Unit Study for Medieval History (The Middle Ages)

(I’ve posted a follow-up with pictures of our completed lapbook.)

I will be the lead teacher in our homeschool co-op this semester for a class on Medieval History (The Middle Ages). At this point my team consists of three other teachers and we will teach 50+ students over 4 class periods during a 10-week period on Thursday mornings (you Easy Grammar users can mentally cross out all the prepositional phrases). I thought I would share my notes for any of you who might need to organize a co-op class or would like to use this unit study in your home.

Our primary reference is Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages (Kaleidoscope Kids). I cannot recommend the Kaleidoscope Kids guides highly enough. We own the guides for Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. The Greece guide is falling apart from use; it was a huge help to me in a co-op class on Greek Mythology I taught last year.

Here is the breakdown of what we are covering week-by-week. We have one teacher who is an experienced lapbooker (my experience doesn’t go beyond downloading free ones and never using them – maybe that will change…); the students will put together a lapbook the first week, and the lapbooking notes indicate subsequent additions. The 10th week consists of a co-op-wide wrap-up performance or party, so there are only 9 weeks of class plans.

Week 1 – Overview
overview of time period (timeline)
modern inventions that didn’t exist then
how knights and castles came to be
code of chivalry, code of honor
lapbook: make lapbook; add your code of honor, and Charlemagne

Week 2 – Feudal System (teachers dress in period costume)
Peasants and serfs
“Ranking vs. linking” concept of society
lapbook: Joan of Arc; maybe images and descriptions of each of the four classes of people?

Week 3 – Castles and castle life
Castle DVD excerpts
Kids’ lives in castle times (peasant or noble)
Growing up fast (early marriage and mortality)
Do you have a Medieval name?
Visit a castle online
lapbook: Robin Hood

Week 4 – continuation of castles & the castle community; transition into knights
Model of castle (build a medieval castle online)
Parts of castle (inside the walls): keep, church, cookhouse, craft shops, bailey, drawbridge, moat, gatehouse
Parts of castle (outside the walls): peasant hovels, fields or crops, fairgrounds for festivals and tournaments
Tournaments is a good point to transition into talking about knights:
pages and squires: steps to knighthood
Getting dubbed
lapbook: King Arthur

Week 5: Knights
Why did they fight?
Tournaments and jousting
Word search/coloring pages
lapbook: make your coat of arms

Week 6: The Church
Life of a monk
Vow of silence
Illuminated books
Stained glass windows
lapbook: St. Francis of Assisi

Week 7: Medieval Merrymaking (games & food)
Discuss origins of Valentine’s Day and April Fool’s Day
Wassail a Fruit Tree (drink apple cider)
Read aloud: A Medieval Feast by Aliki
Play Bocci (need colored tennis balls) outside OR perform St. George and the Dragon inside
lapbook: medieval “drugstore” – parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme – and their reputed properties at that time

Week 8: Learning: Literature, Science, Music, and Medicine
Binding a book (craft)
Book of Days (discuss calligraphy, too)
Medieval medicine
Gregorian Chant
lapbook: Chaucer

Week 9: End of the Middle Ages
100 Years’ War (1337 – 1453)
Bubonic Plague (Black Death) and economic changes it caused
Invention of guns
Marco Polo – read story and ask questions
Magna Carta
The printing press
Modern day traces of Medieval times
lapbook: Gutenberg

I hope this is a help to someone!

{Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links.}

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  1. Jacque Dixon says

    Can I come to your class? This looks great!
    TOTALLY had to chuckle at this: (my experience doesn’t go beyond downloading free ones and never using them – maybe that will change…);
    me too!

  2. says

  3. says

    Oh I *LOVE* the Medieval Times. Really. I find it so fascinating to learn about it. We did a unit study on that period last year. It was really neat.
    This looks great. You did a great job putting this together!!
    I agree with my Mom, Can I come to it?? lol
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day!!
    Love, Prayers, and Blessings,

  4. says

    Hello! I’ve just now stumbled upon your site. You may want to check out the Terrestria Chronicles by Ed Dunlop. We just finished the first book in the series The Sword, The Ring, and The Parchment and it is full of castle terms, etc.


  5. says

    I second Heather’s comment. The Terrestria Chronicles series by Ed Dunlop is awesome. We are in book 3 at this point and the kids cannot wait each day for our reading time. They always beg for more chapters too.

    I wrote a review of the first book in the series “The Sword, the Ring and the Parchment”. It can be found at http://homeschoolhisway.blogspot.com/2007/10/welcome-to-my-book-reviews-books-i_17.html

    I’m preparing to post a review on book two of this series. Hopefully that will be coming soon.

    Love your blog!

  6. c says

    would it be possible to see pics of your completed robin hood lapbook? I want to do one with my 9 yr old son.

  7. Popular Wealth says

    Follow up! I’d love to hear how the classes went and to see some pictures. If you did that already I missed it, can you add a link to this post for reference?

    Getting kids involved with history at a young age is excellent, but can I attend your next session anyway ? :p

    Popular Wealths last blog post..Neuschwanstein Castle – One Of The Worlds Most Beautiful

  8. Julie Forbes says

    THANKS SO MUCH for posting this information. It has helped me so much!
    God bless you for your effort!
    Julie Forbes

  9. says

    Great job!! Such a helpful post! I’ve just started a unit study on medieval times and found your blog post. Thank you for making my job easier!! Would also like to see some of the finished lap books!!
    Ingrid´s last [post] ..Compared To Her