders. This makes for an unparalleled educational opportunity for students, 9th grade and up, in this Honors program.

What about the students – do they have to begin the Greats Honors Program as excellent students, above average, or somehow gifted? No – it’s the materials, the books, the lectures, the teachers, that need to be the best in order to bring out the best in all of our students. The educational culture in which students are immersed strongly influences their subsequent intellectual growth and development. This was Dr. Adler’s point in the quotation first cited above: the best education is for all students.
The Greats Honors Program provides a mentor for individualized educational consultation and advice via email or live, online. Initial mentors are assigned to students by the Academy, and may be changed on request. Mentor sessions are on request and are individual-student-based, and are intended to assist students with individual learning difficulties, improving study habits, offering individual encouragement, support and occasional help with their studies, and with achieving individual educational goals. Since the mentors do not know all subject-areas equally well, when a student needs help in a particular area (such as in higher math, science, music, etc.), the mentors will arrange live, online tutorials for the students, as needed. These may be for individual students, or for multiple students with the same need for tutoring by one of the Academy tutors.

The agreement between the Academy and The Great Courses Plus™ brings together the finest elements of education in one, integrated, online educational program – The Greats Honors Program. Because The Great Courses Plus™ shares our passion for learning and commitment to high-quality content, we are pleased to be able to include relevant courses from The Great Courses Plus™ into our curriculum in the Greats Honors Program in order to provide access to renowned professors and offer a complementary supplement to your learning experience. We are enthused to be able to bring together and offer all of this to our students, high school level and up.
The Great Honors Program courses are prepared and taught by professors and teachers at many of the finest colleges and universities in the world, and of the 120 credits in the Greats Honors Program, courses with 48 such credits have been reviewed and recommended for college-level credit by the American Council on Education (ACE CREDIT), those so recommended being the 8 Great Books Program courses [recommended for 48 credits]. The Great Courses™ do not have that recommendation for college credit.

We invite you to read Frequently Asked Questions about the Greats Honors Program (link in sidebar), and to view the The Great Courses™ carefully selected for our students for a well-rounded, generalist education (HERE). After completing the Great Honors Program, we believe our students will be among the best educated anywhere and, if they so desire, ready to begin their specialization in professional or vocational studies.

Welcome to The Greats Honors Program!





Mary Carmack, Provost

The Greats Honors Program