About the course
“History does not just study material facts and institutions alone; it’s true object of study is the human mind: it should aspire to know what this mind has believed, thought, and felt in different ages of the life of the human race.” - Fustel de Coulanges
History has the potential to be the most thrilling subject, but too often we bog it down with dates and facts, forgetting that history is about stories and people. American history is possibly the most controversial period of history for us, because it is the one we’re the most familiar with, and the one that is closest to us in time. Unfortunately, even if we do focus on stories and people when we study history, we still often fall into all the same traps that we do with other periods of history. In order to be able to properly make sense of the past, we must realize that people in history have always been people like us, and they cannot be reduced to just saints and sinners. The events of history are a fascinating tangle of reasons, made by real people.
The goal of this course is to familiarize ourselves with the events and peoples that make up the American narrative, and then to dig beneath the surface and try to understand the causation behind the events we often take for granted. Most importantly, from this we’ll build an interpretive framework which we will then use to understand history in general.
- Atlas of American History (Facts on File) by Gary B. Nash and Carter Smith [Can be purchased used for $10]
Parent and student praise for American History:
"George (Mr. Harrell), Just wanted to thank you, as a 'homeschool mom,' for the way that you teach and pour into your online classes. The boys always enjoy having you. Your excitement is what keeps them engaged and trying hard. The way that you get to personally know them is also greatly appreciated because often the 'personal' is lost in online settings. You try to get to know your students a little better which causes them to enjoy the class and look forward to the meeting time each week. You really want them to have fun learning and I think you pull it off very well. It has been a pleasure to have you teach several of our children. I only wish we had found you sooner. We highly recommend your classes. Thanks for everything! Kelly Rietema"
"Thank you so much Mr. Harrell for teaching me this year! This class was wonderful! It both stretched and interested me and I am very thankful to have learned US history from you! ~Grace"
"Definitely the best history class I have ever taken. I’ve never been so invested in a topic, and also so sad to leave a class. - Dylan"