As a former teacher and amateur genealogist, I welcome this guest post from Suzie Kolber, who has developed an online resource featuring free tools for DIY family history projects. Her article is a must-read for classroom or home-school teachers or others who’d like to introduce children to the fascinating discovery of where they come from.
Family trees are fun for anyone who wants to learn about their family heritage. However, kids can benefit from them as well even if they aren’t interested in family history yet. Depending on the child’s age and the purpose of the family tree, it can benefit them in four different ways in school.
- It Makes History Come to Life
If they are learning about World War I or the Vietnam War in school, it will be much easier to learn the facts if they can associate it with a real person. A great-grandparent or uncle may have served in one of those wars, which will make the information they learn in school a lot more real.
Find out what era they are studying, and make an effort to find out how your family is connected. The further back you have to go, the more difficult but it is possible to find family members from a century ago. Even if all you have is vague information such as your family originated in Ireland, it will make that country more memorable in world history.
- It Teaches Kids How to Research
Research is one task your kids will have throughout their school years. Many times, it will be on subjects they consider boring and irrelevant. Make research more interesting by having them help you find out about your ancestors. Teach them how to use the internet and other resources such as the microfiche film at the public library. Show them how to find information from the country records.
As they use these unique resources, it will make research more interesting. Instead of being a required project, it will be more like solving a mystery. As you add names to your family tree, they will feel a sense of pride in accomplishing a complicated task.
- It Teaches Kids How to Organize Information
It can be overwhelming to do a research project and then try to put it all together in a way that makes sense. It may be even more challenging if your child is a visual learner. A family tree is a great way to teach a child how to organize information in a way that makes sense and allows the facts to be relevant.
As your child fills in names and other information on the various people in your ancestry, they will learn how to develop associations. They will also understand how to format information so that it makes sense. Since there are so many different kinds of family trees, they can put as much or as little information as they want. With some, it may simply be a name on a tree. For others, they may include birth and death dates, marriage dates and a lot more.
A family tree project can provide an exciting way to help your child learn in school. It teaches them skills they will use throughout their lives, and it does it in a fun way.
Suzie Kolber created http://obituarieshelp.org/free_printable_blank_family_tree.html to be the complete online resource for “do it yourself” genealogy projects. The site offers the largest offering of family tree charts online. The site is a not for profit website dedicated to offering free resources for those that are trying to trace their family history.