Medieval Study: The End of an Age

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

Sadly, all things must end and so has our current study of medieval times. We spent the last five weeks reading The World of Columbus and Sons from Genevieve Foster; the final required book in the study. The guide is set up to go through this book in four weeks but due to some unforeseen events going on at home we needed an extra week to get through the text and all of the rich discussions.

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

Oldest started this session marking locations from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Africa on his map. As we read about the explorations of the Portuguese he marked their routes. We also read some extra books on exploration about Prince Henry the Navigator (A Sea Route to Asia: The Adventures of the Portuguese Exploration by David Rutsala), Magellan, De Balboa and Cortez. We read about Timbuktu and the beginnings of the slave trade.

globe project for medieval history

globe project for medieval history

We read about the fall of Constantinople and the ironic (considering today’s news stories) welcoming of the Jewish population into the Ottoman Empire following their expulsion from Spain. We watched a documentary called The Story of the Jews which covers the various diasporas of the Jewish people throughout the centuries. We were both saddened and encouraged by the documentary. My daughter was particularly moved and wondered aloud when people would “get over hating each other before even meeting?”

20160525_105350 (640x480)

All of our books for the study…that we could find.

My son enjoyed learning all about Columbus, Martin Luther (Martin Luther by Mary McNeer and Lynd Ward), William Tyndale (The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day by Scott O’Dell), the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci (both by Diane Stanley). He did not enjoy anything about the royal troubles of Spain, France, England, the Holy Roman Empire or the Medici family. Of all the

with books and a few projects

with books and a few projects

books we read that mentioned the plague the death of Captain Jack in The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day had the most emotional impact on us. He was certainly a rogue but we liked him anyway. The lack of respect shown toward his corpse was unsettling. We ended up discussing the impact of so much death on a society…kinda hard to wrap one’s mind around really.

Ember Day Feast ingredients

Ember Day Feast ingredients

Our final discussion for the study was to compare the ideas of Machiavelli and Erasmus. We’ll likely dive into this a little deeper during his high school years. He liked Erasmus’ idealized views of governing and thought that Machiavelli was just plain crazy.

the feast

the feast

We followed up our study with a medieval Ember Day feast. We had come across the term a few times in our readings and looked up the meaning. These are days of fasting (no meat) and prayer that occur at the beginning of each season. Originally the Catholic Church instituted the celebration of these days in Rome to coincide with pagan agricultural celebrations. Beginning in the fifth century the practice spread throughout the West. The days are still celebrated in some rural areas of Europe.

20160524_124132 (640x472)Our feast included an Ember Day Tart, Hungarian Cheese Soup, Brown Rye Bread, Pottage, Apple Cider, Almond Milk and grapes. Pottage is vegetable soup with oats (I used instant oats) and I thought the kids would be reluctant to eat it. To keep them from being too picky I ran it through the food processor so it was more like a bisque than a stew. I am happy to live in times that include a crock pot and a food processor! (I will admit to wishing for those replicators on Star Trek: The Next Generation!!!) The food was good and we enjoyed our feast. Our favorite recipe was dipping the rye bread into the cheese soup. Yum!

20160524_124126 (640x480)We loved this study. All of the books were excellent and Oldest had a hard time choosing his favorite book from the study. He found it impossible to choose just one of the books. From the required books he chose Crispin: The Cross of Lead and The Trumpeter of Krakow. His favorite book from the recommended reading list was A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg.

20160524_124144 (640x480)I could not pick a favorite book; my emotional attachment to them is directly related to warm memories of snuggling with my children while reading aloud. We wept bitterly together over Robin Hood’s death, we loved the audacity of Eleanor of Aquitaine, we were angry at Crispin’s inhuman treatment…I could go on. The read aloud experience this curriculum provides is so precious. I cannot possibly imagine continuing in the home education lifestyle without Beautiful Feet Books.

up next

up next

So what’s next? Well, we still have a longbow to make. Every single weekend that my husband has been available to help us with this project the sky has rained. We have all of the components and sometime in the near future I’ll share our experience at the making of a long bow. Our next academic year begins in July. I’ve already started the planning process. Oldest will study the Early American and World History Jr. High pack. My middle two will work through the Early American History Intermediate study and Littlest will begin the Primary Early American study sometime in the fall or early winter. We are all looking forward to our history studies and this mama can’t wait to introduce Littlest to Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin.

Posts related to this series:

Introduction

Augustine to Arabian Nights

Eleanor to Robin Hood

Weeks 12-18  Wow! I got sooo creative with that title!

Minstrels, the Black Death and Chaucer

Joan of Arc to the Philosopher’s Stone

Medieval Fig Tarts

Thank you to the very wonderful and generous people of Beautiful Feet Books who have blessed my family!

Beautiful Feet Books’ Intermediate Medieval History Weeks 12-18

guide and required books

guide and required books

Before I get into this section of the study I’d like to mention one little thing about the previous post. We had not yet read the Epilogue to Robing Hood when I wrote our report. During our move I had left the book in our apartment in Lexington while overseeing our move from Benton to Frankfort. Life got just a tiny bit crazy! I’ve watched many Robin Hood movies over the years. Not a single one of the films prepared me for the ending to the book!!! We were so devastated (and a tiny bit angry) by the manner of our hero’s death that I had to cancel school the rest of the day. Sparkles and Middle Boy just cried their hearts out. Oldest refused to concentrate on math or grammar until we discussed the injustice and greed that led to Robin’s death. Life is unfair sometimes and especially so for heroes (real or literary). I made some popcorn and we buried our sorrows watching Walt Disney’s Robin Hood. Roger Miller and Robin Hood always go together in my mind and his song ran through my head the entire time I read the book aloud.

Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
Golly, what a day

You are welcome for the earworm!

all of our resources for this session

all of our resources for this session

The first three weeks of this session are devoted to the study of the Magna Charta through James Daughtery’s book The Magna Charta. The first part of the book was a review of previous books on the Plantagenets. We found the review helpful since we had paused our studies for the move. Oldest became so fascinated with Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that he purchased a book on them with his birthday money. He was fairly proud of himself for purchasing his first history text. Weeks twelve through fourteen have several words to define from the book. Usually Oldest looked the words up in a dictionary. Sadly, our dictionary was packed away in a box in storage. Oldest thought he had a free pass on the vocabulary words until I reminded him of the glossary’s existence in the guide! 😉

Oldest studied several websites to learn about the life of England’s common people and wrote a silly tale about a stable boy named Jack. We discussed the life and legacy of King Richard, King John, Stephen Langton the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Innocent III, and William Marshal. We studied the art of Albert Herter during our picture studies and discussed the symbolism of representative government in his work. We also read Marguerite De Angeli’s

Oldest with his birthday books

Oldest with his birthday books

delightful book A Door in the Wall (a suggested read). We just adored this book and even the younger children listened in on this read aloud. We also discussed the importance of the Magna Charta to our own American history.

I was relieved that the guide had us take a look at the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic since faith and religion took a hard hit with the death of Robin Hood and the politics of the Church during the Medieval period. I added a short study on the life of St. Hildegard von Bingen. She was a German Benedictine abbess and composer of beautiful music. I learned about her during my time in the monastery and the chant she composed for her communities returns my heart to the cloister. O Frondens Virga

illumination project

illumination project

which I linked for you is my favorite of her compositions. I also adore her because she was a bit of a rebel. We read Life in a Medieval Monastery by Marc Cels and Places of Worship in the Middle Ages by Kay Eastwood. To round out our medieval religious studies we also read Magic in the Margins: A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking by W. Nicola-Lisa and Oldest worked on a small illuminated manuscript project. He chose to illuminate the Preamble to the Constitution.

Our next couple of weeks were spent learning about Cathedrals and Castles with David Macaulay’s books. Oldest and the younger siblings enjoyed making stained glass windows with tissue paper for art projects and watching YouTube videos about Guedelon in France. Oldest also watched a documentary about the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Florence and then explored the

some of Oldest's papers and projects

some of Oldest’s papers and projects

subject further on Kahn Academy. I didn’t realize how much he had learned about architecture until he started pointing out features of buildings in downtown Frankfort. Currently he is working on building a Medieval city on Minecraft. His castle is designed after Visegrad the Citadel. He chose this castle primarily because my husband had visited there and brought home an informative booklet with diagrams of the topography and building plans.

The next two weeks of the guide (17 and 18) bring us to Medieval China and Marco Polo. Sadly, Oldest completed all of the reading for these sessions on his own. I love reading aloud these history books and it made me sad to miss out on The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean. I fell rather ill a few weeks ago with a chest infection. Oldest did read aloud a few chapters to me during my feverish days but as the fever subsided I developed a terrible cough and could barely breathe let alone read aloud.

architectural designs Oldest pointed out during downtown walk

architectural designs Oldest pointed out during downtown walk

Fortunately, even without reading the book I was able to intelligently discuss the book and questions in the guide thanks to the answer key! We depended heavily on the Resources part of the study guide for the course this time around. I did notice this evening while checking over his map that he forgot to add the map work for China though he did mark Marco Polo’s route. Guess what his first assignment will be Monday morning!?!

Oldest with book

Oldest with book

One of the projects was to build a paper model of The Temple of Heaven. We didn’t get to that project because the color printer is still packed away in a box. It looks like a fun craft so we plan to work on it at some point. Oldest did build a mini version of the temple with his legos. We read about the life of Confucius and reviewed Buddhism, Taoism, and Confusism. Just as he started reading The Samurai’s Tale by Erik C. Haugaard (another suggested book) he got my chest infection. The book must be really good because he kept reading while he was feverish. I just love this picture of him asleep by the Christmas tree with book in hand.

Legal note: The kind (and totally awesome!) folks at Beautiful Feet Books provided me with the literature pack and guide in exchange for this review series.

 I offered them no guarantee on what I would write here.

 

Beautiful Feet Books: Introducing the Intermediate Medieval Study

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

I’m so excited about this review series that I can hardly contain myself! If you read my blog (or know me in “real life”) you already know how much I love Beautiful Feet Books! I tell everyone that the philosophy behind this curriculum saved my homeschool. I began my homeschool career as a die-hard neo classical educator and am now a Charlotte Mason-er (can I say that descriptively?) until the end. We fell in love with home education as a family with the discovery of Beautiful Feet Books and through them…the Charlotte Mason life-style.

Charlemagne paper and a peek at the guide

Charlemagne paper and a peek at the guide

I love the set up of the study guide (written by Rebecca Manor) for the course. Instead of numbered lessons the guide is set up by weeks for a total of thirty-five weeks. There are usually four to six assignments each week. The guide is beautifully illustrated and full of internet links and hands-on activities. For this study the curriculum suggests that students keep a notebook for noting discussion questions and vocabulary exercises and a separate portfolio for essays and other exemplary works by the student. The vocabulary lists are drawn from the books in the course to help the child better understand the reading material. The guide clearly points out which assignments belong in the portfolio. There is also a suggested list of books to check out from the library related to the current week’s study. I’ve manage to borrow some of these books from friends and find others cheaply at library sales. I’ll share our favorites throughout this review.

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

We are now in our second week with the Intermediate Medieval study. My oldest and I (I firmly believe in reading aloud even to my oldest) are nearly finished with Beowulf. We are enjoying this book together. I loved studying Beowulf in my university literature course (many, many years ago!) I kinda wondered how this story was going to work with a sixth grader but I am delighted with the version BFB chose for their study. I’ve truly enjoyed reading it to my oldest. This book is so poetic and the illustrations are lovely. Tomorrow we will finish the book and he will write his second paper for his portfolio. The spine book for the study is The European World: 400-1450. We’ve already read through chapter two. I’ve accepted the fact that spine books are an evil necessity in literature based history studies. However, this book is excellent and when I sat down to explore the book a bit I read the first five chapters without realizing it. The book isn’t dry and textbookish at all. Several times I’ve had to confiscate the book from Oldest when I’ve caught him reading ahead of schedule! That is the sign of an excellent book.

map-work

map-work

Oldest’s first assignment was a bit of map-work. He didn’t want to wait any longer to begin the study waiting for a blank map to be ordered by mail. He also really likes to draw maps. After discussing a few options, Oldest decided to use tracing paper to make his map. He pulled the large world map off the wall and traced most of Europe and parts of north Africa. Once he is finished with this map he will mount it onto a large piece of poster paper. He was unhappy with his Ancient map from the last academic year because he felt it was too crowded with information. When he feels that his current map is full enough he will attach it to the poster and then trace another map. He plans to mount the traced maps “lift-the-flap style” onto the poster paper as he completes them. I’ll post pictures of his map as he builds it. He also wanted to draw a map himself instead of just mark a pre-made one. I didn’t mind because it was one less thing for me to purchase and I have the map-making supplies he needs on hand.

our reading material for the next thirty-five weeks or so...

our reading material for the next thirty-five weeks or so…

After making his first map for the study, Oldest read about Charlemagne and wrote a small one page paper for his portfolio. I was pleased with his paper even thought it is a bit short. He hates writing and if given a choice, he would prefer to spend his time conjugating Latin and working long division! We also watched these videos from the History Channel. After learning about Charlemagne he then spent a couple of days on vocabulary studies preparing for Beowulf. Next weeks studies lead us to King Arthur!!! All of my Beautiful Feet Books reviews are posted to this Pintrest board. You can also read Beautiful Feet Books’ interview with me on their blog. I answered their interview questions while my youngest pelted me with Angry Bird stuffed animals… Legal requirements: The government demands that I tell you I received this study free with no guarantee of a positive review according to FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. All opinions are my own and the materials provided are for a frank and honest review and your experiences may differ… Linking up with All Things Beautiful’s History and Geography Meme She also has a lovely Pinterest Board on history and geography.