VanDamme History from Afar

 Posted by on 10 August 2006 at 8:30 am  Uncategorized
Aug 102006

Often, upon hearing one of Lisa VanDamme’s excellent lectures on education, I wish that I could travel back in time to re-educate myself at her VanDamme Academy. Even though I had a stellar education by American standards, I know that I’d be a far more clear and well-grounded thinker if I’d had her kind of education under my belt. From what I’ve heard from people at OCON, I’m not alone in those sentiments.

Happily, my “First History for Adults” course with Scott Powell, a history teacher at the VanDamme Academy, is giving me a chance to catch up on some of what I missed. I’m growing ever-more excited about that course. Scott teaches history in a way that I’ve never experienced before, whether in school, with my history reading, or from Objectivists. I’m finally learning — and really learning, not just hearing in one ear and out the other — an integrated, essentialized, causal history. Now when I read more detailed accounts of some era or event, I’ll be able to place that new material in a clear historical context — and use the methods I’ve learned in class to essentialize, integrate, and retain it. So I cannot recommend Scott Powell’s “First History” course highly enough.

I’m also delighted to recommend Scott Powell’s new Remote History Program for homeschoolers, just officially announced. (As some might recall, I blogged the teaser a few weeks ago.) Denying your children the opportunity to learn history from Mr. Powell borders on child abuse. (Okay, I admit that I’m exaggerating a bit — but just a tiny bit!) Here’s the official press release:


Scott Powell
Remote History Program
VanDamme Academy
25201 Paseo de Alicia, Suite 105
Laguna Hills, CA, 92653
Phone: 949-510-3737

VanDamme Academy, an acclaimed private school in Orange County, CA founded by noted Objectivist educator Lisa Vandamme has a developed system for providing its comprehensive history curriculum to homeschoolers and parents everywhere. The school has named this educational initiative the “Remote History Program.”

Starting in September 2006, VanDamme Academy’s elementary grades history teacher, Scott Powell, will offer classes to students across the country. Mr. Powell explains, “Our program spans the entire history of the West, from Ancient Egypt to Modern America. This year, to keep the program synchronized with our own curriculum, we will be offering the history of Europe (from AD 300 to the present).”

The story of Europe, Mr. Powell elaborates, “is both an exciting story in its own right, and an important background and foil to the development of America. We will look at the emergence of Europe out of the Dark Ages, following the fall of Rome, and the evolution of its various nations up to the present day, noting especially the role of Christianity and monarchy in shaping their cultures. Quite simply, it is an amazing epic, with both shocking villains and powerful heroes. Children love it!”

“To make this program available as widely as possible,” explains Ms. VanDamme, “Mr. Powell’s lectures will be broadcast both as live teleconferences, which teachers and their students can attend by phone, and by internet, via the school’s website. In this latter format, students will be able to access recorded lectures on their own time, if the class times are not convenient. This truly represents an unprecedented opportunity for students everywhere to access an essential curriculum component that has sadly been displaced in public and private schools alike.”

The Remote History program is now accepting enrollment applications. Parents and teachers are directed to the program’s webpage at

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