US History Series 2: Reconstruction to the Progressive Era

US History Series 2: Reconstruction to the Progressive Era


About this course

This is the 2nd series of 4 in a full year of US History. You do not need to have to take the classes in this series in order, but it is highly recommended.

The other courses in this series include:
Series 1: The Colonies to the Civil War
Series 3: The World Wars
Series 4: The Cold War to the Present

Recommended Ages: 12-17

Levels: Course is offered in 2 levels

Start Date: January 4, 2022. Class consists of 6 lesson plans. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course. No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $90

Space Available: FULL. Class is not currently open for enrollment. Please join our mailing list to find out when it will be open for enrollment again.

The Civil War was a turning point for the United States in many ways. A nation that had been torn apart had to piece itself back together into a union that was more cohesive than ever, and that was not an easy process. This class picks up where US History Series 1 leaves off at the end of the Civil War in the era known as Reconstruction. This period of American history set the stage for the next 150 years of United States culture and politics. The following years were also important to the nation’s history. Depressions, robber barons, rich bankers, Indian massacres and movements, worker’s strikes, and westward expansion define this tumultuous era in American history; and we will be studying it all! Join us, as we bridge the gap in US history between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the First World War.

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 quizzes, labs, and online assessments automatically receive a grade in the system. You have the option of having your student’s individual projects graded or not (all assignments receive instructor feedback). Report cards are issued at the end of the course- one for ungraded students and one for graded students. These mean nothing other than for your own records or reporting purposes. We do not maintain copies.

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: Reconstruction

The first week of the class is focused on the period directly following the Civil War known as Reconstruction. During this era, the United States is forced to rebuild the infrastructure and the relations that were damaged by the bloodiest war in American history. We will be examining Lincoln’s assassination and its fallout, the attempts of the new president to repair the country, Congress’s rebuttal to those attempts, and the fallout from it all.

Week 2: Westward Expansion and Native American Removal

 With Reconstruction’s ultimate failure to effectively repair the country, it was left by the wayside for other issues. In the second week of the course, we will examine the last bit of expansion into the West and the ultimate closing of the frontier in 1890. However, that land was not freely available. Many Native Americans still inhabited the western regions of the country, and this period of time sees multiple massacres and movements involving them. They fought for their lands, but the force of the US government ended up being too powerful of a force for them to handle.

 Week 3: The Gilded Age

The late nineteenth century in America was a period of excess for the rich. Named after a book written by a leading figure of the time, Mark Twain, the Gilded Age saw the rise of wealthy bankers, rich tycoons, and robber barons. In this week, we will be studying various business figures from this time period and their effects on American history, both positive and negative.

Week 4: Urbanization and the Rise of American Cities

For those not at the top rungs of American society, the turn of the century could be a difficult time. Increased urbanization led more people to live and work in cities, and this period saw a major influx in immigration, especially from Europe. This week is a look at the factors that led cities to a boom, the horrible conditions within those cities, and what was being done to alleviate growing problems in urban environments.

Week 5: Depression and Workers’ Strikes

While the rich got richer, the poor were forced into a depression around the turn of the century. This depression caused massive unrest in America’s workers, and it led to strikes that were often put down with violence. Meanwhile, more women were starting to take a stand for their own rights. This week follows both workers and women as they attempt to navigate the rough seas set forth by the illustrious Gilded Age.

Week 6: Progressivism

 The final week of the course extends directly from the week before it. With frustrations mounting to an all time high, new reforms in workers and women’s rights exploded onto the scene in the early 1900s. A variety of new ideas, reforms, and politics arose; and it took the largest war the world had ever seen up until that point to halt some of these reforms and launch others into the forefront of American life.


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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