In our homeschool we use family history to teach a multitude of things. One very important goal I have as a mother is to impart a family legacy on my children. Part of that mentality means that we forge relationships with present day family members as appropriate. A crucial part of that mentality is that we learn about their ancestors as well . This translates to taking an active role in using family history to show how our story meshes with all other history.
10 Ways to use family history in your homeschool
- Family Newspaper– We have the children prepare and print a family newspaper to give out at holidays. There is news in it for our immediate family as well as some far away relatives. They work on their writing skills as well as forging relationships with others.
- Genealogy charts – It’s fun to see who our ancestors were and if there were any involved in major events in history. This gives us a fresh perspective when we learn about important historical events. The Vietnam War came alive for my children after hearing a presentation from family members involved in the war at a family reunion.
- Research – Using the genealogy charts or the family newspaper, have the child research a time period or event to learn more about it. Research occupations then and now. Places ancestors lived. Religions or organizations they were associated with. This is a personal way to work on research skills.
- Map skills– We attend a family reunion every two years. Sometimes it’s local to us . More often than not, we have to travel to it. This enables me to teach map skills to my children in a fun way. In my homeschool, I require the children to be able to read an atlas. You never know when your smartphone is going to crap out on you. Trust me, they have personal experience with that happening to their mom.
- Geography– This one is a no brainer. Find where your ancestors came from. Find where current family members live. Use family to teach about geographical locales.
- Writing – I have the children write actual letters to other family members. I feel that it’s important to teach the art of letter writing. Everyone loves to get mail.
- Math – This actually goes with the newspaper writing in #1. They have to figure out how many people are coming to know how many papers to print. How much ink and paper will they need? What is the cost comparison between black and white or color versions? How much does it cost to mail it? All are questions that need answers.
- Photography– Art is an important elective for impressionable young brains. Studies have shown that children do better in math and science when you add music and art to their studies. It also helps to document people for the genealogy charts. For my children, it made it easier to also to meet others at the family reunions when they either had to ask to take their picture or recognized them from prior pictures.
- Cooking – We have a family cookbook that is chock full of time honored family recipes. Things that make us a family. I use this book to teach my children how to cook while talking about why we eat this as a family. It reinforces family times as well as teaches cooking. Don’t have a family cookbook? Have the children research some recipes from the area their ancestors were from and make one.
- Reading – Like Geography, this is easy. Read up on family members. Read their obituaries to see what they life was about then read up on that area and era. This also enforces the research skill by finding the obituary and such. Sort of a two for one. You will open up a whole new world of reading and history to your child simply by connecting family to it.
As you can see there are various ways to use your family and family history in your homeschool. Introducing your children to their family history helps to make a connection to others. It makes them feel important to be part of something. It may ignite a love of something that you have never thought of like snakes. Have fun with it. Make memories that will last a lifetime as well as cement your family legacy with your children.