A dear friend sent a gift with an enclosed note, saying, in part, “God…is holding tightly to this family. You are literally advancing and changing the color of homeschooling. It excites me so much…”
I, too, am excited about what I see in the homeschooling community. I am excited that African-American homeschooling families are currently the fastest growing population within that community (although the data, like most homeschooling data, is sketchy at best).
I am excited about the number of families who write me looking for more than the traditional narrative; they recognize the need for their children to learn more than just the history of people who look like them, and maybe Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr. as “bonuses.”
I love when parents write me and say something along the lines of, “I learned right alongside the children.”
AND, I absolutely love that there are increasingly more resources that allow homeschooling families to meet African-American authors, women who are at the forefront of writing quality materials while making “us” more visible within the community. Representation is important.
When I first started blogging, I joined many moms on the now-defunct homeschoolblogger.com under the blog name “With a Taste of Chocolate.” The name had nothing to do with desserts. What I quickly noticed was a lack of brown and black homeschooling presence on the internet (though I was blessed to meet real faces of color in our metropolitan area). So I chose the name based upon how I saw myself in the midst of the online homeschooling community. I learned later that others were out there; they just chose a less visible place to walk out their calling.
I also did what many do–I bought Paula Penn Nabrit’s Morning by Morning because I wanted to see what”we” looked like embracing this significant detour from the battle we fought to get the same education as someone else. Coming from families of public school educators on both sides, how would I begin to make a case for what we were doing? Also, even though my introduction to homeschooling came from another family who looked like us, was this even something “we” did? As the kids would say today, was this “a thing?”
Today, if you search black homeschooling on the internet, you will quickly be overwhelmed by blogs, groups, and news articles (even those that misinform others that every. single. black family chooses to homeschool as a collective raised fist against “the man”). The hashtags blackhomeschool365 and brownhomeschool365 on Instagram will quickly produce a host of the most beautiful families and well-designed home-based studies you might find anywhere on earth.
So when my friend wrote, “God has such amazing plans for this generation…I love watching what the Lord is doing,” I did not take lightly the resources that are now available, and the number of new authors who state via their work, “Yes, WE are here.”
Though not a new author, we continue to use Cheryl Carter’s Writing Success: Essential Writing Skills for the College-Bound Student to prepare the youngest for college level writing. Teaching the power of a strong thesis statement and understanding the benefits of writing are invaluable, and this book is helping us fine tune those skills.
Andrea Thorpe’s Sharing our Thoughts is another excellent resource for parents of tweens and teens. Truth be told, at that age, conversations can become downright awkward–for all involved. As one reviewer stated, “My daughter and I are thoroughly enjoying “Sharing our Thoughts” which takes us through the process of journaling together- a beautiful phenomenon that wouldn’t otherwise happen so readily without the prompting of a book like this…” Having known Andrea for a few years and watching her family up close, I see the fruit of this tool within her family dynamic. Moreover, I know personally how much reflective questions/ journaling have helped me with understanding where the youngest’s head and heart are; a few words can be worth their weight in gold.
Another treasure that is quickly making its way onto savvy homeschooler’s bookshelves is Homeschool Gone Wild by Karla Williams. Karla has championed unschooling as a viable alternative to the school-at-home methodology that traps many new homeschoolers. She states that she writes “to encourage parents to take an active role in inspiring their children’s natural God-given talents.” I have close friends who have found Karla’s testimony of her homeschool journey with her six kids very liberating.
So with all these other books available, what’s up with A Blessed Heritage? I am glad you asked.
My husband independently put our decades of work in children’s ministry out and available for public use. Though How to Incorporate Science into Bible Study is not a homeschooling book by the strictest of definitions, much of what is inside these pages originated with the science lessons our family completed at home. In working with our own kids, we saw an opportunity to share both our love of learning and our application of scientific principles to God’s Word with our Sunday school class. What we saw in teaching these lessons was that older students came back after leaving our classroom just to see what lesson we were teaching to the younger bunch.
Even more personally, I have just completed the third installation of the “A Heart for the Nations” series with a unit study of the gorgeous country of Belize. Because our family (specifically hubby and the oldest) spent time in Belize as missionaries, this unit study is near and dear to my heart. I had an opportunity to visit–virtually–many of the sites they saw in their original trip, and a couple of friends from the area helped me in putting the unit study together. I look forward to making it available on the site in early December.
What is after that? Revisions, and I am tremendously excited about them. You will simply have to wait and see…