Monday, August 15, 2016

History through Stories

History doesn't have to be a boring subject consisting of memorizing facts and dates. It can be taught through stories. Every one of us has an ancestor that was alive through every historical event, they may not have been at the actual event but they most likely knew about it.  If we can make history come alive kids will take it to heart. They will begin to understand that these were actual events that occurred and people lived through. They aren't just random words or names on a piece of paper. When teaching history it's best to start with the child and work your way back. Kids, especially young kids have a difficult time understanding abstract concepts without a firm base. When you start learning about them, and move to the relatives they know it is easier to understand and believe that the names on their family tree were real people and the events they lived through were real.

There are lots of resources and ways to teach HIS STORY. Here are a few.

If you'd like to hear more about my journey with family history you can go here.

  • Use a map of the world and color in each country as you find relatives that lived there. Use 4 different colors, one color for each main family group (the child's grandparents last names)
  • Use maps to chart their journey to America or across the plaines. Discuss major events, historical meaning of places and speculate what they may have seen
  • Create a timeline of inventions on the wall of your house and insert a different color or a picture of the ancestor when they were born and when they died to see what "modern conveniences" they had and saw invented. 
  • Create a matching game for younger children using ancestors photos, photos of them self, or other family members. Older kids can try to match the adult picture with the baby picture. 
  • Print out or paint a large tree on a metal board. Cut out family pictures and modpodge them to the clear half marbles. Glue a magnet on the back. Play a game to see if you can put the right ancestor in the right place on the family tree. (pictures on how to do this later) 
  • When studying historical events look up what ancestors lived about the same time as the event and speculate what life might have been like, how they might have felt about the event, or if they would have even known about it due to their location. If possible read about the event in the ancestors personal history of journal and if they are still alive interview them about the event. 
Here is a list of useful sites to find your family tree or to learn more about your family tree. 

Find your family tree - I love It's FREE to use. You do however need to add yourself and any living relatives (usually just parents and grandparents) then find the closest relative who has passed away and your tree should grow. You can also help with indexing old records so others can verify facts about their ancestors or find them. There are other great sites to find your family tree like ancestory, this is just the one I use most of the time. 

Basic World Timeline - Use this link to help discover what world events your ancestors lived through

More in depth World Time Line-

Print off free family trees: You can fill a couple of these ones out online and print the off or print off blank ones to fill out. There's a huge variety of trees. Most go back 3-4 generations. 

Relative Finder - This is a fun site to find out quickly if you are related to anyone famous. You do need an account with Family search to make this site work. You can also create your own group of friends and discover how you are related to each other.

Interview Questions -  Don't know where to start with an interview. Take a look at these questions. This site also offers other helpful Family history searching tips. 
     *Use this site with the Unit below. 

I truly believe the more we know about our past the less likely we will be to repeat it. 

Here is a Unit I created to help my children learn a little more about their ancestors.  It's geared to Upper Elementary, kids who can write fairly well, probably late 2nd -6th grade, 7th-12th graders also use this unit with a few adaptions like having them write it in a notebook not the pages provided and going more in depth with studying the history of the world. They will be able to write the interview answers in more detail and will need more space. I also highly recommend recording interview sessions so kids can go back and listen to them again and write the answers down as many young children won't have the skill of writing as they listen to the answers. 

The Unit begins with Family History Vocabulary words - There is a link at the end to download the unit for FREE!

What makes you special - Take a minute to celebrate your child.

Younger kids will have more fun filling out the one on top, the one on the bottom is for those that can write fluently.

Start by interviewing mom and dad. Bring out the pictures, ask how they met, what they were like when they were kids. Now's the time to find out if they really did walk up the hill in the snow both ways.

 Then it's time to interview your grandparents. If you can go over there and see what treasures they have. Ask what invention they were the most excited about.

Don't forget about your great grandparents if they are still alive. Remember a recording device especially for this one!

To Download these pages click here 
If you have journals or a personal history of relatives that have already passed on you can use the great-grandparents pages and just write a 2nd or 3rd above the page and create your own family history journal. 

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