Sunday, November 18, 2007

Medieval Feast Dialectic History Presentation

In our study of the Middle Ages we relived adventures of famous men such as King Arthur, Robin Hood and Marco Polo.  We learned about St. Patrick, Charlemagne, and the murder of Thomas A Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Our imaginations soared with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, and Canterbury Tales.  We imagined ourselves in other lands while learning about Camelot, the search for the Holy Grail, and the broken note of the Trumpeter of Krakow.  These are the books that transported us to another time...

 Here are some of the art projects.  At the bottom of the window sill, are the salt dough maps of Europe. In between is 12yos stained glass of a fish.  In the middle of the window are the illuminated manuscripts.

Here is the coat of arms 12yos made.  The shamrocks and fish are apparently accurate for our family name. My family name is German and extremely complicated. My dad told me that it was actually longer at one time and is now simplified. That is funny, because my maiden name was a never ending source of frustration because no one can spell it or pronounce it! So ds made up his own symbols for the rest of the crest.

Here is the stained glass I helped 14yod make out of black poster board and tissue paper.  She chose flowers from Colorado:  columbine, Indian paintbrush, and black eyed susan.

Here is the table...

Lady C....

Ye olde pardoned outlaw Robin Hood (he will be the surveyor of ceremonies...)  He made the boots himself and got them done in the nick of time!  He also made a bow and arrow which are under his cloak...

The kids found more books that we had read. Hear ye, hear ye! Let it be known that we read a lot of books!

The royal family...

Our guests finally arrived and because their name is German, I put "von" between Dad's first and last name to be more authentic, and the surveyor announced they were from the Holy Roman Empire.  DS had the best time blowing the horn...

Then dd did a history of Thanksgiving, which goes back to the High Middle Ages.  She also read a prayer of thanksgiving.  She also read the manners of the times which brought many laughs.Then she collected food for the poor...

Then began the wassail ceremony where we learned the derivatin of the word (Anglo Saxon "weshal" for "to be in good health"), sang "Here we go a'wassailing" and gave many "Wassail, wassail!  Drink to your health!"  Here's what was left of the wassail after the first round of drinks!

Then we had the presentation of the salt, where dd put the saltcellar before the king (her dad, he's not one to dress up).  Then she explained the significance in rank with the be above the salt is to have high rank, whereas the others below the salt...Here's the saltcellar...

Then we had the upper crust ceremony.  I cut the bread in half horizontally and presented the upper crust to our guests while dd explained the significance....honored ones are the upper crust.

Then dd passed around the aquamanile, which was full of water, herbs, rose petals, and orange rinds for us to wash our hands.  DS then came around with a towel...

Then we had the presentation of the soup of fungi and leek in pumpkin shell.  Then we had  the presentation of the salad.  (A medieval feast is about entertainment and presentations, not so much the eating...)  Then we had the presentation of roasted peacock...

Then we had the presentation of ye olde exotic and rare sauces and garnishes.  Here's everything...

After eating, we began the entertainment.  My kids were not interested in learning juggling, acrobats, or other feats of entertainment, so I had them read a selection of their papers, all 5 paragraph essays.  They do the same writing assignments, so we picked one of each topic on the Middle Ages, and then decided who would read which. They took turns and I finally had to read for dd, who was recovering from a sore throat.  DD read a paper on St. Patrick, then ds read his on Charlemagne, then I read dd's on King Alfred, then ds read his on Codes of Chivalry, then dd read hers on Marco Polo.   

Then it was time for the presentation of Castle Pie.  DS made the grand announcement with his trumpet, dd brought it to the table, then we read "Sing a song of sixpence..."  Then dd had me present the pie.  We look as though we are praying for this to work! Are ye ready?

I lifted the crust and lo and behold what was in there but...

singing and moving birds! I was trying to discreetly tuck the aluminum foil under the crust earlier in the day and they are motion activated and would keep chirping every time I touched the crust. I didn't want dh to know about these. It was a big surprise of course, but he's also been eyeing them in one of our favorite shopping towns. I could never think of a use for them until the idea of this pie came up! Now that it was time for them to sing, I had to wave my hands to get them going! The other birds are marzipan that I had made for us to eat.  I had meant for the kids to make these but they got sick this week, leaving me to do a lot of cooking! Thankfully, they were well enough to do the feast!

After dessert, we sang some hymns written during the Middle Ages. DD read a brief history then we'd sing. She only got through the first one then needed me to read the rest while she drank soothing wassail!  We sang "Be Thou My Vision", "All Glory, Laud and Honor" and "All Creatures of Our God and King". DS got the birds to chirp during the last hymn.

Finally ds closed with a final trumpet call and announced,

"Farewell, farewell to one and all

Tis time to leave this festive hall

Remember this day, the one true Son

He is the Christ, the Risen One

And as you leave be merry and bright

Remember to spread God's glorious light!" 

Next week our history studies begin the Renaissance and Reformation.



  1. Wow, that is some great stuff you guys have been doing!! My family is Austrian and I actually have a photo of our coat of arms for our family name. I took it the last time I was in Europe in hopes that one day I could have one made for our family :) I really like the coat of arms your son made to!

    Enjoy your week,


  2. Y'all are an amazing family! What great effort y'all put into that. That is going to be something that your children will never forget. That's awesome homeschooling! Way to go!

  3. Laurie, this is amazing! We're doing this unit right now and you've given me some ideas. My sons think the coat of arms is cool so maybe they'll be inspired to make their own and do a good job. The costumes are fabulous! The food looks yummy and elaborate~Guinever

  4. i loved looking at and reading about everything. The stained glass window pieces were amazing, and i loved the chirping birds in the pie part!LOL

  5. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!!! What a fabulous feast!

  6. Thank you for your prayers!

    Wow- I'm exhausted just thinking about the work you and your family put into this! It all looks wonderful. My husband and I have considered doing something like this with our fencing class some day, since the style of fencing my husband teaches mimics medieval rapier combat. The question is, will we ever feel brave enough... lol

  7. Laurie!! You all did a fantastic job!! I LOVE the singing birds! That was classic. I can't wait until Year 2 now!!

  8. Wow...that looks so much fun! I will definitely revisit this post in a few months when we get to this time period.

  9. Wow, how wonderful everything and everybody looked. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.



  10. What an eloborate feast. I love the singing birds. Everyone looked so authentic. I lack the explatives to express how really cool I think your event was. Thank-you so much for sharing this experience with your readers!


  11. That was wonderful! I am cery impressed! I wish we would have done that last year!

    Well done!


    Koinonia Academy

  12. How fantastic! We have yet to do a unit celebration (we're saving Y1's Passover until actual Passover in the spring because we have relatives who do a "real" Seder). I am so inspired! I can hardly wait to get to this time period - I absolutely love it!!!! You guys did such an amazing job. Everything is beautiful!!!


  13. Wow! It looks like you all had a wonderful time and learned a lot about the Middle Ages.

  14. Hi everyone. Just finished reading through all the details of this incredible event. Dad may not like to dress up, but I bet he sured liked the food! The artwork is gorgeous and I'm sure the readings were great. Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. Enjoy the upcoming holiday.

    Love, Aunt Wendy