We love unit studies in our homeschool, and one of the most enjoyable and in-depth studies we’ve ever done has been a full-on dive into the middle ages. From the intricacies of the feudal system to the innovation and art, the middle ages have plenty to throw yourself into and learn about. I’m sharing some of our favorite books and topics from the days of yore to help you feel like you’re walking the streets of medieval Europe, no heavy chain mail required!
There are stacks and stacks of fantastic books to devour when learning more about the middle ages, so it’s hard to narrow down some of our favorites. Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages is one of a great series of books telling the stories of often-overlooked historical figures, from all regions of the world. Another favorite series of ours are the Horrible Histories books, and the Measly Middle Ages entry gave us the good, bad, and ugly history that we’ve come to expect. While exploring what life was like during the medieval time period, books like How to Read Medieval Art and Children and Games in the Middle Ages give unique and interesting information. No history book list would be complete without the You Wouldn’t Want to Be… series, and You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Medieval Knight is a wonderful addition to your collection. For older learners, The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England gives incredibly realistic and engrossing descriptions of life during the middle ages.
Middle Age Fiction
Historical fiction is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a history unit. We love gathering up for a read aloud and immersing ourselves in the world and lives of iconic characters. For something fun and different, The Three Musketeers graphic novel is engaging and entertaining. Catherine, Called Birdy is a classic, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, Adam of the Road, The Door in the Wall, and, of course, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.
Medieval Rabbit Trails
We love rabbit trails around here, especially with my love for self-directed learning. The middle ages offers a near-endless list of topics to explore, such as ink-making (which we read more about in the gorgeously-illustrated The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane), the beautiful work of scribes and monks (seen and explained in Calligraphy of the Middle Ages and How to Do It), and the beauty of illuminated texts, such as those shown in Toward a Global Middle Ages, which offers perspective from around the world. The Medieval Warrior was a big hit here, full of medieval weaponry and battle tactics to pore over, and The Story and Language of Heraldry is a surprisingly interesting tenet of the caste system and knighthood. And while I’ve already shared one from the series, You Wouldn’t Want to Work on a Medieval Cathedral has too much fantastic information on cathedrals and their construction to leave out!
The middle ages was a time of beauty, invention, learning, and a whole lot more. Don’t be afraid to devote an entire school year to reading, projects, more reading, and more projects as you dive down the medieval rabbit trail!