Step back with me to the medieval ages for a moment. Our weekly classical academy celebrated the end of the first term of school with a history party day.
Will with his friends James and Nathan
Knights and fair ladies showcased what they’d learned in music and poetry and then listened to stories of Richard the Lion-Hearted and his faithful friend Brondel.
My sister and my daughter. <3 I love getting to be their history and writing teacher!
Of the few occupations open to women in medieval times, a nun seemed the most likely to be a teacher… so I turned an old dress, baby blanket, and fancy shawl into a makeshift outfit. The kids thought it quite humorous. It was really quite toasty. I’m not sure how our ancestors survived summer without A/C in so much fabric!
After story time, students decorated medieval “books” with sparkly gems, to imitate the costly jewel-inlaid books of the era. In this age of cheap paperbacks and almost limitless electronic media, it’s hard to fully grasp just how precious books were in the medieval ages. One copy of the Bible could require a whole heard of sheep, just for the parchment!
Kind friends helped make snack time a feast. We enjoyed stuffed baked apples, rice pudding, dates, olives, and meat pies (with raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg) in our cardboard castle. I was skeptical at first, but the food ended up way tastier than I expected.
A few weeks before the party, one of the dads asked if he could help out with anything. “You don’t know how to fence, do you?” I joked.
“Actually, ” he replied, “My cousin taught me the basics of fencing, and has fencing gear we could borrow.” How awesome was that?! The knights (and a few of the maidens) had a grand time learning the basics of fencing, like how not to get stabbed in the stomach.
Princess Meg with her friends watching their big siblings in music class
The day ended with lessons in music, art, and Latin, which are essential skills for all knights and fair ladies, of course.
Taking the kids on a make-believe trip to bygone days is one of the highlights of getting to teach history. We came home tired, but happy and grateful to be part of such a fun community… and to get to live in the 21st century!