Start Teaching African-American History Today with These Tips
Studying African-American history in our home isn't a separate course of study. We incorporate Black history year round in one of three ways: books, activities, and movies.
How to Integrate African-American Studies in Your Homeschool
Books teach Black History.
Use trade books to help teach about historical events in Black history. Whether you teach history using a traditional method or not, you can always introduce your child to events in African-American history by using regular books found at your library or bookstore. Historical fiction and nonfiction books have always been a staple in our homeschool because they allow my daughters to learn new things even when we aren't studying them in a traditional sense. I continue to read aloud or listen to audiobooks with my daughters on regular basis even though they are both wonderful readers because it allows us to have discussions for deeper understanding. Read Teaching Black History with Children's Books to see some of our favorite books.
Activity books can make learning Black history engaging.
Use a variety of engaging resource books. Dover Publications has several resource books that focus on influential African-Americans. Not only do the coloring books and activity books highlight well-known African-Americans, but they also include many lesser known African-Americans such as Scott Joplin and Charles Houston. Just the other day during our morning lessons, my daughters colored Frederick Douglass while I read to them about him from one of our many books. We had discussions about him, and they contributed information that they learned from the coloring sheet and from books they have read alone. Resource and activity books can make discussion time a bit more interactive and less like a lecture.
Documentaries make Black history real.
Make documentaries a habit. I love watching documentaries with my family. There's often several viewpoints which help to keep the story balanced. Seeing the images of real life events often help us to connect information we've read or shared through the resource books and trade books. Netflix, the public library, and PBS are good sources for finding a variety of documentaries on the African-American experience.
Often we think that teaching historical events has to be a full-fledged lesson, but I have found for us that simply incorporating Black history into our everyday lives has a greater impact. My daughters are able to share their knowledge about a variety of people and events because they were introduced in engaging and relaxed ways.
How do you teach African-American history to your children? Share in the comments.
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