I have been devouring books and web sites about Medieval castles here lately. It's so true, when you teach about something, you learn more than your students do! I am somewhat fascinated by the whole thing, and I'm not sure yet whether it would have been better to live the life of a lady or the life of a peasant...actually, to be the wife of a medieval craftsman may have been the best life at that time for a woman. Your house might have been more comfortable than a castle, and you didn't send your kids off to live with someone else for fear that they might be too spoiled if they stayed with you.
On another note, I don't think I approve of medieval bathing and bathroom habits, and I'm not too fond of rats and fleas. Some of their recipes look a little weird to me as well. I saw one with bone marrow being a major ingredient. I guess I'm pretty spoiled living in this century. I could probably entertain you with a lively melody from the recorder, but my weaving and needlework stink. And don't get me started on wearing those clothes and living in a drafty castle (or thatched shack) during this type of winter! I think I'll keep my geothermal heat pump, warm snow boots and thermal undies thank you very much!
The kids who have been coming to Thursday Brown Bag and Books are really enjoying Crispin and the Cross of Lead, by Avi. The tale takes place during the high middle ages, after many have suffered from the plague. Crispin is known only as son of Asta, till his mother dies and he finds he has a name and there may be more to his identity than he thought. Our first week reading, Crispin encountered a lot of heartache and some of the kids weren't sure, but as the story unfolds, they are making predictions about who he really is and why he has been proclaimed "a wolf's head". (ask your kids what that means) He has been taken in by a troubadour by the name of Bear and is learning to play the recorder and to juggle. You may enjoy reading this book yourself sometime!
Next week we are going to begin constructing a castle and the village surrounding it. If you have any old boxes or other odds and ends that might come in handy, let me know. The dioramas we have been making showing the social structure of feudalism are just about complete. I'll try to post some pictures soon. I'm hoping that they sparked our creative juices...I'm a firm believer that you can make just about anything out of cardboard, construction paper and tape if you use a little imagination!