Battle of Hastings history middle ages Europe 4th 8th

How English got the word beautiful from the Battle of Hastings

I’m sure you’re thinking battles have nothing to do with language, other than coarsening it.  That’s where you’re wrong, the word beautiful solely exists in the English language because of this battle, and that’s why I emphasize the Battle of Hastings so much in our homeschool history.

learning history with toys Battle of Hastings

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Why is the Battle of Hastings important?

I’ve been watching our Illuminations schedule for the Battle of Hastings for quite a while. The Battle of Hastings is one of a handful of dates my kids memorize.  They’re turning points changing how the world works.

Battle of Hastings Normans

Three different men vied for the crown of England after Edward the Confessor died, Harold of Wessex, an Anglo-Saxon, Harold King of Norway, and William Duke of Normandy.  The two Harolds fought it out and Harold of Wessex emerged triumphant but weakened to face William.

The battle was fought over an entire day at Hastings, in the end, William was triumphant and that was the start of the Norman invasion.

Because of his victory, the English language got a complete overhaul, and William created and stabilized the feudal system.  He started monasteries, convents, cathedrals, and castles being built throughout England (and beautifully replaced writing).  His reign started an entire cultural revolution (which when my kids are older we will get into in more detail, that’s a fascinating lesson all by itself).

Battle of Hastings homeschool history lesson

Our Battle of Hastings lesson

Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Mystery of History 2 on Pinterest.

To prepare for our Battle of Hastings lesson I spent time perusing my Mystery of History 2 pinterest board, and searching Youtube.  Eventually I had my plans.

We spent an entire day just on this one lesson from Mystery of History 2, because there are a lot of resources on this one battle.  I’ll walk you through a few of the resources we used, and link to a few more at the bottom of the post.

Battle of Hastings lesson

First we listened to the Audio set and took notes in our notebooking pages.

From there we watched the Time Commanders’ Battle of Hastings which illustrated just how much difference the right commander makes because in this version the Normans lost the battle.

Then we watched “A Young Kids’ Guide to the Battle of Hastings,” which my kids thought was okay, but weren’t particularly impressed.

Battle of Hastings lines drawn up

After all of that information, we sat down to play out our Battle of Hastings simulation from Junior General.

More Middle Ages history lessons over the years

We’ve gone through the history cycle at least a couple of times and there were a few time periods we covered three times. That means there is a wide variety of cool history ideas on here. This is just a few you might like.

What we learned from our Battle of Hastings lesson

History is not a given, there were several points in the battle it could have gone either way, as we saw in the Time Commanders video.

Battle of Hastings notebooking pages

Leadership makes a difference.  At one point William’s soldiers thought he was killed, so he removed his helmet and they gained new hope and fought on like before.

The conquerors write the history and set the tone.  William came in from France and spoke a different language.  Through sheer force of will and with the might of the British throne behind him, he changed the English language closer to what we know today.

Resources for Battle of Hastings lesson

Bayeux tapestry project

I will have an entirely different post on the Bayeux Tapestry, which William’s wife created for him to celebrate the battle. Future Ticia 2022 hangs her head in shame because this post still lies unwritten because I need to get better pictures of the kids amazing “tapestries” which sit rolled up in our map bin.

The map bin my husband keeps urging me to clean up and maybe get rid of several maps in there. Poor Jeff, he puts up with so much.

Battle of Hastings history lesson

Battle of Hastings Re-Enactment 2009, 32” by jgmdoran is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


10 responses to “How English got the word beautiful from the Battle of Hastings”

  1. This is fantastic and particularly useful to me as Quentin is becoming more and more interested in battle tactics and it is hard to find much on it appropriate for 10 year olds.He will love this!

    1. It really is hard to find it.

  2. We spent weeks on this period in history. It was so interesting and you are right it really could have gone either way. If it had it would have rewritten the history of Britain entirely.

    1. I remember several of your posts, and I agree British history would be SOOOOOO different if this battle had gone differently.

  3. I really like the way you took this apparent, and drew out the ma

    1. Thanks! I’m really loving my giant map of Europe I made. Actually, I think I found the site I used to print it from a site you linked to.

  4. 78 meter tapestry!!! I’m looking forward to your post.

    1. I know! It’s crazy huge, CRAZY huge.

  5. This is a huge advantage of homeschooling to be able to dive so deep into history. I am curious how this topic will be covered in our public school when the kids get to it. It was all local history this year in the third grade. I think it’s the same in fourth.

    1. It’s one of the things I really love about homeschooling.

      I’d guess unless California is vastly different from Texas, there’s not a chance she’ll learn a thing about this until high school, and even then there’s only a slight chance.
      Back in the mid 80/90’s teaching European History or World history fell out of favor because it was teaching the history of dead white guys and we should be teaching multi-culturalism, and what does it matter anyways, blah blah blah, more nonsense.
      Normal span for teaching history/geography in public schools is:
      1-3: local/state/federal symbols stuff like that, very generic
      4: state history
      5: Colonial America to Civil War (in theory it might be more)
      6: World Geography/World Culture
      7: state history
      8: US history Colonial America to Civil War
      high school: requires 3 or 4 social studies units: usually government/economics is considered 1, they encourage 1 to be US history (reconstruction to modern times), and the last 1 or 2 units you can choose what you want (usually it is world geography or world culture). Oh and these subjects are usually taught by a coach once you get into junior high who doesn’t know the topic but is required to teach an academic subject.

      As you’ve probably guess I don’t think much of how our public schools teach anything related to “social studies”.

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