Monthly Archives: February, 2013

Here is a wonderful blog by Sue Shanahan encouraging us to use Harriet Tubman’s model as motivation to keep going when times are rough.

What a wonderful woman to add to our Black History Month lessons!

Awesome Resource Alert: What to Teach

Logo_Time4Learning

Awesome Resource Alert: What to Teach

Greetings,

I hope the week has been treating you and your family well.  Mothers often tell me, “I would homeschool, but I wouldn’t know what to teach”.

There are several ways to solve this problem including using existing systems printed or online, researching to develop a curriculum, joining a Collective, or having your child to attend an online public, private, or charter school from home such as K12, Connections Academy, or Aya Educational Institute.

One system that includes everything that you “need to teach”, the idea being that national standards are met in core areas, is Time4Learning.  I personally use Time4Learning to supplement what I teach and know several parents that use it for their full home school curriculum.  It is a paid site, $19.95 per child and $14.95 for each additional child.  The main subjects included are Math, Science, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Art.

I like Time4Learning because the lessons are entertaining and effective.  The site tracks attendance and grades which is a great help for my home school portfolio.  I can see where my son might have struggled in an area and later made major improvements.  For parents who use Time4Learning for their full curriculum, the grading tool is invaluable.  I highly recommend the site for new home schoolers.  You can boldly teach culturally attuned lessons and take your children on relevant field trips while knowing that all the “basics” are covered.  I hope this helps!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

P.S.: I am not being paid by Time4Learning for this post, but if they want to send me a check, I will cash it! ;) Have a great week.

Teaching Ancient African Civilizations During Black History Month

Teaching Ancient African Civilizations During Black History Month

Greetings,

One consistent major issue of American education has been the lack of Black History set before Africans were enslaved in America.  Ask an average child what Africans were doing before before slavery and they will most likely have no idea.  Worse yet, they may believe that Africans were “savages” and had no civilizations before America.

One site that I enjoy for teaching Ancient African History is Mr. Donn.  As a scholar, I do not agree with every detail about every civilization that he covers, but he provides an adequate amount of balanced history.  The civilizations of Egypt, Kush, Ghana, Mali, and Songhay are covered with outlines of their daily lives, entertaining stories, powerpoints, maps, free clip art, and activities.

I do not agree with the accuracy of all the images included because none of the ancient Egyptian images are Black.  It has been proven by Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop that the early Egyptian dynasties were ruled by Black Africans (read: The African Origin of Civilization by Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop).  He even did melanin tests to validate these claims.  There were also Egyptians who appeared as Caucasian or Middle Easterners do today, both of African descent and from migration of foreign peoples.  I believe that Egyptians of all skin tones should be portrayed, for sake of accuracy.

Thus, I would encourage you to use the histories, enjoy the activities, and not to take the images at face value.  Have a wonderful Black History Month.  May our education on the histories of Black people around the world truly advance!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Organizing Your Homeschool Library

Organizing Your Homeschool Library

Greetings,

A friend sent me the link to this wonderful site about organizing your homeschool library.  Enjoy!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Livin’ Healthy with Vegan Soul Food (Plus Recipes!)

Get your Veggies!

Greetings!

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful week.  As homeschooling parents, one of our everyday responsibilities is cooking.  One of the biggest challenges for the African American community (and Americans in general) is healthy eating.

We have easy access to fast food restaurants and processed foods that seem to make our lives simpler, but wreak havoc on our bodies.  Not only does the food lose nutrients during processing, the additives contained in them, such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colorings, and trans-fatty acids,  cause serious damage such as migraines, diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and much more. :(

(View Chart of Effects of Processing on Food Here)

There are many reasons to eat healthier and institute healthier diets for our children.  We may have more energy, be in better moods, attain and maintain our ideal weights, and prevent common diseases (even those that we believed were hereditary).

Our children may be calmer and more well-balanced after we remove stimulants such as caffeine, high fructose syrup, artificial colorings, and refined sugars from their diets.  Their focus may improve, so that they can concentrate on learning rather than excess fidgeting or being subject to frequent cravings throughout the day.

Implementing a healthy diet may also be an effective assistant to managing ADHD, autism, or other difficult issues.  If your child has health issues, please begin a research process on the effects of diet on your child’s issue if you have not done this already.  I would be interested to know what you find!

In the African American community, many of us have been raised on fried foods, refined sugars and grains, white rice, and delicious  high fat desserts.  Now that we have children of our own, we can create new traditions.

As a step towards healthy living, I would like to share links to vegan/vegetarian soul food sites.

PETA Vegetarian Soul Food Recipes: PETA shares recipes for vegan meatloaf, hoppin’ john, sweet potato pie, and more.  The recipes look tasty, but I tend to avoid margarine because of negative health effects.  Earth Balance vegan butter is a better product.  Smart Balance also manufactures a healthy vegan butter.  Too much soy is not good for you, so enjoy these recipes and stay as close as you can to whole fresh foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains) in your everyday life.

West African Vegan/Vegetarian Recipes: Many of the West African recipes that we base African American soul food on are naturally vegan or vegetarian.  Enjoy delicious foods such as red beans, chickpea soup, baked sweet potatoes, and banana fritters with no guilt afterwards!

Vegan/Vegetarian Caribbean Recipes: Another sister to African American soul food is Caribbean food.  Islands such as Jamaica and Haiti received the same West African migrants as the American South.  Try some savory tempeh patties, steamed callaloo, black bean and potato soup and coconut rice.  Who said healthy vegan food had to be tofu and carrot sticks?

Enjoy cooking these scrumptious recipes!  If your children are old enough, maybe they can help out in the kitchen.

Be sure to comment back and let me know which worked best for you!

Here’s to a healthy and happy new year!

All Best,

Nikala Asante