history and family

Learning about family is a lesson in history and family legacies that will be cherished. Pictured is staff writer Karen Watson Everett (babe in arms) with her father and cousin.

I am confident that many of you just can’t wait until the kiddos can go back to traditional school but, in the meantime, there are so many activities that you and your children can enjoy at home. In this day of instant gratification and way too many video games, family stories get lost in the shuffle. How much do you really know about your older relatives or stories about your family’s past? I was always the one who asked a million questions of my grannies. Even so, I wish I had asked a million more.

Teaching your children history, writing, good listening skills and how to be a good investigator (reporter) can be a great family activity. Have your child choose an older relative to “interview” on the phone or on Facetime. Like all good reporters, they should have a list of questions ready to ask. You can help them with this step and get some of your own questions answered as well.

Sample questions:

What chores did you have to do as a child?

What was your favorite toy?

Did you have any pets?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Where did you meet grandpa or granny?

Where did you live as a child and where did your parents live when they were children?

Do you know if our family originally came from another country?

Who were the first relatives of ours that came to America?

Do you know any funny family stories?

Remind your child to give their older relative a lot of time to answer the questions. Older people tend to take more time to answer questions about the past, but the wait is really worth it.

Depending on your child’s age, you might have to help with writing the answers down or if you have a tape recorder, they can listen many times to get the answers written down themself. I’d suggest starting with your oldest relatives. They will have wonderful stories. Even if they have some memory problems, they will remember their childhood and young adulthood. Your oldster will enjoy this experience more than you could ever know.

When they get all their answers down, it’s time to make a report or story about their older relative. They can get creative with this step by making it into a small book and finding pictures to include with their stories.

At the end of their story, have them answer these: What is the most interesting thing you learned about your older loved one? What is the best thing you love about this person?

Who knows? This activity might be the spark needed for your budding journalist or genealogist? Enjoy the journey of homeschooling with your children!