A 40-week, leisurely great books add-on to Old Western Culture designed for busy adults.

Complete the challenge to earn additional curriculum or Roman Roads Press store credit.

Welcome to the 2024 Great Books Challenge!

This challenge exists to help adults read the great books at a leisurely pace throughout the year! Join over 2,000 parents on this epic journey.

History and Background of the Great Books Challenge

Since 2016 Roman Roads Press has hosted a Great Books Reading Challenge for parents and adults who wish to go through the great books using Old Western Culture at a leisurely pace. Starting in 2020, this was accompanied by weekly emails, with over 2,000 parents signing up to read the great books through Old Western Culture. This reading challenge is designed to both encourage and help you through this adventure, providing weekly support, resources, light accountability, and community.

The free version of the Challenge includes weekly emails, schedules, and participation in the group.

NEW: This year we are adding a small fee for an even better, upgraded experience. Purchase an add-onfor a premium, resource-packed version that includes the full audio recording of all required reading in addition to other exclusive media and resources. In addition, those who purchase the add-on will have permanent access to all 40 weeks, AND the audiobooks, making the 2024 Challenge a self-paced version of a unit of Old Western Culture, made for busy adults, with all the extra resources to facilitate the experience.


40 resource-packed lessons over 40 weeks

Choose from three add-ons for the 2024 Challenge or register for the free version below.

Free version of the challenge includes 40 weekly emails, reading schedule, and discussion group, but does not include audio recordings and other premium content.

We want every family to be able to participate in this challenge with the premium-content add-on.
If cost is an obstacle, consider the Challenge Scholarship.

Preview Inferno (Canto 1) read by Joe Carlson
and Sonnet 60 read by Tim Stephenson.


Make sure you have the required materials for the challenge. If you already own the unit of Old Western Culture you chose for the challenge, no further purchase is necessary! If you don’t own it, you can purchase it below for a 25% discount! Any Old Western Culture and/or Dante materials purchased at the same time as the Great Books Challenge 2024 (must be in the cart as the same time) discounted 25% in cart.


All you need to complete the challenge is to purchase the Great Books Challenge 2024 of your choice, and have access to the Old Western Culture unit that matches the challenge. The texts are included in both digital + audio form (and yes, audio books count as reading!).

But we highly recommend physical books, whether you already own a physical copy of Dante or Shakespeare and Milton, or want to purchase our beautiful editions (now available in hardback in addition to paperback!).

Any Old Western Culture and/or Dante materials purchased at the same time as the Great Books Challenge 2024 (must be in the cart as the same time) discounted 25% in cart.


Complete the Challenge in 2024, and receive any one unit of Old Western Culture (complete digital access, including the main video lectures, workbook, reader, and exams – $74.75 value) for FREE.

NOTE: The form below is not yet active. It will be activated shortly (for those zealous readers going faster than most!). Most complete the challenge over the course of the year, but a faster pace is allowed.


Why the Great Books Challenge ?

Parents love Old Western Culture because they see their children coming to the dinner table full of stories, and thirsty for knowledge and wisdom. But Old Western Culture is not just for students! Over 2,000 parents joined us in 2023 to read through Dante or Homer, and hundreds of parents, teachers, and even grand-parents have told us they have used Old Western Culture to, as they often put it, “catch up on the classical education I never received.” Make this the year you dive into the great books yourself, and earn free curriculum in the process!


Can I jump in mid-year?

YES! The challenge is set to a very leisurely pace, so while the deadline is set at December 31st for completion of the unit, it is very easy to jump in and catch up at almost any time.

“I already own all of Old Western Culture!

You are a Great Books Warrior, or at least on the way! If you own all four years of Old Western Culture, then if you complete the Challenge you will be able to choose $74.75 in store credit.

Who is this for?

Created with adults and busy parents in mind, the challenge is open to anyone!

What must I complete?

You must read (or listen) to the assigned reading of the unit you chose for the challenge, and watch the 12 lectures associated with it by December 31st, 2024. You do not need to complete written workbook assignments or exams.
Note: Aquinas reading not required for The Medieval Mind in order to leave more time for Dante.

Is there a required purchase for the Challenge?

There is no purchase required specifically for the challenge, but you do need access to the unit of Old Western Culture that accompanies the unit you chose for the challenge, and access to the great books covered in that unit (no specific edition required). We recommend the add-ons above, which include audiobooks of ALL required reading, discussion questions for every week, and other special resources.

What materials do I need to complete the challenge?

A copy of the actual works in any edition (digital editions provided with Old Western Culture, but physical editions recommended). And access to the unit of Old Western Culture you chose for the challenge.

Is there a deadline?

Yes! The deadline for this challenge is December 31st, 2024.

“What if I already read the associated great books? Does that count?”

Part of what places a book in the canon of the “great books” is that it is worth reading and re-reading many times. For this challenge, you must read the book(s) and watch the associated lectures from the unit you chose between January 1st, and December 31st 2024.

A Few Testimonials from Previous Challenges

We have over 100 testimonials, and will highlight more as we organize them. But here are just a few to give you a taste of what parents are telling us.

“My high school son and I watched the lectures together and deeply enjoyed them. We learned so much.”
– Saran M

“The background information certainly helped demystify the works, and having the lectures and emails made reading these translated works more accessible. Even with a household of toddlers, the schedule made staying on track easy, for a work I otherwise might not attempt in this phase of life. I’m really looking forward to going through the great books with my children, and am excited to see what Roman Roads produces in the coming years.”
– Amanda B.

“As a college graduate from a major university in 1990, with nearly straight A’s, I realized with a heavy heart that I was uneducated. Homeschooling my own children beginning in the late ‘90’s began the education that I had always longed for, but didn’t know how to pursue. Old Western Culture is becoming my favorite “mid-life” “empty-nesting” resource, though it’s intended for high schoolers. The parent challenge for 2021-22 was the invitation I didn’t know I needed to become more deliberate and less happenstance about this expansive and joyful endeavor. Thank you for your mighty work! It blesses not only me, but all in my circle of influence. Unexpectedly, I’m closer to God because of participating in this challenge, and HE is the needful thing that makes all the difference.”
– Jill L.

I wanted to let you know that I have completed the Great Books Challenge using the Aeneid. Actually, my husband and I did it together after we put the kids to bed (they are in elementary grades) and called it a weekly ‘date night’. 😉
Being publicly educated, we didn’t have the education that we hope to give our children and had very little exposure to most of the ‘greats’ (both books and individuals). I suggested we begin to learn these things now, though our children are younger, so we will know a bit about what we will be teaching when the time comes. Your great books challenge was just the impetus we needed to dive in- and we are so glad we did!
We were both amazed at the vast knowledge that just seeps out of Wes Callihan–it is clear he is not reading from a script but teaching through conversation…a style we both loved. And he teaches in such a way that even huge spans of history or daunting subjects can be made both understandable, fascinating and downright pleasant to discover.
We are very excited for this incredible resource for ourselves presently and for our children in the future! 
– Rebecca and Matt