Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Education

Education is a fun event/fact to add to your family history. Start with yourself - where did you go to grade school, high school, and beyond? Your event/fact could be as simple as the name of the school, the dates attended and the place where your school was located. Take it a bit further by listing your favorite teachers and subjects, whether you played sports or a musical instrument, and whether you were in any clubs or held student government office. Do you have any report cards, special projects or school photos? All of those memories and documents add to the story of your life. Once you finish your entry, why not ask your parents and siblings, and perhaps your grandparents about their school days and how schools and education have changed over time.

I interviewed my niece about her school experience to-date (she just finished grade school). I used the voice recorder on my smartphone and had a short list of questions on an interview sheet I prepared. We scanned some of her school photos and report cards. She filled out and signed her interview sheet (now I have a sample of her handwriting as of 8th grade as well as an audio recording of both our voices). We will do this again during high school and then again in college.

In the meantime, I enlisted her as my documentary assistant to interview her parents about their "school years." She did a great job with the interviews and enjoyed seeing the photos from "the olden days!" She has even offered to interview her grandparents and look through their yearbooks and photographs. Over time, we will incorporate the stories, interview sheets, school photographs, report cards, documents, and audio recordings into our database. The key is to simply get started - so practice on yourself and then make a list of family members to interview. And if distance is an issue, perhaps get together with those far away relatives on Google+ or Skype.

So what are you waiting for? Flex those interviewing skills and learn a bit more about family members by talking about school days.

How do you include the education event/fact in your family database?

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