This course 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 Students will be mastering historical content and learning to question, think, and argue like historians.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Students master a lot of historical content. But they also have plenty of opportunity to think critically about what they are learning as well. I build of our time together around questions that I pepper our live sessions with. So, 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 them, “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 my 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 each Unit 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 to the course. 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 “tour” of my classes, along with an excerpt of an actual live meeting, please click on this link.
Who should enroll?
This course is primarily for 9th-12th graders, 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. If parents want to opt their children into more writing-intensive or project-based assignments, they can contact me and we can work those aspects into the course for their children.
Parents are encouraged to contact me through the Canvas messaging system.