Is there a difference when you home educate as a minority? Well for us, there is, but like with most things all of us can take the same task and do it differently.
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This post isn't about what home education looks like for all families of color, but what it looks like for our family. When we started home schooling, I knew only one other home educator, and she is my cousin. I learned in the early years of teaching my daughters that even people who come from the same family will have different reasons and goals for taking on the task of home schooling.
So, what does home education look like for our Black family?
I have shared our reasons for teaching our daughters at home here and there. At the top of the list was the desire to help them have positive identity in themselves. This continues to remain true. As Black parents, we know the inequality that exists in our culture and we recognize that it really isn't getting much better. As parents of daughters, we also recognize that culture is having damaging effects on women even when they say that they are trying to help the female gender. In order to combat some of the ills of the world, we make it a point to affirm our daughters. We teach them who they are are in the Messiah and who they are in our family. While home education does focus on academics, building the heart is our top priority and when it is aligned and not filled with gunk and doubt, teaching the academics becomes much easier.
As the primary educator for our daughters, I have learned that I am viewed in a variety ways by different people. This is possibly because I tend to get along with most people so it is easy to assume that my views must be the same as theirs, but in quite a few cases it is not. I am not as conservative as some of my friends nor am I so entrenched in certain aspects of Black culture. I am authentically me so this is reflected in our approach to teaching our children.
We have forged our own way with the grace of the Most High when it comes to living life and teaching our daughters. There are several things that I have noticed about our ways which other families may not have to focus on such as:
- Being a minority in general makes things somewhat different than the majority. If you are a minority whether in race, thoughts, or beliefs you can probably relate to feeling somewhat alone and questioning everything. Initially, I allowed the feelings of loneliness to win. If I am honest, it was hard for me to be the only Black person in many if not all of our circles, classes, and outings. This was a new experience for me. I can say that those who I made friends with in our earlier years of home schooling did not make me feel bad when I asked if they had seen any other Black home educators around. Instead they became more aware and observant and recognized during that time we were the only active Black home educating family in our area.
- We do not use certain curriculum particularly those publishers who are heavily Christian and believe that all other peoples are savages and heathens. It is too much to work through their reasoning therefore we steer clear of it. Feel free to read our curriculum reviews about products we've enjoyed.
- We focus on teaching our girls without focusing on others' methods for teaching their children or worrying about what the different school systems are doing. We trust that we were born with everything we need to survive, and anything else that we need He will provide. This does not mean that I don't read books or blogs about homeschooling, but what it does mean is I don't try to add every thing I read to our home school.
- We are a somewhat regular American family. We live on a budget. Our daughters are not a part of everything under the sun, but they each have their one extra curricular activity of choice. We work to not live above our means so that life in generally is enjoyable. We do not overcompensate for them not being in school with other children since socialization happens all the time for free.
Home schooling as a Black family may not be exactly the same as home schooling as another race, but in some instances it may. Culture and societal pressures can find it's way in and cause home education to be a challenge, but I have learned that we don't have to stay here and can find freedom in enjoying the process just as any other family without allowing the outside pressures to take root. We have found home education has provided us with a way to give our daughters' solid footing in life. They have the freedom to grow their faith and gain understanding for themselves. They have the opportunity to develop their gifts and their interests. They are also able to see first hand the way the real world works including the not so great stuff. They have found that our country is not always fair and that discernment is needed when interacting with any person regardless of race. We can talk about the tough stuff because relationships are key in our home.
What does home education look like from your family's perspective?