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AP United States History-- introducing our new online teacher!
Lisa Hawkins, 3/24/2011

Editor's Note from Susan Richman:  I'm delighted to introduce one of our new teachers for our AP Online courses through PA Homeschoolers. Lisa will be joining Daniel Burns and myself in leading a third section of AP US History, always a very popular course among homeschoolers. Lisa Hawkins comes to this new opportunity with an amazing and extensive background in helping students gain appreciation for history. We'll have registration and course descriptions updated on our companion www.aphomeschoolers.com website (see link above) in early April-- but feel very welcome to email Lisa and any of our teachers to let them know of your interest now, too. All of our teachers from this year will be returning, along with Mary Lanctot offering her AP Art History course once again, and Ray Leven teaching AP Spanish (article coming on this exciting new course very soon!). It's going to be a wonderful year of active AP learning ahead, and we hope that one of our courses will be a fine fit for your teens. We enroll homeschool students from all over the nation, and even homeschoolers living abroad. And now... meet our new AP US History teacher: 

Harriet Tubman 2.jpg

(Hint: this photo is actually *not* Lisa-- do you recognize this important American?)

Greetings!  My name is Lisa Hawkins, and I would like to introduce myself.  I was born and raised in New York, although I also lived for some time in Miami, Puerto Rico, and San Diego.   Wherever I went in my youth, I carried with me a firm belief in my future destiny as a famous, sought-after scientist and a deep disdain for the study of history and culture.   Not surprisingly, when I enrolled at Swarthmore Collge, I intended to pursue a research-biology major.  After almost setting fire to my chemistry lab and mistaking a fake plastic owl for a real one, I realized that a career in lab science was not for me, and probably dangerous for everyone else.   Out of options and at the end of an unpleasant two year struggle with science at college, I left my organic chemistry final on my desk in the examination room, crossed the campus, and signed up to become a history major without ever having taken a college history course before.    The following semester, I fell in love – firecrackers and all – in love with the Medieval Era, Colonial America, and any other history I could get my brain around.   Instead of finishing that organic chemistry final, I found and married an organic chemist, and together we have four children, all of whom have been (or continue to be) homeschooled.  I went on to Temple University to earn my Masters in History and also did graduate work at Widener University in Literature and Education.     

As a person who had, and then abandoned, that disdain for the study of history and culture in my youth, I teach with the passion of a convert.  I try to bring my deep love for the study of the past, as well as my sense of humor, into any environment where students may feel about history the way I once felt about it.   

I love history, I love teaching, and I love students.  I put a great deal of thought and time into constructing courses that are engaging, challenging, and well-organized.  I also care a great deal about humanizing the on-line experience, and you will see that priority woven into many aspects of my course.    I see the teacher both as a servant and as a matchmaker — a servant in the sense that she strives to equip her students with a greater capacity for thought, feeling, expression, and discernment, and matchmaker in the sense that she wants to introduce two things she loves (students and the study of history) to each other in the hope that they will form a life-long relationship.   I have a great deal of experience acting as servant/matchmaker, both in person and online.  I worked for four years at an inner-city classical high school, where I taught American History and American Literature and served as Dean of Students.  Soon after completing my Masters, I then began teaching college courses for Drexel University and Peirce College for adults returning to school.   In 2005, I began teaching online, and to date have independently created eight different online college courses, ranging from survey American History courses, to the History of American Business, Colonial History, Revolutionary History, and Western Humanities surveys.  Despite all my experiences at the high school and college level, however, I still think my greatest instructional accomplishment was teaching my four homeschooled children to read. 

When we’re not working, or restoring our old home, or educating our children, the Hawkinses will probably be reading out loud to each other, watching good movies, or cheering at a soccer game. You can find us in Ambler, Pennsylvania, a real town with real sidewalks and local businesses, right outside of Philadelphia. You may be wondering at the identity of the picture uploaded here. Indeed, this is not Lisa Hawkins, but Harriet Tubman, one of the bravest of American heroes. I hope that all of us will be inspired by her courage and self-sacrifice, and take to heart her understanding of how to deal with real evil in this world - "Never wound a snake. Kill it." 

This year, I will be designing and conducting an online Advanced Placement US History course with PA Homeschoolers.   This course will cover the development of American history from its colonial beginnings through the end of the twentieth century.  It will prepare students to take the AP US History exam in May, 2012.  However, my goals for this course are more comprehensive than getting students ready to take the exam next May.  I also hope to inspire and increase students’ love and appreciation for history, expand students’ capacity to think creatively and flexibly about critical issues, and communicate powerfully and compellingly.   In addition, my class will be highly interactive.  This means, of course, that students will be involved in discussing a variety of American history-related issues.  However, it means more than that.  It means that students will be assuming a high degree of responsibility in mutually equipping each other in the learning process during the course of the year.    Thus, this course will be a cross between a traditional teacher-led class and a seminar-style class.   For example, students will be viewing more than 30 of my audio-visual presentations, reading required materials, submitting homework and taking exams, but they will also be involved in directly teaching their classmates, working on small group projects, and challenging one another through extensive on-line discussion. 

The websites for this course are already set up! I have created an audio-visual tour of the course at the main website: www.questcourses.edublogs.org.  You’ll also find out about how each student will be assigned his or her own ‘ravatar’ corresponding with a historical  persona, how each student will have his or her own blog to design and to use as a learning site for classmates, the general outline of course expectations, etc.  In addition, you can also view one of my sample audio-visual presentations and read extensive comments from former students about my teaching abilities. 

Again, for more information, and to send me any feedback or questions, please visit www.questcourses.edublogs.org.  From there, you will be able to view the related websites, make comments (and see your own ravatar!), ask questions, and submit an application for the course.  Once the course begins, all of these websites will be pasword-protected.   Or, if you’d like to contact me via email, you can do so at lisa@questcourses.com. Tuition payments for accepted students will be made through www.pahomeschoolers.com via the online store.  




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