Build Bridges Between Literary and Historical Worlds


Read, Write, Discuss

In Waring's Humanities Program, students read, write, and discuss analytically in order to build bridges between the literary and historical worlds that they study and the world that they live in. Students explore literary texts, write persuasive essays, conduct research projects using primary and secondary sources, and address broad literary and historical themes. Students learn to respond analytically, creatively, and personally to the works they study. The Humanities Program continually asks students, in one form or another: Why does this matter?  To what extent am I the product of our collective past?

Core (Grades 6 and 7) students study the civilizations of India, China and Africa. Group 1 generally focuses on American History and civics, with an emphasis on citizenship. Groups 2 through 5 (Grades 9 through 12) study the literature and history of Monotheism and the Middle East, The Ancient World, Modern Europe, and America from the Colonial period to the present era. While Humanities students spend much of their time studying literature and history, the curriculum also incorporates philosophy, art and music history, comparative religion, anthropology, mythology, the history of science, and current events.

While students learn through lectures, presentations, and performances, roundtable discussion forms the most common classroom experience. These discussions are rooted in primary and secondary source material. While exploring these materials in seminar fashion, teachers and students critically investigate questions and truths about the watermarks of human nature which imprint history and literature: war, love, death, hope. In a single discussion, students might explore a sonnet’s depth and beauty, make connections between the speeches of Classical and contemporary politicians, or follow Dante as he descends into Hell. These committed, impassioned sessions often spill over into every area of Waring life: over lunch, at all-school meeting, and in the bus en route to soccer games.

The study of Humanities forms a rigorous intellectual framework in which students can synthesize their learning and gain a deeper understanding of who they are and where they come from. Such an understanding is the ultimate goal of the Waring Humanities program.


Grades 6-8

In Core (Grades 6 and 7) and Group 1 (Grade 8), students learn the skills needed to study humanities in increasing depth as they mature: how to read and interpret literature and primary source documents, how to approach test taking and essay writing, how to engage in thoughtful communal discussions, and how to explore the many questions human behavior provokes.

In alternate years, Core students study the history, cultures, and civilizations of Asia and Africa. In Group 1, students explore a variety of cultures and traditions through the prism of a particular theme, such as journey, service, or mythology. 


Grades 9-12

High school students engage in a vibrant Western civilization curriculum. In alternate years, Group 2 and 3 (Grades 9 and 10) study Monotheism and the Middle East and Modern Europe. Group 4 and 5 (Grades 11 and 12) alternate between American Studies and The Ancient World.

Josh Webb

Humanities Department Chair

2019 Eighth Grade Alabama Trip