This pandemic has truly played a huge role in humanity’s plethora of emotions and wild decisions lately. The Gould family could truly attest to that notion, because this momma is now homeschooling! Not virtual learning, or overseeing school online, but homeschooling.
The truth is, I always desired to be “a homeschool mom.” When I had my kids, I worked full-time, but my soul yearned to be in their presence and to be with them in the comfort of our home. Prior to trying this new style of learning, our children were attending a private Christian school. Their school was amazing, but we wanted the opportunity to teach our kids from the comfort of our home, or on the go. What were we thinking? Homeschooling three kids who are all in different grades!? Well actually, what was I thinking? My husband runs his own flooring company. He goes to work daily, and I run a couple businesses from the comfort of my home. So, yes, what was I thinking?
There are statistics that show homeschooled children have higher standardized test scores than traditionally educated students. Some other benefits include: academic flexibility, parent choice of pace and approach, a warm and comfortable family environment, community involvement, efficient and meaningful learning, flexible schedules, and learning much-needed life skills in addition to academic knowledge.
I know quite a few people, friends and acquaintances, who homeschool. I would say 90 percent of them do not share the same color of my skin, though. The fact is there are not many women of color who are homeschoolers. According to National Household Education Surveys Program, only 8 percent of homeschooling families were Black (non-Hispanic) in 2016, compared to 59 percent who were white. Despite changing demographics in the country (14 percent of children in this country are Black), homeschooling remains disproportionately white.
I must say that I sincerely have the support of my friends, family, counterparts, and loved ones on this journey, but I would love to see more Black families be a part of this community.
My experience thus far has been quite enriching. My children have been flourishing and thriving beyond measure, and I absolutely love and adore the individuals in my life who contribute to my journey unfolding beautifully. But while there are numerous resources, materials, and platforms that assist with the homeschooling process, I haven’t found any that cater to families of color.
I think my children and I would gain more support, encouragement, confidence, and community if we knew more Black families who homeschool. Having resources and curriculum ideas that come from Black individuals would be extremely beneficial to us as well, because it will provide us with information and background on our cultural experiences and history. Our children need to know about their ancestors, lineages, and bloodlines. They need to know just how powerful, strong, and resilient we are as a people.
And yet when I’m looking for Black co-ops and reference points, they seem to be limited or nonexistent. I often wonder, why?
After speaking to several individuals and doing my own research, I realize that there is a certain “ideal” or overall look the homeschooling community embodies. To be quite frank, my family does not fit that mold whatsoever.
Why isn’t there a higher percentage of Black and brown people homeschooling?
Is it because as people of color we feel intimidated, overwhelmed, or not capable? Are we assuming that we do not possess what it takes? Is because of our lifestyles, family dynamics, or simply need to work? Do we think that our environments are not conducive to homeschooling? I mean, our living conditions and spaces need to be “perfect,” right? Wrong!
Even though we are in the process of restructuring our kids’ learning space, we do not have the “perfect” conditions, or let’s just say what society deems as perfect to homeschool. We do what works best for our family. A few of my homeschool friends have guided me here and there, but we are developing our own curricula as well. Every day, it’s a new experience. Of course, I have set lesson plans and an overall structure, but sometimes it all shifts. We have learned to roll with the punches and embrace the journey. Some days it’s smooth sailing, and other times, the waters get a bit rough, but we are fully committed to the journey, and when we see our children smiling and stress free, that reward is incomparable.
Some days, school will mean papers, set topics, and lesson structures, and other days we might do a field trip to the science museum, the salt suite, or even the bank. We also incorporate videos, tutorials, movies and creative content all geared toward learning as well. Projects like discovering new states and countries, followed by a brunch to partake in the foods of the places we researched are incorporated. Every day, in every possible way, there is an opportunity to teach, learn, and grow. The key is to embrace it and to commit fully to the experience.
To my beautiful chocolate people, you can do it! Defy the molds, statistics, and the negative committee that meets inside your head. Homeschooling is for all. Let’s build up our communities, create new molds, love on each other, and work on curating a scared space for each and every one of us. What’s the homeschool mold? Who qualifies or fits the status quo? We all do!
Black mommies, caretakers and friends, if you have the desire to homeschool, take it from one Black person to another, you can. As the name indicates, homeschooling means when the parent or parents opt to provide a home-based education for their kids. You are not alone. Doing what works best for you and your family, despite your race, ethnicity, and cultural background is all that truly matters. Let’s continue to occupy unfamiliar spaces, believe in ourselves, and break ground.
Add these books by Black authors and illustrators to your kids’ shelves.