Thursday, November 5, 2015

Homeschool Highlights: Charlemagne and the Franks

We recently read Story of the World Volume 2 chapters 11 and 13 about the Franks and had a lot of fun learning and re-enacting. After reading the chapters we decided to use the tent of spoils activity mentioned in the activity guide. I explained the concept of pillaging to the kids and sent them to one of their bedrooms to set up their tent. I hid a bunch of treats (granola bars, fruit snacks, and such) around the living room Easter-egg-hunt style. When I told them everything was ready they came galloping in as the Muslim army ready to attack the city of Tours--Jake on the stick horse he made a few months ago, and Abby riding on her stuffed dog.
They took to the principle of looting quite naturally. In no time at all our living room looked how it would normally look if I weren't always asking them to clean up after themselves.
They found all their treats and enjoyed eating them while we read.
After more discussion later that week I worried that they still didn't grasp Charlemagne's historical significance. So I decided we would have a little crowning of Charlemagne re-enactment. I set up a pulpit with candles and a big Bible for the pope (Cameron) to read from. It wasn't exactly like St. Peter's Cathedral, but it was what we could manage.
The kids dressed in togas and we talked to them about Charlemagne traveling to Rome for Christmas. Then Cameron crowned Jake "Charlemagne the great peace-bringing emperor of the Romans".

After that Cameron told the kids to mount their horses and gallop into the kitchen for a somewhat Frankish dinner--crepes--where we discussed together what Charlemagne accomplished and why it did (or didn't) work so well.

Hopefully the kids came away from all this with a better understanding of Charlemagne's reign. Time will tell. In the mean time, they did decide that crepes are a delicious dinner option!

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