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Knights and Nobles Unit Study Review

Want to take a trip back in time? What time in history would you choose to travel too? I asked my kids this very question and they wanted to travel back to the Middle Ages, a time of Knights, Nobles, Kings, Queens, and Castles.

Homeschool Legacy

Homeschool Legacy offered us the opportunity to review their Knights & Nobles Once A Week Unit Study and travel back in time to learn about life in the middle ages. We were excited about doing this unit study and learn more about this period in history.

Knights and Nobles Unit Study

Knight and Nobles

4 Week Unit Study
Retails for $14.00 for PDF eBook download and $18.95 for printed version
Grades 2-12
Biblically centered
Easy to do
Merit Badges for Boy Scouts and AHG

This unit study is divided into 4 weeks, with an option to stretch it to five to host a Midevil Feast. Each week is laid out for you with suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, and activities to complete.  Lots of options for books and videos are given, and you can pick and choose which ones you are interested in, and what works best for your schedule and family’s needs.

The basic schedule for each week is:

Monday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Tuesday:  add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Wednesday: Eliminate your normal school routine,  and add in add in the family bible devotional, individual book reading and the family read aloud, and various unit study activities in science, history, writing, art, math, etc.

Thursday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Friday: normal school routine, plus complete your reading and read alouds, go on a field trip, or host a family game night.  Each week also concludes with a fun “Stump your dad” trivia question for kids to get their dad’s involved too.

How we used this product in our homeschool:

Before getting started, the kids made a timeline on notebook paper to keep track of events and famous people from the middle ages they would learn about along the way.  We also looked over the list of books, and made a list we liked and found web sites and videos we wanted to include too.   I did a lot of prep work, and we made personalized folders, and I printed off several coloring pages, word puzzles, and other helpful things I found on nternet searches and placed them in the folders to use through out the study.  We turned these folders into a kind of lapbook, but had the advantage of three whole punch in the center to hold papers like a notebook, and also pockets on the inside of the folders to hold loose projects too.  I’ve included a few pictures of the kids working in their lapbooks, but I will create a separate post to go over the lapbooks in more detail in a future story, be sure to check back for more info.

Week 1: Castles

The kids watched David Macaulay’s Castle and Cathedrals PBS video documentary on Youtube. They learned a lot about castle and church architecture, and history of the church.  I wasn’t quite ready for the kids to learn some of the darker things of church history like greed, power, unbiblical agenda’s, and evil government control over the church, etc. but they did gain an understanding on the scope of the architecture and scale of the building projects and that was the main goal.  We had some long discussions about church history following those videos. Specifically why it is best for the government not to run the church and how greatful we are that our ancestors came to America to be free from that kind of control.

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We explored some other videos that were more suitable for younger kids, and easier to understand.  My kids are elementary and middle school aged.  There are several other really good videos on castles, and some great ones with virtual tours of the Biltmore Castle in Asheville, NC.  We used to live close by the Biltmore, and we would see the castle nearly every day as we drove past it on the highway.  But now it would be an 8 hour drive to get there, so we were not able to travel to see it during this review.

We loved creating our own castles, both model castles and virtual castles.  We watched videos to increase our knowledge of how to make them.   This short 1 minute video was another really easy one for the kids to understand, and helped them create their own castles.  We made physical castles and virtual castles on their favorite online game called Minecraft. This was a really good learning exercise for them.

We also explored some web sites about specific castles and a really good one with lots of information about castles in many countries was called Great Castles.  On this site, the kids learned about castles in Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, and many other countries and also could choose coloring pages of the famous castles to print and color.

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We took a field trip to Loveland, Ohio to see the LaRoche Castle.  It was a rainy spring day with a chill in the air, and kind of fitting to go see a castle on a day like this.  You can read more about our field trip and what we learned on this excursion in a seperate story.

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All of the kids colored their own castles.  We searched famous castles online, and they picked out their own castles to color.  The younger kids had easier castles to work with and the older kids had very complicated and detailed realistic castle drawings to work with.

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The kids also designed castles with Legos, paper, boxes, and other building materials. My oldest son also made 3D models from paper and a popup castle too.

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They also played chess at home, chess at the LaRoche Castle field trip, and they played several historic games from the Middle Ages at the LaRoche Castle too.

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My kids love Minecraft.  Building a virtual castle was a lot of fun.  After learning about blueprints and building with architecture drawings, we found a wonderful Minecraft castle tutorial online to expand the learning even more.  The kids practiced math and spatial skills, building to scale, and had a great time creating their virtual castels.

 

Week 2: Kings and Queens

We read about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table.  Some of this chapter’s learning took place before the Middle Ages, such as studying King Solomon, the greatest king that ever lived.  We had fun learning about the life of kings and queens and nobility.  We read the book of Esther in the bible and studied Queen Esther’s life and heroism.  We also read about King Solomon, King David, and King Josiah.  I found coloring pages online for each of these Kings and Queens and the kids had fun coloring them and then put them into their lapbook folders.

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We watched several movies including: One Night With the King (Queen Esther and King Xerses), AD TV series, The Final Inquiry (Roman soldier who investigates the story of Christ’s death and resurrection for the Emperer of Rome just before Rome fell and the middle ages began).

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My oldest son loves oragami and researched making some paper art pieces.  He made pop up castles, and he also made a crown.

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The kids learned about how letters were written in all capital letters and had no spaces between words until a scholar from Charlamaine’s Court invented lower case letters, spaces, and punctuation.  Letters were very hard to read before.   We also learned about a style of calligraphy writing called Versal Manuscript, and the kids made their own personalized bookmarks.

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Week 3: Knights

This week the kids learned about Knights in shining armor and weaponry.  They learned about body armor, swords, archery with bows and arrows, and catapults.  They learned about great nights like the Three Musketeers and Ivanhoe and learned about coat of arms, and having a code of honor, a list of virtues one pledges to live by.

As Christians, our code of honor is the standard of the bible, no more, no less.  They decorated their own coat of arms and wrote out their own code of honor.

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We have built catapults in the past, and they are a lot of fun.  We have several sitting on display on shelves in our house.  We also made them in the past for our Lego and Robotics club and had teams shoot them into a wooden castle.  We have bows and arrows and the kids have had a lot of practice shooting them too.  Two of our sons have been out hunting deer with them in the fall of the year too.   But this time learning about weapons of the Middle Ages, we wanted to make a sword.  We had seen some wooden swords for $20+ each at the castle we visited, but did not want to pay the high price for them by the time we bought one for each child.  We also checked on buying them online, but by the time you paid for shipping, wooden swords were going to cost around $20-$25 a piece.  If we bought a sword for each child (we have six kids) it was going to cost us at least $120 or more.   Instead we we decided we could make them ourselves.  We were able to purchase 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards which costs less than $5 a board.  Each board produced 3 wooden swords that were 32″ long each. This made the cost of each sword less than $2 a sword for the materials.

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Week 4: Life in a Manor

This week was just as much fun as the previous weeks.  We learned about life in a manor, midevil games and story telling.  We made up a fictional historical story and drew out the story in a series of pictures.  We learned to juggle.  We looked up the history of various last names (surnames) and how they relate to a person’s occupation during this time in history.

My kids love to bake, and we decided to learn more about the history of baking during middle ages.  One fun food we enjoy today that was invented then was the pretzel . My kids love pretzels!  Wikipedia has a lot of information about the history of the pretzel.

We loved this adorable read aloud book about Walter the Baker and making pretzles.

We live on a homestead, and our kids have a lot of experience with farm animals, growing food, caring for the land, etc. They also learn carpentry skills with their daddy who has been in construction for over 27 years and is a very skilled craftsman. I hope as we head into summer we can find some additional hands on activities to do like blacksmithing and metal working, masonry, etc. I am hoping my big boys will help me cast some garden projects with cement and stones too. It is fun to learn about different kinds of skilled trades and broaden our experience as we learn new skills.

We watched some rennissance festivals and movies on Youtube.  The kids really enjoyed learning about Robin Hood who became a hero because he gave money that he took from the rich to the poor peasants in the villages.  We don’t believe in stealing, and story this opened the door for many more discussions, and just because someone becomes a hero to one group who has been mistreated or discriminated against by those in power, they can still be a terrorist to other groups, which we still see in the world today.  Later the kids had fun climbing trees, playing tag, practicing their fencing skills with their wooden swords, and acting like Robin Hood.

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Feast

We have not completed the feast of the study yet.  We plan to host a feast as soon as we can. I’m not positive what we have decided for our theme, we are kind of leaning toward calling it Dinner with the King.  Dad will serve as King.  But we may call it something different and focus on peasant life, or skilled trades, etc.   We are looking forward to having fun with this.

We have watched several videos about food and read web sites about food from the Middle Ages time period.   One resource is History For Kids – Medieval Food.   We plan to host a feast soon, and set the table with fancy table settings and enjoy a meal as if we were in the castle eating with the King.

We have planned our dinner menu, we just need to set a date.
Rotisseri Chicken
Hunter’s stew (deer meat, carrots, onions, served on plates or bowls made of bread).
Salad
Tray of nuts, fruit, and cheese.
Peasant Bread / Barley Pancakes / Crepes / Pretzels   we might make all four varieties or just one.   (can be made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley)
Pouridge (made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley), not sure exactly how I plan to do this, but the Native Americans made theirs with berries, grain (like corn), and maple syrup, so I think I can find a similar recipe from Europe using these other grains from the time period.  If not, this dish may turn into a cobbler or something similar.
Custard Pie (we plan to make dad’s favorite Sugar Cream Pie)

Ideas suggested in the unit study for entertainment will be: a mime game called Charades; also Chess; and each child will prepare a joke to share.

There are so many wonderful things to study about the Middle Ages that we have decided that we are not done.  We want to learn more.   We are going to continue learning more through out our summer and take this time in history much slower and study even deeper than we did during this 4 week unit study. I think planning to spend a whole semester or even two semesters doing unit studies about this time in world history and church history would make an awesome school year for middle and highschool kids.   This unit study was a good and quick opportunity to get our feet wet.  Now we want to take our time and learn even more.

Check out Homeschool Legacy for more adventures!  They have many to choose from!

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You can hear the creator of Homeschool Legacy, Sharon Gibson, talk about how to use her Once A Week Unit Studies on this Youtube video interview.

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