Introduction to

Year Two: Medieval

World and Church History from the Fall of Rome to the Renaissance

Year Two covers:
  • The Fall of Rome and the European Dark Ages.
  • Hundreds of topics from around Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, including: the rise of Christian France; knights, castles and feudalism; the rise of Islam; Muslim Spain; the Viking Age; the Norman Conquest; the Crusades; the Hundred Years' War; the Wars of the Roses; the six wives of King Henry VIII; and many more.
  • Church history from the persecution of the early church and the conversion of Emperor Constantine through the Protestant Reformation.
  • Topics from faraway India, China, Japan, Mongolia, Africa and the Americas.
  • The Age of Discovery and the New World.
  • The Printing Revolution.
  • The Renaissance in Art and Science.
  • Empires from all over the world, including:

The Byzantine EmpireThe Holy Roman Empire
The Rus EmpireThe Mongol Empire
The Ottoman EmpireEmpires of India, China and Japan
Empires of North Africa and West AfricaEmpires of Middle America and South America
The Spanish EmpireThe Portuguese Empire

Most chapters of the Year Two Companion are divided into three sections: (1) World History Focus, (2) Church History Focus and (3) Geography Focus.

1. Year Two's World History Focus begins with a brief review of the Roman Empire and the Roman persecutions of Christians. Year Two students will see persecuted Christians emerge from hiding to spread their faith all over the Roman Empire, from the Middle East, Italy and North Africa to faraway Gaul, Britain and Hispania. Then, in the 600s, students will watch the brand-new Islamic faith arise in a flash to drive Christianity out of the Middle East, North Africa and Hispania-- even as Christianity continues to spread into Germany, Eastern Europe and beyond.

Next, Year Two students will watch Vikings from Scandinavia and the Jutland Peninsula invade coastal territories all over Western Europe. These Vikings will gain a permanent foothold in northwest France, part of which the French will name “Normandy” after these “Northmen.” In 1066, Norman Vikings will leap across the English Channel to conquer England. Year Two students will study every monarch of England from that first French-speaking Norman king, William the Conqueror, through the thoroughly English Queen Elizabeth I. Along the way, students will learn unforgettable stories about the Crusades, the Magna Carta, the Black Death epidemic, the Hundred Years’ War, the Wars of the Roses, and the six wives of King Henry VIII.

Meanwhile, students will watch bold explorers from Portugal and Spain search the oceans for new routes to the rich markets of the Far East. Since Portugal controls the eastward route around Africa, Spain will commission the Italian-born Christopher Columbus to seek a westward route. Instead of a westward route, though, Columbus and his successors will discover a whole New World-- two whole continents and countless islands that no living European knew existed. The Spanish conquistadors will overwhelm the natives of this New World, exploiting its resources to build the largest, mightiest empire the world has yet seen.

2. Year Two's Church History Focus sections begin with short summaries for the Littles and Middles entitled "Church History in Brief." After that, these sections delve into:

  • The Roman persecutions of early Christians
  • The conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine
  • The monastic movement
  • Important ecumenical church councils like the Council of Nicaea
  • The Nicene Creed and the addition of the filioque
  • The lives and ministries of church fathers, missionaries and saints like Anthony of Thebes, Athanasius of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose of Milan and Francis of Assissi
  • The Great Schism between the churches of Rome and Constantinople
  • The Crusades
  • Important Christian literature like Dante's Divine Comedy
  • The Anagni Slap, the Avignon Papacy and the Western Schism
  • The Spanish Inquisition
  • Important pre-Reformation figures like Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe and Jan Hus
  • The Protestant Reformation and the Radical Reformation
  • Important Reformation figures like Martin Luther, Desiderius Erasmus, Ulrich Zwingli, Menno Simons, John Calvin and John Knox
  • The English Reformation
  • The Catholic Reformation and the Counter-Reformation

3. Most of Year Two's Geography Focus sections focus on the region under study for each week. For example, when World History Focus covers the Vikings, Geography Focus covers the Vikings' homelands in Scandinavia and Jutland; and when World History Focus covers Christopher Columbus, Geography Focus covers the West Indies.

BiblioPlan scopes its study of geography as follows: Years One and Two together constitute a full year of World Geography; while Years Three and Four together constitute a full year of U.S. Geography.

A Note on Scope and Sequence:

Year Two is divided into six units as follows:

  1. Unit One, Early Christianity and the Rise of Islam: 7 Weeks
  2. Unit Two, Europe and the Crusades: 8 Weeks
  3. Unit Three, Asia: 5 Weeks
  4. Unit Four, New Worlds Explored: 5 Weeks
  5. Unit Five, Renaissance and Reformation: 5 Weeks
  6. Unit Six, The Elizabethan Era: 4 Weeks

A sampling of the age-appropriate literature selections outlined in the Family Guide for Year Two:

The Making of a Knight (O’Brien)
Yoshi’s Feast (Kajikawa)
Columbus (D’Aulaire)
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (Nolan)
Leif the Lucky (D’Aulaire)
The Sword in the Tree (Bulla)
Fine Print: A Story about Johann Gutenberg (Burch)
Whipping Boy (Fleischman)
Secret of the Andes (Clark)
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons (Cohen)
The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (French)
William of Orange: The Silent Prince (Van de Hulst)
Beowulf (Heaney)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Borroff)
Family Read-Alouds
Joan of Arc (Stanley)
Spy for the Night Riders (Jackson)
The Prince and the Pauper (Twain)


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