by Karen D. Koch

November is passing quickly, but I’ve noticed a welcome Facebook trend that makes me smile. People are daily giving thanks grandfather holding childfor meaningful things and people in their lives. It’s been gratifying to see a steady stream of thankfulness on my news feed every day. Even if you or your children aren’t involved in Facebook, you can finish the month reminding them (and yourself) of the things and people in your lives that make life meaningful. There is much to be thankful for, including our freedom to homeschool.

My mother passed away more than two years ago, and I acutely feel her absence at holidays. I realize just how thankful I am for her influence and love in my life. I’m grateful for one homeschool project a few years ago that helps me remember Mom. While learning about genealogy, the kids and I wrote up questionnaires for all the grandparents. We finalized questions together, printed, and mailed them with self-addressed-stamped envelopes to return the completed questionnaires. We received these back from all six living (at the time) grandparents and great-grandparents. We tremendously enjoyed reading them aloud, and learned some surprising things. As they were each completed in the individual’s handwriting, we now have a record of that as well. I treasure my mother’s in particular, as she’s now gone.

What better way to honor your parents and grandparents than to seek out their stories? Your children will be blessed to connect either in person for Thanksgiving or via the postal service with their grandparents. Here are a few of the questions we asked our parents and grandparents to give you a place to start. As one of the characters in the movie Avalon once quipped while telling stories to his grandchildren, “If we stop remembering, we forget.”

Where were you born?

What was your first pet?

Name the states you’ve lived in.

What was your favorite subject in school?

What are some of your past jobs?

What schools did you attend?

Where/when did you meet your spouse?

Karen Koch has been homeschooling with her husband for nearly 13 years with children ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. She enjoys genealogy and hearing family stories. Read her recent article, “Climbing Your Family Tree” for more ideas on incorporating genealogy into homeschooling.

Photo by Ben Earwicker
Garrison Photography, Boise, ID