AP 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—that same fifth grader got the problem wrong because of Juli’s dyslexia!

A gift of teaching that is bare of content does no one good, so God also gave Juli a long list of hobbies and interests: handwork of almost every description, quilting, clothing design and construction, gardening, cuisine experimentation, music (Renaissance through some Romantic mostly, though she does enjoy bluegrass and melodic contemporary stuff like soundtracks), history, philosophy, theology, literature (few things that flaunt themselves as “modern”), and a little bit of politics.

Juli has now added a new and lasting interest to her list: a tall, good-looking American-born Scotsman named Michael.  They were married on November 30, 2013, and are heading off into the adventure of wedded life together. 

Juli is the oldest of seven and graduate of her family’s homeschool program. She taught art and choir to first through third graders for a year after graduating from PHC, then spent the next three years as the primary teacher at a one-room schoolhouse co-op for local homeschooled high-schoolers – Bible, math, European history, US history, and British literature.  Juli also spent the second two of those years teaching for PHC Prep, so this is her fourth teaching venture heading into its third year.

Classroom Teacher:  Joanna Main

McGovern Classroom Teacher

Joanna Main

BA, Patrick Henry College

Joanna Main is a graduate of Patrick Henry College with a B. A. in Government-Public Policy (class of 2005). This is her fourth year teaching AP United States History with PHC Prep. She is thankful that teaching has given her a good excuse to spend extra time studying one of her favorite subjects. She enjoys being able to lead students through the process of using a Christian worldview to analyze our country’s history. As a homeschooled graduate, she understands the benefits and challenges of learning in a non-traditional setting. It is her desire to help students overcome these challenges and encourage them to be well-reasoned and articulate in a more traditional classroom setting.

While completing her degree at PHC, Joanna interned for the National Center for Home Education and for Generation Joshua. After graduation, she continued to work for NCHE as a legislative assistant. These experiences, along with her coursework at PHC, afforded her many opportunities to improve her writing and editing skills. She is looking forward to providing assistance and feedback to students as they work to improve their own writing skills.

Joanna currently lives in Thurmont, Maryland where she watches football and baseball games with her husband, homeschools a 1st grader, and keeps a 2-year-old out of mischief. She also enjoys running, eating ice cream, and finding a good deal.

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

AP* U.S. History — Live Online Class Session Schedule, 2014–15

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
Tuesdays, 1:00–2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Dr. Robert Spinney;
Mrs. Juli Gleason
Section 3
Wednesdays, 2:00–3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) Dr. Robert Spinney;
Mrs. Joanna Main
Additional class sections may be added to the available offerings for this subject at a later point in the course registration period.  If you have any questions about class sections, schedules, or registration, please contact the PHC Prep Academy Staff.

Please Note: Scheduled, real-time sessions in the online classroom are not the only form of instruction available in a PHC Prep Academy course, but are offered in addition to lectures or other instructional materials that students are able to access online at their convenience. All sessions will also be recorded for later viewing. Registered students will be notified of any changes to the live session schedule.


View the AP U.S. History Booklist from the 2013–14 academic year.

Please be aware that the books and materials used during the 2014–15 academic year may not be identical to those used in 2013–14. The final booklist for the 2014–15 AP U.S. History course is not yet available.


Please note: The College Board recently revised its curriculum requirements for AP U.S. History. The overview below refers to the course as it was offered in 2013–14. The instructors will make some changes to the existing curriculum before the start of the 2014–15 academic year. Please see the Advances in AP website for details.

AP United States History examines the entirety of United States history, beginning with the pre-Columbian period and extending to the late 1990s. 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, and the essay assignments permit students to explore issues prompted by a Christian worldview.

The scope, rigor, structure, and workload of this course are comparable to those of typical freshman-level college history courses. AP United States History includes weekly textbook reading assignments, primary-source reading assignments, written lectures, and class participation requirements. Students will also write four analytical essays during the year, with each essay based upon an assigned monograph. Students will complete eight exams (approximately one every four weeks) and will also write two brief Christian worldview essays.

The course objectives for students are 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.

Am I Ready for This AP Course?

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’s AP U.S. History page 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.