In this post: The Canterbury Tales & a craft, poetry by Geoffrey Chaucer, Robin Hood, the Crusades, stained glass windows, blawmanger (Medieval chicken & rice), dragon feet, & a study of Snowflakes with actual snow! Also Greensleeves, the song that brought King Richard home!
Well, I am finally caught up! This coming Monday I will be back on schedule and I can’t wait to share our study of Medieval Russia and how it awesomely coincides with the Sochi Olympics. But for now let’s go to a very dark time…the time of the Crusades.
First off, most history books and videos are very biased during this time in history. Catholics (Christians maybe..maybe not. The commoners didn’t have much knowledge of scripture back then) are seen as villains who got crazy and bloody. While the Muslims are usually portrayed as completely peaceful. I like Story of the World because it shows the good and bad of both parties involved. We see that Muslims had taken over the Holy Land and the Pope had a misguided quest to redeem it. It seems that at first pilgrims were treated fine in the Holy Land but then Christians and Jews were being banned from it and persecuted. The Pope guaranteed a spot in Heaven for those who fought. I don’t say that these were all Christians because how can you be a Christian if you don’t even know Christ’ teachings. The people could not read the scriptures for themselves and they went by whatever the often corrupt leaders said at the time. Had they known the scriptures then they would know that Heaven doesn’t come by fighting a war. Also they’d know that Jesus said to love our enemies. The very fact they believed salvation came through the Pope’s blessing and a crusade, proves they were not Christian. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, by believing in him and confessing with our mouths. This is what Christ teaches.
The Crusades were just sad. Both sides back n forth doing horrible things to each other. The only light in all this is that the crusaders gained knowledge of Muslim technology. The Muslims were very advanced compared to the rest of Europe. Also it’s good that Christianity still exists. The war was not good but had Islam continued to take over then Christianity probably wouldn’t exist today. All but one of the crusades were unsuccessful. The reconquest of Spain however was successful. Jerusalem was built by the Jews and later taken over by Catholics, then Muslims. The Jews were scattered during the diaspora, after Rome destroyed the temple. It is a sad time in history. Jews have always been persecuted. Unfortunately, so called Christian leaders tried to convert people by force. This is completely unbiblical. We’ve learned though that many leaders adopted Christianity so they could have control of the people. Their religion was unsincere and the proof is in their unchanged hearts. Jesus never mean’t for Christianity to be used as a tool. Alas, the middle ages were really dark and corruption rampant in every religion and culture.
If you’re interested in a unique take on the crusades watch BBC’s Robin Hood. I love how Robin of Locksley (Robin Hood) is portrayed as a lord that went to war in the crusades. There’s a great episode in season three where a monk has started writing the scripture in the common language, though it is forbidden by the church. It’s a great series for the middle ages. You also get to see Muslim technology because one of Robin’s “men” (actually a woman) is a Muslim.
During this time, King Richard (from the stories of Robin Hood) went off to fight in the Crusades. He left his people to be governed by corrupt rulers. You know the story of the sheriff of Nottingham and Richard’s younger brother, Prince John. Well, Robin Hood is most likely a legend but Prince John was real. And people were really being drained of their money and left with nothing. No wonder people dreamed of a hero that stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The people were so upset that they forced Prince John to sign the Magna Carta. This made things a little bit fairer. The Prince could no longer do whatever he pleased with the people’s money.
Meanwhile, King Richard went missing. The stories say that he was found by his friend Blondel who went around singing “Greensleeves” and waited for an Englishman to sing the next verse. He supposedly stood beneath a tower and sang a line. Then he heard King Richard sing it back. The people (against Prince John’s wishes) begged the Duke of Austria, who had captured Richard, to let him go.
Michael watched Disney’s Robin Hood and I made him a quiver for his arrows. We made tissue paper stained glass windows with contact paper. We also made dragon feet out of cardboard and had medieval chicken and rice, blawmanger. It’s made with almond milk. I played Greensleeves on the piano.
We watched and read a story about the Children’s crusade (which some believe to be fictional or maybe the basis for the pied piper story). The movie we saw was another time traveling movie; Crusade: A March through Time.
Speaking of the Holy land…people would take pilgrimages. An important poet named Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote down stories from pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Most of the stories are crude and perverse but the Nun’s story of the rooster and the fox is perfect for kids. We made puppets and Michael acted out the story as I read it. Thankfully my old story books I told you about, have several stories/poems by Geoffrey Chaucer. We also read his poem “A Perfect Knight” and we read his short biography. Geoffrey Chaucer is said to be the Father of English literature.
More after the pic…
Lastly, we had three snow days and we took advantage of them. They coincided with our snowflake study. Michael was so sad when the snow started to melt. I told him to scoop up some snow and put it in the freezer. Now he will have snow all year round :). I wanted to get a microscope to look at the snowflakes but we couldn’t find one. I did however, get a telescope and Michael found Jupiter.
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
Search for Blawmanger on this site: http://www.godecookery.com/how2cook/how2cook.htm
Canterbury Tales Puppets: http://www.layers-of-learning.com/canterbury-tales-for-kids/
Dragon Feet: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/dinosaur-feet-craft/
Robin Hood’s No Sew Quiver: http://www.creativecapitalb.com/2013/10/simple-upcycled-no-sew-kids-quiver.html
Snowflake study: http://www.currclick.com/product/88816/Snowflakes—Two-Day-Study-Series
Middle Ages Lapbook: http://www.currclick.com/product/1065/Middle-Ages-Lapbook
Middle Ages Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/doverette/sow-middle-ages-renaissance/
Netflix links for Story of the World: http://terishepard.com/2013/08/06/story-of-the-world-netflix-resources/
Middle Ages Week 3: https://amberdover.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/middle-ages-week-3-the-vikings-the-feudal-system-castles/
Middle Ages Week 5: https://amberdover.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/middle-ages-week-5-medieval-russia-marco-polo-plus-2014-winter-olympics/