The story of the Magna Carta comes after King Richard gets killed. Prince (then King) John Lackland (Richard's brother, not cousin) gains the throne and starts being a tyrant. He is taking land and obscene amounts of taxes from the nobles, who of course, make life horrible for the surf's and peasants under them. Most of the taxes were taken for wars with France, not to over throw Richard (because he was already gone at this point). So the nobles got together and made a document of laws that they believe EVERYONE (including the King) should have to follow. This was the first time in documented history that a dictator was held accountable to their own laws, and it set up a system of government that is still VERY alive today. (Canada and the US still follow the basic ideas of the Magna Carta.)
At the end of the lesson, the kids got to make their own Magna Carta! The rules they listed were SO cute I wish I could write all of them here. They ranged from "Sir Caleb does not have to read before watching movies" and "Sir Elias gets 7 minutes of video game time every day" to "Princess Madeline gets to wrestle with daddy every day before bed" and "Madam Hannah gets to have dessert with every dinner". They were PRECIOUS! The kids all stood up and read them aloud to the class and when they were done we all banged on tables and shouted "Hear hear!!" and "Whoohooo!" as the kids beamed! It was pretty amazing.
Isn't that the sweetest thing? Yes, I signed it this morning. Although I added the stipulation that she was allowed to get ice cream on all those days, until her own money ran out. ;) She decided that one day a week was plenty, so now it is only on Sunday's.