01 June 2012

Dreading the Family Tree Assignment

Part of my first family tree -- created for a high school project -- as you can see, didn't know much to start!

I found this recent article in the Downers Grove Patch though provoking.

The family tree project in grade school sounds benign enough. However, it makes many parents cringe. 

If you are lucky, you have a family tree without any embarrassing decayed branches or unfortunate diseases. This project is no problem for you and your child. 

If you aren’t so lucky, you’ve got dysfunction in your immediate family tree.  Your tree is classified in the misfit group that sprouts from the ground with a rotten branch or disease. This assignment is yet another opportunity to broach the uncomfortable conversations that you’ve either avoided up until this point or loathe to discuss again... 

Read the full article and don’t forget to check out the comments!

Personally, my high school project (typed on onion-skin typing paper!) was the basis for my interest in pursuing genealogy research after I left college.  Knowing so little about all my “roots” propelled me to ask a lot of questions and learn a lot of “colorful” details!  And, it humanized all my ancestors, especially those on my father’s side, who had mostly died in the 1940s and earlier!

Additionally, when my kids had a similar assignment, the best part of it was that they contacted their grandparents and asked a series of questions which we now have “saved” for the future!  We are all a product of our family (and just not genetics) however it may be defined!

What do you think about family tree assignments?  What have you found to be the good, the bad and the ugly?

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1 comment:

  1. I must have missed that particular assignment in school as I skipped from country to country. I'm just waiting until my 10-year-old grandson gets hit with that for a grade. I almost feel sorry for him because I can just about inundate him with information. He'll have to pick and choose; fortunately none of his family are particularly embarrassed by skeletons in the closet!