Introducing the British Empire
Welcome to the Heritage Classical Curriculum, British Empire edition. If you have never used a Heritage History Compact Library before, this page will introduce you to the educational resources that are part of the Curriculum, and show you how they can be used for independent study.
The Heritage History Library that you are viewing appears to be a website, but it is not. It uses the same software that you are accustomed to using when you browse the internet but instead of going over the network to access files it is reading them directly from the Compact Disc on your computer. Each Heritage Library contains a great deal of information and the browser software allows us to organize it in a way that is familiar to most people.
All of the books, maps, timelines, images and other resources that you link to in this environment are available for you to view, print, or download to another device. You don't need to pay any additional fees to copy these books to a Kindle or iPad and you don't need to have access to the internet to view them on your own computer. Best of all, you don't need to worry about copyright violations if you choose to print or copy anything from the British Middle Ages Library for your personal use.
For those who prefer hardcopies, most of the information in the Heritage Curriculum is available in printable form. The British Empire Study Guide contains many of the Study Aids found on this Compact Library, and we encourage you to print copies of any additional material that you may find helpful.
If someone were to print all of the books and study aids contained in the British Empire Library, hundreds of pages would be required, but fortunately the books in this Compact Library can be read without printing them at all. Each book is available in several formats so it can be read on any computer, printed on any printer, or copied to any e-Reader. For those users who are not up-to-date regarding the most recent advances in e-Book technology, the Heritage Curriculum includes an Electronic Texts User Guide which provides instructions for downloading books from your Compact Library to several popular e-Readers. It also includes much information about self-publishing, electronic readers, and copyright issues.
The Heritage Classical Curriculum was designed to be adaptable and to appeal to students with a wide range of interests and abilities. The Curriculum resources can be used by anyone undertaking an investigation of the Colonial Britain, either through independent study or as part of a structured course or cooperative. The library includes books at a wide range of reading levels so they can be used by students from grammar school to high school. Heritage resources can be used with our own reading program, or with a number of other curriculums.
The library itself contains more books than any student is likely to read during a single term of history. This is because it was designed for lifelong learning, rather than a quick survey. If the reading recommendations for young readers are followed, students will certainly learn the fundamentals of Imperial Britain and the colonial era, but the curriculum provides for continuing studies for older students as well.
For families who would like to keep things as uncomplicated as possible, using the Heritage curriculum can be as simple as making selections from our Recommendations list and reading books from our collection. For those who want to jump right into a reading-based program, a step-by-step guide to using the Heritage Curriculum as an independent study program is provided on our Getting Started page. For those that want to spend some time exploring the wide range of materials available in the Heritage Classical Curriculum, a brief description of the information found on the British Empire Compact Library follows.
The centerpiece of the British Empire Classical Curriculum is its collection of over fifty traditional history books written specifically for young people. The library includes books at a variety of reading levels, and each is presented in three different file types so students can read them on their home computer, make printed copies, or download them to their e-Reader device.
About a fourth of the books in the British Empire library could be considered "comprehensive histories", meaning they cover the whole span of the British colonial period. Some of these comprehensive histories focus on the domestic happenings in Britain, while others focus on regional histories of major British colonies. Every student should read at least a few of these selections. The rest of the collection is composed of a variety of genres including biographies, military histories, adapted literature, and historical fiction.
In addition to providing book lists organized by subject, genre, and reading level, the British Empire Library contains two additional reference pages intended to help students and instructors identify books of particular interest. The Book Summaries page includes a short description of each book in the library. The Series Descriptions page, which features descriptions of overall series rather than individual books, may be helpful to those readers who enjoy a particular book and would like to locate simiar volumes.
The Library reference pages mentioned above are intended to help students and instructors decide which books are of most interest, but they make no specific recommendations. A specific program of study, however, is provided on the Recommendations page. On this page books that the editors of the Heritage Curriculum recommend as core reading for various reading levels are described in detail, and supplemental suggestions are also listed.
The Heritage Classical Curriculum includes a number of learning resources that are of particular use to students undertaking a comprehensive study of British Empire. These study aids include timelines, character lists, maps, illustrations, battle dictionaries, and historical summaries. Most of these study aids are organized by historical era, so that timelines, characters, and important incidents can be studied at one time, and tests or reviews can be devised to cover specific eras in colonial history.
Many of the study resources available on the Study Aids section of the Heritage Classical Curriculum have been collected into a printable British Empire Study Guide so that they can be reproduced and put in a notebook for easy reference. We have found that many students benefit from having printed versions of maps, timelines, and other learning aids organized in a handy notebook even if most of their reading is done using electronic formats.
The manner in which these resources are used varies according to age, learning style and instructor preference. They can be used either informally by individuals or integrated into a structured curriculum by an energetic history teacher. These options are discussed in more detail in the introduction to the Study Guide.
The Heritage Classical Curriculum differs from many other programs not only in the selection of books it uses, but also in its methods. These differences are set forth in the Introduction of the Curriculum User Guide, along with a discussion of the "living books" approach to history, and other aspects of the Heritage History learning philosophy.
Most of the rest of the User Guide covers practical rather than philosophical issues. It provides advice for keeping students on track learning the essentials while maintaining enough flexibility to allow them to pursue their own interests. Other topics include a description of available Heritage Curriculums and Libraries, a discussion of our recommended sequence of instruction, guidelines for scheduling reading assignments, and suggestions for oral and written review.
A printable copy of the Heritage Curriculum User Guide is available, and we recommend that anyone who has not used the Heritage Classical Curriculum read the entire guide before beginning the program. If you still have questions after reading the Curriculum User Guide, refer to the Curriculum Frequently Asked Questions.
In order to make our entire library of traditional history books available at an affordable price, Heritage History provides low-cost, electronic versions of each book in both e-Reader and printable formats. Unfortunately, not all Heritage Curriculum users are up-to-date regarding the most recent advances in electronic books technology. In order to help our users make informed decisions about usage and purchases of electronic readers and desktop publishing tools, we have provided an Electronic Text User Guide. It is divided into three main sections that deal with issues related to electronic readers, self-publishing, and copyright restrictions.
The Heritage guide to Electronic Readers discusses the differences between various e-Reader technologies and gives detailed instructions for downloading Heritage e-Books from a Compact Library to an e-Reader device such as Kindle or Apple iPad. For those who prefer reading hard-copies rather than e-Books, the Heritage guide to Self-publishing provides tips for printing and binding the books from the Heritage library at home in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Finally, the terms and conditions of using the electronic texts are discussed in the Copyright Terms section.
A printable copy of the Heritage Electronic Texts User Guide is available, and we strongly recommend that anyone who is not already familiar with e-Reader technology, laser printers, and binding equipment read the guide before deciding how to use the Heritage e-Book library. Even technologically advanced readers should probably familiarize themselves with the copyright status of the Heritage books before beginning the program. If you still have questions after reading the Electronic Text User Guide, refer to the Electronic Texts Frequently Asked Questions.