Momtroversy: Should schools still assign 'family tree' projects?

PHOTO: Family TreePhoto Illustration by ABC News
Family Tree

It's a project you were probably assigned in grade school and one your kids will likely get too.

The family tree.

But in this day and age, is the family tree project a good idea?

In an article for Scary Mommy called "Teachers, Please Stop Assigning Family Tree Projects," Rachel Garlinghouse, a mother of four adopted children, wrote, "Not only do families-by-adoption see the numerous problems with such assignments, but so do foster families, families where children do not know who their biological fathers are, and children with many parents, some biological and some not. There are also the children of single parents or children being raised by another relative, such as a grandparent, older sibling, or aunt. There are kids with two moms or two dads and kids with several step-parents."

Garlinghouse is not alone in her opinion on family tree projects.

Tiffanie Onwuachi told "GMA" her son was just assigned a family tree project. In the past she would have been in favor of it. But a recent discovery about her own family has made her feel differently.

"We found out the maternal grandfather was not our grandfather through," she said. "It’s been a little sticky to say the least."

Onwuachi said the project is due in a few days. "As of today it has been left blank. I need to make some decisions," she said.

Dina Smith, a mom and reading specialist from Long Island, had a different take.

"I think family tree projects are a great idea. I don’t think it should be graded but used to celebrate the diversity and different family makeups we all have," Smith said. "It’s important to show how different we all can be and it doesn’t make any one family better or worse. With all the discrimination coming about this day and age, as a mom of two biracial boys that come from holocaust survivors, we should all be celebrating our histories and what it took many of us to get where we are today."

So what do the experts say?

Lisa Novick Bloom is an elementary school teacher in New York.

"I’ve assigned this project many times. However, it has always been done with extreme sensitivity to modern families and those with difficult situations," Bloom said. "A family tree can show as many or as few branches as one would like. I believe it is important for children to know their heritage, but of course not to the point where it causes them sadness."