Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Innovative Genealogy Education

This week, a Forbes post highlighted Ann Miura-Ko, "the most powerful woman in startups."  She made some fantastic remarks about education and the future success of our children.  The four strategies she recommends for "innovative education" include:

  1. Identify children’s passions, and teach them through that passion.
  2. Teach kids through family history
  3. Teach kids why we do things, not just what to do.
  4. Be a mentor
  5. Brilliant! As a parent and genealogy teacher, all four of these strategies make me excited. Let me apply Ann's strategies to an "innovative genealogy education":

    1. Identify children’s passions, and teach them through that passion. Any genealogist who has tried to teach children knows that it's only successful if we approach it from the right angle.  If the kid/student is not passionate about genealogy, we need to look for the element of their family history that does excite them and take it from there.  Example: My son loves basketball (and any sport or competition).  He's passionate about it.  The first place to point him, then, is to the story of his great-grandfather, who played ball in college (Go, BYU Cougars!)  He can connect with his ancestor because they shared the same passion for basketball.  

    We can take it a step further by using my son's love for competition to make genealogy a game.  How about a family indexing competition? Who can find Grandpa on the census first?  Ready, set, GO!

    2. Teach kids through family history. I'm not sure the local school districts are thinking about this as much as they should, but I hope parents are.  Family history empowers children.  It gives them perspective.  They can learn so many things from their own family's history ... it strengthens them and builds their character!  They can learn from plain-old history, too, but when we put their family into the context of that history, children's eyes are opened and they can relate.  History teachers, take note.

    3. Teach kids why we do things, not just what to do. I hope this is obvious. If you're not teaching your children WHY family history is important, it will be tough for them to find motivation. I can show my teenager how to find his ancestor in an online database, but until he knows why the record exists, what it's useful for, he'll be bored out of his head.  He's likely to forget the process.  Why do we research our families?  You might ask yourself this question before you try to get the kids involved. And there are a hundred good answers to that question (that will have to be a post for another day).

    4. Be a mentor. They can't do it without you.  Children need parents and teachers to guide them, to show them which activities in life have lasting value.  They need instruction.  They don't need you to do it for them, but they do need your support.  Mentors help and inspire people.  That's the kind of genealogy teacher and parent I want to be.

    Ann Miura-Ko may have been strategizing about how to make successful, innovative business leaders out of children, but I think her principles have excellent application for their education in general, and certainly for genealogy education.

    For more of my thoughts regarding involving children in family history, see my article "Involving Children in Family History" in this fall's issue of UGA's quarterly publication Crossroads.


    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    And the winner is ...

    (Drum roll, please.)

    (Kim, we have emailed & messaged you on Facebook.  Please respond within 48 hours to claim your pass!)  Thanks to everyone who entered!  RootsTech is going to be AMAZING this year, and we hope to see you there.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    Little ones love stories and pictures

    Brent and I cleaned out the storage room last weekend. We found a stack of random family photos. Eek! Those need to be digitized and organized, I know, but there's only so much time in the day. We'll rally the kids to help us with that project on another weekend, but for today, it's time to thumb through them and pick out treasures for a bedtime story.
    Got one! Daddy had James' full attention as he showed him a picture of himself at James' age and told him the story about the fish he'd caught.
    Kids love to hear stories about things their parents did when they were young. And pictures make the stories even better. What pictures are hiding in your storage room waiting to be pulled out for a bedtime story?

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    We're giving away a free full-conference RootsTech pass!


    Oh boy, this is exciting!!  As RootsTech 2017 Ambassadors, we've been given one FREE FULL-CONFERENCE PASS to give away to one lucky winner.  Entering our contest is easy:

    1. Watch our Giveaway video and make a comment, either on this post or on our YouTube video page.  Tell us why YOU want to go to RootsTech 2017! (If you comment on this post, be sure you are on our new website: www.thegenealogykids.com and not on our old blogspot site).

    2. Like our Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/thegenealogykids)

    To earn extra entries:

    • Follow us on Instagram (@thegenealogykids)
    • Browse our blog and comment on any of our other posts
    Please share our website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram account with your friends & family so they can get ideas for involving children in genealogy!

    Our contest winner will be announced on Thanksgiving Day, so be sure to enter before then!  Good luck!

    • This contest is for a RootsTech plus Innovator Summit 2017 4-day pass valued at $299.
    • The conference is at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, February 8-11, 2017.  Travel, food, and lodging are your responsibility.
    • The pass includes over 200 classes, keynotes, all sessions, expo hall access & evening events.
    • If you have already purchased a pass, you will be refunded by RootsTech upon winning this contest.
    • Children ages 8 and older are invited to Family Discovery Day on Saturday, Feb. 11th only. Family Discovery Day is free (but you must register).  Please only enter this giveaway contest if you intend to attend the full conference.
    • For more information about RootsTech, CLICK HERE.