This year, we studied a combo of Sonlight’s Core C and Core G, focusing on Medieval History. Our homeschool evaluator came this week, marking the end of our school year. I love paging through the kids’ portfolios and hearing them talk to the Evaluator about what they loved and learned this year. I usually just sit back and listen to them chat. It brings me so much joy!
Big, end-of-the-year celebration…
We concluded our Medieval History year by taking a special trip to The Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Maryland. What a fun adventure! If you can’t go back in time, this dinner-theater is a fun alternative. 😉 It enriches a child’s understanding of some Medieval vocabulary, dress, and entertainment.
(I don’t want to mislead you: it’s truly a show with a fog machine and everything, so don’t expect a truly authentic medieval tournament, but it’s a good show. It’s also expensive, so save up! And look for their special promotions.)
We checked in as soon as the doors opened, so our front-row seats were right near the King’s throne and the horses’ entrance. We felt the thrill of the horses rushing into the ring and the knights paying homage to the princess.
The horses do some of the same tricks that we read about in Marguerite Henry’s White Stallion of Lipizza. The girls were thrilled!
The knights enact a believable tournament with real horses, authentic medieval challenges, and real weapons, evoking scenes from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. I’m sure that the next time we study Medieval History, the children will have a more vivid foundation for the literature.
I’m glad we told our kids that it was “just a show”…
We told our kids ahead of time that the knights would be acting and that no one would be injured. And we didn’t bring our 3-year-old: she would’ve been too frightened by the fog, loud music, and fighting. I read too many accounts of parents having to console their sobbing children who thought that the knights had been killed in battle.
I recommend that you bring your children when they are able to understand the difference between real fighting and play-acting. We discovered that our honesty about the acting didn’t dampen the wonder: instead, we were all impressed by the knights’ athletic jumps, rolls, and choreography. (We did bring our 1-year-old. He just sat there, munching Cheerios, as if he sees galloping horses and jousting men at every meal.)
“How’d they do it?”
Afterward, we were a little obsessed with watching “Behind the Scenes” videos about The Medieval Times. We wanted to know how a person becomes a knight, what is required of them, how they plan the performance, and how they care for the horses. This video about the process of becoming a knight at The Medieval Times is interesting: