Friday, 11 November 2011

Saints, Monks and Pilgrims - part 1

It's all about religion in the Middle Ages.

Starting from the coming of Christianity to Britain with St. Augustine, and with our study of Byzantine Empire in World History, we have been much immersed with the development of the Medieval Church in the past few weeks.

The Treasures of Heaven exhibition at the British Museum, which showcased many sacred pieces from medieval Europe, was a very good introduction to this topic.

We also listened to stories of European pilgrims and saints,

learned about the significance of pilgrimage, and the design of pilgrim badges.  We learned that pilgrim badges were nearly always round, but Tiger decided that he preferred his to be rectangular.

When learning about saints and pilgrims in Britain, we would no doubt come across the story of Thomas Beckett's murder during the reign of Henry II.

As a result of his martydom, Thomas Beckett was made a saint, and the murder scene at Canterbury Cathedral made a pilgrimage site.  Canterbury Cathedral is too far for us to visit, but we did have a good look around it using the virtual tour facilities here.

The books Tiger read for this topic were:

This post is linked up to several blog hops, where you can visit to see what other homeschoolers have been busy with.


  1. You have a way of making things that can also seem too far in the past for kids, to something that is relavent and meaningful. Not to mention exciting. Thanks for posting.

  2. Well, I think I like the badge rectangular as well ;)
    Looking forward to your next adventure :)

  3. When we read about the story of the real St. Nicholas in SOTW over the summer, Casey looked at me sideways as if he really wanted to ask me if Santa Claus was real, but he didn't. I see you covered the same material in your supplemental reading -- was wondering if you had the same experience?

  4. Flamingo - Tiger has been told since Day 1 that all his Christmas presents come from family and friends, so he has no illusion about a bearded old man in a red robe climbing down the chimney in the middle of the night. However, knowing that has not stopped him from enjoying the festival, and going along with all the pretence of writing letters to Santa and putting up "Santa, please stop here!" sign on Christmas eve.

    Last year when we studied ancient mythology, we spent a lot of time discussing how myths evolved through different times and different regions in the world, often resulting in different versions of the same basic story.

    The same is true of Santa Claus (also known as Father Christmas in the UK). Tiger knows that the different versions of this story are based on the charitable actions of a real person (Nicholas) who lived a long time ago, and that all the malarkey about flying reindeers and present-making elves are embellishments to make the basic story more interesting, so as to generate more commercial interest for the shops. :-)

  5. Looks like a great week. Thanks for the link to the virtual tour.

  6. Did you enjoy the book about Saint Nicholas? I'm trying to find a good one to read to my little ones

  7. Amy - This particular St. Nicholas book is alright. It's a recommended reading from Story of the World 2. For reading to little ones, I would check out more from the library to find one that is suited to your family and your child's taste.


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