Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ................................................................................................................painting by Katie Bergenholtz

History and Geography Meme: Feudalism and Manorialism

As promised, I am posting my lesson plans for our Medieval history studies about Feudalism and Manorialism. The economic portion of feudalism was centered around the lord's estates or manor, and is called manorialism. A lord's manor would include peasant villages, a church, farm land, a mill, and the lord's castle or manor house. Manors were self sufficient; all economic activity occurred on the manor. This meant that little to no trade occurred during this time period.

James' (age 14) notebook page

  • I had them draw out a feudal system diagram-chart to review the hierarchy of the social ranks in the feudal system. We discussed how a chart such as this could not contain everything that happened during the entire time of the Middle Ages because there were different levels of social status at different times within the Middle Ages, but we tried to make it as accurate as we could. The size of the boxes indicated a rough comparison to the amount of people that were in that category. We will go more into the specifics of that with another activity later.
    Quentin's (age 11) history notebook page
    • First I had them draw a large triangle on their notebook page. I then had them divide the triangle into 5 rows. 
    • I had them label the top row, "Pope" and the second row, "King." They drew an arrow that went both directions to link these two sections together. We discuss how sometimes the Pope's rulings directed the behavior of all, including the King, but at other times the King didn't listen to the Pope and even gave rulings or laws to limit the power of the Pope. The arrows indicate that sometimes the King would be in the top position and at other times the Pope would be there.
    • The next row down was divided in half and half was labeled, "Bishops and Archbishops" and the other half was labeled, "Barons and Dukes."
    • The next row down was also divided in half and one side was labeled, "Monks and Priests" and the other side was labeled, "Knights and Estate-owners."
    • The boys were then instructed to draw a small rectangle in the middle of the bottom row, that would overlap fairly evenly into the bottom row and the next row up, leaving some space above and below the rectangle.
    • Also, the bottom two rows were divided; the bottom row to be divided so that there is a small box on one end and the balance of the row on the other side. The second from the bottom row was divided in half, with the line going until it hit the rectangular box.
    • The small section of the bottom row was labeled, "Slaves, " and the large section was labeled, "Serfs."
    • The next to the bottom row was labeled, "Tradesmen" and "Artisans," and the rectangular box was labeled, "Freemen."
  • The clothes people wore helped tell others what class they belonged. Illustrating the different styles of clothing, draw people from each social class. Label each drawing.
  • Pick a social class to represent and write about the class through the eyes of a character in that class. Be sure to explain the relationships. For example, if you pick the position of peasant farmer, explain what you get out of the relationship with the landowner.

from Ending Our Study of the Middle Ages with a Medieval Feast

  • Draw the home of a peasant. Include illustrations of the foods eaten, the beds and other furnishings.
  • What types of crops were grown in Europe in the Middle Ages? What foods were common? Create a menu of foods that might have been eaten in a manor house in the Middle Ages.



What history and geography studies have you been doing? 


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