Making history fun can be a daunting task at times. However, with the right ideas, interest, and engagement from kids, history can be quite rewarding and fun. One way to make history fun is by teaching history through studying family history.
The idea of making history something tangible makes a difference in how your children respond to learning it. Our minds work with connections, and they build upon connections. When a child can understand how history relates to their own lives, they grasp the information more readily.
There is no doubt that children should learn the history of the world and the history of our nation. Shaking things up with a family history lesson or unit study will be an experience that your kids will thoroughly enjoy and learn from.
I took a crack at teaching history through studying our family history recently. I decided to teach about my Puerto Rican side of the family first. We will be tackling my kid’s Tongan (Pacific Islander) side early next year because it will take more time and we need to schedule some field trips since we live in Tonga now.
We learned information about our Puerto Rican history that even I was surprised with. If I could be completely honest, I didn’t think there was much for us to learn about my family history. I knew my parents came to America as youths and we loved music, but that is most Puerto Ricans that I knew.
Digging deeper, we learned so much about how my father’s side originated in America. We found that my father came here as a rice farmer who would work tirelessly from morning to night for barely liveable wages. The conditions were less than favorable, and he did everything he could to make a better living for himself, which is how he eventually came to New York.
It turns out that this period of Puerto Ricans coming to America to work on plantations was a considerable part of Puerto Rican migration history. Although Puerto Rican migration after 1917 granted them United States citizenship, there wasn’t an influx of migration until 1945.
The migration followed the Second World War when the American economy was going through transitional changes. This was when my father was able to transition from a rice plantation farmer to manufacturing work. How cool!
As we were learning about Puerto Rican migration to the United States, my kids were intrigued to know they have blood relatives who went through this part of history.
Their family history studies didn’t end there. In teaching my kids through studying family history, my kids were able to learn about the history of dances like La Plena, to which many of our female ancestors performed. They also learned how men in the family manned the military outpost for Spain, we “think,” in the famous El Morro Castle.
Today, if you think that you can’t find out interesting or exciting facts from studying your family history, I urge you to think again. Explore just how you can make history fun by educating your children about the history of their ancestors.
Your studying of family history can start with a family tree and build from there. Creating a family tree with your children provides the opportunity for open communication and quality time with them, and it teaches about their very own history in this world.
Explore these resources to help teach history through studying your family history:
Family History in the Classroom | Genealogy.com
Family Tree Lessons Plans |ThoughtCo.
Family History | Teacher Planet
Discovering History through Student Genealogy Research | TeachingHistory.org
50 Genealogy Tasks You Can Do In 15 Minutes or Less |The Occasional Genealogist
How to Involve Your Preschooler In Family History Work | Life with my Littles
FREE Family Printables | Homegrown Hearts Academy
Family History Puzzles | Little Ids Ideas
All About My Family Worksheets and Family Tree Pack | Big World Teaching
10 Ways to Use Family History In Your Homeschool | Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland
Family History for Kids | Teach Beside Me
The Complete Family History Guide | Bespoke Genealogy
Freebie – Family History Notebook | Notebooking Nook
If you’d like to know more about your ethnicity or genetics, there are kits you can do from home:
23andMe DNA Test – Health + Ancestry Personal Genetic Service – includes 125+ reports on Health, Wellness, Ancestry & MoreMyHeritage DNA Test Kit – Ancestry & Ethnicity Genetic TestingAncestryDNA: Genetic Ethnicity TestFamilyTreeDNA – Family Finder DNA Test – Genetic Testing to Discover Your Ancestry
Grab these resources to go alongside your history lessons in studying family history:
The idea of family has changed so much from years past that I fear we are losing the lost art of family trees and family history. People may not care anymore about the past. Maybe they are afraid to unveil something they didn’t want to. It is understandable, especially in this tough world. Yet, kids can find it useful and purposeful to learn their family’s background.
Children can find it hard to find their place in this world. Knowing they were a part of something before them, can help them to continue or even be motivated to start a new legacy of their own. Teaching your kids history through studying family history, can help them to see God’s hand weaved into each member of the family (be it good or bad). This could possibly be the most meaningful history lesson you could ever teach them.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!