American History Through Literature

(18 customer reviews)

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Grades:  7th–8th

Class:  Mon 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET

Dates:  Aug 26, 2024–May 9, 2025

Prepaid:  $599

Instructor:  Beverly Graybill

See Reviews of Instructor Bev Graybill


Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Bev Graybill

View History Syllabus     View History Book List

This literature-based American history class integrates engaging historical fiction, biographies, and/or nonfiction “real” books with a basic American history text or informational book (choice).

Lessons will begin with Columbus and other early explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries and continue through the 20th century to the 1960s.

Students will:

  • Learn the people and events important in American history including the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, Westward Expansion, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II (with solely an American focus), the Cold War including the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Learn new words in a context related to history and geography.
  • View US geography changing as America grows and states are added.

Course Structure

Students will have readings each week as well as activities posted in Canvas to review the material. Our live class time will include Mrs. G’s lesson on the same material as well as review games, mini-projects the students share, or reader’s theater plays.

Course Assignments will include:

  • Readings from either United States History (Holt McDougal) or The Making of America (National Geographic) and review questions in Canvas
  • Supplemental worksheet activities posted in Canvas
  • Read 9 to 14 historical fiction or biographies related to the topics being studied, sharing new facts learned with classmates; complete questions about each book read in Canvas
  • Research mini-projects, sharing facts with classmates
  • Complete two major projects, one each semester, including reading one nonfiction book for each.

Who should enroll?

This class is for 7th-8th graders, others by permission from the instructor.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Microsoft Word and Power Point are very helpful. If a different word processing program is used, students will need to save or export documents to a pdf.

Evaluation and Feedback

All exercises in Canvas will be graded and averaged for a final grade. Projects will receive additional feedback so that improvements can be made along the way.

I give challenging unit tests so that students can get a sense whether they might be able to do AP American History in high school, but my tests are just a small percentage of the overall grade, so they won’t prevent a student from doing well in the class if everything else is done with good effort. Parents could request their student take the test “open-book” if preferred.


Parents are welcome to contact me with questions before registering. Once I know a student has registered, the family will receive a welcome packet with additional information about the course including suggested book lists for all 14 possible books. I will contact parents if there is a concern with students not keeping up with the work or frequently turning in late assignments.

Required Texts

Download Book List

Text Book options

  • United States History written by William Deverell & Deborah Gray White; Holt McDougal, 2012 ISBN: 978-0547484280  OR for a non-textbook approach
  • The Making of America: The History of America from 1492 to the Present by Robert D. Johnston; National Geographic, 2010 ISBN: 978-1426306631

Other required books:

  • My Brother Sam Is Dead by James and Christopher Collier
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
  • Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of WWII by Joseph Bruchac

Additional novels can be chosen from my suggested reading lists which will be emailed once a family registers. It is up to the parent to decide how many books he/she would like for your student to read; I prefer a minimum of 9 (the 3 required plus 6 more of choice), but this is negotiable.

Students will also need two nonfiction books on the topic of each semester project.

The three required novels, the six suggested novels, and the two nonfiction books can all be gotten from your local library, if you prefer.

18 reviews for American History Through Literature

  1. Brooke Taddeo

    I learned a lot from this class! We did so many fun activities and I really enjoyed the class. I’ve always loved history and this class has made me love it even more. Mrs. Graybill is an interesting and effective teacher! She makes learning a lot of fun!!

  2. Dawn J (verified owner)

    The class was very informative and we found the Mrs. Graybill to be helpful. My son loved the projects that were included in the learning and found it fun to create and research. She responded to the parents and was very willing to adapt course work load. There was a bit of confusion and overload at one time with the assignments. Her communication is excellent and assignments were adjusted to fit the concerns of some parents.

  3. Lauren C (verified owner)

    I am so glad that I found AIM Academy and this course for my daughter. Mrs. Graybill provides a rigorous class. At the beginning of the course my daughter felt that the workload was too heavy, but after some time she was able to adjust to the new expectations. I think this class is fantastic preparation for my daughter’s upcoming transition into high school. Thank you for a great year!

  4. Isaac J

    I appreciated being able to learn history through literature. I felt like the history came to life though those stories, and I understood the people of that time period better because of the books. One of my favorite books, The Land by Mildred Taylor, I found through this class. I also like that Ms. Graybill is very attentive and would respond and grade my work almost right after I finish.

  5. Linda J

    Mrs. Graybill is an excellent teacher. Well organized and quick to give feedback to her students, my son is amazed at how quickly she grades assignments and answers his emails. I loved how she gave weekly schedules to the students so they can pace themselves throughout the week. Mrs. Graybill offers an in-depth book list for each period of history, both fiction and non-fiction, which students have the option of selecting literature from. She assigns projects which help students learn more deeply. She even offered advanced topics in grammar for students who were interested. As a mom who has been homeschooling for 19 years and having been a part of many online courses and co-ops Mrs. G. is top tier for online teachers! My son learned a lot this year. We are grateful such a fantastic class is offered through AIM Academy. We highly recommend this course!

  6. Krista L (verified owner)

    This has been a very thorough class. Our daughter has been challenged with keeping up with the workload, but it is good prep for high school. Dr. Graybill offers a clear syllabus and resources for students to be able to follow along with. Her organization removes a lot of guess work parents can sometimes end up doing trying to understand assignments and instruction that was given to students in OTHER classes. I felt better equipped to jump in and help at points when my daughter needed some push. She’s a smart girl, but needs a push 😁. Thank you Dr. Graybill.

  7. Parent

    We have been thrilled with this class. I really wanted my daughter to have another teacher other than myself before entering high school and other online classes. This class gave her a safe place for that transition to happen. She was challenged, guided, and encouraged. I feel like the class helped to strengthen some of the areas where I did not know how to teach/grade and gave her confidence in some areas we didn’t know she was strong in. My daughter has struggled with confidence with schooling and was so scared to go into a different learning situation (which was one reason I really pushed for this) and Mrs. Graybill did such a great job of making her feel comfortable and confident. Her thorough evaluations on the writing assignments were so helpful. If you put in the effort, you will succeed in this class. We are so thrilled she took this class and had this opportunity to learn and grow in her language arts skills.

  8. Kristy Stoll

    Excellent class! Super interesting and educational, while still fun and entertaining! Literature and History are (honestly) my least favorite topics, but Bev made them super interesting and easy. 10/10!

  9. Zainab Mohammed

    Taking this class has improved my knowledge of History and my writing skills. Mrs. Graybill has been a great teacher. She always responded whenever I needed help. When she came to my city, I had the great pleasure of meeting her. She is awesome in person and behind a computer screen. I would highly Recommend this class to other homeschoolers who are looking to take English and History.

  10. Kiersten Todd

    Mrs. Graybill is a very nice teacher. She cares about how I am doing on my schoolwork and helps me improve. I really enjoy having her as a teacher and would definitely recommend this class to other homeschoolers. Also, the assignments are doable but not too easy.

  11. Ying-ya Shey (verified owner)

    The above review is from Nicholas Shey.

  12. Ying-ya Shey (verified owner)

    American History through Literature is a very interesting class that I would definitely recommend to other students. It helped me with my grammar and my punctuation, and I also learned about literature. I especially enjoyed the papers, as I could learn how to write better while also learning history. Mrs. Graybill is very friendly and engaging. Overall, I am glad that this class exists so that I can learn several subjects in only one class.

  13. Rebecca Klabunde (verified owner)

    I love that this “2-for-1” class exists at AIM, allowing my student to cover two courses at once! Mrs Graybill is a very thoughtful, engaging teacher who really wants to see her students succeed. She is also very approachable and prompt in all communication. (I especially recommend her class for any students who are new to online learning as she is very understanding of her students’ needs and highly encourages them along the way!)

  14. Ligia Qahoush (verified owner)

    This is my 13-year-old son’s first on-line class and he is loving it. Mrs. Graybill is a great teacher and my son looks forward to attending her class every Monday. He wouldn’t even miss it when we were living overseas a couple of months ago and the class started at 11 pm for us because of the fall Daylight Saving Time. The class is rigorous and challenging but not overwhelming. She has been prompt in answering any questions that we had, especially when we registered for the class about one year ago. She was also flexible and helpful regarding our particular situation and I really appreciated that about Mrs. Graybill. It is wonderful that this class is literature based; I love to see my son reading all the books, and enjoying them and being challenged by them. He has also learned from the special projects and writing assignments that have been assigned throughout the year. This class has been a blessing to us and I definitely recommend it to others.

  15. Aaron Shey (student) (verified owner)

    This class expanded my knowledge of both history, vocabulary and grammar very much, and the live lectures were both educational and captivating. The quizzes helped me remember all the knowledge, and the creative assignments made this class much more then rote memorization of facts. Overall, I think American History through Literature prepared me very well for future classes and I highly recommend this class for other students.

  16. Ying-ya Shey (parent) (verified owner)

    This class is a true blessing to our family and contribute greatly to my son’s knowledge in both History and Writing. At the beginning of the class, he was having a challenging time adjusting to the rigor of the material. After some hard work and great support from Mrs. Graybill, he began to blossom and truly took pride of his work and learning. The lecture is always very informative and tests/quizzes enables the student to reach new height of his understanding. The assignments are creative and serves as a spring board for further studying such as the poetry assignment. He has since composed 70 poems more. We highly recommend this class, it is definitely worth the tuition and I consider it a bargain.

  17. Lynnea Hameloth

    Our family has been blessed by being taught by Mrs. Graybill for many years and she always makes the classes fun and also very “meaty” in what the kids learn. My kids have learned so much from her style of teaching and she does a fabulous job making history “come alive” and makes it interesting. She is great at communicating what needs done and what books you will need for the classes. Having a combined history and english together is just awesome.

  18. Carrie Clarke

    While my child has not taken this particular class through AIM, he has taken similar classes from Mrs.Graybill through a “live” co-op. In fact, my son has taken classes from Bev Graybill for four years in a row because we have found her teaching to be outstanding. Her classes are rigorous, but her explanations and expectations are clear and well communicated. The assignments are creative, and we love the fact that history and English are combined so effectively. She is one of our favorite teachers from our 20+ years of homeschooling experience.

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Instructor Bio

Bev Graybill

Bev has known since she was in elementary school she’d become a teacher, having taught her one-year-younger brother everything she knew! After attending Millersville University and earning a B.S. in Special Education, a M.S. in Elementary Education, and a Reading Certificate, she taught for several years in both public and private schools and then left the world of teaching to start her own family.  From there, she discovered the amazing world of home schooling, teaching all of her four children for at least some of their years of school and teaching for more than 20 years at several different co-ops. Contact: bgraybill[at]


All classes taught by Bev Graybill