Medieval Times Dinner Theatre Homeschool Field Trip

1/16/17 UPDATE FROM MEDIEVAL TIMES: Click on this link to find educational matinee pricing and special benefits to the homeschool audience! Medieval Times messaged me privately to let us know about this AWESOME deal! Homeschool groups are welcome to the education matinees with no group minimum required. I believe the standard pricing for that is $29.95. BUT if  you’d prefer to attend in the evening, Medieval Times said, “Right now we have a great offer with the code USF3633 for all castles. It’s for adults $36.95 and children under 12 $33.95 through 2/28/17.”
ENJOY THE SHOW! Log Cabin Schoolhouse 🙂

A Family Favorite!

 We love to see our children learn! Field Trips are one of the BEST ways to work this into your family time!
Many homeschoolers study classically, which tends to break down the historical timeline in order, in thirds; Ancient Times, Medieval Times, followed by Modern Times. Rinse. Repeat. Therefore if you too study classically, every three years you can go on the most amazing field trip. Not to be missed out on! Over and over again! We went twice. This year!

Medieval Times Dinner Theatre!

Take a field trip to the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre to go on an adventure that will cement the themes of the middle ages into your students’ minds. We went in August to kick off our medieval studies this school year, and enjoyed it so much we went back again over Christmas break with friends.
In order to squeeze as much learning out of this experience, here is a simple list of ten things you will learn at Medieval Times!  Or better yet, what adventure and visions will your children see to spark a love for history, or specifically the middle ages?

This field trip is a visual buffet!

So, what will you see? What adventure are you about to embark upon? Read these ten educational topics that can be learned from a field trip to Medieval Times!

1) Geography:

Castile (Named for all of the castles built there in the Middle Ages.) and Leon (These two Kingdoms separated and united a few times, but collectively they were the “Crown of Castile”.) are the two locations involved in the battle you will witness in the theatre.  Find them on a map! You can find many maps online if you search “Middle Ages England Map”. Compare that map then to the modern day map of Spain. It’s definitely more real once you can envision the place on Earth where the battle is taking place!

2) Falconry:

In the 1390s – In Castile, Pero Lopez de Ayala wrote his Libro de la caza de las aves. (If anyone finds a link to the English version of this book, let me know and I will link to it here.  This is the Spanish version.)  He was a Castilian poet and chronicler who attempted to compile all the available correct knowledge concerning falconry. Falconry is the use of a trained “Bird of Prey” to hunt wild quarry. It dates back into the Ancient Times and justifies a full study in and of itself if you have a child who is an avid birder.

3) History of utensils: How do you like eating with your hands?!

  • 500,000 BC – 12,000 BCDuring the Stone Age eating utensils consisted of simple sharp stones intended for cutting meat and fruit. Simple designs of spoons were made from hollowed out pieces of wood or seashells that were connected to wooden sticks. Animal horns also were used as a means to drink liquid foods.
  • 12,000 – 3,000 BC – The New Stone era brought the rise of technology that improved tools that were needed for production, preparation and eating of food. Pottery enabled food to be stored and prepared more easily.  And pieces of stone were formed into the simple knife that we know today.
  • 3,000 BC – Chopsticks first used in Ancient China.
  • 3,000 BC – 400 AD – The Bronze Age brought great advancements in production of weapons and objects made from bronze or copper. Eating utensils benefited from that, and knives and spoons received much needed material upgrades to more durability. Rarity of metals in that early age prevented the use of metal spoons, which remained available only to the richest members of society (Pharaohs in Egypt and Royal courts in Europe).
  • 400 AD – 1000 AD – The Iron Age brought much needed durability to eating utensils, with discovery of metalwork. Knives and other war equipment became commonplace across entire Europe and small “sharp tipped” knives became the integral part of eating utensils.
  • 5th century AD Anglo-Saxon people popularized the word “spon”, which described their wooden version of spoon. Other countries started producing simple spoons from both wood and other materials (such as bone, shell, stone, etc.).
  • 6th – 10th century – In Medieval Europe, the wealthy class wanted the knife to be protected as the only eating utensil of that time. Knives were only used as a symbol of wealth, often carved in very extravagant designs. The poorer population continued to eat with their bare hands.
  • 11th century – Italian nobleman Domenico Selvo married a Greek Princess who brought with her the first recorded fork in Central Europe. Her addition of fork to the eating practice was regarded as scandalous and heretic.
  • 1364-1380Court of King Charles V of France held several pieces of forks in his vaults, but they were almost never used. Some proof remains that they were used only for some exotic foods which created long staying stains on the fingers.
  • 1368 – 1644Chinese Ming Dynasty greatly popularized use of chopsticks across majority of Asia.
  • 1533Catherine de Médicis of Italy brought to France spoons that were in use by Italian Noblemen. Under her influence, spoons slowly started circulating among the noblemen of France, and eventually all of Europe.
  • 1560 – By this time Italians adopted forks, Germans adopted spoons, and Frenchmen started providing multiple “host owned” knives for all guests at high-profile meals.
  • 1611England continued to live without spoons, which were first introduced to them by the traveling records of Thomas Coryat. His teaching sadly, managed to take hold only after half a century.
  • Early 17th centuryForks became commonplace across Europe as a tool of steadying food while cutting, and in lesser cases for providing easier transfer of solid food between the plate and mouth. The majority of people still used sharply pointed knives for that purpose.
  • 1630Forks and blunt tipped knives start arriving at colonies in North America.
  • 1669French King Louis XIV of France banned the use of sharp tipped knives in entire France as a means to reduce violence. This introduced a new era of blunt tipped eating knives.
  • Early 18th centuryGermany preferred four-tinned forks, while England continued to use forks with two tines.
  • Mid-18th centuryFour tinned fork with curved lines became standard in Europe. Its design (which is used to this day) enabled users to easily scoop food from the plate, much better than the earlier two tinned versions.
  • Early 19th centuryForks finally were accepted in the United States. England’s high society becomes fascinated with specialized utensils (tomato spoons, sardine forks, jelly knives and many more).
  • 1920sThe invention of stainless steel enabled the creation of eating utensils that were easy to produce and maintain.
  • Late 20th centuryPlastic introduced new designs for eating utensils. Hybrids utensils (spork, knork, spife and sporf) combined several eating tools into one design.

4) Knights:

The purpose of knights is to protect their King and kingdom. Feudalism was characterized by the holding of land from a superior in return for doing certain services for them. Tenants of land inside the kingdom had to have a certain number of Knights to serve militarily. You get a feel for the relationship between the Knights and the elite during the show.

This depicts “Feudalism”.  

PAESANTS serve KNIGHTS who serve NOBILITY who serve the KING

Superiors provide land to those beneath their station.
To those more superior, vassals provide food and military support. Knights provide military and protection. Nobility provide money and a full army on demand.
This system worked well for them for many, many years!

5) Weapons:

The weapons of the knights and foot soldiers were designed for hand-to-hand combat. Knights fought facing their enemy, depending upon brute strength to achieve victory. Knights riding on horseback, did their fighting protected by heavy suits of armor. My son has an entire book on weapons and loved trying to identify the different helmets and swords the actors were yielding. I always said I’d be a mom who didn’t promote weapons, but this one (adult and very heavy) book, that I myself find intimidating is carried all around the house with my 6 year old! You just never know where inspiration will come from, and it sure was fun seeing him recognizing items from his book.  Take a picture of the knights and go online later and see what you can name?  This is King Arthur’s shield that we bought and hung over the fire place.

6) Horses:  What kinds of horses were used to joust?

Horses in the Middle Ages were rarely referred to by breeds, but more likely by use.

  • Warmblood Chargers were medium-weight horses bred and trained for agility and stamina.
  • Large Destriers were the finest and strongest kind of war horse used for jousting. Destriers were heavier, similar to today’s Andalusian horse, but not as large as the modern draft horse.

Horses in the Middle Ages were smaller in stature than horses of today, and they were more essential to daily life as they were involved in agriculture, war, and transporting people and goods.

During a jousting tournament, the horses were cared for by their masters in their respective tents. They wore caparisons, a type of ornamental cloth featuring the owner’s display of heraldry, which was how they appeared with design that displayed rank and pedigree.

Other forms of equipment on the horse included long-necked spurs which enabled the rider to control the horse with extended legs, a saddle with a high back to provide leverage during the charge or when hit, as well as stirrups for the necessary leverage to deliver blows with the lance.

7) Why do all the knights have long hair?

This was a question of mine and all I could find on it was that in the Middle Ages men felt long hair showed strength, and only slaves wore their hair short. I’d love to get a more in depth answer here if others found more on it! I also read that due to their heavily meat diet their facial hair grew in later than it does today. Very interesting!

8) Jousting:

A martial game between two horsemen, which is derived from Old French joster, ultimately from Latin iuxtare “to approach, to meet”. The word began to be used around 1300, when jousting was a very popular sport among the knighthood. The goal was to either break their lance on their opponents shield or to unhorse their opponent. The game lasted many years and then slowly changed into today’s equestrian sports.

9) Coat of Arms:

Looking around the room  you can see that shields were an important component of battle gear. The pictures on them told stories of the person or families yielding them.  Here are some symbols you could look for on your field trip.
  1. Crescents: victory over adversity; always shown with horns pointed upward.
  2. Eagle: strength of mind; shown with wings spread.
  3. Falcon: bravery; shown looking to the right of the shield.
  4. Griffin: valor and vigilance; half eagle, half lion mythological beast.
  5. Hand: generosity – open hand; strength – closed hand.
  6. Leopard: wisdom and agility; sometimes shown walking toward the right, but usually only shown as a full face.
  7. Stag: purity and strength of spirit; usually shown with one foot up.
  8. Pheon: speed and directness; head of an arrow.
  9. Sun: splendor and royalty; usually shows a face of the sun.
  10. Heart: loyalty and love; sometimes shown pierced by an arrow.

10) Chivalry:

It is alive and well at Medieval Times Dinner Theatre; the knights throw flowers to damsels in the audience, they show great respect to their Princess, and have great royal honor. Chivalry is the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.

Have fun on your Field Trip and do tell me anything new that you learned while at Medieval Times!

Jen 🙂

Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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