AP  U.S. History 

On-Line for 2012-2013 School Year

We have three sections, taught by Lisa Hawkins, Daniel Burns and Susan Richman.

Section 1

Teacher: Lisa Hawkins

Email: lisa@questcourses.com

Texts Required:

         America: A Narrative History, Tindall and Shi. The newest edition is the 8th edition, and that’s the edition I will be working from. However, you can buy one of the older editions. You can even buy the ‘brief’ edition without worrying about missing out on important material. You want either separate Volumes 1 and 2, or the combined edition.

         After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, Davidson and Lytle. Any edition of this book is acceptable. Once again, you can find this book as one combined volume, or separated into Volume 1 and Volume 2. Many inexpensive copies are available through amazon.com resellers, ebay, half.com, etc. Furthermore, reselling this item (like all the other texts required for this course) shouldn’t be a problem since they are popular texts in other AP US History courses.

         United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination, Newman and Schmalbach

Other primary and secondary sources, lectures, presentations, online videos, etc. will be available online.

Tech Needs: Full Full internet access. High speed would be very helpful, because part of this course will involve viewing and listening to streaming flash-based presentations (and those don’t work well with lower speed access).

Class Fees: $650.

Who should apply: High school students who understand that much will be required of them. While I will guide students into mastery of content, I do so in the context of training students to read actively, think critically, and write engagingly about the material they are encountering. Therefore, both a scholarly attitude and a scholarly set of skills will be necessary for any student to thrive in this course. In addition, my class will be highly interactive. There will be a variety of ways students will approach the material, from participating in historical debates, critiquing actual AP essays, reviewing each other’s work, and collaborating in projects.

Class Description: To help families determine whether or not this course would work for you, I have created a section of the working course where you can log into the course and explore the course structure and all the uploaded content. More details about this can be found at my website, www.questcourses.com.

This course will cover the development of American history from its colonial beginnings through the 1970s (the period covered by the AP exam). It will prepare students to take the AP US History exam in May, 2013. However, my goals for this course are more comprehensive than getting students ready to take the exam next May. I also hope to inspire and increase students’ love and appreciation for history, expand students’ capacity to think creatively and flexibly about critical issues, and communicate powerfully and compellingly.

The course will primarily be conducted on a learning management system (LMS) called Canvas. Canvas is very easy for a new user to learn, and I will upload audio-visual presentations to teach students. One of the advantages of Canvas is that I can allow parents to be observers in the course, and even link parents to their own students’ submissions and feedback, so that they can have immediate access to all sorts of important information. Through Canvas, students will access all of their requirements, view my audio-visual presentations, upload assignments, take their Unit multiple-choice exams (with instant feedback), take essay exams, engage in threaded discussions, view my feedback, participate in optional chat ‘office hours,’ etc. We also have the option of scheduling optional live, interactive sessions.

I will also maintain a ‘portal’ website which will house additional uploads and links for students to access. In addition, each student will be assigned his/her own personal blog. Students will use their blogs as a learning site for other students – posting more substantial work to share with classmates and offering suggestions and reflections. Students will have quite a bit of leeway in crafting their blogs to reflect their personalities and interests.

Students will read primary and secondary source material, watch videos, listen to audio, and participate in discussions. They will have access to my college-level audio-visual presentations, which include both improving thinking, reading, and writing skills and covering the content of American history from the roots of American history into the 20th century, more than 30 presentations in all (a sample presentation is available at my edublogs website). They will learn how to write historical essays like the ones required by the AP exam, not only by writing their own, but by critiquing actual former AP exam submissions for strengths and weaknesses. They will learn how to notice on-going themes in American history and assume responsibility for interpreting historical events through the framework of one or more theme not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their classmates. They will engage in weekly threaded discussions with one another, considering questions like “What is the purpose of government?” and “Could the Civil War have been averted?” to collaborating on the best approaches to AP-like questions. They will submit a variety of assignments and receive prompt feedback.

Instructor Qualifications: I love history, I love teaching, and I love students. I put a great deal of thought and time into constructing courses that are engaging, challenging, and well-organized. I also care a great deal about humanizing the on-line experience, and you will see that priority woven into many aspects of my course. I majored in history at Swarthmore College, where I also earned my high-school teaching certification. I also did graduate work at Widener University with a focus on English and education. I worked for four years at an inner-city classical high school, where I taught American History and American Literature and served as Dean of Students. In 1997, I earned my Masters in History at Temple University, and soon began teaching college courses for Drexel University and Peirce College for adults returning to school. In 2005, I began teaching online, and to date have independently created eight different online college courses, ranging from survey American History courses, to the History of American Business, Colonial History, Revolutionary History, and Western Humanities surveys. I am also an official grader of AP US History exams, receiving extensive training in the process and participating in College Board and ETS seminars. Despite all my experiences at the high school and college level, and despite my appreciation for the more profound academic and cultural expressions, I am nevertheless a shameless fan of The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, and MST3K.

Click here for an application to Lisa Hawkins’ section of this class

Click here for Comments about Lisa Hawkins teaching

Section 2

Teacher: Daniel Burns


Email: swampfox185@gmail.com


Texts Required: America: A Narrative History, 7th or 8th edition by Tindall and Shi; Barron’s AP U.S. History Guide, by Kellogg.


Tech Needs: High speed internet access, ability to watch history-related videos online.


Class Fees: $550. Costs for texts vary depending on choice of format (ebook or print) and choice of used or new. There is an audit option available.


Who should apply: This course is open to homeschooled students who will be in grades 9 through 12 in the 2012-2013 school year. There are no prerequisites, but a basic understanding of U.S. History will be helpful. Students should also be willing to regularly engage in thoughtful discussions of historical issues and events.


This course is ideal for those who have a passion for history and enjoy an academic challenge. There will be large readings required along with primary source documents, two essays each month, and other assignments, so strong reading and writing skills are important. Students should expect to devote an average of 10 hours each week to this course. I will ask for PSAT/SAT/ACT scores or other measures of academic preparation (such as a letter of recommendation) and a writing sample in the application process. Perhaps most importantly, students should have self-motivation and a love of learning.


Class Description: As preparation for the AP U.S. History exam in May, the course will cover U.S. history from colonization through the present, including political, social, cultural, and economic themes. The main textbook will be supplemented with a video series, powerpoint slideshows, primary source documents, and internet research. Students should seek out their own sources through videos, magazines, novels, or visits to historical sites. There will also be editorial cartoon analyses, interviews, and two research papers. An average month will include about 200 pages of textbook reading, two essays (roughly 500 words each), a number of primary documents, an interview or cartoon analysis, several quizzes, and whatever extra credit or bonus assignments the student chooses to complete.


An important component of the class is the exchange of perspectives and ideas. This is not a class for simply memorizing facts and dates, but for analyzing, synthesizing, and interpreting. What do you think about the transcendentalist literary authors? Did the South have the right to secede? What about Theodore Roosevelt’s Big Stick foreign policy? To inform our discussions on these issues, our course materials come from a range of viewpoints. The powerpoint presentations were created by a conservative Christian history professor and designed to expose students to America’s Christian heritage (and to Calvin and Hobbes cartoons as historical commentary!), while the primary textbook is more mainstream.


We like to have fun in APUSH! The course will have a highly interactive website (interactive rating of 3) where students get to know each other, respond to each other’s work, ask questions, etc. It will have a format similar to the demo website and will be password protected. We will also organize (optional) live chat sessions for review, interaction, and history games.

I will post frequent updates on the website as a reminder of assignments. Parents are encouraged to check the website regularly for details about course work and student interaction. I will also send out a midyear progress report and a final progress report to parents (very useful to show evaluators or to include in a portfolio!).


Registration: The application is available for download here. Please email me with any questions. Class size is limited and there will be a summer reading assignment, so sign up early!


Instructor Qualifications: This will be my ninth year teaching AP U.S. History online for the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers. I love U.S. history and the related fields of politics, economics, and culture. I have also been a classroom teacher and currently serve as administrator for Puebla Christian School in Puebla, Mexico. Student scores on the AP U.S. History exam in the last eight years of my class have been significantly higher than the national average, particularly in 2010 when all but one student scored a 3 or higher. I am a PHAA graduate and a graduate of Patrick Henry College with a degree in Government/Public Policy. I have always had a voracious appetite for U.S. history, and I look forward to another year of teaching this course as a means of sharing that excitement with homeschooled high school students.

Click here to read class reviews from past participants in Daniel Burns' section of this class

Click here for an application to Daniel Burns’ section of this class

Section 3 (section full)


Teacher: Susan Richman


Email: richmans@pahomeschoolers.com or spr1951@gmail.com


Texts required: free Digital History online text at http://www.digitalhistory2.uh.edu OR alternatively the print text (available 2nd hand) America and its Peoples, by Martin, et al; Barron’s AP US History 9th Edition by Kellogg.


Tech Needs: hi-speed internet access; computer capable of viewing online videos and listening to audio lectures; highly recommended: video or DVD player for watching related history videos, or ability to watch DVD’s on computer; program that will download online videos, such as the free RealPlayer; mp3 player or iPod for listening to downloaded audio history lectures.


Class fees:  $600. Required texts will cost approximately $16 to $75  (students have a choice of a free online multi-media text OR a standard print text – the print text can often be purchased 2nd hand very reasonably; Barron’s Guide 9th edition can be found 2nd hand).


Who should apply: Class is limited to 36 students max, and I receive lots of applicants, so apply early (class is often filled by mid-June). Audit option available for strong students after the class has filled ($150), with the option of joining the class and paying balance of tuition if an enrolled student drops the class. This class is for high school students having a strong passion for history, who have advanced writing and reading skills. This is not an easy class, and each student must be willing to put in the required time (roughly 8 to 12 hours of study per week, including watching history video lectures online and other activities besides text reading and essay writing). I will ask for SAT I, PSAT, other AP scores or other achievement test scores when available to help in making decisions on which students to accept into the class, as there has been shown to be a high correlation between verbal abilities and success in AP US History. Students will also be asked to submit a personal essay describing their background in history and their goals for taking part in the class. Ideally a recent US history class has been completed, or at least some demonstration that the student comes into the class with a good background in basics and strong interests in at least some aspects of our country’s history. As important is assurance that the student is ready to take part actively in the class through regular discussion on the website. Highly Interactive, rated 3.


Class Description: This class will cover mainstream US History from early colonization to the present, using an online basic college text (students also have the option of using a standard print text as a supplement or replacement to the free online multi-media text--more info on this in application) as well as many original source documents, varied Internet sources, and the archive of material on our class site. Students will also listen to regularly scheduled history lectures produced by The Great Courses (Teaching Company)—these are provided free to students via our website. Our class archives include all past original history interviews, biography projects, history film reviews, and more, completed by past students—as well as a section where students post reviews of ‘real world’ history sites they’ve visited. Students are also encouraged to use other outside sources (websites, videos, history-related novels, magazines, biographies, and visiting historical museums, etc.) for earning bonus points.


Students will be required to submit two formal essays per month, similar to AP US History exam essays, as well shorter less formal responses to 'History in the News', Historical Cartoons, summaries of original History Interviews, and Document-Based Question (DBQ) Follow-Up responses. December includes a history film/documentary review project. Students also complete two major creative-format Biography projects, with at least one as a website or multi-media project. For those students who can readily keep on top of regular assignments, there are also many optional quick bonus assignments for extra credit-- many students really find these engaging and fascinating.


Further, we hold three simulated online 'Dinner Parties' where students take on the role of various historical characters, who meet and discuss issues related to a particular era or theme (Revolutionary War era, Civil War era, Social Reform/Labor/Industry Leaders Theme). A summer history book review project is also part of the class-- I send out a list of possible titles, and students can also suggest books they own that might meet this requirement. Students are also assigned to teams, and work cooperatively on a team project in early December related to Andrew Jackson. A mid-year review, comprised of 50 multiple-choice questions from actual back AP US History exams is completed in January, to help students gauge their progress to date.


Each week students also complete a regular round of requirements: text readings, regular reading in primary documents, readings in the New York Times historical archive, and weekly practice quizzes, while also learning about various effective review techniques. Students will also regularly be using various audio resources online, including podcast interviews with historians, Talking History radio archive programs, important historical speeches, and more. NOTE: this class does not have a live ‘meeting day’—work is done asynchronously, with most written assignments due on Fridays (another day can be substituted if that day is not convenient for a particular student).


The class will again have a lively website with many ways for students to interact with one another, debate issues, react and respond to one another’s essays, post history interviews, take quizzes, view history lectures, listen to history podcasts, and much more. We also have a direct link and full access to our digital text website and to the print text website, and both have many excellent resources that we will use regularly. Our site also has links to many other history sites on the web.


The class website is password protected to insure privacy as the students learn together. The 2012-2013 website will be updated and ready for action by July 20, 2012.


Instructor Qualifications: This will be my 17th year leading this class on-line with homeschool students, and I have also completed three different one-day College Board workshops on teaching AP US History. I am a PA certified teacher, and have a BA from Carnegie Mellon University. My strongest qualification may be that all four of my own children who have taken the class have received high rankings on the AP US exam, and the student scores from this class are in general much higher than the national average- and that my own US history personal library threatens to require yet another bookshelf very soon. I also love learning with and from my students, and each year I am awed by the abilities of so many of the teens taking part in this course. Do read the student reviews of this class to gain a greater feel for the way we learn together in APUSH.


Click here to find a PDF file with an application for Mrs. Richman’s APUSH 2012-2013 class

Click here to read class reviews from past participants in Susan Richman's section of this class


Return to the PA HOMESCHOOLERS Home Page
Return to the AP Internet Classes Home Page