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United States History

Master Teacher:  Robert Spinney, PhD

McGovern Master Teacher

Robert Spinney, PhD

PhD and MA, Vanderbilt University
BA, Harvard University

Dr. Spinney teaches U.S. History classes at Patrick Henry College. He also teaches the upper-division historiography course for History majors that explores what it means to think Christianly about the study of history. Before coming to Purcellville in 2007, he served as a pastor in a Tennessee church while also teaching Patrick Henry College’s online history classes.

Dr. Spinney has also taught at Trinity College (Deerfield, IL), Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin, TN), and The Valwood School and Open Bible Christian School (both in Valdosta, GA, and both junior and senior high schools). He has published two academic history books: World War II in Nashville: Transformation of the Homefront and City of Big Shoulders: A History of Chicago. He has also published ten ministry-related pamphlets with Tulip Books—pamphlets with titles like Did God Create Sports Also? Thinking Christianly About Sports; Monkeying Around With Dangerous Ideas: Four Reasons Outside the Field of Science Why Christians Should Reject Evolutionary Thinking; and Are You Legalistic? Grace, Obedience, and Antinomianism. God has given Rob and his wife Caroline five children, all of whom have been homeschooled.

Classroom Teacher:  Juli Gleason

Juli GleasonClassroom Teacher

Juli Gleason

BA, Patrick Henry College

Ever since Juli showed a fifth grader how to work a unit-conversion problem when she was seventeen, she has known that God has gifted her to teach. She has also known that her gift does not rely on her power alone—that same fifth grader got the problem wrong because of Juli’s dyslexia!

Since then, Juli has developed her love of teaching both academically and professionally. She holds a BA in Classical Liberal Arts from Patrick Henry College. Practicum work for her degree included student teaching at Regents Classical Christian School in Austin, Texas, and writing and teaching a course in art history, philosophy, and creation for homeschooled students.

Since graduation, Juli has continued to teach. She taught art and choir to first through third graders at a start-up Christian school, where she had the opportunity to develop her own curriculum. For three years after that, Juli oversaw a homeschool co-op academy that focused on Bible knowledge, math skills, reading for information, and writing. During these years, Juli also taught European History, American History, and British Literature, helping her more advanced students prepare for AP® exams.

In 2011, Juli joined the team at HSLDA Online Academy as one of the first AP® US History teachers. This will now be her fifth year teaching AP® U.S. History, and she looks forward to it as much as she looked forward to the first.

Juli is a native Texan, oldest of six sisters and one brother (all homeschooled), and happily married to an American computer programmer living in Scotland. She and her husband will welcome their first child into their home this summer.

Classroom Teacher:  Joanna Main

McGovern Classroom Teacher

Joanna Main

BA, Patrick Henry College

Joanna Main is a graduate of Patrick Henry College with a BA in Government-Public Policy (class of 2005). This is her fifth year teaching AP® United States History with the Academy. She enjoys being able to lead students through the process of using a Christian worldview to analyze American history. She is passionate about helping students develop the ability to produce well-reasoned and articulate historical analysis. One of her favorite aspects of teaching is getting to know her students over the course of the year and helping them grow and succeed.

Joanna and her husband, Chad, currently lives in Thurmont, Maryland with their two children, Emmaline and Gibson. When she is not busy teaching history, 4th grade, or kindergarten, Joanna enjoys running and watching the Baltimore Orioles.

Duration: Yearlong course offered in fall/spring (32 weeks)

AP® United States History — Live Online Class Session Schedule, 2015–16

Class Section

Weekly Meeting Time


Section 1
Tuesdays, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Dr. Robert Spinney;
Mrs. Juli Gleason
Section 2
Wednesdays, 2:00–3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Dr. Robert Spinney;
Mrs. Joanna Main
Note: Additional class times may be added to the schedule later in the registration period. If you have questions, please call 540-338-8290 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What topics will I learn about in United States History?

    United States History examines the entirety of United States history, beginning with the pre-Columbian period and extending to about 2000. The subjects, events, trends, themes, and historical debates that comprise a typical college-level U.S. history survey course are covered. While America’s political history provides an overall narrative structure for this course, special attention is paid to social, cultural, and economic issues. The essay assignments permit students to explore issues prompted by a Christian worldview.

    The rigor, assignments, and workload of this course are comparable to those of typical freshman-level college history courses. United States History includes weekly textbook reading assignments, primary-source reading assignments, written lectures, and class participation requirements. Students will also write two analytical essays during the year, with each essay based upon an assigned monograph. Students will also complete six exams during the course, each covering five to six weeks of course content.

    During this course, students will learn to:

    • Examine the political institutions, diplomacy, economic trends, and sociocultural developments in United States history from the pre-Columbus era to the late 1990s,
    • Think conceptually about the past and focus on historical change over time,
    • Analyze the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship,
    • Analyze and interpret primary sources such as documentary material, maps, statistical tables, and pictorial and graphic materials,
    • Write analytical, interpretive, and thematic essays,
    • Respond to document-based questions, and
    • Consider how a Christian worldview affects the study of American history.
  • What books will I use in United States History?

    View the U.S. History Booklist for the 2014–15 academic year. Note that books and materials requirements may change. Please wait to order your books until the new booklist is posted for the 2015–16 academic year.

    You can order your books through HSLDA Online Academy’s bookstore.

  • Am I ready to take United States History?

    This is a rigorous, college-level course. Lectures and assigned readings assume that students already possess high school-level familiarity with the major events of American history. Students should also have strong reading and writing skills, as this course requires them to write several formal academic essays and answer essay questions on exams. Please visit the College Board page about AP® U.S. History for more information about the material and skills students will study in the course and will need to master for the AP® exam in this subject.

    Still have questions about whether you are ready for an AP® course? Please visit our Academic Readiness page for more information.

  • What is a Live Online Class Session?

    In every HSLDA Academy course, students meet weekly with their instructor and classmates in an online classroom for additional teaching, discussion, Q&A, or group activities. The class sessions are interactive and are conducted using a web meeting software with video, audio, chat, and application sharing capabilities.

    Scheduled, real-time sessions in the online classroom are not the only form of instruction available in a HSLDA Online Academy course, but are offered in addition to lectures or other instructional materials that students are able to access online at their convenience.

    When they register, students will need to select a particular class section and live class meeting time. Additional class sections may be added to the schedule at a later point in the course registration period. Registered students will be notified of any changes to the live session schedule.

  • What if I have a schedule conflict with listed class times?

    All live class sessions are recorded for later viewing. While it is recommended that students attend each live class session, students can make arrangements with their instructors to watch the recordings and receive full participation credit.

    Students should contact their instructor at the start of their course to inform the instructor of any foreseen schedule conflicts.