8 Ways to Study the Medieval Times

Has your child studied the times of knights, castles and chivalry? The medieval times are one of the most intriguing and captivating times where children can learn about devotion to honor, courtesy, valor, gentleness and gallantry. This is the time period that my 8th grader is currently studying, so when I was asked to review a new product called the Legends of King Arthur and His Court, along with the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court, I was thrilled to do so, while providing our son with one more resource to fill out his year's study of this historical time.  I look forward to sharing with you, how these resources have 8 ways to study the medieval times, and just how your homeschool can benefit from them.

8 Ways to Study The Medieval Times - Enjoy learning about kingdoms, knights and castles. | www.joyinthehome.com

8 Ways to Study the Medieval Times

Pumpkin Seed Press has several resources perfect for your homeschooling journey, and training your children up in good character, so when these new resources came along, I was thrilled to see what more I can implement in my own home, and share with my readers for their children.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Court, a revised edition by Shelley Noonan, which was based on the poem Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court is a study guide created by a young man, Jacob Noonan during his last year in homeschool and the years to follow. His study of knights and kingdoms, along with the character focus of chivalry lead to the desire to have a resource for other homeschooling family to follow, and enjoy for  years to come. Each chapter of the Legends book corresponds with the chapters in the Lesson book.

8 Ways To Study The Medieval Times - A times of knights, castles and chivalry teaching bravery, courage and loyalty packed into a living book about King Arthur and His court will be just what your homeschool curriculum will need. | www.joyinthehome.com

Here are the 8 ways that this curriculum allows you to study the medieval times, as a family or with just one child at a time:


Use either as an independent reading assignment for older children, or as a read aloud with the whole family, the Legends of King Arthur and His Court will prove to be practically taken verbatim from the poet in which the book was based. Having such a rich text to learn from will prove intriguing to your whole family, as the picture of what the medieval times comes to life through the pages.

Note: Don't skip out on the Introduction of the Legends book, as it displays the chronological development of positions during that time period and will prove foundational for the rest of the reading.


As with all books written from earlier days, the opportunity to learn new vocabulary and enrich the language of the reader, the Lessons book will provide several vocabulary words for each chapter that will allow the reader(s) to grasp the understanding and setting of this book, and of the era of the medieval times.

The assignments include having your child look up the words, record their meanings and use it in sentences correctly.

Study Questions

Narrations may prove difficult with such a change in settings from what your child may prove to be use to in their studies. The study questions provided, along with their answers in the back of the book, allows your children or family to learn how to dig deeper by learning to identify and examine motives, sequence of events, meanings of phrases, and more, as they practice good grammar skills in filling out the consumable study guide.

Students are encourage to review the chapter again to complete the study questions, making it easier for a child learning a new way of processing these assignments.


I love that this aspect is added to the study guide, because it is a necessary skill for adulthood and one that can be overlooked in education.

Assignments include researching legends, customs, weapons and practices of this time period, and from our own experience will be the added ingredients that will ignite a child's curiosity of a time past and will open their mind to retaining interesting details that will capture their attention for this time period.


Due to the different assignments in the study guide, a notebook (3-ring binder) is encouraged to be used to hold the various assignments in one place.

I would encourage you to consider using a Binder Book and allow the creativity of a child to be allowed to add the details of their lessons in a fun and interesting display for years to come.  This is how we will be using this curriculum this year!


Each chapter comes with a section where the child is encourage to develop creative writing, reasoning and continue with penmanship skills.

In our homeschooling, we have found that when a subject becomes interesting and we utilize many of the child's senses, we see an improvement in their writing ability. I look forward to seeing our son's writing skills improve, as we dig deep into the worlds of knights and medieval weapons that already have his full interest!


I absolutely love having drawing assignments to capture different aspects of what is being learned given to my son, who has just came into the world of drawing, although we have been journaling for years, he just now is excited about his creations and improving his skills.

Knowing his enjoyment so far in the Medieval times, I know that this addition will be added with joy to his homeschooling lessons.


As I was reviewing this resource, I was thrilled to see such details for two activities that the whole family can do together, and will allow for the practice of all kinds of skills to be worked on including: planning skills, oral presentations, hosting skills, era music, technology and building skills, and so much more!

All the steps that are required for these activities are included, and can easily be divided among several children in your family to work together for a common goal.


A Hands-on Approach to Dictation

Does your child struggle with grammar, and get overwhelmed with implementing dictation? Out of my own child's struggle with learning and implementing grammar rules during lessons, I decided to get creative and come up with a way to help him. This hands-on approach to dictation was all he needed to visually see where the punctuation went in his section for dictation, when to place a capital letter, and even how quotations work. Dictation is a method that Charlotte Mason used successfully to teach children. 

A Hands-on Approach to Dictation - If your child struggles with this prove way to educate grammar with the Charlotte Mason method, try this hands-on way for great results. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Hands-on Approach to Dictation

My son has been working with dictation off and on for a few years, and has struggled with the concept of grammar rules time and time again. I needed something that will help me ‘see' when and why things work the way that they did, and the normal way of doing dictation just wasn't clicking for him. We would take a break and come back to it, hoping that he was ready and able to do it correctly.

It didn't take me long to see that this school year wasn't going to be any different, and I decided it was time to take it to the hands-on approach, like what worked for him in spelling.

Here is how we do it with this hands-on approach:

I give my son a selection for his dictation from Spelling Wisdom Book 2, and our goal is to go through one each week, however I don't move on until it is mastered.

On day one, I have him write each part of the dictation on ONE index card with a black marker. Each period, comma, quotation mark, word, etc., has its own card. (you can use recycle these in two ways, place punctuation in a section that can be reused, and alphabetize words OR you can use the back for the second selection)

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Day two, I have him put the index cards in place using the source, and we go over why each punctuation, capital letter and such is included in this selection. As well as extra focus on words he thinks he may spell incorrectly, using a chalkboard.

Day three, he attempts to place the index cards in order with little help from the source.

Day four, he writes it after he has placed the index cards in place, trying to work on any correct placement of all grammar parts and correct spelling. He corrects his work on his own.

Day five, I orally say the dictation, one part at a time, and he recites it prior to writing it. I correct  his work, and if he has missed anything, he repeats day two through four again the next week, with day two being done on both day one and day two of the following week.

By the end of the second week, he has mastered all his dictation selection, and I'm certain that his skill will improve drastically the more we use this hands-on approach to dictation, making it easier for us to do one selection for only one week, and increasing the difficulty of the selection.

If you like this post, you may also like the DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning On the Go

DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go - Practice reading in the car, at waiting rooms or when visiting loved ones. | www.joyinthehome.com


The Beginner’s Guide to Nature Journaling

We started using nature journaling because of the Charlotte Mason way. One of my children's favorite homeschool assignments is adding something to their nature journals. The more I talk with other homeschooling moms, the more I realize that nature journals do not come as easily to others, as they have our family, so I thought I would construct a Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling to encourage you in your homeschooling journey of journaling.

The Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling - Easy and effective ways to open creativity while learning about nature studies in your homeschool. | www.joyinthehome.com

The Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling

Nature journaling can be easy and effective in your homeschooling, while allowing your children to be creativity with their own observations and nature studies.

We start nature journaling as early as Kindergarten, as it allows our young child to learn more about hand-eye coordination, and the basic skills necessary for learning to draw what they see.

Nature Journaling Tools:

These are all the tools your child needs to get started, and then the basic nature study of observation. Just have them sketch something that they find, whether it is a pine cone, a leaf or attempt to draw an animal. You may get some ideas from my post, Explore Nature.

I will write down the name of the item that they entered in their journal, so they could copy it into their journal as well.

Allowing your child the own the responsibility of what is entered into their journal will give them a sense of pride and enjoyment that will continue to make journaling one of their favorite assignments in homeschooling, and can easily be carried on through high school science.

For our homeschooling, we have one day a week focused completely on nature, and our nature journaling. However, if our children want to add something to their nature journal at any time, they have that freedom.

What I have found to be the most effective way to get my children, even as young as five, interested and loving nature journaling is by getting their minds excited about nature beyond just the outside observation. I do this successfully through living books, and having them narrate to me, and often times, they choose a picture of an animal to sketch in their nature journal.

Nature Living Books

These are some of our favorite books to use during the Kindergarten through Third grade.

Nature Guides

I absolutely love having nature guides on hand for our children to use during their nature journaling, for an example to draw, or even to add facts, as their journaling improves.

These have been the best nature guides that all of our children have loved during this age group, and have taught them the skills to observe creatures in our own property.

If you would like more journaling ideas, you should check out my journaling series.

You may also enjoy some ideas for older child and how to add more ideas to their journaling with Explore Journaling.

Explore Journaling - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com



Explore Robotics

Does your child love the mechanics of how things work? They would love to explore robotics in their free afternoon activities, and you will love to watch their imagination and creativity expand, as their knowledge of how things go together and work.

Explore Robotics - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com

Explore Robotics

Many children who are natural at math and science are also showing interest in learning how to explore robotics. I have been watching this activity grow within the homeschool community, and have even seen robotic clubs form in our area.

For our family, we love to just provide tools and time, in way of free afternoons, for our children to explore their interest and expose them to others that may become things they really enjoy, like robotics!

The best way to introduce your children to creating robots is to purchase a kit that has instructions of how to put them together, and that have several options for all the pieces.

A word of caution… 

If you have younger children, I would highly recommend that you store all the pieces for the kits in one box and have the box stored in a place where they can't reach or that is off limits to them. Having something important to an older child lost because a younger sibling was able to get it and play with it, is often times very discouraging to a budding hobby and can easily lead to resentment if a parent doesn't help to protect what is important to a child.

We learned this lesson the hard way with our son's lego creations that he would spend all afternoon creating, without directions, and his younger brother would take apart before he could get a picture or show his daddy when he returned home.

Here are some kits to get your child started to explore robotics:

As with any of the other free afternoon activities, I would recommend helping the child learn the key parts of robotic, how to take care of the pieces and storage, and then step back and allow them to explore robotics on their own.

Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com



Explore Technology

Children love technology, so you may wonder how I would encourage you to allow our children to explore technology in their free afternoon activities, when they naturally gravitate toward it anyways.

Explore Technology - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com

Explore Technology

Technology can be a big waste of time for anyone, including adults, however it doesn't have to be that way. Technology has many opportunities that are only a click away, and can provide hours of free afternoon activities to further a child's interests or even help them overcome struggles or find new interest.

One word of caution about technology: do not hand over a device that has internet connection to a child without safeguarding them from the dangers of the internet. I recommend using Covenant Eyes to protect their innocence and to keep an eye on their online activities.

Learning apps are always the first step where parents introduce technology to children, from learning letters, sounds, numbers, counting and much more.

There are far more opportunities that can interest a child and benefit them when using technology.

Here are a few of them:

My best advice about how to explore technology is to take their current interest, and their enjoyment of technology for a way to grow their interest and further their skills on technology. Of course, you will need to decide how to balance their time on technology with how they spend their free afternoons, and how they spend it.

Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com



Explore Home Decorating

There comes a time in a child's life that they out grow their room decor that has always found them enjoyment or even comfort. Allowing a child to explore home decorating when that time comes would be a great way to introduce this fun way to explore free afternoon activities.

Explore Home Decorating - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com

Explore Home Decorating

We have been a family that has always enjoyed watching home improvement shows, so it was only natural that our children would develop the interest to explore home decorating, as well.

As a family, we seemed to always have a home project going on, and we would encourage our children to fully participate with several of the wood projects, even roofing, flooring, complete gutting of the kitchen and bathroom, and the fun of shopping for the remodeling on a budget.

When my older child reached this age to explore home decorating, and we gave them the opportunity to choose colors that appealed to them for accents in their rooms, while keeping the paint natural.

Our son wanted to just accent with black and grays, where our daughter really explored home decorating with projects like making her own head board out of 100 year old barn wood, and refurnishing her desk for the second time.

Here are some ways that we encouraged our children to explore home decorating:

  • Find ways to add functionality to small spaces, often times with organization being the focus
  • Encourage color schemes to be what is used to accent a natural room color, to allow their personality to shine through
  • Bargain shop at yard sales, or even Good Will to find furniture that they can refurnish to meet their needs and desires
  • Encourage sewing projects to add a personal touch to their home decor

Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com