Does your school assign family trees?

Does anybody else feel uneasy when schools do family trees? I'm not sure if they do them anymore, but when I was in school, every year it seemed they wanted us to trace our family tree back (usually not very far, up to great grandparents or something-come on, it was an assignment for kids lol) I felt very left out and ridiculed, because my dad's side was blank. Just something I'm remembering and wondering how many parents object to them, if schools still do them, etc. If your kid's school doesn't do them, would you fight the assignment, regardless if there's an absent parent in the home? I wish my mom had argued with the school when I was little, because dang it was shameful to be the only one with a lopsided tree!


Asked by Anonymous at 4:47 PM on Jan. 17, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (12)
  • aww, mine was the same.

    Answer by etiheidas at 4:54 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • Today, you wouldn't be alone. You would see all kinds of trees, with and without branches. I would talk to my child about her family tree and be sure to ask how she felt about not having one side filled. I probably would sit with her and think about ways to draw a beautiful, balanced, single parent family tree. Fact is, the child has a father and that could be represented from the imagination too. What would my ideal family tree look like? I wish our parents talked to us like that when we were growing up. Unfortunately, I know there are things I did or didn't do that hurt my children and I wasn't aware of it. We make those omissions unconsciously but at least we can ask for forgiveness when we know. Did you ever tell your mother how you felt or even feel about it now?

    Answer by happi-ladi at 5:00 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • Me too! But, that was my MOTHER'S fault...not MINE! ;o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 5:01 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • Yes. And personally, I think this is an inappropriate project for school children.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:10 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • Yay, I'm not alone. Wait, is that a cause for celebration?! I realize many children are born without "real" fathers now, which is another reason I'm remembering this. (I'm bored. I think outrageous thoughts when I'm bored!) I have always thought those dang trees were unfair so to speak, but especially now, with so many definitions of "family." If the right teacher handled it, a great lesson could be learned about tolerance and love, but in the wrong hands it only produces scorn and ridicule. Nah, I never talked to my mom about it. We have a great relationship for the most part, and she refuses to talk about him. She's not a "great" mom, but she's the perfect mom for me, if that makes any sense. No need to dredge up a past I don't even know, the only result would be hurt feelings and no real conclusion.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:11 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • I do think that it makes it awkward for children who do not have both sides to fill out and that there should be more options for an assignment like "fill it out for your parents or a person you are close to"...granted its not a "real" family tree that way, but it still shows where you came from and helps the kids avoid feeling bad. My daughter's will be filled out for mom and dad...but her daddy isn't hers biologically.

    Answer by kabbot01 at 5:18 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • My oldest son has had to do one every yr. I just have him leave his father's side blank, write a note to the teacher informing her that if she has a problem with his tree, she needs to contact ME, and have made sure that my son understands that families come in all different shapes and sizes, and that he doesn't need to feel bad or left out b/c his tree looks different. I have never had a problem with a teacher, and my son has never been bothered by the assignment or the differences among the trees. The problem I have with the assignment is that they never clarify exactly how far back they want it to go, and if they want names or just "Mom", "Grandma", etc.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 5:59 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • If I were a kid today I would make up an absent parent's side of the tree just for spite. I would look up the names of relatives of a famous or insane person to place in there....LOL.

    My girls have never had to do one, though. And even though my oldest is not his bio daughter, she would still list my husband as her daddy on that side of the tree because he has been the only daddy in her whole life.


    Answer by PrydferthMenyw at 6:33 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • I don't think they do anymore. How would your step relatives fit on the tree? How about half siblings? If a teacher wanted the class to do that, I'd really be surprised!

    Answer by shmorris56 at 8:55 PM on Jan. 17, 2009

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  • My Nephew In HIGH School Just Had To Do This Project And It Was VERY Detailed....The Wanted To Know Things Like Diseases And Such That Run In The Family. He Had To Include Aunts And Uncles Even!!!!

    On The Plus Side It Showed Me How Much He Cared About Me Because He Put Me In The Tree Even Though I Am Not His Biological Aunt :D

    Answer by Kari_Noelle at 12:31 AM on Jan. 18, 2009

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