Our children always seem to instruct as as much as we instruct them. This week Sofi said something that struck a chord with me. When we were doing our Ancient Egypt block she indicated that she wanted to make a family tree for the Ancient Egyptian gods we were studying. I had a family tree on the list of “things to do” but didn’t realize how essential it was to her that early in the lesson and how much more important it was to her than the other learning tools we were using. Then I remembered that my other students and other two children had also been very attached to the family trees they made for all their ancient culture lessons – Ancient India, Persia, Egypt, Greece and especially Rome. I remember Mosi creating a much more elaborate family tree for Rome than I had planned for the lessons and how many hours she spent researching it and how involved she became in the process! I nearly thought she was going to ask to be adopted into the Roman family tree!
Ruldof Steiner says that when we teach history to children we must teach it in a way that they can relate to it. One reason children are so attached to the family tree is because this is one way they can bring these ancient and foreign concepts closer to home. A god from Ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome is an abstract concept that sometimes seems “far in the past”, but a family tree is something the child can relate to and find great insight and joy in. This is illustrated by how the lesson changes once the family tree is created. Before she created the family tree Sofi was listening to the story about the gods of Ancient Egypt and was involved and asking questions. We drew some pictures and she seemed engaged. However, once she created the family tree it was like a door had opened. She immediately started making more connections and even had some additional comments and insights. Like the insightful (LOL), “eyew! He married his sister! I would never want to marry my brother!”
If you would like some help creating these family trees with your child and teaching them about Ancient India, Persia, Egypt, Greece (G5) or Ancient Rome (G6) you can order very affordable lesson blocks HERE
The holiday season is a great time to introduce family trees because children are actively involved in their own family tree during this time with all the visits, calls and cards exchanged between relatives during the holidays.