Writing Through Medieval History Level 1 by Brookdale House is a Charolotte Mason writing curriculum. It spans the years 600AD to 1600AD, and is available in both manuscript and cursive formats. You also have a choice between a printed book or a PDF download, which is what we’ve been using.
The four chapters that are contained in this book are:
- Historical Narratives
- English Tales
- Poetry from/about Medieval History
- Cultural Tales
All together there are 56 stories, enough for 28 weeks of study. They range from poems and rhymes of a few lines to longer stories of a few pages.
There is also a grammar guide and 8 months worth of parts of speech work to do. Each month one part of speech is learned. For example, month 1 is learning about nouns. Students will learn the definition of a noun, as well as find all of the nouns within their copywork passages.
If the student is just starting to learn grammar, two months can be spent on the four main parts of a sentence.
It’s stressed that the lessons should be adjusted to the abilities of each student. There are extensions to each lesson that you may or may not use. There are also suggestions for creating a lighter lesson for students who need it. There are hints and tips on how to correct children gently, and how to give praise when it’s needed.
The curriculum runs on a five day schedule:
Day 1: Reading the chosen selection (story, poem, nursery rhyme), summarising it in three to six sentences either through written work and/or verbally, depending on the level of the student.
Day 2: Copywork from the selection as well as grammar and punctuation study.
Day 3: Copywork from a new passage from the selection, as well as grammar and punctuation.
Day 4: Choose a new story or poem. Read the selection, or if the student is reading it, practice reading it with feeling. Copywork is done from the new selection, as well as a color-coded grammar study.
Day 5: Copywork from a new passage of the story from day 4, as well as grammar and punctuation practice.
Although much of the work is similar each day, the work changes with the copywork passages, and as the weeks progress, the introduction of new grammar elements are added. If the students are able, then there is a place for dictation as well.
The stories and poems aren’t just about Europe, but are from around the world, including Japan, Norway, and England, among others.
Although this book contains writings from the Medieval times, it doesn’t explain the history of the time period, which is disappointing. Introducing some factual history as part of the course would make it more relevant in understanding the world in which the stories were composed.
The one major thing that is missing from this curriculum is an answer key. It would be very handy and less taxing on the brains of busy parents to have a place to look up the correct answers for the grammar part of this course.
I really did like that there were stories included from around the world as this made it more interesting and learning about the world is one of our passions.
Letting the students choose which stories they’d like to work on each week lets them feel in control and more motivated to read the prose and copy it.
The ability to adjust the work to the student’s level is also fantastic. It gives a lot of flexibility and takes into consideration that each child is different and their skill will change as the course progresses. This also make it easy to use this curriculum with more than one child at a time and they will learn from each other.
Overall, I think this is a good curriculum, although I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be a history curriculum, but rather more of a language arts program. While my son was working his way through, his handwriting became neater and he copied the passages with more ease. He has learned how to summarise stories much better. Writing Through Medieval History is a curriculum that we’ll continue to use as I can see it working, and my son wants to continue as well.
This article first appeared on The Old Schoolhouse, and you can read about level 2 there.