One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to create lessons that are specifically tailored to your children. One such lesson, when you are studying history, is your child’s ancestry. Learning about a family tree can be fun and educational for your children, since they are part of the lesson, and you might also find information that is interesting to others in your family. Teaching about ancestry is one of the best ways to interest your child in history.
First, you need to research this information. Do this along with you child, instead of simply doing it yourself and reporting it to him or her. Your child will build research skills in this way, as he or she uses the library, Internet resources, and public records to find family tree information. This can also become a vocabulary lesson, since children need to learn words like genealogy, ancestor, descendent, immigration, emigration, and naturalization. Teach your child not only to use these words, but to spell them as well.
Studying your family tree can also become a way in which your child becomes aquainted with public speaking. Sometimes, the only way in which you can find information is by speaking with older relatives or older friends of the family in interviews about people and places they remember as a child. Use this as a starting point for reports, and, depending on your child’s skill and maturity level, consider having him or her write a letter discussing their findings to the entire family. Others may also be interested in your work, and your research may spark memories that lead to future genealogical research.
If this is a subject in which your child becomes particularly interested, as is often the case, field trips can be formed around family history research as well. For example, consider visiting local cemeteries and churches to do rubbings of family tombstones for art projects. You can also visit the local courthouse and look up family records while also taking part in tours or otherwise learning about the legal system. You can even take family vacations to places of origin. Consider how meaningful it would be to travel to a town in which your ancestors were born and experience a bit of their culture.
Remember that family history can be a subject studied by both younger children and older, so this is a wonderful project for parents struggling to teach multiple ages. Also remember that your child will dictate how far you take the project-it may become a passion in life or it may simply be a passing subject to which your child has little interest. Homeschooling gives you the opportunity to learn about your family, however, so by using this in your lessons, you can show your children the importance of the past.