This live, graded, online U. S. history class for high school credit traces the social, economic, political, cultural, and intellectual development of American society from its roots through recent times. Students will be mastering historical content and learning to question, think, and argue like historians. I incorporate a lot of question-asking and student input into the courses in meaningful ways. Students will engage in a variety of learning methods.
Students will master much historical content. They will also have plenty of opportunities to think critically about what they are learning as well. Our time together is built around questions that I pepper throughout our live sessions. For example:
- When we discuss early English immigration to the colonies, I ask them, “What reasons would people have to leave their homes and travel to an entirely new place?”
- When we’re talking about the economy of the Southern colonies, I ask students, “What would cause only a few Southern individuals to gain a lot of wealth, leaving the majority of Southerners as poor?”
- When we’re talking about the Civil Rights Movement, I ask them, “Why do you think the Civil Rights Movement coalesced in the 1950s, rather than before or after?”
Student contributions get woven in meaningful ways into the class material. My aim is to make the course as interactive and thought-provoking as possible. But I’m also interested in all of us having a good time together while we learn history. From the feedback I’ve received over the years from parents and students, I am confident that I’ve been able to create a class environment where we have a lot of fun while exploring the past and improving critical thinking skills.
The course is built on a pattern of eight Units, each containing four weeks: Week A, B, C, and D. Certain assignment types fall dependably on particular weeks so that students and parents can rely on a regular, repeated schedule of work throughout the year.
Live class sessions are designed to engage students at different levels. Homework assignments are designed to meet the needs of the average student. However, for families who wish a more challenging, honors-level course, additional homework and testing expectations can be added. Parents simply have to contact me to opt their students into the honors-level track. For the typical student, weekly workloads should average about 4 or 5 hours.
For families who are interested in a more detailed example of how our live sessions tend to operate, please click on this link to watch a 20 minute compilation of four short excerpts from a Modern European History class on World War I.
Students at the honors level in US History do significant projects twice each semester. These projects involve analyzing primary documents and historical arguments about different American history subjects. We use an extensive website called Digital Resources maintained by Virginia Tech, which is designed to help students learn the necessary skills of understanding, interpreting, and making arguments about historical sources. In addition, students at the honors level also read about 4 extra lessons each month. They need to take notes on those lessons. The notes should be detailed enough to act as a study aid if a test were given. They also need to generate at least one good historical research question based on the information in each lessons. There will not be additional quizzes or exams for honors level, unless a parent opts into a midterm and final for the student to take. If a student signs up for honors level at the beginning of the year through Aim Academy, but at some point later in the year needs to drop to the regular level, that can be done with no grade penalty.
Who should enroll?
This course is primarily for students in grades 9-12, although parents of advanced 8th graders can contact me about the possibility of their son/daughter joining.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
The course is designed to improve critical thinking and historical reasoning skills particularly during our live class sessions. Regular homework assignments promote mastery of content.