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Why the West Got Rich (History of International Development) Course for Homeschoolers Starting Soon!

The last five hundred years—and particularly the last century—has marked the most incredible period of economic development in human history. The rise of the West (i.e. Western European states and a few ex-British colonies) is a phenomenon without historical antecedent. In a world where these few have so many, and so many have so little, explaining—and replicating—this meteoric rise is one of the central questions facing politicians and academics today. It is a question with a host of pressing implications. Do culture and geography matter? How do bad institutions inhibit economic growth, and how do good institutions facilitate it? Does growth necessarily fight poverty?

With these questions in mind, I am very excited to offer this course exploring the history of modern development, meeting once a week this fall. Class will begin with brief introductions to the basic principles of macroeconomics and political economy, avoiding any hard math. We will then survey some of the answers to our core question—why the West got rich—offered by a selection of the most prominent theorists and political economists of our time. We will look at historical, geographical, political and economic explanations offered by some great theorists for why some nations have flourished--and others haven't. Other classes will be framed around historical and political case studies exemplifying and illustrating these theoretical approaches.

This course is an excellent opportunity to get an introduction to a vital and fascinating topic that most students usually wouldn't encounter until college. In addition to being valuable on their own merits, the ability to tackle big questions in an open discussion setting will be key throughout the entirety of student's academic careers. Although the subject matter will be complex, a basic understanding and the vocabulary to discuss these sorts of issues are, I believe, necessary to being an educated world citizen. Why the West Got Rich is, therefore, appropriate for all knowledge and experience levels. No one needs to have extensive experience with economics, math or anything else to keep up and get the full benefit of this course; I strive to make my introductory classes true introductions, and to make complex topics approachable. I look forward to working and thinking with your children this fall!


Class meets Thursdays from 10 - 11:30am

Why the West Got Rich is being offered through the Westfield Academy Annex, and will be taught by Connor Henderson. Details about this course, including class schedules and general information about the Westfield Academy Annex can be found at: To register for Why the West Got Rich, please click on the "how to register" tab and follow instructions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email - - or call me - 860-995-3401. Act soon! Class begins in 1 week and space is limited.

*Why the West Got Rich is also a powerful complement to the other Westfield Academy courses, as it can be taken as a part of a full or part-day slate of high level classes--including offerings such as An Introduction to Global Justice, Debate, and Model United Nations. For information on other courses, please visit the above listed website.*

A little about me:

My name is Connor Henderson. I recently graduated with high honors from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, where I majored in Culture and Politics. I am a former Connecticut homeschooler with an interest in education policy. Starting this fall, I am running the Career Beginnings Office in Hartford Public High School for a HArtford education non-profit. I will be in charge of developing and implementing strategies to increase the college outcomes for a large group of students from underserved communities. I also have an academic background (and personal interest) in International Relations, Economics, Philosophy and Sociology. I was a member of the Georgetown Parliamentary Debate Team, and taught philosophy and writing classes in Fall ’14 through the Westfield Annex, as well as literature and theory over the summers at the Great Books Summer literature Program. This summer, I developed and ran a Leadership Program for over 100 middle and high school students at the Westfield Academy Summer Camp. I also run a tutoring and college advising business, which focuses on writing skills, the humanities and college and scholarship application editing, among other disciplines.