When Max was six, we started homeschooling in earnest. We'd done some schooling off and on since he was 4, preschooly, kindergarteny stuff, but the fall he was six we got serious about FIRST GRADE. We have always subscribed to a homegrown kind of homeschooling, a combination of Waldorf and Montessori and unschooling, I guess, is what describes us best. Anyway, when he was six, he was really REALLY interested in the Renaissance. I blame Tangled, I suppose, inasmuch as I *blame* Disney for most things in my life. So we started off first grade with a big unit on the Renaissance, and when the opportunity presented itself to join some friends at the Carolina Renaissance Faire, we jumped.
It was somewhat surprising to me that six months later we were still in the throes of a Renaissance obsession, but there it was, and so there we had our birthday party theme for the year.
There is no Ren Faire without a castle, so that was my first order of business. I discovered a great website for all of your best made in China junk that isn't available on Oriental Trading called Party Cheap, and managed to score all the stuff I needed to dress my garage as a photo-op-ready-castle for very little cost.
the birthday boy and his lady fair.
Max really wanted a tent, like the kind you might find the soldiers living in in Narnia or Middle Earth (or even at the Quidditch World Cup) but there was no way I was really going to pull that off. I did pull out the parachute and hang it from a tree, though, to evoke the idea a little bit. A very little bit, I guess, but it provided a nice focal point for the banner-making station. I'm pretty sure the sea creatures were still dangling from it, though.
|A little bit tent-y.|
|Making banners. Oh, yep, see, sea creatures!|
|Little cheater, amirite?|
I had this big plan for a joust....I mean, right? You have to have a joust at a Renaissance Faire party. My kid was waaaaay into scooters at the time, and the idea of a scooter joust was too ridiculously awesome to skip. It didn't really work very well, but it was pretty hilarious to watch. The kids wanted to do it for a lot longer than I personally though was entertaining.
We started at the stage on the side of the driveway (ohhh, right. I have a stage at the side of my driveway. Is that weird?):
Sweet ladies, brave knights, there is terrible news!
Your kingdom's treasure is gone and the kind has the blues.
Don't laugh, I'm not joking, do you think I would jest?
You need to set off on an heroic quest.
Find the treasure, recapture it, but fellows: BEWARE!
The trail will lead you close to the sea monster's lair.Sea monster, because our house is on a lake.....the kids ran all helter-skelter straight there - I didn't say it was a DIFFICULT scavenger hunt! I'd recruited a dad to read them this:
I see you are clever;
You're well on your way.
The treasure is near, so do not delay.
There is someone to help you, she'll lend you a hand.
You'll find her slumbering in the fairies' land.And off they went.
|The scavenger hunt is afoot!|
A mom was stationed on the front porch, which was decorated with our old fairy tent and my fake wooden tree cut-out thingy....
Seek ye now the Grand Olde Hall,
And the brave knights who guard the wall.
Ask the fair maiden for your next path.....
But beware the dragon's terrible WRATH!The kids found another mom in front of the garage-castle, who shared this clue with them:
Look quick now, for the pit of fire.
Take care not to waken the dragon's ire.
Be brave and true and do your best,
for you may find a treasure chest!and when they arrived at the patio (where our outdoor fireplace is) I was waiting for them with the treasure chest full of loot.
|I was kind of giddy with anticipation in this moment...|
I opened the box......
|I love that grin on his face!|
|Slay the dragon!|
The piñata was filled with candy, of course, and once they broke it open we just kind of tossed all the plastic jewels and beads over them as they scrabbled around for the candy.
Once the dragon met its demise, it was cake time. I know I don't have to tell you that this cake was so much grander in my mind:
|Ice-cream-cone-castle-cake, it's a classic!|
Max, of course, attended the party in costume, getting another wear out of the Flynn Rider costume (but his ankles were definitely starting to hang out of the bottoms of those pants by then!), and we added a manly looking crown to make him a bit more princely. He was really pleased that several of his friends came in costume, as well. His cousin Rebecca was perfectly attired, as always.
|Princess Rapunzel and Prince Flynn|
One more shot of my precious kiddo, just because:
|So grown up!|