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The Ultimate Guide to Medieval History Lessons For Your Homeschool

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

Medieval History Lessons In Your Homeschool

Why is medieval history so fascinating for children? Maybe it’s the long-ago aspect. Perhaps it’s the excitement of castles, knights, and dragons. Or maybe it’s the idea of character and chivalry embedded in well-known and loved stories passed down through the centuries. 

So much of our make-believe play, legends, and lore come from the medieval time period, making it a fascinating one to study.

While medieval alchemy isn’t real, the opportunities to turn this historical time period into “learning gold” are absolutely available to you as a homeschool parent! Grab yourself a good booklist, a toy sword, and your chalk pastels, and dive in.

Medieval History Homeschool Lessons Your Family Will Love

I always like to start our learning with literature. Stories are a gentle way to introduce time periods, people, and events. 

Begin your medieval history art lessons with a read through well-loved tales of this time period: Robin Hood, William Tell, King Arthur, fairy tales, and other classic books are all great options. 

Then, you can draw some of these literary characters and scenes and unfold the true history of the Middle Ages for your kids.

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a book beloved by children and adults. We love this action-packed adventure and rooting for the underdog. Plus the story provides and excellent conversational jumping off point to talk about historical accuracy and ethical behaviors. 

Read a children’s version of this classic tale and then join Nana to draw Robin Hood in his classic green outfit with his ever-present bow and arrow! 

You can even use the Court Dress lesson to create a Maid Marian for this literature-based art lesson. 

Robin Hood homeschool lessons

Medieval Castles

Monarchies were the government of the era, so a foray into court life is definitely in order! 

Study architecture by painting a medieval castle and discussing how buildings have evolved over time. 

Cathedrals and Stained Glass

As architecture advanced during the Middle Ages, buildings became more elaborate. The church was the center of life and power for most countries in Europe, and their cathedral buildings demonstrated their importance and influence. A fascinating book to read alongside this art lesson is David MaCauley’s Cathedral

Painting stained glass windows with Nana is a colorful lesson everyone will enjoy creating and hanging on the wall. 

Illuminated Letter

Take a short detour to talk about the evolution of printed books and materials. Illuminated manuscripts are both beautiful and an important part of history! Kids can imagine how reading and learning would have been different during a time when every piece of written material was elaborately created by hand. Make the connection between the cathedral lesson and church life, and the work of monks and priests to create and preserve written materials. The Illuminated Letter video art lesson can be a jumpstart to having kids illuminate their own initials and more!

Medieval Times Homeschool Art with Chalk Pastels
Immerse yourself in even MORE history with Erin Vincent’s Medieval Times Homeschool Art with Chalk Pastels

Knights, and lords, and ladies, oh my! 

Paint each of these important peoples of medieval court life and learn more about clothing, court dress, social status, and life at court.

Of course, no one is more important than the King, so be sure to take time for the Crown drawing lesson!

Court Life: Lutes, Jesters, Gardens, and Banquets

Since courtesans spent months or years at the King’s castle, entertainment was important. Lute players and jesters often entertained the wealthy lords and ladies. 

My boys love telling jokes, juggling, and in general being silly, so the Jester art lesson was the first one they wanted to draw when we started talking about medieval times! My oldest even customized his with a fancy mustache!

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

For leisure, you might walk through a medieval garden, and you could pick a bouquet to send a message to a friend or someone you liked—flowers in Medieval times held meanings of great significance, so be sure you pick the right blossoms!

A King or a Lord would often showcase their wealth by hosting extensive feasts at Banquet tables loaded with exquisite foods. Kids can learn and discuss how social status was indicated by where you were seated!

Festival Tent

If you lived in the country, you might attend a festival for your town or in the King’s honor. Festival tents would pop up for these events. You might even find Renaissance Fairs in your area that replicate these events to go along with your festival tent chalk pastel art lesson on this time period. 

festival tent

Falconer-Hawk

Sports started to become important during this time, and hunting was both practical and an exciting pastime. Falconry is a fascinating medieval sport to study and draw with Nana’s Falconer-Hawk lesson.

Dragons

Of course, where there are castles and knights, there be dragons, right? Nana’s colorful dragon art lesson is a fun and fantastical study. 

What is so great about all Nana’s chalk pastel art lessons is that although she always recommends great color combos, she encourages kids to be creative and self-select colors that appeal to them. So we ended up with a green dragon and a red one, too! I love that each of my boys got to show their personalities with this lesson!

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!
Use these medieval history lessons to give a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

Crusade Banner

Besides fighting dragons, knights often traveled on Crusades. This simple lesson can illustrate how people identified their family through heraldry and other symbols.

The Knights Templar lesson is a great companion for the Crusade Banner as well.

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

Weapons of the Middle Ages: Shield, Sword, Catapult

Pick your weapons wisely! If you are a knight in hand-to-hand combat, a sword and shield are essential. Of course the most famous sword is Excalibur, pulled from the stone. Be sure to read this story to your kids as well before or after you paint the famous sword in the stone! 

knights and crusaders

Armies often used large war machines like catapults to besiege castles and towns. After drawing a catapult with Nana, you can create your own catapult with popsicle sticks and cotton balls!

Famous People and Events

In addition to famous stories and fictional characters, medieval history contains true life people and events that kids can learn and draw. Joan of Arc is a strong female figure from this time period. The War of the Roses (remember how important those flowers were!?) art lesson explores England’s own time of civil war between rival royal families. 

Viking Life

Sometimes we limit our medieval studies to England, because so many wars, peoples and events are well-recorded from that area. But the medieval histories of northern Europe is fascinating as well! Viking life and exploration can be an entire unit study of its own. 

Draw a Viking ship and study their seafaring way of conquering and exploring new worlds.

Then draw a Viking helmet and discuss the differences between Viking warriors and knights. Comparing and contrasting civilizations creates the opportunity for deeper learning and discovery. 

viking ship art lesson

Additional Resources For Studying History In Your Homeschool

I’m sure you will find you simply have more and more questions as you study this time period. And that is exactly how true learning happens: one question leads to another, and your kids will be drawn into learning without even realizing it, because they will be so curious and fascinated by this historical time period.

For extra literature and art study, I created a Medieval to Modern Classical Morning Menu for homeschool morning time. Each month features two poems and a Picture Study work of art to study and learn more about this time period. Get a free sample here! 

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

The I Drew It Then I Knew It Medieval History art lessons in You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse membership come with a companion I Drew It Then I Knew It Guide that will help you pull together all these lessons for your kids. You will find: 

  • Calendar planners
  • Biographies
  • Book Lists
  • Fact Sheets
  • Plus Lesson Overviews

Once you see how art can help you explore all the aspects of history, you will want to study history through art all the time!

Good news! You can, because the You ARE an Artist Clubhouse Membership offers you ALL the 700+ lessons taught by Nana. In addition to this long lineup of medieval history lessons, you can study:

Each of these has an I Drew It Then I Knew It Clubhouse collection of lessons with companion workbooks. You can access all these lessons all year with your Clubhouse Membership

Homeschool Fine arts and music appreciation program for grade six has it covered. Leonardo, Raphael, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more are all planned out for you to view and discuss with your whole family. Do you want to listen to a little Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, and a few more composers during your school year? The homeschool plan is all outlined for you. You will have the freedom and flexibility to use You ARE an ARTiST Homeschool Fine Arts for your whole family and at a pace that suits your lifestyle.

Medieval and Renaissance Homeschool Fine Arts

Leonardo, Raphael, Botticelli, Michelangelo, and more are all planned out for you to view and discuss with your whole family. Do you want to listen to a little Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, and a few more composers during your school year? The homeschool plan is all outlined for you. You will have the freedom and flexibility to use You ARE an ARTiST Homeschool Fine Arts for your whole family and at a pace that suits your lifestyle. Homeschool Fine arts and music appreciation program for grade six has it covered.

Even better – You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse members get 50% off all Homeschool Fine Arts titles!

Use these medieval history lessons as a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for your children in your homeschool!

I have enjoyed knowing that I can pull up an art lesson at any time for any subject or topic in history without having to worry about availability or extra expense, because the Membership includes everything! 

My boys never get tired of learning through art, because it gives their hands something to do while we learn. Not only are they gaining art skills and proficiency, but they are also adding facts and understanding as they paint away with their chalks. 

I love how Chalk Pastel video art lessons give me a multi-dimensional way to bring history into full color for my children in our homeschool.

Bonus! When the lesson is done, we have beautiful artwork to share and hang around our classroom. These visual reminders of our lessons help us review and retell our learning long after we clean the chalk off our hands. 

Julie is a teacher, writer and homeschool mom. Her blog Happy Strong Home shares encouragement for cherishing children, enjoying motherhood, and growing strong families. Discover homeschool resources, natural living tips, and family activity ideas. Julie has been featured on Million Praying Moms, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and the Melissa and Doug blog. She offers writing workshops and a “homeschool neighborhood” community to support parents in their homeschool adventures. Find Julie on Instagram to be the first to know when new workshops and community events are available. 

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Why Adding Art To Homeschool History Makes All The Difference

My children have naturally enjoyed our homeschool history studies since they were very young.

They love the stories, the adventure, and the thought of foreign lands.

Yes, history has always been a subject with less resistance and more interest for my children. But the truth is, as they got a bit older, it became clear that in order to truly understand and retain the lesson, my boys needed something more.

adding art to homeschool history

At first, I thought we needed more structure to our learning. I added quizzes and worksheets. I bought an expensive textbook. I tried all the things that a more formal school setting does to teach history.

None of it worked. In fact, not only did my boys retain less than before, they began to dislike history and avoid it.

It was only when I decided to go with what I knew they would enjoy, that our homeschool history study came alive.

I added art.

It may seem simple, and I guess it is, but adding I Drew It And Then I Knew It to our history lessons was the solution I was looking for.

As the years have passed, I’ve had time to think about why adding art to our homeschool history was so effective. This is what I’ve learned.

adding art to homeschool history

Why Adding Art To History Works So Well

1. Adding Art Increases Attention Span

One of the most immediate benefits I discovered when adding art to our homeschool history was my boys’ increased ability to focus and sustain attention for longer periods of time.

For my youngest, who really struggles with attention issues, the multi-sensory experience of creating his own art work as we discussed (or listened to Nana discuss) a particular topic in history, made a significant difference. For the first time, he was able to work through an entire subject without needing a break or leaving the table.

For my oldest, not having the distraction of his younger brother helped him focus as well.

2. Art Supports Comprehension

Studies have repeatedly shown that adding a multi-sensory component to any learning increases overall comprehension.

It seems we have proved this to be true in my own home as well.

When we added art to history, my children seemed to pick up on the main topic of the lesson, and comprehend the more nuanced details, much faster than when we just read about it.

I have since learned that this is true for most children and even adults – adding something hands-on to any new learning increases overall engagement and comprehension.

adding art to homeschool history

3. Adding Art Increases Retention

One of the greatest benefits I’ve found to adding art to our learning is how much it increases my sons’ overall retention of the information.

This makes sense to me, even as I consider my own school experience. When I look back on my learning, the assignments and lessons I remember most are the ones that involved some sort of multisensory experience.

The same is true for my children. Not only do they retain the information more fully, they are more easily able to recall what they’ve learned when we add art to the lesson.

4. Adding Art Makes Learning More Fun!

This is an easy win and one that I think needs to be highlighted.

Adding art to our history study also added in an element of fun. It brought back that love of history that my boys had from the very beginning.

Art decreases any resistance they have towards the lesson, and allows all of us to connect in a way that is not only education, but enjoyable.

It’s a win-win.

Adding Art To Homeschool History Makes All The Difference

Because adding art to our homeschool history has been such a success, I’m grateful for all that You Are An Artist offers. It makes my prep work super easy and allows me to learn right alongside my kiddos as Nana teaches us all.

(You can also read all about how we also incorporate art into our homeschool science HERE.)

Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned writer, speaker and consultant. She is also a homeschooling mom of two brilliant boys with differences and special needs.  Shawna has written four books for parents – Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos and her latest, Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. She helps parents of children with learning differences, behavioral challenges and special needs every day at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.

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Christopher Columbus Homeschool Art Lesson

Let Nana’s chalk pastel lessons make learning about American history fun and engaging! Enjoy an I Drew It Then I Knew It Christopher Columbus art lesson to complement your history studies! This art lesson is the sample from Nana’s Classical Collection of American history video art lessons. All of Nana’s I Drew It Then I Knew It lessons are included at the Complete level of the You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse.

Enjoy an I Drew It Then I Knew It Christopher Columbus art lesson to complement your history studies! This art lesson is the sample from Nana's Classical Collection of American history video art lessons you can find here. All of Nana's I Drew It Then I Knew It lessons are included at the Complete level of the You ARE an ARTiST Clubhouse!

All you need are a starter set of chalk pastels, a pack of construction paper, and the You ARE AN Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership.

The You ARE An Artist Complete Clubhouse Membership is a wealth of resources! There are online chalk pastel lessons from early American history through modern American history and everything in between, with new lessons added each month! There are 700+ lessons of all sorts to choose from. Then, there is the Companion I Drew It Then I Knew It History workbooks!

These are perfect jumping-off points for a quick history study!

Christopher Columbus Art Lesson for Homeschool

This video art lesson is perfect for learning all about Christopher Columbus in your homeschool. Not only do you add art to your day, but your child will enjoy learning all about history as well.

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  • Suggested supplies: light blue construction paper. White, brown, red, black and ocean colors.
  • A note on chalk pastels: Pastels are an easy, forgiving medium. Fun for children and adults alike! Details on the pastels and paper we use, how and where to purchase, and links to all of Nana’s other pastel lessons are here: Our Favorite Chalk Pastels
  • The practical aspects of a mess: Pastels are blessedly messy. We always have baby wipes close by to wipe hands. We wear something we don’t mind getting stained or don a smock.

Share Your Homeschool Art (FEATURING YOU! YOU ARE AN ARTIST!)

Paint your Christopher Columbus art lesson and be sure to share with us! Simply tag @chalkpastelart on Instagram, use the #YouAREanArtist hashtag, or upload a photo to the ChalkPastel.com

Growing a love of art at You ARE an ARTiST is a multi-generational passion! Tricia is Nana’s daughter and a mama of five children. Nana shared her first chalk pastel art lessons with her grandchildren around Tricia’s kitchen table. Homeschooling since 2000, Tricia has seen the fruits of home education with three homeschool grads so far! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at Hodgepodge and is author of the book, Help! I’m Homeschooling! She and her husband, Steve, are also owners of The Curriculum Choice.