The Spartanburg Day School Department of History strives to create historians by encouraging the development of historical thinking and analytical skill sets. Emphasis is placed on knowledge, the skills of the historian, research, and communication orally and through writing. The ultimate goal is to prepare students for independent learning and college-level history courses.

The teaching style can be defined as inquiry-based in that we strive to create learner-centered environments. The teacher is a facilitator of learning rather than a lecturer. We emphasize ‘"doing-history," not the memorization of facts and figures.

Ancient History

This is an introductory survey of prehistory and world history up to 1500 CE. The course content focuses on the interaction between ancient humans and their physical and social environments, how early human civilizations developed concepts and technologies to understand and “overcome” their natural world, and how early societies interacted and shaped each other. The course also aims to draw connections between the ancient and modern worlds, particularly along the lines of social, economic, and global problems. Skills focused on in the course include: an introduction to the work of historians, formulating written and oral historical arguments through essays, two research papers, several debates, and operating as a group through class projects.

Honors World History

AP World History

This course examines the history of the World and focuses on history as an academic discipline. The course spans a long chronology - from the dawn of man to the present day. The course examines important trends and themes that have shaped the human experience across the globe. The course gives students space and time to grapple with an historical understanding and to develop the tools and processes required for mature historical thinking. Source work and “doing history” are at the center of work in the classroom. Students will gain a deep understanding of historical trends but more emphasis is placed on building and honing skills – writing, research and critical source analysis - than on memorizing facts and figures. Students will learn how to be historians and will be prepared for the upper level courses at SDS.

AP US History

This course, designed to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement US history exam, offers students a general survey of United States history from the European contact period in 1492 to the present era. Each week of class focuses on a central theme that incorporates important cultural, political, diplomatic, social and economic developments that have collectively shaped modern American society. Emphasis is placed on critical and evaluative thinking skills, essay writing, interpretation of original documents, and historiography. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to homework and study, are necessary to succeed.

AP European History

This challenging survey course examines European history from the late Middle Ages (approximately 1450) to the twenty-first century (approximately 2001). The three broad goals of the course are: (1) to prepare students thoroughly for the Advanced Placement examination; (2) to develop and hone the skills and processes of history and the critical analysis of sources; (3) to develop a deep understanding of European history that focuses on intellectual and cultural history, political and diplomatic history and social and economic history. Students will be immersed in a seminar-style learning environment and will be exposed to a rigorous syllabus that will prepare them for college and beyond.

AP US Government

AP US government gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret US government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute US government and politics. Major topics include: constitutional underpinnings of US government, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, interest groups and mass media, institutions of national government, public policy, civil rights and civil liberties.

AP Comparative Government

AP comparative government introduces students to fundamental concepts to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings. The course aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes. Comparison assists both in identifying problems and in analyzing policy-making. In addition to covering the major concepts that are used to organize and interpret what we know about political phenomena and relationships, the course will cover specific countries and their governments. Six countries form the core of the AP comparative government course: China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria and Russia. By using these six countries, the course can move the discussion of concepts from abstract definition to concrete example.

AP Human Geography

AP human geography is designed to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. On successful completion of the course, the student should be able to: use and think about maps and spatial data, understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places, recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes, define regions and evaluate the regionalization process, characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places. Major topics include: population, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of space, agriculture and rural land use, industrialization and economic development, cities and urban land use.