A Literary Approach to the Hundred Year War

Otherwise known as the Lazy parent’s guide to teaching The Hundred Year War!  Yes, I am all warred out.  We have covered the Crusades in-depth and T12 has been learning all about the War of the Roses and concurrently we have been learning about the Hundred Year War.  Enough already!  Stop the fighting!  Claire is getting bored!  So what does a home school mummy do when she is fed up with battles and wars but wants her children to have at least a passing knowledge of the set of wars affectionately known to all as the Hundred Year War?

Handily, I had a good excuse not to be involved.  Gary had taken two weeks off work to make a start on the new school room and this seemed the perfect opportunity to give the children some resources and learn completely independently.  As I begun researching the hundred year war, it struck me just how much literature there was out there pertaining to it.  This gave me the idea to do a short unit using a primarily literary approach.  I would provide the resources and the children would use any that appealed to them.  I knew we would be calling on the older children to look after the younger children during the two weeks so I chose not to set them any written work, preferring instead to have them narrate all they had learnt at the end of the day.

We obtained the following two books as a download to listen to.  Whilst not quite as wonderful as his Sherlock Holmes books, Conan Doyle considered them to be his best works and they are well researched:

2212349_300 doyledaugherty_the_white_company

Shakespeare is famously known for writing historical plays about the kings of England.  As we will be studying Shakespeare next year, and ultimately Shakespeare is designed to be watched rather than read, I opted for the films of his works rather than the actual written down plays:


The Hollow Crown series was a huge hit with my girls but a bit hit and miss with T12.  He did not enjoy the first video but the second and third he loved.  They all (but especially T12) really enjoyed Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V, which contains his famous battle speech:

In addition, I bought in a few factual books which they read a few pages of each day.  These were bought more for T12 who really enjoys learning about battles and wars; the girls not so much:

DSC_0217 battle

I also had the children peruse this squidoo lens as much or as little as their interest allowed.  It wasn’t required work, just extra should they wish to delve in deeper.

This really was a simple way for the children to learn about this subject in a pain-free and easy way.  It took less than 30 minutes each day reading time, plus some listening time and of course their favourite – video time.  It required practically nothing from me which, as I was helping Gary with the school room, was exactly as I wanted it to be!


  1. So many good resources here, Claire! This is how I much prefer Tiger to learn as well. It can be a real relief when you’re able to let the older children learn independently while you carry on with other homeschool-related proejcts around the house.

    1. It was a useful method for those couple of weeks. whilst T could probably manage to keep motivated long term the girls definitely need more input from me.

  2. I love Kenneth Branagh!! These are great resources, thanks for putting them up! I love finding things that the kids can read or watch without direct oversight. Gives me time to actually drink a cup of hot coffee, eh??

    1. It’s funny. They are educated well in the areas we’ve covered but T was having a conversation about the second world war with the local pastor (not ours) and he said he was surprised how little T knew. We’ve not covered it yet so his knowledge is limited! Well educated but only in some areas.

  3. Faith once told me she would love it if she could learn everything by just reading, including algebra! It is a wonderful blessing to have children who love to read. Good for you for deciding to do this so you and Gary would have time to work on the new school room.

    We love Shakespeare and will be getting to those same stories next school term. Squidoo is fantastic. I have found so many helpful resources there.

    Have a lovely day, Claire.

    1. My older three love to read but A finds it much harder than they ever did. It is so easy to teach good readers so I do hope she enjoys it eventually.

  4. They most certainly are more educated than most! I must say, I can’t imagine delving so deeply into wars – though they have shaped our history, so I understand their necessity. I really like the idea of approaching it through Shakespeare!

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