In the Middle Ages, formal education was uncommon, but by the fifteenth century, there were schooling alternatives to prepare a youngster for their future. During the day, children of both genders attended schools in several places, such as London. They learnt to read and write here, which became a requirement for entry into numerous guilds as an apprentice.
A tiny number of peasant children were able to go to school to learn how to read and write, as well as comprehend basic math; this was mainly done at a monastery. Their parents had to pay the lord a fine and generally swear that the kid would not accept clerical orders in exchange for this schooling. These kids would apply what they had learned as they got older to preserve village or court records, or even administer the lord’s land.
Noble girls, and even boys, were occasionally sent to live in nunneries to gain rudimentary education. Nuns would educate them to read (and potentially write) and ensure that they were familiar with their prayers. To prepare them for marriage, girls were most likely taught spinning, embroidery, and other household skills. Occasionally, such pupils would go on to become nuns.
If a youngster wanted to be a serious scholar, he would normally go to a monastery, which was not an option available to or sought by the average townman or farmer. Only the brightest boys were picked from these ranks, and they were raised by monks, whose lives may be either tranquil and satisfying or frustrating and restricting, depending on the environment and their temperaments. In the early Middle Ages, noble families were known to “give their children to the church” hence youngsters at monasteries were mostly younger sons of noble households. The Church condemned this practice as early as the seventh century (at the Council of Toledo), yet it was nevertheless known to happen on occasion in subsequent decades.
Schools for pupils meant for secular life were later established in monasteries and cathedrals. Instruction for younger children begins with reading and writing abilities before moving on to the Trivium of the Seven Liberal Arts: grammar, rhetoric, and logic. They learned the Quadrivium as they got older: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Younger pupils were subjected to physical punishment by their teachers, but by the time they reached university, such punishments were uncommon.
Although advanced education was virtually solely the domain of men, some women were able to obtain an excellent education. The narrative of Heloise, who received private lessons from Peter Abelard, is a notable exception, and young people of both genders at the court of twelfth-century Poitou could surely read well enough to appreciate and discuss the new Courtly Love literature. Nunneries, on the other hand, saw a reduction in literacy in the late Middle Ages, limiting the number of possibilities for a good learning experience. Females’ access to higher education was mostly determined by their personal circumstances.
Cathedral schools became universities in the eleventh century. To safeguard their rights and expand their educational prospects, students and masters formed guilds. Starting a university course of study was a step toward adulthood, but the journey always begins first in school.