Suited for high school students in grades 9-12, this live online arts-based humanities course focuses on major cultural movements in the Western arts 300-1880 (Byzantine-Realism). This course can be used as a fine arts, humanities, English, history, or elective high school credit.
Part arts appreciation/art history, part history and literature–this interdisciplinary course introduces students to popular ideas, themes, styles, events, and values reflected in various art forms throughout history. Over the course of the year, students will explore the art, music, literature, philosophy, and architecture in Western art that humans have used to celebrate, document, and reflect upon the human experience. Through the study of artworks and artists, thorough reading and discussion of literature, keeping a sketchbook journal to document learning, engaging projects, reflective papers, and presentations, students will gain a broad understanding of the arts in a chronological/historical context.
With a focus on creative styles and artistic expression, this course, designed for high school credit, takes a close look at communicating ideas through the arts and language, and studies the role of both throughout history. Each semester covers the most prominent artists, composers, cultural/historical movements, and styles of visual artwork, music, performing arts, and literature of the time periods covered, all through the lens of art history. Through interactive, fun, and engaging learning experiences, students will also discover how historical, political, geographical, social, and religious events influence and define each culture’s art.
First semester explores Western art and history 300-1500 (Byzantine–Gothic movements), with a strong focus on history, geography and the events that shaped the arts, architecture, music, and writings of the times. Second semester continues through 1880 (Renaissance–Realism), with a focus on the literature and arts of the times. We will compare/contrast two works of Shakespeare and explore the role of theater in Elizabethan times, and we will adventure into Gulliver’s Travels, and be introduced to Jane Eyre as well. As students make connections between subjects and observe the flow across genres and time, they will grow in analytic skills, clear communication, and develop an appreciation for the importance of the arts and literature throughout history and today.
The class is team-taught by Heather Eades and Kristen Roy. Our teaching style is lighthearted, relational, and tailored to each group of students in our class. In order to create a relaxed atmosphere where students feel comfortable sharing their original thoughts, projects, and writing, we foster a positive and encouraging environment of authenticity, and we emphasize we’re not looking for “the textbook answer” but rather students’ honest thoughts and opinions backed by support. Many students may not know how to do that coming into this class, but this is the place where we all learn how.
Our virtual class time is a safe place to discuss struggles with the texts, wrestle with ideas, try some creative endeavors of our own, as well as celebrate our academic accomplishments in an artistic community. We keep the class atmosphere positive and encouraging – a place where all feel welcome and valued, with a focus on the joy and wonder of creating and creation, and where all artworks discussed will be kept rated PG and family-friendly.
This course seeks to achieve the following goals in a study of culture and society through the arts and literature (300-1880):
- We will gain understanding of popular movements in the arts and literature through the lens of art history (Byzantine–Realism, 300-1880).
- We will develop basic visual art, music, and performing arts literacy and vocabulary at the high school level.
- We will discuss, compare, and contrast works of art and music regarding theme, genre, style, idea, and differences in media, time periods, and cultures.
- We will describe how artists can show the same theme by using different media and styles as we study significant artists, styles, and movements in art history.
- We will identify popular ideas, themes, styles, events, and values reflected in various art forms throughout history
- We will read a variety of literature selections reflecting the style, people, and culture of various movements.
- We will experience opportunities to begin understanding the constructs of Art Criticism.
- We will be introduced to careers in and related to the arts.
- We will demonstrate learning through analytical discussions, engaging projects, compare and contrast papers, and creative presentations.
- We will explore visual avenues to communicate self-expression.
Live meetings via Zoom will occur every week on Thursdays at 2:30 PM ET. All course meetings are optional, though highly encouraged for class community and opportunities to engage in the lessons and ask questions. Meetings will be recorded for scheduling convenience. This course emphasizes that art is for all, and values the heart of homeschooling where flexibility is a top priority.
Weekly assignments may include:
- A weekly 60-minute live meeting with lecture and interactive discussions
- Reading/viewing assignments from our texts, handouts, or various sources
- Weekly sketchbook assignments (incorporating notetaking and visual representation of learning)
- Papers/short essays/written discussions (one-two per semester)
- Digital escape rooms (for comprehension questions)
- Creative project options (two per semester)
- Presentations (one per semester)
Who should enroll?
High school students in 10th-12th grade should enroll in this class. There are no prior art, history, or art history requirements. Because we will read and analyze several works of classic literature, students should have had the equivalent of a high school level English class and be comfortable with reading high school level material and literature, analytical thinking, and writing several page papers.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Web cam, sound card, and working microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Digital camera (can be phone with camera), or other means to photograph, scan, and upload student projects
- Google Slides or PowerPoint are helpful
Evaluation and Feedback
Students will receive extensive comments and individualized feedback on their written assignments via Canvas. I guide students through the process of clearly communicating both their personal thoughts about the arts and literature and their academic responses through analytic writing. My end goal is to have students be able to understand the process of analyzing literature, critique art using a four-step process, communicate their thoughts with cited evidence and support such in both group discussions and writing, and to work toward creating written responses to the literature and our studies through creative composition and analytic writing.
Homework is given each Friday, the day after class, with assignments to be turned in before class the following Thursday. Students can expect feedback on their work the week it is turned in (with two weeks’ response time for larger assignments). Progress reports are given each eight week period. Final grades are based on class participation, weekly homework assignments, and major projects. I will send out a mid-year evaluation and end of year evaluation with additional parent communication as needed.
I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email with clear details and video instructions on how to navigate this course. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers, and I will respond within 24 hours to all parents’ and student questions via email or Canvas message. I prefer communication through Canvas on our course website.