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.

 

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Medieval Study: Eleanor to Robin Hood

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some of the books we read for weeks 7-12

By the title you can see that we haven’t covered a long period in history. We hit a little snag in our schedule…my husband was offered a wonderful job and we are in the process of moving. My homeschool schedule took a major hit! Normally, I would have carried on this section of our study on through to the Magna Charta, medieval architecture, and castle life. We should be finishing up week sixteen of the study instead we are in the midst of week twelve.

The study of Queen Eleanor and her times begins in week seven of the study. We chose to start this section with one of the recommended books A Proud Taste of Scarlet and Miniver  by E. L. Konigsburg. Oldest loved this book and even the younger children listened to the story. We couldn’t put the book down and I finished reading it aloud in about four sittings. Oldest became enthralled with Queen Eleanor. Everything about her and her times fascinated him. He checked out several extra books at the library on the time period and enjoyed a couple of books on Saint George the Dragon Slayer. After reading the next chapter in our spine book (The European World) we started on Queen Eleanor: Independent Spirit of the Medieval World.

Lego feudalism model

Lego feudalism model

In his first couple of weeks with this section of the guide Oldest explored feudalism. He chose to make a Lego representation of the feudal system. He then explored several websites on Gothic architecture, Vikings, and the early Crusades. He also worked on his map marking cities and Queen Eleanor’s route on the Second Crusade. We read about the struggle between church and state through the tragic story of King Henry II and Thomas Becket. Oldest found Becket’s betrayal of his friend and king shocking and just could not understand the Church’s stance on a nation’s laws. Oldest still sees the world in very black and white terms. He was rather upset at the lack of true justice in medieval law. He struggled with the idea that people who called themselves Christians did not “walk the talk”. I had to remind him at this point that many people during this time in history could not read. Most people did not have access to a Bible and simply believed whatever they were told. We had some good discussions that we will likely revisit when we study the Protestant Reformation. I felt a little sad for my son…sensing his faith in humanity took a hit. A little gray is starting to penetrate his black and white world.

the crossbow worked

the crossbow worked

Oldest designed a tapestry with a battle scene from the Second Crusade. I then assigned him a five paragraph paper on Eleanor of Aquitaine. I simply hoped to get one page. He does not enjoy writing. He loved to write when he was younger but something happened during his public school years to choke that early spark from him. The past few months I have backed off from too many writing assignments and started slowly implementing techniques I’ve learned from Brave Writer. Once he started writing about her he couldn’t stop! I took a very hands off approach with this assignment. As he continued to write I allowed him to put off his other work. He wrote 1144 words! I was beyond thrilled and chose to accept his paper without a proper editing session. I didn’t want to end his enthusiasm for writing or history. He also wrote a poem about her that I will have to add a picture of later. It is currently boxed for the move (along with both of the Eleanor books).

We then started The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades by G. A. Henty and Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam by Diane Stanley, Saladin: The Warrior Who Defended His People by Flora Geyer and Richard the Lion Heart and the Third Crusade: The English King confronts Saladin by David Hilliam. All of these books are only recommended and are not a part of the guide. We enjoyed reading The Boy Knight and the rest of the books above helped to flesh out the history in the novel. Oldest made a mini crossbow and then spent some time tinkering with it to make the design better. The Boy Knight segued quite nicely into The Adventures of Robin Hood. We’ve watch a few Robin Hood movies over the years so he knows the basic story. Due to our crazy moving schedule we only

playing from The Song of Robin Hood

playing from The Song of Robin Hood

got through three or four chapters a week. We had already chosen our projects and bought parts but will have to wait until after the move. We were going to make a PVC pipe long bow and Robin Hood style hats for everyone and host an archery competition followed up with a proper medieval feast. We’ll actually do those projects at the end of our study.

We did watch the Doctor Who episode: Robots of Sherwood. Oldest enjoyed pointing out scenes that were inspired from the book. He thought the actor and writers did a good job of bringing Robin Hood to life…other than the robots and time traveling of course. We discussed heroes in literature, forest law and justice. I was surprised when he pointed out the similarities in literary style between Doctor Who, King Arthur, 1001 Arabian Knights, and Robin Hood! They are all framed narratives. Just as each chapter of the books is part of an overall narrative telling a single story so is an entire season (sometimes several) of Doctor Who. I was impressed he caught that. I also never considered using literary devices to describe visual media. We also read a few article on the Battle of Hastings and the Norman invasion of England. Learning about the conquest helped us to understand the animosity between the Saxons and the Normans in The Boy Knight.

fig tarts

fig tarts

Oldest did have to write a food review for another course and chose to make medieval fig tarts. He finds a way to merge most assignments into his medieval studies these days. The tarts were tasty but really heavy on the spices. I had to make a slight modification to the recipe above since fresh figs are hard to come by in Kentucky! I found dry whole figs at the local Mennonite shop and soaked them in grape juice overnight. I also skipped the saffron and used turmeric…

We are looking forward to getting settled in our new home so we can continue our medieval history studies. We are about to start the story of the Magna Charta and the origins of representative government. For now, Oldest is learning to play one of the ballads in The Song of Robin Hood by Anne Malcolmson, Grace Castagnetta and Virginia Burton. The book is a must have for any true fan of Robin Hood. The book contains early original ballads of Robin Hood with music adapted for modern times. Once he is comfortable I’ll record his version and upload it to YouTube and post a link here. Also, last month one of my favorite blogs: As He Leads Is Joy posted a picture of Little John’s grave she found while out on a walk. Just something of a neat coincidence…