Embracing a Healthy Family: Connecting Family History with Homeschooling

Connecting Family History with Homeschooling

I've been interested in my family's history for as long as I can remember and I attribute that to my father. His father and other members of the family traced the genealogy of our family back when it was a bit harder than today. They actually had to travel and visit libraries, churches and governmental facilities and graveyards to garner some additional knowledge. The old fashioned pen and paper was instrumental in reaching out to others around the world in hopes of finding someone with a mutual interest and information that would unlock some doors. I still have a couple of the letters that my paternal grandfather sent seeking out members of my family and I have numerous photographs and handwritten documentation outlining the family tree. 

Thanks to technology, it's so much easier with online databases and sites such as Ancestry.com. I started out making my tree as a GED file and then gravitated towards Ancestry due to the flexibility of finding others. I not only stopped at ordering the service for my DNA but I added one for my mom. I find it all so fascinating. The two biggest issues I have with Ancestry is the cost and if you don't maintain a subscription, you lose the access to key documents you previously saved unless you saved them on your hard drive. Ultimately, I love using it and I have expanded to using many others mostly due to the DNA factor and trying to find other family members. My mom was an only child and after she left England for America, she lost contact with her cousins and grandparents. I have tried to find them with no luck. However, I have found so many interesting facts that I have been able to utilize many components with my children in the name of learning.

As most families, we have so many different lines that it's hard to keep track of who came from where. I have focused some of my research at times to utilize them as learning points. For instance, my mother's grandfather served in World War 1 for England. I was able to use resources such as maps of England and the various locations he served in the war. I was able to utilize history to further their knowledge about WW1. I was able to find out he was injured not once or twice but three times by gun fire. If that wasn't enough, he lost a 12 year old child while convalescing. These events help to provide a captivating edge to learning while personalizing them and providing a desire to learn more for them. By showing them the family line, they became interested in genealogy and wanted to learn more. 

On my father's side, we have a small tree that comes from France and one member of that family (a distant cousin) ended up becoming a prominent member of history in North America. Again, I was able to utilize history and geography to add a bit of excitement to what could have been boring subjects. I think my next project will be to create some worksheets to further enhance their knowledge of the family, the countries, the events and the time periods.

Have you ever incorporated your family history into a homeschool lesson?

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