Classical Tragedies is an online high school course offered through
Progress Academy as part of their high school membership package.
The course is worth ½ of a Language Arts or Elective credit.
This was a perfect level for my 9th grade son, who was somewhat
new to note-taking and essay writing.
Classical Tragedies is designed to be completed in 17 weekly units,
but can be worked at the student's personal pace. With each
unit, students are given a link to a video, links to articles,
and a worksheet that corresponds with each day's study. Students
are also given a list of vocabulary words to write out each week
and journal questions to work through.
Unit 1: Establishes the definition and history of Tragedy. This
ends with a two-page writing project.
Units 2 and 3: Students read Aristotle's Poetics. Unit 2 helps
students understand and recognize the elements of tragic plot,
character, and thought, as defined by Aristotle. Unit 3 has a built-in
review day, which is a nice mid-week relief when working through
some heavy stuff! This week also includes a two-page research paper.
Units 4 and 5: Students learn about Sophocles and read Oedipus
Rex. Unit 5 includes a writing assignment in the form of a newspaper
for the town of Thebes, including five articles relevant to the
play they have been reading.
Units 6 and 7: Students read Oedipus at Colonus.
Units 8 and 9: Students work through Antigone and then complete
a 2-3 page writing project.
Unit 10: Students learn about Euripides and read Cyclops. A writing
assignment is given at the end of the week for a 3-page story taking
Cyclops on a new adventure.
Unit 11: Students continue studying Euripides and read Helena.
Unit 12: Students learn about Aeschylus and read Prometheus Bound.
Unit 13: Students read Aeschylus' Agammemnon.
Units 14 and 15: Students learn about Shakespeare and read Hamlet.
This section has an interesting twist; students are asked to write
an obituary notice for every character that has died in the play.
Units 16 and 17: Students write a 3-5 page research paper and
create a PowerPoint for a presentation. These units carefully walk
students through each step of the process, which is very helpful
for those new to formal writing.
While I know some high school students might find the writing
assignments too easy, others will find it challenging. My son needed
the extra help that each unit provided and I feel it was a good
Classical Tragedies is one of many elective courses offered in
Progress Academy's High School curriculum. Progress Academy offers
classes for all ages, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Their
versatile programs allow you to enroll a student for a flat yearly
subscription. Once subscribed, you have full access to any and
all of the classes that fit your needs. These subscriptions cost
$895 for a one-time payment, or a bit more if you choose to break
this into installment payments. Family discounts are available.
Progress Academy will give a free pass to anyone interested in
previewing the school site before making a purchase.
I did have a few hiccups with the Classical Tragedies class. In
the second lesson, my son watched a short video and then tried
to answer the corresponding worksheet questions. He asked for help,
insisting the answers were never mentioned in the video. I admit
I may have admonished him for not paying better attention. After
a few frustrating tries at this, I finally sat down with him to
watch the video and help him find the answers. He was right. The
video did not in any way match the worksheet. I emailed the company
and they fixed it a couple weeks later. In the meantime, I wasn't
sure if I should let him proceed or not because he did not possess
the necessary information, and it was a foundation unit. I was
notified once that my submission had been received, but I was not
notified that the problem was fixed; we just had to keep checking.
There were several broken links within Classical Tragedies, making
me wonder if, perhaps, it is not a class that sees many students.
When there is an error on a page, parents can click on a button
at the top of the page to send a notification to the administrators.
This is very convenient if you are a parent already logged in.
Unfortunately, it is usually the student who finds the errors and
they do not have access via their accounts to send notifications.
This requires logging the student out and the teacher in to send
a notification, and then logging the teacher out and the student
in so the student can proceed with their work. That process rather
negates the convenience of having a notify button.
Overall, that inconvenience is minor, and well worth the rest
of the class benefits. I loved that the entire semester was lined
out for my student, but still omitting dates, so that we could
stay flexible for holidays and sick days, yet make them up on Saturdays
when necessary. I loved that we could access the class from anywhere,
because it is all online. I love that the reading portions are
broken up into daily reading assignments, with review questions
to be sure certain students comprehend what they read. I truly
loved the writing assignments that challenged, but did not overwhelm,
my reluctant writer. This is a class that I would love to use with
the rest of my students when they are older, and it is a class
I would happily recommend to other families.