Navigating through the details before commencing homeschooling is crucial, especially for Black homeschooling families looking for the best educational option. Here are some important considerations to guide your decision-making process.
You may have heard that the number of Black kids who choose to homeschool has increased significantly.
According to the Home Pulse survey conducted by the Census Bureau in 2020, the percentage of Black families opting to homeschool their children increased from 3% in the spring to over 16% by the fall. As it stands, homeschooling is growing at a much faster rate among people of color than any other group. Experts and supporters of homeschooling keep talking about how great it is for Black families.
Co-founder of the National Black Home Educators Association Joyce Burges told ABC News that her group saw a “gradual increase in the number of Black families” opting to homeschool, but that “with the pandemic, it rose so incredibly.”
Recent research has shown that homeschoolers are “increasingly less conservative, more diverse, and less religious” than those who began homeschooling before the epidemic. Researching homeschooling among Black families, Professor Cheryl Fields-Smith of the University of Georgia’s Mary Frances Early College of Education recently told Time Magazine that homeschooling had become such a haven for many families, especially Black families, that they don’t have to go to the under-resourced school that they were assigned to.
After hearing so much about homeschooling’s advantages, you might be wondering if it’s a good fit for your kids. Or perhaps you’ve already made the decision to educate your children at home but aren’t sure how to go about it. There are a lot of details to work out before you begin homeschooling your kids. Here are some things to consider to help you determine if homeschooling is right for your kids.
Local jurisdictions have their own guidelines for homeschooling:
There are guidelines for homeschooling, just like there are at any school. Getting to know the customs and regulations of your neighborhood is the first order of business. If you are a Black parent thinking about homeschooling, you should research your state’s homeschool laws, the required school age in your state, and the required curriculum. For parents looking for a detailed, state-by-state breakdown of what’s required to begin homeschooling, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association is a great place to start.
Discover your kid’s unique learning demands and methods.
The way your kid absorbs information is special. This is essentially their secret weapon. Many parents, however, are left wondering what their child’s learning style is and how to recognize it. Consider your child’s character as a starting point. Is your kid a singer? Do they think out of the box? Maybe your kid is a chatterbox or a constant mover.
Each of these inquiries might give parents insight into their child’s unique approach to learning. If your kid has excellent recall, for instance, they might be a visual learner. Children who express their emotions through music may respond better to auditory methods. Do you know an excellent reader or writer? Reading and writing strategies could be helpful for your kid. Have a performer at your disposal? Your kid might do better with some physical activity. You can determine your child’s learning style using simple, everyday observations.
Examine your methods of instruction.
Just as your child’s learning style is based on your own personality, so is your teaching method. Consider whether you are the type of person who likes to plan every minute of the day ahead of time or whether you are someone who prefers to be more spontaneous and open to change. Consider how much time you spend inside and whether or not that suits you.
When considering homeschooling, parents should think about how much socialization they want their child to have. Consider whether you are more comfortable communicating one on one or in a larger group. Which homeschooling approach is right for you and your child can be determined by knowing more about both of your approaches. It hints how to establish a routine with your kid that will help you both avoid and deal with any potential conflicts in personal taste.
Learn more about the various homeschooling approaches.
All homeschooling is not created equal. Finding the right homeschooling approach for your family can take some time. There are approaches to homeschooling, with much overlap between them. However, some of these may feel more natural fits for an Afrocentric or Black-centered education than others.
- Eclectic Homeschooling: Eclectic homeschooling is the most common approach to educating children at home, and for a good reason. Homeschooling in the black community may feel more like an open buffet than a regimented meal plan because it is child-directed, and the curriculum is treated as such. This approach takes the best parts of many homeschooling philosophies and combines them to create an individualized curriculum for each student. Black families who emphasize adaptability can thrive with an eclectic approach to homeschooling. The abundance of available networks makes it easy to establish a vibrant community.
- Unit Studies: Unit studies are a method used by homeschooling families to examine topics and ideas from various disciplines. Using not only History but also Literature from the historical period and Geography of the continent, parents can use Unit Studies to educate their children about the many African Kingdoms. Unit Studies are useful for Black families who want to observe a certain event across multiple different units, but they should be used in conjunction with other approaches to minimize gaps in other subjects, such as math or science.
- Unschooling: School-at-home is essentially just adopting a school’s curriculum and teaching it at home; unschooling, on the other hand, questions the very idea of schooling and can take many forms depending on the preferences of the parent and the child. This approach is an unstructured, activity-based type of homeschooling that encourages individuality and a broad education for its young charges. Black parents who want to foster their child’s individuality while providing them with as little constraint as possible will benefit greatly from this approach.
- Montessori: Montessori is a humanistic approach to homeschooling that emphasizes the whole child and encourages independence and community. The Montessori method encourages active participation from the youngest students in the world. Black families with young children who learn best through play, who are tactile learners, or who have children with specific needs can benefit from this approach.
Look for a place to belong.
Homeschooling is an option that can be explored with others. The number of internet spaces dedicated to Black homeschoolers continues to expand. You can discover a community on your preferred social media platform, from the 12,000-strong Melanated Homeschooling Families Support Group to the 10,000-strong The Black Homeschoolers Connection to smaller groups. Many Black homeschooling families also meet in person to form support groups and exchange materials.
Homeschooling is a parent-empowered alternative to traditional schooling that restores agency to the family unit. Like any other form of education, homeschooling has both positive and negative aspects. Likewise, every homeschool is different, just as every family is. The goal is to find a solution that works for your family and gives your children the skills and self-assurance they’ll need to succeed.
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