One of the joys of homeschooling is getting to do fun things with other homeschool families. This year my boys and I are studying the Middle Ages with two other families. We get together every few weeks, after studying a chunk of history, and do activities together that add to our understanding of what we’ve read. The week we studied Vikings, for example, we did some simple boat-building with tin foil, and explored the concept of buoyancy, with various boat designs, to see why the design of Viking boats made them particularly successful at raids from the sea. That week, we also painted stones with the runes for our names, and went on a walk to plant the runestones for future generations of archaeologists to find.
Last Friday, as part of our unit on the Feudal System in Britain, we held a Lords and Ladies Feast. After a short science discussion on leavening (because we were making “Alfred Cakes” for a snack–a recipe I’ll post soon, because it was scrumptious!), we set the kids to decorating their coats-of-arms, which were hung in the “Great Hall” as decoration.
We moms scrambled to put the finishing touches on the meal, while the kids engineered a rainwater delivery system from the main floor to the basement. Older siblings came home from school, dads arrived from work, and everyone scurried around, dressing in lordly and ladylike attire. My husband sat down and played the bard, playing tunes on his mandolin as he chatted with the other dads.
Soon, the meal was ready, and the feast began. The first course was a beef and onion soup served in bread bowls.
The main course consisted of turkey drumsticks (which the boys delightedly ate medieval-style, with their hands,) vegetables, and meat-pie (Barb’s pot-pie recipe, which in this case was ham and pork loin with vegetables.)
During this course, Friar Matthew stood up and entertained us with a minstrel story about the adventures of the Brave Little Tailor. It was presented with flair and attention to detail that kept the audience spellbound.
Finally, the dinner was over, and dessert was served: Poached Pear and Strawberry Trifle–fantastic!
The children were dismissed to go play (they went back to their rainwater spout, which was a noisy and hilarious and absorbing pursuit.) The adults retired to the living room with anachronistic coffee, and closed the evening with warm conversation and laughter.
It was a wildly successful evening, and will be remembered as a homeschooling highlight for all of us. Do check out the recipes mentioned–you’ll enjoy them, even if you are not dressed as a lord or lady!