Ten Sixty-Six: A Homeschool Lesson

E studies geography

As far as I’m concerned, learning is an all the time, anytime kind of thing. And as such, last Father’s Day was the perfect opportunity to inspire a lesson about The Battle of Hastings.

We had gone out to Glacier National Park to enjoy the ideal weather and to barbecue at Fish Creek picnic area. A cool breeze rustled through the trees and the girls explored the shoreline of Lake McDonald as their Dad and I prepared the grill. A little later, while the coals were smoldering, my daughter E, took me to explore the route that she and her sister had taken. It was a short walk that followed the edge of the picnic area and I enjoyed the tour as she led the way and pointed out some wildflowers.

After that, It was my turn to keep an eye on the barbecue while my husband took our other daughter for a walk, heading in the opposite direction.

What does this have to do with The Battle of Hastings, you ask?

Well, they explored the creek, the surrounding woods, and the adjacent campground. There was a number on the campground restroom, which appeared to be an address. The number was 1066. My husband, a great believer in teaching kids at every opportunity took this one to ask my daughter, M, if that had any meaning to her. Having focused on American History and Geography, her response was a definitive no. Later, the events of that terrible battle were briefly explained and noted that Harold had been shot with an arrow in the eye.

Needless to say, Monday’s lesson plan would be the Battle of Hastings. Having always used an eclectic approach to homeschooling, I headed for the Internet in search of informative, yet entertaining material to help instill this epic battle into the girl’s minds.

  • Battlefield re-enactment videos reinforced the reading of historical text of how “William the Bastard” became “William the Conqueror” who later fought with his son.

And how,

  •  Upon his death, William was laid on a bier, in which his mourners fled his interment upon the stench of his bursting bowels.

This led to,

  •  A review of The Viking era, a vocabulary lesson on the word bier, a discussion of decay after death, some geography of the English Channel, video of an intrepid swimmer, and a commitment to look up The Bayeux Tapestry the following day.

In which we did.