What do you picture when you think of the Middle Ages? Do you imagine castles and knights and damsels in distress? What about smelly cess pits or teeth-pulling barbers or the bubonic plague? There are so many interesting things to learn about when studying medieval times. I’ve always found the Middle Ages to be the most fascinating period in history.
We do a four-year history rotation (ancient, medieval, renaissance and modern), and next year marks our second time learning about the Early Church and the Middle Ages. When we first studied medieval history several years ago, I chose resources that were geared towards younger children. Now that my children are a bit older, I’m refreshing our resource list.
I thought I’d share our updated resource list for those of you who are interested in studying the Middle Ages with your children. I’ve tried to choose books that are both interesting and educational, and I hope the following list will be helpful:
The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar
For our spine, we’re using The Mystery of History: Volume II (MOH). We’ve tried several history programs, and MOH is my favourite by far. It is Christ-centred and seeks to glorify God in every aspect of learning. It is a comprehensive, stand-alone curriculum that is well-written and includes worksheets and quizzes, suggestions for hands-on activities, as well as a list of supplemental books and resources.
The Accidental Voyage by Douglas Bond
Have you ever heard of the Mr. Pipes series? This series of four books is a unique and fun way to incorporate hymn study into history lessons. In The Accidental Voyage, Mr. Pipes, Annie and her brother Drew travel to exciting lands to learn about the hymns of the early church. We use this book as a read-aloud and then look up the hymns on the internet so we can hear them for ourselves.
History Lives Series by Mindy and Brandon Withrow
The History Lives series is an engaging collection of stories about various figures who played an important role in church history. The first two volumes (Peril and Peace and Monks and Mystics) cover the early and medieval church. We use these books as supplemental read-alouds. I do tone down some of the readings for my children, since much of church history was violent. However, the series brings historical figures to life and captures the interest of even my youngest learner.
I’ve heard wonderful things about Draw and Write Through History, but this will be our first time actually using one of these books. In addition to come copywork samples, the book provides children with step-by-step directions so they can draw beautiful illustrations for their history lessons. We’ll be utilizing the portions that cover the Vikings, the Middle Ages and China/Japan.
Chapter Books for Independent Reading
My older two girls will be assigned the following books to read independently:
- Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
- Tales of Robin Hood by Tony Allan
- The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
- The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanore M. Jewett
- The Minstrel in the Tower by Gloria Skurzynski
- Voyage with the Vikings by Marianne Hering and Paul McCusker
- Yikes! Vikings! by Freida Wishinsky
Picture Books for Younger Children
I’ll be reading the following picture books to my youngest child:
- A Medieval Feast by Aliki
- Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson
- Pompeii…Buried Alive! by Edith Kunhardt
- Castles by Ladybird Explorers
- Knight: A Noble Guide for Young Squires by Geoffrey de Lance
- Marco Polo by Charles P. Graves
- The Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan
- The Horrible, Miserable Middle Ages by Kathy Allen (my personal favourite)
- The Usborne Book of Castles
In addition to our book list, I’ve invested in a set of Treehaus Wood Castle Blocks and a wooden castle doll set. Even my ten-year old will play for hours with these toys. We also plan on creating a medieval feast and attending a medieval faire at some point during the year.
You can find more resources and hands on activities on my Medieval History board on Pinterest.