As a homeschooling family, my kids and I spend a lot of time together. Through this time together, we are blessed to be able to develop deep relationships and trust in one another. As with most aspects of family life, however, this does not happen overnight without attention. There are times when we have to step aside from school and work on our relationships, just as adults need to do in the business world at times. This could mean stepping up the discipline for a few days or taking a break to go camping together!
As we began planning for our new school year, my husband and I set personal and family goals across a variety of areas. One of our family goals is to strengthen our relationships as a family unit. The message my husband I want to present to our children is one of unity and solidarity under God. We are a team and each individual is an important part of our family team.
In order to accomplish this, I designed a series of family learning activities designed to reinforce the concept of family unity. Today I am going to share two of those with Mama Notes Readers. Both projects are designed to do as an entire family which each member contributing something.
The finished version of this project would make a great gift, if done in duplicate or reproduced, to share during the holiday season!
- Choose 1-2 children. Trace their feet on brown paper and cut out to
create the trunk of your tree.
- Have the remaining family members trace their hands on green paper and cut out to
create the leaves and branches to your tree.
- Write each family members name on their contribution to the family tree and glue
together on a colored sheet of paper.
Alternately, you can use paint to do hand and foot prints to create a tree. If you have a child who is sensitive to touch, have the other family members contribute the trunk and branches and have this child come in last and add red fingerprints as apples on the tree!
We chose to use construction paper so that we could include our daughter Kenna, who is not with us to make her own contribution. I simply copied her footprints onto white paper and then traced them onto brown. If your family has been touched by loss, this is a great way to recognize your loved one’s continued place in the family.
Our Family Time line- History
This activity will naturally appeal to a slightly older group of children, but even young preschoolers can participate.
- Use a long sheet of paper, we used 3 sheets of 11×14 construction paper taped
- Draw a long line down the center of the paper. Set a beginning year on the far
left and the current year on the far right. We used the year we were married, as we
believe that was God’s beginning to our family. The starting date may be different
for your family.
- Using colored construction paper, create a key for your time line giving each family
member a color or a color/shape combination. Be sure to include a color for
events that happened to the entire family (such as moving to a new house or a special
- Using squares of colored construction paper note important dates for each individual
and family. Some ideas include birth, baptism or other faith milestones, moving,
special vacations, school milestones, or anything that is significant to you or your
child. I had each child contribute at least one thing that was special to them as an
individual even if it was not necessarily relevant to the overall family time line.
This was also an opportunity for me to share the family record in the front of my personal
Bible. They loved seeing their birth and baptism dates recorded there.
- Illustrate the time line with photographs or child drawn illustrations.
- Share with your child what the changes in your family have meant to you and how
each event is special in its own way. Share how there is no other family who
could make a time line that is the same as the one your family made.
With each of these activities, sharing a simple statement of, “Look how our individual parts come together to be one!” will capture the attention of young children and the interest of older children. Thinking of your family’s history may even prompt older children to continue looking back to find connections and learn more about past generations!
I challenge you to set aside half of an hour to an hour with the entire family to complete one of these projects. Growing and learning together as a family is not just for homeschoolers!
Heidi is a former early childhood program director, turned homeschooling mom to 3 amazing and diverse little ones. She is a freelance writer who uses her blog to chronicle ahte homeschooling experience and share information on their lifestyle. You can read more about Heidi and her family by visiting her blog, Work & Play, Day by Day.