SO302 The Study of the Family

for F2G 2004

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Park University


COURSE DESCRIPTOR: A study of the family as a social institution and a social group of cross-cultural, historical, and contemporary perspectives. Current controversies concerning male-female roles, sexuality, morality, reproduction and other issues.

COURSE TITLE: Study of The Family



TITLE OF FACULTY MEMBER: Senior Adjunct Faculty

FACULTY OFFICE LOCATION: Grand Forks Air Force Base Education Center

FACULTY OFFICE HOURS: email/voice mail anytime (may be arranged before or after class as well)





DATES OF THE SEMESTER/TERM: October 25 to December 19 2004

October 29 & November 12 - 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
October 30/31 & November 13/14 - 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

The instructor will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions. The instructor also believes in interactiveness of all members in a class to promote learning. This involves class discussions, small group work, one-on-one’s dialogues, examinations, videos, presentations, and other engaging activities.

On completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. To provide a broad array of inquiry and knowledge in the areas of Biology, Psychology, Sexology, Sociology, Political Science, History, Economics, Philosophy, Theology, and Demography, which will enhance the big picture of the FAMILY as an entity.
2.To understand how a human being behaves individually and how one is linked to one’s social and natural environment.
3. To develop the skills necessary to gather, integrate, synthesize, and analyze written and oral information in a critical manner.
4.To nurture a philosophy that asserts the dignity of humanity while understanding the value of world diversity in race, ethnicity, and culture.
5.To foster an understanding of the benefits and responsibilities of living in a democratic society.
6.To provide a general knowledge of the human body and its systems.
7.To nurture and promote the ability to adapt to an ever - changing society.

The student will be able to:
1. Discuss their understanding and knowledge of the family;
2. Compare and Contrast marriage and family living from past, present and future contexts through class discussion/lecture, current events forum and life story assignment;
3. Learn about their family history and to foster their understanding of marriage and family by completing a life story paper, family X Files activity and family tree assignment;
4. Discuss marriage and family issues pertaining to the areas of family history, sexuality, love gender, step parenting, divorce, marriage, co-habitation, courtship, remarriage, dating and communication, work and finance issues, and conflict through use of individual and group class activities.
5. Explain stereotypic and cultural views of marriage and family processes through lecture and use of a video share assignment and other classroom discussions and activities and assessments; and (cultural flower, button brood, etc.)
6. Learn and understand about current marriage and family topics in society (military families, child development, through presentations, discussions and assessments. Current issue forum activity

Student Required Textbook
Lamanna, M.A., & Reidmann, A. Marriages and Families-making choices in a Diverse Society. 8th ed. Thomson-Wadsworth, United States, 2003.

“Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community. Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments. Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park.”

Plagiarism—the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance. Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”

Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences. The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “F”. An Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student. Reports of F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

The instructor will not accept assignments late. Assignments not submitted on the due date will receive a grade of “zero”. There are few exceptions to this policy. Extreme situations may be discussed with the instructor to make other assignment arrangements. It is the STUDENT’’S RESPONSIBILITY to contact the instructor in advance to discuss situation and seek approval.

Assessment of Student Learning will involve assessments, Lecture, class discussion, video tapes, movie reflection. Students are to participate in class discussions, complete written assignments, complete and adhere to Park College attendance policy. Class assignments details are attached. The student is expected to read all assigned material and to complete exams. The student will be responsible for a comparison paper of the past, present and the future of the family. Two news article presentations on current family issues will be shared in class. of the family tree. We will do in class activities and exercises to stimulate the picture of the family relating to real life situations and classroom discussion topics.

Computers make writing and revising much easier and more productive. Students must recognize though that technology can also cause problems. Printers run out of ink and hard drive crash. Students must be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of technology or other circumstances. Be sure to save copies of your work to disk, hard drive, and print out paper copies for backup purposes.

Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page:

Date Reading Assignment
Oct 29 Chapter 1, 2, 3, and 4
Oct 30 Chapter 5, 6, 7, and 8
and activities (Button Brood and Culture Flower) You need to bring to class 15 buttons and some glue and crayons or markers

Oct 31 Activities/ review/ and Exam 1 and 2
Nov 12 Chapter 9 and 10 and 11
Family Tree due and current issues due
Nov 13 Chapter 13 and 14 and 15
Video Shares due
Life Story Paper due;
Class Activities
Family X Files presentations
Nov 14 Conclusion/Wrap up
Exam 3 and Exam 4

Four Exams..................... 25%
Paper “The Life Story” ....25%
Video Share.....................30%
Current Issue....................15%
Family Tree......................15%
Class participation .........15%
(Dating Patterns Analyzer; Family Culture Observation Form; Culture Flower; Family X Files; origin of family names/fact monster; Marriage compatibility questionnaire; the Basic ID; Beliefs about Your Relationship) These are some of the activities planned. They may be some deleted or some added.

A…….93 - 100
B…….86 - 92
C…….79 - 85
D…….72 - 78
F……..71 - below

Assignment Details

The Life Story (Paper Assignment)


To create an autobiographical sketch which can be expanded

To get an idea of how to describe events in one’s life (connects to culture and history of family)

To develop a feeling of kinship in the human race (sharing stories)

To promote the value of the home, neighbourhood and community

To nurture an appreciation for family heritage

To develop a stronger sense of “self”and “other”

To develop effective presentation skills

To demonstrate the rational of family communication through storytelling

Materials: Paper, pens, crayons, color pencils/markers/, strips of paper with writing prompts, fabrics-lace-beads-etc (optional).

Book: A Chair for My Mother (if available)


Warm Up Activity

To give an idea of how to describe events in one’s life, the students can read the story, A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams, or another story selected by instructor. Entire class will examine a group of various objects displayed in class and imagines the “Life Story” of one of those items. On paper, they jot down the history of its personal use, ownership, places used or worn, where purchased, by whom, what year, etc. Two people can share their responses.

Prompt Writing

Students will need to complete this part of the assignment at home. They will need to look at old family photos, jewellery, quilts, wall hangings, kitchen utensils, decorative molds, etc., which have been used in the students’ families for more than one generation. Each student will choose a minimum of five writing prompts. Each prompt requires a response which may serve as a topic sentence for a paragraph. The student uses the prompt to write a paragraph which describes a piece of his/her life story. Students will illustrate or create a cover for their family life story.

Puzzle Tale

The final part of the Family Life Story paper will include a separate report. This paper will be a subjective paper (From student’s perspective). The task is to compare their Life Story paper to the past, present and future of the family. This paper is to be 2 pages in length, double-spaced, and typed.

Examples of Prompts:

Where were you born?

Who lived in the house with you as a child?

Describe the room you slept in as a child.

Describe the house you lived in as a child.

Tell how many brothers and sisters lived with you.

Describe your favourite relatives as a child. What are their names? How significant are these names? Have you continued a name tradition? What were the gender roles? Were they traditional?

What were the occasions when you visited family? Recall the smells, sounds, bits of conversation, stories, music, etc.

Describe your neighbourhood and neighbours-especially unique people and places; describe events that happened in your neighbourhood (who was involved as leaders, storekeepers, nosy bodies, etc., and how did your family interact with these individuals. Were some close family friends who shared secrets, celebrations or information with your family members?

Describe your school, church or community gathering place and explain one special event that took place there-especially with your family. What food was served? Tell who prepared them and why they were served on “special days”.

Describe an experience in which a stranger appeared at your door or one in which an individual of a different ethnicity was a guest in your home. How did your parents or older siblings relate to the individual?

What were their comments about him/her? What did you learn from those comments? As an adult, do you agree or disagree with their assessment? What have been the experiences of your children in similar circumstances?

Students can use these writing prompts to document changes in their family over time. They can also use them to continue the story of their life and that of their family. They can share the history of the objects they chose to integrate with their life story and tell a young person the history of the object(s) and what it meant during that time to family.

Final Activity with Life Story

Students may share their story with groups in class. Instructor will facilitate discussion on how their cultures have been impacted through storytelling relating topics to class discussions.

Video Share Assignment

Families on Film

Images of families are powerfully and sometimes poignantly presented in full-length feature film. Some films accurately depict families for many Americans and families in other cultures; other films portray more inaccurate and stereotypic views of the marriage and family processes.

Watch an assigned film that addresses a topic discussed on Marriage and Family. Choose a topic, investigate it in the research literature (2 supporting articles from newspapers, journal, etc.), and then share with us-a film excerpt (a brief excerpt), an oral summary, and a paper. Films from which assignments will be made include:

On Golden Pond

To Dance with a White Dog

Bye Bye Love

The Lost Child
My Sisters Keeper

When a Man Loves A Woman

Grumpy Old Men

Ellen Foster


Only the Lonely


Or other as approved by instructor


Make a copy of the cover of your movie and integrate it into your cover/title page.

Current Issue Report Assignment

Choose one marriage and family topic that has hit the recent news; Find one newspaper article (or editorial cartoon or newsmagazine article or other paper copy). Then, select one article from the research literature that elaborates on this topic. Write up a single-spaced, one-page paper to describe what you found. Bring the article in for a Saturday Forum on Current Events .

Family Tree Assignment

Students have the option of completing a family tree based upon their family history, or completing a “comical” family tree.

Students completing the family tree based on personal history will be given a biographical outline life form, a family group sheet form, source documentation form, and one example of a family tree layout. (Students can design their own family tree layout to present information). Also, provide some descriptions.

For those students choosing to complete a comical family tree, the task is to “use humour combined with a dose of nostalgia.” In this family tree, every relative has a humorous tale to tell and what a claim to fame story. For example, who would have believed that Great, Great grandfather would’ve been that unlucky when he became the first human cannonball; or, who would have believed the fate that befell Great, Great grandfather when he modeled for lunchbox underwear. Maybe, the tree tells of the type of family one is really married into. Perhaps, the claim to fame was not so fortunate.

The creativity is in your hands.

A cover poster (somewhat as noted in the picture) is to be constructed. You can collage pictures from magazines, comics, etc. or can use computer generated. There will be a series of posters (not the big posters) to follow that use pictures of the family member and a brief description of the fame or fate that befell the family member. This Comical Family tree will consist of 15 descriptions and pictures of past and present relatives.
So have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a very unusual family tree? Well now you can with your creativity and in doing your own comical family tree. Which family member is most like you? Could you be like your grandmother who in 1950 tragically won the Miss Soup Contest?

Class Participation

Dating Patterns Analyzer

Evaluates your relationships and tells you what really makes you happy. I will provide a hard copy handout

Family Culture Observation Form; Culture Flower

A list of questions that ask you about your family (members, births, communications, shelter, beliefs/rituals, holidays, jobs, economics, clothing, food, recreation, household politics, art, etc) is provided. The student completes this Culture observation individually. Then, students will complete their own Culture flower (markers, crayons, stickers will be provided). Then, students will be groups to share their family culture observation and their cultural flower. Next, students will be given a culture flower debriefing questionnaire to complete and share in their group.

Family X Files

Students will be given Artifact and Heirlooms Possession Form to use as needed.

You might not have known it, but you grew up in a library of geographic knowledge of family. Your parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., probably have lived in a variety of places, worked in a variety of jobs, been a part of various cultural and heritage events and even witnessed changes in everything from clothing styles, to architecture to politics. Getting knowledge of these facts can help you complete a generation scrapbook (written and pictorial). No, you do not have to complete a generation scrapbook for this class – just a future idea for you -! However, you are going to gather some information and create and “X” files memory container. You will need a few items to place in your “X” files. These can be tangible items, or information notes written to include as an item. The two elements that will be the same for every student in the Family “X” files is the response to the following two questions:

Imagine being a kid in the year 2025 and finding your “Generation Scrapbook”. What would you think? How might life have changed? Draw a cartoon, clip a cartoon, or write out a skit, to include as your item to this question.

Predict what life will be like on your 25th birthday…your 50th birthday…your 75th birthday...Your 90th birthday. Put each set of predictions in an envelope to include in your “X” files.

Want it be interesting as a keep saver from this class and for yourself and family? Hmmm, reading it when those special celebrations arrive will….?

You will share your Family “X” files container as a show and tell and brief report of this experience

Origin of Family names/fact monster

“Tracing the origin of your family name, you may be able to find out not only who your ancestors were but also what they were. In the 12th century England, when family names began to be used, people were identified by what they did as much as by what they were called. If a baker were named John, he became John Baker. A professional with a bow and arrow took the name Archer. Barber was the name given to a man who cut hair. Does your family name come from the work one of your relatives did long ago?” (

We will look at some of the history of families and the association of family names. We will compare, past, present and future roles of names with families. We will also look at the cultural aspects associated with use of family names. This discussion will also integrate traditional roles of gender in families and current alternative theories of gender roles in families.
Marriage compatibility questionnaire

Sally LeBoy (M.S. M.F.T) has a Marriage Compatibility Questionaire on-line. The question she presents is:

Do the qualities that attract us to our mate, actually predict relationship satisfaction? Her answer: Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The instructor will provide a hard copy of the compatibility questionnaire. Students will take and assess their own questionnaire and relate it to the text discussion.

She also has information on divorce that may be relative for students to review as related to the text topic.

Basic ID; Beliefs about Your Relationship

These two surveys are to be completed in class by students. One speaks as to thoughts of relationships and the other examines human temperament and personality. These are brief and not exhaustive; therefore, it will not be a holistic of these characteristics for students. It is a start to bring to light important factors that surface in marriage and family life situations.

Button Brood Activity

Students will bring in 10 different buttons to class. The buttons will all be placed together in a container. Then, each student will select 4 to 10 buttons. The task is to create a button family. The requirements for your button family include choosing a rule or trait for your family members, gluing them on the handout, drawing a home for your family and giving your button family a name. You will also write a brief story describing your button family and share in small groups.