US History Series 1: The Colonies to the Civil War

US History Series 1: The Colonies to the Civil War


About this course

This class is only offered once per year.

This is the 1st of 4 courses in this full year US History course series.  You don’t have to take them in order, but it is HIGHLY recommended. The other courses in this series are:

US History Series 2: Reconstruction to the Progressive Era
US History Series 3: The World Wars
US History Series 4: The Cold War to the Present

Recommended Ages: 12-17

Levels: This class is offered in two levels. Level 1 is for younger students. Level 2 is for older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge.

Start Date: September 6, 2022. Course consists of 12 lesson plans. Students have 2 weeks after the last lesson is posted to complete the course. No live classes — view the lessons on YOUR schedule.

Price: $180

Space Available: 

This class will be focused primarily on early American history. It will be starting with the prehistoric beginnings of the continent and shifting quickly into some American Indian life. When the first two colonies are introduced, the class will begin to take off. We will be analyzing these starting settlements and the consequences of their differences and similarities. These colonies will be the focal point of the class as we study through the rest of early American history. The motivations, push-pull factors, successes, failures, and early dealings with the Native Americans will all be studied during the section on the colonies. All of these factors will lay the foundations for the early schisms between the North and the South and the Civil War itself.

From the early colonies we will jump off into American history. We will be moving through all of the aspects of early American history: from the dealings with the native population to the dealings with European and African nations on to the American Revolution, early government, and the Antebellum south. Each separate aspect we cover will be reverting back to the original colonies’ ideals and practices. These original colonies at Jamestown and Plymouth set the groundwork for much of American history, especially early on. Finally, the class will end on the Civil War. By the end of the class, the student will have a firm understanding of early American history up until the Civil War. They should also be able to connect the influence the original American colonies had on the history covered in the class. Finally, I may be asking the students to analyze events after the Civil War and how they may have been affected by the colonies. I hope to make this class an objective view of the history of the early United States from a culturally relative perspective.

DISCLAIMER: This is history, not math. There is not a right and wrong, black and white answer to everything! So much in history can be subjective and argued over endlessly. I’m presenting the facts the best I can from various sources I’ve researched. I don’t consider any history book to be 100% accurate. It’s impossible. And same with this course. I compiled my research and put together the most authentic story I could, considering I wasn’t personally privy to the goings on during this time period.

This is an academically advanced class, and not recommended for most children under 12 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!). Younger students 12-13 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 14 and up, or younger students who are academically gifted, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more rigorous homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is a 12 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION: There are weekly discussions about the lesson plan with the instructor. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1: Prehistoric American History

This section will cover aspects such as historical geography, how the native cultures moved into the Americas and their dissemination through the continents, and what the landscape was like shortly before European arrival.

Week 2: Early European Colonization

Week 2 will touch on the early European colonization in the Americas before English colonization in the present day United States. The focus will be primarily on the Spanish influence and characters such as Christopher Columbus and Coronado. Their interactions with the Native cultures will also be heavily discussed. These interactions would set the tones for further meetings between the natives and the Europeans. We will also discuss the somewhat mysterious disappearance of the first English colony in the Americas at Roanoke. These first two weeks will lay the necessary foundations to further dive into the real meat of the class.

Week 3: The Jamestown Colony and Virginia

This week will be the first step into the class and the history of the United States itself. The first successful British colony in the Americas set the stage for English expansion into the continent. The motivations and people behind Jamestown would set the stage for the South. The harsh geography would also shape the people and society in a way that would eventually become the South. As always, the colonists interactions with Native Americans will also be studied.

Week 4: Plymouth and the Massachusett’s Bay Colonies

These colonies differed from the Virginia colonies in that the colonists were seeking a new haven for their religion. As such, religious values and family units were valued above the lust for wealth of those in Virginia. The dealings with Native Americans are important in American history, and as with most sections will also be covered here. These differences and others will be the main area of study for this week of the class.

Week 5: Colonial America and the Seven Years’ War

While weeks 3 and 4 focus mainly on the early American colonies, this week will look at what colonial life was like up until the American Revolution. The struggles and hardships for both Europeans and Native Americans involved in expanding a few colonies into 13 state sized colonies will be the focal point. The unit will end with the first global war, the Seven Years’ War (often called the French-Indian War).

Week 6: The American Revolution

This unit will begin with the reasons for the American Revolution. The friction between the British and the British colonists in the Americas from the Seven Years’ War will be the main focus in the beginning. Then we will progress through the early battles at Lexington and Concord and into the American Revolution. This section will be mainly a focus on the battles and the effects of the victories and losses.

Week 7: The Early Governments of the United States

This week we will study the effects of the American Revolution. How did the government we have now work in its early stages? How did it come to be? We will cover both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. This section will also talk about the first few American presidents and what they did for the office of president. This will be a small run into American government.

Week 8: Westward Expansion

This week we will be studying western expansion pre-Civil War. The gold and silver rushes to the Rocky Mountains and California will be looked at. The Mexican-American War and the fights over Texas will also be a part of this unit. Native American relations will also play a critical role, as this is the time frame of reservations and the Trail of Tears.

Week 9: The Antebellum South

This section will be focusing on the pre Civil War South. The society, economy, infrastructure, and the dependency on slavery will all be covered. Jamestown’s direct lines to the South will also be studied extensively. This era is important to setting up the Civil War.

Week 10: The North

Similar to the previous week, this week will be an overview of the pre-Civil War North, also known as the “Free States.” Their economy, society, and infrastructure are all key to the Civil War and their eventual victory. Both Week 9 and 10 will help set the framework for the eventual Civil War.

Week 11: The Rumblings of War

While the two previous weeks set up the tensions, this week will provide the immediate set up for the Civil War. The many laws, court decisions, and elections that preceded the Civil War were key in igniting the powder keg. This week will come to a conclusion with the Southern secession and the government of the Confederacy. That will lead into the final week of the course: the Civil War.

Week 12: The Civil War and the Consequences

The final week of the class will end with the Civil War. The focus will be on the many battles, primarily in the South. It will also cover what the governments were working on and famous speeches and laws like the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. The surrender of General Lee to General Grant will wrap up the Civil War. The Reconstruction will be touched on a little, but the consequences of that would require another class itself!


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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