Welcome to 6th Grade History!
Forget Nasty, Brutish, and Short. Welcome to the real Middle Ages!
If some historians are to believed, it sounds like the Middle Ages are little more than a gap between the greatness of the classical world and the greatness of the Renaissance and beyond. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The Middle Ages are directly responsible for much of the way that we see the world today, and the Dark Ages were anything but unenlightened. Truly revolutionary ideas were advanced by men (and very often women) motivated by a variety of issues.
That being said, it's still a time of great humanity for the masses - wives still get frustrated with their husbands, and children still ask their parents for a higher allowance. Needless to say, a real focus of the year will be relating the lives of the past to daily life today.