Studying the Medieval Era; Knights and Nobles a Crew Review

This entry is part 2 of 25 in the series 2015 Homeschool Reviews

Homeschool Legacy Review

For the past several weeks, in our homeschool, we’ve jumped back in time to the Medieval era with Knights & Nobles  by Homeschool Legacy

Knights & Nobles is a 4 to 5 Week, depending upon whether you choose to do the optional Medieval Feast at then end, Once a Week Unit Study .

Now if you’re unsure of what a Unit Study is let me see if I can explain. In a Unit Study you are teaching your child, or your child is learning about a specific topic but they are learning about it from various aspects. So in focusing on said topic you touch on many subjects. Such as Reading, Writing, Math, Science, History, and Art.  So this Unit Study about the Medieval era touched on all those subjects and a few more.

The Homeschool Legacy Once-A-Week Unit Studies are a bit unique in that you continue on with your regular curriculum and then really dive in and focus…wait for it…Once-A-Week.


The Knights & Nobles Unit Study is provided in an easy downloadable 40 page ebook so you can get started right away and it is meant to be used by children in grades 2-12. The cost of this ebook is $14.00. But you can also purchase the paperback version for $18.95

Knights & Nobles is designed to be used Without Any Prep-Work! Meaning you can pick it up and go (I say sort of). It includes a Dewey Decimal organized library list of resources for each chapter in the unit, a reading list for non-readers (read alouds), and suggested schedule for the Unit Study, suggested videos, and tie in Biblical Scripture.

The Unit Study starts off the Medieval with learning about Castles, moves on next to Kings and Queens, then the study of Knights, rounding the bend to the fascinating Life on a Manor, and ending with a yummy Medieval Feast for all.

Thinking back I cannot remember ever touching on the Medieval period when I was in public school but then again I could have been tuning out. I made up for it in college studying history but again NOT the Medieval era! Anyway this Unit Study has been a delightful journey for both my daughter and I into the period so often romanticized in books and movies.

knights unit study

Starting off by delving into the mysterious world of the Historic Castle.

In the suggested schedule for Knights and Nobles most of the week is devoted to read alouds while Wednesday (or your own chosen day for activities) puts the regular texts aside and brings out the activities and Friday is the day for any field trips (virtual or in person).

In Week 1 in addition to starting a Knights and Nobles Folder, reading about castles, and watching a few videos on the history of Castles we we made are making an attempt to build a castle out of cardboard. The suggestion is to use legos or sand but we want something that will get some use (and use up all this cardboard lying around) so we’re making a castle for Sofia, Samantha, Dolly Washington, and Meef, the family 18 inch dolls ( you can tell at what ages they were named).

Some of the other activities to take part in during Week 1 were watching Castle and Cathedral by David Macaulay, playing chess or another medieval era game,  and touring a castle such as the Biltmore Estate which George Vanderbilt built to be reminiscent of a European castle (virtual tour is fine here).

We had difficulty locating Castle and Cathedral by David Macaulay on Netflix. Sharon Gibson did recommend using the DVD rental portion of Netflix but I didn’t feel the need to upgrade my temporary subscription for the review. I did end up finding it on youtube but that was well after the first week.  Instead we opted for the Secrets of Highclere Castle (which we have seen before and find very interesting), the PBS documentary available on Amazon Prime, and a cute video on youtube made by a child who obviously loves the study of castles (sorry I’ve lost the link and I’m not even sure how I found it but he has a British accent if you care to dig).

There also used to be a television show about people who lived in castles today. I have not looked for that recently but I remember catching episodes online “I think” on HGTV several years ago.

Even though this is a 4-5 week Unit Study we are dragging it out a little longer because we are using it along with our regular curriculum. Especially the study of the Castles. And there is just so much to read and watch.

I’m really enjoying this topic. The study of the Medieval Period is largely overlooked, I think.

What We Enjoyed

I love reading about historic life. I “think” my daughter does too. This has been fun to imagine life back then.

So many interesting tidbits about Medieval Life are included in this Unit Study. Things we still do today that you may not know the origin of. Of note….

  • The origin of the word Medieval
  • The origin of lower case letters, spaces and punctuation
  • Medieval phrases we use today
  • Medieval last names

While we didn’t do every activity (yet) we enjoyed making the Coat of Arms for our family. Thinking of the things we find important and drawing them (in very simplistic form) out made me think more of what we enjoy doing. Making the castle is something we work on when we have time. The Sweet Peanut wants it to have stairs so she’s painstakingly making those while I figure out window placement. I cut the box before making a drawbridge so I have to figure out what to do there.

We also like to write hard to read notes to each other in the manner common before Alcuin of York (something for you to look up).

Love, love, love the Medieval Feast addition. What a cool idea! For those that love to cook and try new recipes the dish ideas we’re simple and will be easy to do. We haven’t done it yet. I have thought often of cooking from the past.

Some Final Thoughts

Although Sharon Gibson gives us an exhaustive list of books and videos to find on the topics it was still difficult to get my hands on more than a handful of the ones listed. But that was plenty enough to dig deep in the topic of Medieval life. So don’t despair if you choose to pick up Knights and Nobles.

I would have liked more guidance with the timeline started at the beginning. Although we are told to keep track of the people we learned about throughout the study we’re only really told of one individual. I suppose we could list people we discover on our own but it would be nice to maybe have a few more.

Finally I am a boxed curriculum gal and really used to my chosen curriculum holding my hand through each lesson. To use this Unit Study was a little cool and refreshing change. While it was clear and organized in having the information presented in a way that I could just follow all the steps it was also presented in a way that I could run with it and create something more. I suppose you could do that with anything but this invites it. Yes I fumbled and bumbled but that’s what learning is all about. Our homeschool room looks like uhaul exploded in it with cardboard scraps for the Castle and piles of Castle books from the library.

Notes: Sharon also lists which Boy Scout and American Heritage Girls badges this Unit Study fulfills the requirements for.

Also if you combine any 4 Once-A-Week Unit Studies that will fulfill the requirement for History or Science.

I like that this Unit Study can really be a jumping off point into so much more. I feel a set of articles coming along for my blog Vintage Homemaking. Maybe I should rename it Antique Homemaking…

I feel, since we were reviewing this, that we didn’t even scrape the surface of this time period and I really want to dive deeper, especially in manor and castle life.

Sound intriguing/? You can get instant access to Knights & Nobles at this link. And read many more reviews of Knights and Nobles and other Unit Studies from Homeschool Legacy when you click the green button below.

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