As with a lot of our homeschool curriculum, we’re patching together our Middle Ages Unit. I thought I’d share some of the books, projects, and resources we’ve been using recently as we continue through our studies of the Middle Ages.
Yesterday, we got to such an exciting part of our current Middle Ages novel, that we couldn’t stop! We read aloud for nearly an hour and a half and finished Crispin: The Cross of Lead (affiliate link)! It was wonderful! I think I’ve talked about it before, but we all loved it so much I definitely recommend it if you are studying the Middle Ages. This book really helped the kids understand feudalism and the heirarchy that existed in the Middle Ages… in a way that just talking about serfs being tied to the land didn’t do (from our history book). It breathed life and drama into that period, for sure!
This is the second novel we’ve read aloud. We also read The Door in the Wall (affiliate link) earlier this semester, which we liked a lot too. But, if I had to recommend one over the other (if your time is limited), I would recommend Crispin. Both are Newbery Winners, but Crispin kept us glued to our seats!
In the past couple of months, we have (slowly!) been working on some building projects. We chose the Easy-to-Make Castle (Dover Children’s Activity Books) and the Make This Medieval Village (by Usbourne). (affiliate links) The kids have loved these projects SO much!
On days that I’ve been reading aloud our novel, the kids have cut out the various pieces. One thing that we did to make it easier to put together, is to add more to the tabs. That is what LD is doing in the left photo below. It makes it easier to glue if the tabs are a bit bigger. On the days we’ve worked on putting the buildings together, we’ve listened to an audiobook (more about that below). To make folding easier, we used a knife and ruler to create a crease along the fold lines. Then it was pretty easy to bend the pieces and glue them together.
Update: One reader asked me to explain what I meant when I said we added to the tabs. I didn’t use a ruler or anything, I just extended the line (on an angle) and then drew a parallel line to the original tab. That made more surface area to glue the model together. I’m such a visual person, I drew a quick picture to explain what I meant (below). 🙂 I found that I did not have to be that exact. If you look closely in the picture above, you can see the original tab/cutting line and that we added extra space.
So, here was our finished medieval castle project:
Next, we’ll begin work on a Make This Cathedral! (affliiate link)
When I stopped by a local homeschool conference, I picked up Jim Weiss’s audio version of Wulf the Saxon (affiliate link) and we’ve been listening to that as well while we have worked on our Medieval castle and village. That book is set in 11th century Britain, right on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. Wulf (the main character) has many adventures capturing castles, repelling Viking invaders and fighting in the Battle of Hastings (the key battle, where William the Conqueror took over Britain in 1066). My son (11) has *loved* this audiobook. The girls are so-so about it. I’ve enjoyed it and have been happy to have something exciting/adventurous on while we’ve worked on our Middle Ages projects. I know it will help provide a context for the kids when we return to our history book and read more about the history of the Battle of Hastings.
We are using Early Times: The Story of the Middle Ages (affiliate link) as our spine for our Middle Ages unit. It’s written for middle school students and is a good combination of stories and history. (My kids are in Grades 6, 4, 1.) One person left bad reviews about this book over on Amazon, but it is perfect for our purposes. At this age, I want the kids engaged by history and if a few things are inaccurate I’m not concerned as they will cover this material later. I wanted something that was fun to listen to and not just a series of dates and events. Anyway, that’s my thoughts (And, just so you know, I have taught history on the high school and university level).
Since we’ve basically finished with William the Conqueror ( and the events of 1066), we’ll be moving on to Henry II. We might watch an our long video on Matilda (granddaughter of William the Conqueor) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (over at Amazon’s instant video: the She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens–Matilda and Eleanor). (affliate link) But, I *can’t* wait to show the kids The Lion in Winter (affliate link) — which is about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. This movie stars Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole (who are amazing actors!) We’ll be watching that in the next week (in fact, I was toying with watching it today — Friday — but I don’t think we’ll get to it because of the Human Body projects we’ll be doing). And from there we’ll be reading the classic, Robin Hood. Richard the Lionhearted and King John (portrayed as the evil villian in the Robin Hood legends) were Eleanor and Henry’s sons.
There is also a BBC series called Monarchy that has episodes about this early period in English history.
And you might want to visit the posts from our Middle Ages Unit:
- Vikings, Norse Myths and a Woodburning Craft
- Middle Ages: King Arthur, Charlemagne
- Middle Ages Unit: The Medieval Church and Monasteries Worksheets
- Feudalism in the Middle Ages Notebook Pages and Simulation
- Middle Ages – Notebook Pages on England and France (800-1200)
- The Crusades
- Middle Ages in the 1300s: Black Plague Simulation, Hundred Years’ War, Crusades
- Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan Free Notebook Pages
- Marco Polo – Notebook Pages, Books and Resources
You might be interested in our other Renaissance Posts:
- Early Renaissance: The Medici Family and Renaissance Art Notebook Pages
- Renaissance Artists and Their Patrons (and Notebook Pages about da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and their patrons)
So, that about wraps up our Middle Ages activities for now! See you again soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You might be interested in some of our other history materials:
We’ve studied other famous historic figures and have free notebook pages on figures such as
We’ve studied China
- China Fact Sheet (Free Download)
- China Unit: Books, Books A Huge List of Children’s Books and Novels
- Ancient China Packet (Free Notebook Pages)
- Chinese Brush Painting Lesson
- Free Confucius Notebook Pages
- Buddhism Learning Pack
Other History Notebook Pages and Learning Packs I’ve made:
- Catholicism (the New Catholic Pope),
- Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses,
- Native American Indians of the Northeast, Southeast and West