Spring cleaning is upon us and bitten by the bug, I just cleaned and organized the basement.  What a great homeschooling opportunity!

I should probably tell you, that I am the keeper of family mementos so a large part of my “mess” is not mess at all.  My “mess” consists of important family heirlooms.  I have boxes of photos, meaningful holiday ornaments, my wedding dress (which I should probably get rid of–no one is ever going to wear it–although it is a history lesson in and of itself!  Princess Diana–need I say more?), Momma’s paintings (above is a picture she drew in 1930, when she was 6 years old), etc.   So cleaning, and maybe consolidating also means strolling down memory lane.  I brought a few photo boxes upstairs several nights ago, and I kid you not, I spent SIX hours going through them, scanning loved photographs, and forwarding them to my kids in college, as well as to my brother, my nieces, etc.  And as I was doing this, I thought–this would be such a wonderful homeschooling project!   Even if we didn’t organize and categorize photos, if we just looked at them, my kids would learn so much.

What can be learned by looking at old photos and mementos?  Well, for one thing, do your kids even know what a negative looks like?  Digital cameras have been around for so long, they may not.  There you go–a homeschooling lesson on photography, the history of cameras, how cameras function, and how easy it is now to take, crop, and post a digital photo.  Then there are the pictures of their Pappa in his WWII uniform—so much history there!    And the picture of Pappa and Momma’s wedding—with no family members in attendance, because it was in the middle of the war, and gasoline was rationed.  Momma’s “bridesmaid” was a man in uniform!  But you know what struck me the most?  How many LETTERS I have in storage!  You remember letters don’t you?  But do our children?  When is the last time they received a letter in the mail?  They know e-mails. But e-mails are erased and aren’t on special stationery, and don’t show the handwriting of the sender.  They just aren’t the same.  Letters in a shoe box–they have meaning.  Heck, even the shoe box is interesting (really, it is)!  And you know what are even better than letters–diaries!  Diaries kept by their grandparents and by their great grandparents–and occasionally by me (I wasn’t very good at it).  People don’t do that anymore.  Blogs yes, diaries….not so much.   Diaires are history projects!  Our children can learn about daily stresses and huge turmoils that all people experience, regardless of their generation.

I still have more boxes to go through.  Do you?  Maybe yours are in the closet in the spare bedroom, or in the garage, or even under a bed.  What can your children learn from them?  Geneology?  How to organize and categorize and keep photos for the future?  History?  You choose, what you’d like your children to learn.  That’s what’s great about homeschooling!

Spring cleaning—make it an educational and fun project. Because as we all know, fun learning is forever learning!

Ann Simpson

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