Sixth Grade Medieval History


You can see where my sixth grader and I left off in history in this last post about Ancient Rome here  (There are three separate posts about Rome on this blog).  We moved on to Medieval History this past month so I  wanted to finish up our sixth grade history journey for you all.


My main resources were:

  • “Medieval History” by Donna Simmons from Christopherus Homeschool Resources
  • “Castle” and “Cathedral” both by David Macaulay.  I wished I had had his “Mosque” book as well.  “Castle” was a read-aloud.
  • “The World of Walls:  The Middle Ages in Western Europe” by Polly Schoyer Brooks and Nancy Zinccer Walworth – this was my MAIN resource.  I also used their book on Rome in our Roman History block as well.
  • “Monks and Mystics: Volume 2:  Chronicles of the Medieval Church” by Mindy and Brandon Withrow (We used Volume 1 in our Roman block as well)
  • “Saladin:  Noble Prince of Islam” by Diane Stanley – I feel this is a very important book to balance out some of the views of Richard the Lion Heart and the Crusades in most literature geared toward a Western perspective.
  • “The Dancing Bear” by Peter Dickinson.  Don’t miss; use it to start your block as a read-aloud
  • “Son of Charlemagne” by Barbara Williard  also would be a great read aloud.  We didn’t have time because we read “Columban” instead.
  • “Favorite Medieval Tales” by Mary Pope Osborne and Troy Howell
  • “Columban” by Jakob Streit  — we used this as a read aloud in our block
  • “The Byzantine Empire:  A Society That Shaped the World” by Kelly Rodgers
  • “The Byzantine Empire” by Mary Boone
  • “The Secret World of Hildegard” by Jonah Winter – Don’t miss!  We read this aloud during one main lesson period
  • “Leif the Lucky” by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire   We read this aloud during one main lesson period
  • Story of the Vikings Coloring Book (Dover)
  • Assorted Library Books
  • “El Cid” by Geraldine McCaughrean  – also not to be missed; this was the last read aloud of our block.  This was my favorite out of the read alouds! (I do have to warn you though, pre-read.  There are several swear words, and toward the end of the book Don Rodrigo’s daughters are brutally beaten and left for dead.  They end up okay, but you can’t really skip that part as it impacts the entire plot and what happens, so pre-read.  I consoled myself in thinking that our oldest is almost 13, and that this epic is the mainstay of Spanish children who know it by heart, including El Cid’s final ride.  See what you think!)
  • I had a book about stained glass windows specific to our parish
  • The movie “The Anglican Way” about Anglican religious orders in North America
  • Calligraphy set and paper; calligraphy practice book I picked up at our local homeschool bookstore


We started with calligraphy practice every day at the beginning of our main lesson.  We spend our first main lesson reviewing Ancient Rome and the  reasons behind the decline of Rome and the consequences this had for Western Civilization and the Byzantine Empire.  We also started reading “The Dancing Bear”  to get us in the mindset of the invasions of the Huns.


Summaries/drawings included:

  • A castle for the title page, done later in the block
  • A summary regarding the shift of power from Rome to Constantinople
  • The Byzantine Empire (see the two books above that I used to prepare for this lesson)
  • The Change The Manor Way of Life to Feudalism
  • The Peasants and The Noble
  • Design a shield with symbols and colors and what these mean
  • Drawing of a knight on his horse


At this point, we read aloud the book “Castle” and my sixth grader created and drew her own castle floorplan.  She wrote a summary about castles.  This would have been a great time to make a model of a castle, which we did not do.  Instead, my daughter drew a picture of a castle for her title page and did the calligraphy for the title.  We talked a lot about knights, chivalry and how this role grew, the role of the knights in court.    There is a Waldorf teacher website that has an entire project using the theme of “knighthood” for interviewing someone the children admire, picking a cause to help, etc.  This could be a wonderful project as well.


The next lesson I gave was about the spread of Christianity and the establishment of monasteries.  We  read aloud the book “Columbus” by Jakob Streit.    Next we started moving into the life of Mohammed, the five pillars of Islam and the expansion of Islam. We spent a good deal of time on Charlemagne and his life, and did a charcoal drawing from a bust of Charlemagne.  Haroun al Rashid was also taught.  We also delved into the culture and lives of the Vikings and the invasions by the Vikings of Western Europe.  We moved into how the Vikings (Norse Men) came into the area of France later known as Normandy and studied the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, her son Richard the Lion Heart, the Crusades and Saladin.  Richard the Lion Heart and Saladin gave great opportunities for drawing.


More summaries/drawings/projects:

  • Christianity/the rise of monasteries
  • Painting of monk
  • The Life of Mohammed/The Rise of Islam
  • Islamic Expansion
  • Charcoal portrait of Charlemagne and summary of Charlemagne
  • Map of Medieval France
  • Summary of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Drawing of Richard the Lion Heart refusing to look at Jerusalem with famous quote
  • The Crusades
  • Portrait (pencil) of Saladin
  • A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis from The Book of Common Prayer (we are Anglican) and a stained glass drawing of St. Francis from one of the stained glass windows in our parish


We ended with the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and plan to pick up next year with the Magna Charta,Genghis Khan, Chaucer and more in the fall.  This summer I will be assigning Avi’s Crispin:  The Cross of Lead and The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanor M. Jewett to be read.


Many blessings,

1 thought on “Sixth Grade Medieval History

  1. Pingback: Free Lesson Block Plans and Ideas for Grades 4-6 | The Parenting Passageway

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