Classical and American

Hillsdale College was founded in 1844 with the purpose of providing “sound learning” of the kind necessary to preserve the “blessings of civil and religious liberty.” In the words of its modern mission statement, the College “considers itself a trustee of our Western philosophical and theological inheritance tracing to Athens and Jerusalem, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.”

In furtherance of that mission, Hillsdale College teaches K-12 schools to provide an education that is both classical and American in its orientation; one that is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, offers a firm grounding in civic virtue, and cultivates moral character.

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The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum

The Education American Students Deserve‚Äč

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is a complete collection of lesson plans for teaching American history, civics, and government to K-12 students. Students who study using this curriculum learn about American history from the colonies through the Civil War at four different times during their K-12 years, each time increasing in depth. The curriculum also includes American history since the Civil War and American government and civics for both middle and high school students.

This curriculum provides teachers with guidance—not dictates—about how to plan and teach a given topic in American history or civics. This guidance includes Hillsdale College-vetted books, online courses, and other resource recommendations; lists of content topics, stories to tell, and questions to ask of students; “Keys to the Lesson” that clarify important points for teachers to keep in mind; student-ready primary sources; and sample assignments, activities, and assessments. 

The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum is the product of Hillsdale College professors and some of the very best K-12 teachers, both past and present, derived from and created for real classrooms with real students taught by real teachers


Access The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum


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Affiliated Schools


States with Hillsdale-affiliated Schools


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The College’s K-12 outreach provides training and resources for use in public, private, home, and online education through the following programs:

The Barney Charter School Initiative (BCSI)

Since 2010, the Barney Charter School Initiative has assisted in the launch of over 20 classical charter schools across the country, training thousands of teachers and reaching tens of thousands of K-12 students.

Hillsdale Academy

Founded in 1990, Hillsdale Academy serves students in grades K-12 on the Hillsdale College campus. 

K-12 @ Home

Hillsdale College’s faculty and K-12 education staff have compiled resources, including videos, articles, outlines, and podcasts, to help parents learn more about classical education and prepare for classical homeschooling. 

Hillsdale College Online Courses

Hillsdale College’s online courses are an excellent resource to complement a K-12 education. 


Are you looking for time-tested and thoughtful curriculum?

Hillsdale College’s K-12 curriculum is content-rich, balanced, and strong, with an emphasis upon the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history, and attention to music, art, physical education, and foreign languages.

Learn About Our Curriculum


Career Opportunities

Do you aspire to join a classical K-12 charter school?

Hillsdale College connects capable teachers and school leaders with an expanding network of classical schools across the country. Candidates should have a solid understanding of classical education and a dedication to the liberal arts and the teaching of moral and intellectual virtue.

Learn About Career Opportunities


Start a school with Hillsdale College

Would you like to see a Hillsdale-affiliated school near you?

Hillsdale’s affiliated schools begin with a group of citizens looking to improve schooling options in their community. Learn how to start a school founding effort near you.

Start a school

Teaching for Virtue

The liberal arts in particular and liberal education in general are the surest, most time-tested way to direct students toward a life that is truly free. The liberal arts develop foundational skills that free an individual to investigate the order in things, especially in human speech and in nature, while liberal education embodies the free pursuit and acquisition of more universal knowledge that involves historical, philosophical, and theological inquiries, which are exemplified in the great books.