HSLDA Online Academy | United States History

United States History

Master Teacher:  Robert Spinney, PhD

Robert Spinney, PhD, High School Classroom Teacher for AP United States HistoryMaster 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. He has worked with HSLDA Online Academy since 2010.

Classroom Teacher:  Rachael Stahr

Rachael Stahr, High School Classroom Teacher for AP United States HistoryClassroom Teacher

Rachael Stahr

BA, Patrick Henry College

Rachael Stahr graduated from Patrick Henry College with a BA in classical liberal arts and a minor in pedagogy. She has wanted to be a teacher since she was twelve years old. Her favorite part of teaching is helping students understand confusing concepts.

For the past three summers, Rachael has helped Dr. Robert Spinney publish the lectures he uses in his Patrick Henry College and HSLDA Online Academy classes. She really enjoyed ensuring that the text was clear and that students would be able to understand the most important points, even adding graphs and images to help them study. She has a copy of every edition on her bookshelf.

In addition to teaching history, Rachael loves American Sign Language and is passionate about deaf ministry. She loves to read the Inklings and play with her family’s shepherd dogs.

Rachael has been teaching with the Academy since 2017.

Classroom Teacher:  Caroline Tyrrell

Caroline Tyrrell, High School Classroom Teacher for EnglishClassroom Teacher

Caroline Tyrrell

BA, Patrick Henry College 

Caroline graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2014 with her BA in history, and she is currently pursuing an MA in biblical counseling at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Caroline views the study of history and literature as a study of truths pertaining to the nature of man and the nature of God Himself. As Dr. Robert Spinney often reminds his PHC history students, “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” The study of history and literature reveals the patterns of man’s nature, the mercy of God in interacting with man, and the grounding on which we must stand to accurately understand our own time.

As a perpetual student herself, Caroline is excited to continue discovering God’s truths found in history and literature along with her students, while passing on the tools that have been so helpful to her.

Caroline enjoys reading, running, music, and spending time with her husband David and her son Ezra. They currently reside in Louisville, KY.

Caroline has been teaching for the Academy since 2015.

Classroom Teacher:  Juli Gleason

Juli Gleason, High School Classroom Teacher for AP United States HistoryClassroom 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 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. She looks forward to the coming academic year as much as she looked forward to the first.

Juli is a native Texan and happily married to an American computer programmer living in Scotland. She and her husband are blessed with a toddler named James and a baby named Christina, and a new home in which they can grow and explore.

Juli has been teaching for the Academy since 2011.

Duration: Yearlong course offered in fall/spring (32 weeks).
Suggested High School Credit Value: 1 credit.
Suggested Grade Level: 12th grade level.
Early Registration Tuition (ends 6/12): $575 $625 for HSLDA Members/$675 $725 for non-members.  

Description: AP® United States History examines the history of America from the pre-Columbian period to the present. The course challenges students to analyze political, social, cultural, and economic developments and to consider issues in U.S. history from a Christian worldview.

Watch a sample clip of an Academy live class session.

AP® United States History — Live Online Class Session Schedule,
August 27, 2018 - April 26, 2019

Class Section

Weekly Meeting Time


Section 1
Mondays, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Caroline Tyrrell 

Section 2
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Eastern

Mrs. Juli Gleason

Section 3
Wednesdays, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Ms. Rachael Stahr

Additional class times will be added as they become available for registration. If you have questions, please call 540-338-8290 or email academy@hslda.org.

Frequently Asked Questions 
about AP® United States History


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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.
  • How much homework is in U.S. History?

    AP® United States History is a rigorous, college-level course. The Academy recommends this course and corresponding AP® exam for advanced 12th grade students and up.

    We estimate that the course workload will take 10+ hours per week.

    During a typical week in this course, students will complete the following coursework:

    • 60–90 minutes of live class instruction
    • Audio lecture 
    • 1 chapter textbook reading
    • 1 chapter of documentary reading
    • Primary source reading
    • Discussion forum post

    Throughout the year, students will also complete the following tasks:

    • Test every 5 weeks
    • 2 book quizzes covering course texts
    • 2 book essays discussing course texts
  • 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 if I have a schedule conflict with listed U.S. History 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.  

  • What is a Live Online Class Session in U.S. History?

    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 is the tuition for United States History?

    Please visit our tuition and discounts page for a full summary about course costs.

    HSLDA members save $100 on yearlong AP® courses!