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Family coat of arms

A homeschooling acquaintance of mine who goes by the online moniker “Prairie Chick” posted a story that inspired me about how to pass on and reinforce family values even among elementary school-age children (let alone older children and adults).

I saw her story on the Sonlight forums. When I asked her permission to share it here, she noted that she had also posted it on one of her blogs, The Prairie Schoolhouse.

As you read the story, keep in mind that the girl in this story, Prairie Chick’s daughter, is in the fourth grade. And their family lives somewhere out on the great prairies of central Canada.

Today we were studying the Coat of Arms of Canada. . . .

After [our study] I gave my daughter the assignment of making a coat of arms for our family and told her that if she could come up with the motto and maxim, I would help her translate it into Latin. I urged her to think of the things that define us and when she brought me her Coat of Arms I bawled like a baby. I have tears springing to my eyes again as I just try to type this.

She gets it. She really gets it. And I am not talking about the Coat of Arms. I’m talking about who we are. Where we come from. Where we’re going. What we stand for.

Prairie Chick shows a photo of what her daughter created:


My thought: What a great way for all of us to encourage our children–even from a very young age–to think about what makes your family unique and what, therefore, they uniquely carry into the world as members of your family.

Prairie Chick used Canada, My Country by Donna Ward as the source for her family’s study of Canada . . . that led to her lesson on Canada’s coat of arms . . . which led, of course, to the family-centered project I’m highlighting here.

Personally, I love what Prairie Chick and her daughter created. Clearly, her daughter started from scratch and created something uniquely appropriate for their family.

If you are inspired to try to have your children or grandchildren create a family coat of arms, however, you may find Prairie Chick’s resources a bit hard to find. So here are a few online resources I’ve found and that I think you might find helpful:

  • A limited but highly automated method to create a basic coat of arms:’s Family Crest Generator. (For what it’s worth, I should probably note: According to Wikipedia’s article on Crests for heraldry, this really is not a family crest generator. “The word crest is often mistakenly applied to a coat of arms,” says Wikipedia. But in reality, a crest is merely “a component of an heraldic display. . . . [I]t stands on top of a helmet, as the crest of a jay stands on the bird’s head.”)
  • Heraldic Charges–a site that offers a wealth of information about the meanings associated with various heraldic charges–the lines, symbols, colors, and so forth that are found on coats of arms.
  •’s Make Your Own Coat of Arms page–a pretty cool site that lets you print outline versions of many heraldic charges.
  • If you’d rather get technical, has several additional heraldic pages available from its Shields, Knights & Heraldry page.
  • A formal lesson plan called Design Your Own Coat of Arms from ArtHouse.

I’m sure there are many more sites that could be of help. But, hopefully, these give you a start.


(Oh. PS. If you’d like to know what Prairie Chick’s daughter’s coat of arms stands for, please check out the original post.)

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  • Prairie Chick

    Very cool links! This was something that just came up out of the blue and turned out to be one of those little sidetracks that really blessed. Love it.


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