When I was a kid I thought history was sooooo booooooooring. I remember telling my mom in elementary school that I enjoyed reading the first-person stories in my social studies texts but I found the rest of the information dull. When I moved on to high school I had one teacher who really brought history to life, making it as hands-on as possible within the confines of a small school room.
When it came time to teach my kids I knew exactly what I didn’t want for my kids. I didn’t want them to be bored, I wanted them to enjoy the learning experience and take away real lessons from it.
Hands-On History for Homeschoolers: Medieval Times Unit Study
We spent the last two years (yes, two whole years!) studying Medieval history. It started out innocently enough, we bought tickets to attend a Medieval faire with a field trip group. When I told them I bought tickets they got excited and wanted to make costumes, so we looked for some books. I had no plans to study this time period but the kids were so interested they wouldn’t let it go, and thus our two year unit study was born!
Now, I have to confess that I’m not sure unit study is the right term to describe what we did. I’m using the term because it’s the one that fits the best. Maybe I should call it an experience study? I dunno…anyhow, what you’ll find below isn’t all nicely organized because that’s not how we work (HA!) What you’ll find in my unit study is a list of resources, you can fit them into your plans wherever you have room. Also, I know this list is book heavy, we listened to a lot of them as audiobooks.
(P.S. If you are looking for a wonderfully organized Medieval Unit Study with day-by-day lessons, you have to check out Time Capsule: Medieval England! Several of our projects came from this awesome resource!)
Games we used:
Professor Noggin’s Medieval Times Card Game
Books we read:
Catherine Called Birdy
Projects we did:
We held a Medieval Feast
Made oil lamps (this activity came from the Time Capsule Unit Study)
We made jester sticks (we had so much fun we did it again with as a group activity!)
We made mini catapults and trebuchets and pretended to storm the castle
We visited not one but TWO Medieval Faires!! (Find one near you by clicking here.)
We organized a group trip to Medieval Times (there are several locations in the US but if you can manage to make it to the one just outside of Orlando, FL, do it! They have a village/museum there and they did a great job of making us feel welcome! If you can manage to visit on an education day you’ll get the same meal and show PLUS an extra educational show, at a reduced price!)
Movies we watched:
A Knight’s Tale (some nudity, we’re pretty open like that though)
Redwall (the PBS cartoon version)
The Adventures of Robin Hood
The Princess Bride (just for fun!)
Disney’s Robin Hood (also just for fun!)
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.