Humanities 101: Arts and Literature

From: $85.00 / month for 8 months

Grades: 9th–12th

Live Class: Mon 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET

Dates: Aug 23–Apr 29

Price: $599

Instructor: Heather Eades

See Reviews of Instructor Heather Eades

Enrollment in this class is currently closed.

Course Description


This course is taught from an explicitly Christian perspective. All students are welcome. Please contact Instructor for further information.

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, part art 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, 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 300-1600, (Byzantine–High Renaissance), and second semester continues through 1880 (Baroque–Realism). 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.

My teaching style is lighthearted, relational, and tailored to each group of students in my class. In order to create a relaxed atmosphere where students feel comfortable sharing their original thoughts and writing, I foster a positive and encouraging environment of authenticity, and emphasize I’m 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 my 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. I keep my 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.

Course Structure

Live meetings via Zoom will occur every week on Mondays at 1 PM EST. 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
  • Papers/short essays (one-two per semester)
  • Reflective written work
  • Discussions with classmates in Canvas Journal/sketchbook assignments
  • Creative project options (one 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. 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.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • 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 Monday after class, with assignments to be turned in before class the following Monday. Students can expect feedback on their work by Friday evening on the week it is turned in (with two weeks’ response time for larger assignments). 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.

Required Texts


  • An Anthology of Medieval Literature edited by Rebecca Manor, ISBN 9781893103504
  • National Geographic’s The Medieval World: An Illustrated Atlas, ISBN 9781426205330
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, ISBN 9780451531360
  • Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Made Easy: Modern English Version Side-by-Side with Full Original Text) by William Shakespeare, ISBN 9780812035728
  • Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Made Easy: Modern English Version Side-by-Side), ISBN 9780812036046
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, ISBN 014136633
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, ISBN 9780451530912

Students will also need a sketchbook/art journal. Any blank journal-style book or art sketchbook will work well.


  • Joan of Arc by Mark Twain,  ISBN 9780898702682



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Instructor Bio

Heather A. Eades

For as long as Heather Eades can remember, she has been both a writer and an artist, and loves teaching young people to do the same. Earning her B.A. in Visual Arts and English from Otterbein College in Westerville, OH, along with her studies at Columbus College of Art and Design, helped launch her professional career in publishing where she served as an editor and art liaison for SRA/McGraw-Hill, Inc., helping to create the elementary art program, Art Connections: the companion series to the middle and high school texts utilized in her art classes. Her passion and enthusiasm for helping create fun, innovative learning experiences led her to earn her MA in education with a focus on creating arts-based, literacy-rich curriculum for all students. With over twenty years of professional experience in publishing, her specialty has become designing, writing about, and implementing creative, arts-based curriculum and educational “fun-tivities” for all ages.

And while she enjoys her professional work mosaic of writing articles and book projects, editing online course material for Colorado Christian University, and managing social media communications for Aim Academy by night, by day Heather is passionate about her first and favorite work: the fine art of homeschooling—teaching her own and other students in their homeschooling community. Heather Eades is excited to begin her fifth successful year of teaching online with Aim Academy!

During her graduate program, Mrs. Eades developed and implemented an early childhood art program for an inner city preschool, which she now continues to teach locally to preschoolers in her own community with the help of her two teenage daughters. She has also taught art classes to middle schoolers for many years at a local Christian art collaborative, and to elementary through high school students for the past 8 years at their local homeschool co-op, as well as private art lessons. “Mrs. E.” loves to teach art with the intent and encouragement of bringing joy to others and developing/using the arts for Good in the world. While Heather’s own specialty area is mixed-media illustration, exposing her students to experiment with as many styles, techniques, and media in the arts as possible assures that her class times are never boring and helps students to find their favorite creative outlets. Mrs. Eades is excited to bring her latest collection of “fun-tastic,” hands-on art experiences to Aim Academy, with the same authentic, light-hearted teaching style found in her writing classes!

In her spare time, Mrs. Eades loves to laugh, draw, read, hike and camp with her family, co-lead youth ministry with her husband at their church in Denver, …and can be found consuming obscene amounts of coffee.

Email: [email protected]