I have to begin by admitting that I was reluctant to learn about the the Middle Ages with the girls, as it was the one period of history I didn’t really resonate with, when I did it with the boys. However, I think they enjoyed it as we covered battles, plague, bad kings, more battles, types of armour, knights, castles…it obviously fired their imagination, but not mine. However, fortunately a friend of mine re inspired me, and I’m so glad she did, as I’ve also really enjoyed it this time around! I think that’s one of the bonuses of teaching only a few children at a time; we can learn in a way that most inspires them.
So, here is where we started, back in September, with a good stash of books.
Some are my generic supply of history books, and some specifically for the Middle Ages. New ones for the girls are the sticker books (idea from my friend), and a read aloud “The door in the wall” by Marguerite de Angeli.
We generally do history once or twice a week, and try to do lots of practical projects, as well as watching you tube clips on relevant subjects (this even helped me to make sense of some of the battles!).
We had a go at carding and spinning some sheep’s wool, made a Mediaval dinner (recipe must have been from a well to do family by the variety of ingredients), wrote a Domesday Book entry using hens’ feathers and paint, listened to the music of the era (think I was the only one who saw the appeal) and had a look at some of the artwork. The white and blue picture is Matilda escaping from Oxford in the snow, and the flowers in the girls’ hair was because Henry Plantagenet’s father put broom in his hat, “genet” in French, hence their family name.
Outings have always been a central part of our learning. This is a small selection of some of the Medieval buildings we visited. We’d also been camping in North Wales the previous summer, so had visited a couple of Edward I castles there…and found ourselves in sympathy with the brave Welsh soldiers fighting against the invading English.
I asked all four children what were their favourite parts of learning about the Middle Ages. Their answers were somewhat stereotypical! The boys liked learning about castles, knights and armour (the latter becoming quite a specialist subject of Rhythm Dude). The girls liked our Medieval evening with candlelight, food and music, spinning the wool and writing the Domesday book with hens’s feathers.
And what is so fun about homeschool is that this is only the foundation. Our learning carries on in our every day lives. What I hope to have done is to spark their natural curiosity so they will continue exploring and finding out by themselves.