A family tree is a fun and educational way to introduce kids to history and research tools, because it gives them a personal connection to the information they learn. A detailed family tree is an informative resource for teaching kids more about themselves and their personal family history. Compiling a family tree can be a multi-purpose educational lesson, since its benefits extend across many areas of learning.
Introduction to History
Family trees introduce the study of history in a way that children can personally connect with, and care about. Learning that an ancestor fought in the Civil War may be a jumping-off point for a child to learn more about the Civil War as a whole, or what her ancestor’s life might have been like living in that time.
Family trees are an easy and fun introduction to genealogy, the study of one’s ancestors. The study of genealogy has value in itself, but it may also help a child in later historical studies. For example, to fully understand the succession of the English throne, one must grasp the genealogy of the royal family.
In compiling a family tree, a child may need to access resources for research that he never before explored. For example, interviews with family members are a great way to dig up information about deceased family members, and can introduce a child to the process of conducting an interview. Old newspapers, census papers or government records are also great resources for locating family members, and these are resources a child has probably never explored. Making a family tree is a fun way to teach a child how to find information from unusual sources, a skill that will be useful in future research projects such as term papers.
Family trees are visual representations of who we are, and where we come from. Teaching a child about his ancestors can give him personal pride, and help him feel like he belongs. Even a simple family tree may introduce a child to role models from his own family that he can look up to and emulate. In a classroom setting, it can be a way for children to learn about the diverse backgrounds of their peers, and gain a deeper understanding of that diversity.
For All Ages
Though creating a family tree is a common project for young students, its educational value is not limited to children. There are many websites that help people find their ancestors and begin to compile a family tree. Learning to understand your unique background is as valuable for adults as it is for children, and a family tree is a great place to start.
- family tree image by Judy Ben Joud from Fotolia.com