"How do you teach genealogy to a group of children when everyone's family tree is different?
It's a great question, and I usually respond by saying that genealogy SKILLS can be taught without getting into specifics of everyone's lineage. You might not even think about it as you are actively researching, but we use a LOT of learned skills when we are searching out and learning about our ancestors, and many of those skills can (and should) be taught to kids.
For example, knowing how to read cursive handwriting is a skill that is crucial for us to learn in order to read and interpret letters and documents of the past. And the first step in learning how to read cursive is learning how to write it.
Below, I have compiled a list of the ten best FREE online resources for teaching elementary-aged children how to write cursive. Many schools today do not have cursive in their regular curriculum, but it is easy to teach your child the basics of cursive at home in very little time. Because it is NOT in the schools, many kids today do not perceive it as 'schoolwork'; instead they see it as more of an art, and they are more inclined to practice it, especially if they naturally enjoy drawing or using their hands to create.
Most of the resources listed below include FREE printable worksheets, and I've also included a couple of YouTube videos that I think do a great job of demonstrating the cursive strokes and letter formation.
1.) The HEV Project: How To Write in Cursive - A Complete Course
Comprehensive series of short YouTube videos AND corresponding worksheets for learning cursive handwriting. I've linked to one of the videos below.
Fifty-five page handwriting pack.
3.) McGraw-Hill Grade 3 Handwriting Workbook (80 pages)
Full-length penmanship textbook.
4.) Super Smart Kids Club: Cursive Writing Complete A-Z Uppercase + Lowercase
An extended comprehensive YouTube video demonstrating strokes for each uppercase and lowercase letter with a fun cartoon-like interface.
Cute color pages for tracing and freewriting each letter of the alphabet. Includes a 'starter' dot for each letter repetition to guide kids where to start each letter formation.
6.) Cursive Writing Worksheets from K5Learning.com
Create custom cursive worksheets for practicing individual words, sentences, or entire paragraphs.
8.) Cursive Bible ABCs from BibleStoryPrintables.com
A nice resource integrating cursive education with Bible stories and vocabulary.
9.) Cursive Handwriting Practice from WorksheetWorks.com
Another nice site that generates custom cursive practice worksheets.
10.) Cursive Alphabet Worksheets from K12Reader.com
Nice, color practice printables for every letter of the alphabet.
So, I encourage you to check out these resources and consider teaching the children in your life cursive handwriting. Once they get a little practice with it, show them a cursive-written letter or other document from your family history files, and have them try to read it. Many kids will be excited at the prospect of being able to "decode" writing that they, at one time, could not read, and hopefully they will continue to search out more documents to keep practicing their new skill!
©2016 Emily Kowalski Schroeder