Education

Ask Me A Question! + Another Contest!

nikalaasantePeace and blessings!

I pray that you and your families have been well.  We have been doing a lot of traveling over the past 6 months and I have not been staying on top of posting.  As a result, several parents emailed me recently asking when I would be posting again and if I was still homeschooling my son.  Yes, we are still homeschooling, stronger than ever, and I have sooo much to share with you all.  I apologize for falling away for a while, and would like to make a commitment to you since I see that you are following and looking for resources.  From today forward, I commit to posting new resources at least 2 times per week.  

Now, I will need your help in meeting this commitment.  Please share with me your questions, your concerns, and your needs as relates to homeschooling.  The first 15 parents to ask a question on this thread (each of which may become blog posts) will receive a free e-copy of either Tomorrow Will Be Better, Character Building for African Centered Scholars Grades 1 -4, or Character Building for African Centered Scholars Grades 4 and Up via e-mail.  You can read the descriptions of each of these books on my Amazon page.

Thank you for your support in helping me to create quality posts that reflect your needs.  I look forward to continuing to offer quality resources for diverse home educators.  Let’s start – who has the first question? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

Nikala Asante is a mother, college student, martial artist, yoga lover, poet, painter, and vegan who enjoys sunlight, Africana studies, and working with children.

33 Comments

    • nikalaasante

      Overall, what he has gained most from home education is love for learning. He is currently studying Spanish as his foreign language, but teaches himself Japanese in the evenings using websites, apps, and books he has asked me to purchase for him. When he was in public school (pre-K and Kindergarten), he was frightened of foreign language, avoided public speaking, and hated writing. This really lasted into 2nd – 3rd grade, even after we started homeschooling. The way that some public school teachers treat African American males can create serious psychological blocks. This is not to say that all public schools are bad or that all PS teachers behave this way.

      Over the past 3 years or so, he has released all of his fears around learning. He knows that he is in a safe space to learn without ever being ridiculed for the areas that he takes longer to develop in or shut down when he wants to explore something that is not in the curriculum. Sometimes, he will ask me to add a class for him, like Zoology, and I gladly do it. There are so many resources available online, anyone can find the means to teach/guide through any subject for our children. Truly, the sky is the limit (and beyond). 🙂

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Ms. Harris,

      It depends on the approach that you want to take to homeschooling. If you are really nervous and just want to make sure that all of your bases are covered, you can buy one of those HUGE books online and work through it. School Zone is one publisher of such books. Also, make sure they get a lot of time to play, explore nature, experiment with instruments, etc…

      There are also online programs such as abcmouse and time4learning that accommodate these ages for a small fee. If you want to go more the cultural route, Dr. Samori Camara has an African Centered curriculum for sale at kamaliacademy.com and also offers a day by day online curriculum for a fee.

      You can also find a list of free homeschool curriculums here to look through. You may choose to take a little from various curriculum and put together your own unique flavor.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • Shayla Moore

    Hello,

    What books/resources do you recommend to teach the history of Africa to a 1st/2nd grader? I have plenty historical information on his level for African American history but I would like more starting with Africa. For his level, I am having a hard time finding resources that go beyond Egypt.

    Thanks,

    Shayla Moore

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Shayla,

      When my son was that age, I used Lessons from History by Jawanza Kunjufu. You can also check out a lot of story books from the library (look into publications by Patricia McKissack) that you can read aloud to/with your child(ren).

      For a holistic approach to world history that includes African history, I recommend the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer. Each volume has a workbook available that will give you plenty of material to turn your child(ren) into enthusiastic history buffs.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Vanessa,

      We have developed a pretty strong collective within the last 2 years in my community, so now my homeschool day involves other parents. We have gardening at 9am, then our pledge, then group meditation (sometimes yoga is added when our yoga teacher comes in; a parent), then reading circle with discussion (each child reads aloud from a history based book and we discuss throughout), then vegetarian lunch cooked by a parent, then our academic work until around 4 – 4:30. My son uses a combination of Time4Learning, Duolingo, Kamali Academy, and curriculum I’ve developed for his academic time. His unique mix is heavy in science, technology, and history, because he loves those subjects most. He also has daily ELA, math, and Spanish. As an extension of ELA, I instruct him to regularly write poems since he has an interest in this area and I help him edit these poems to publish as books. He published his first book, Maneno Moto: Fire Words, last year. I published it for him through CreateSpace.

      I do not homeschool year round because I feel it would be overkill for both of us. During summers, we are involved in community summer programs which typically include reading, math, martial arts, swimming, gardening, arts & crafts, dance, theater, etc… We also travel during the summer and volunteer.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • Rema Abraham

    Blessed Night,
    Glad to read you again! I am developing an African based curriculum for my 5 year old and 7 year old for the summer. I don’t know where to start! How can I break it down?Do I keep it to one subject or a build a course? Please help!
    Stay Blessed,
    R. Abraham

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Ms. Abraham,

      If this program is especially for the summer, you can start with these resources from my post about how to create your own summer camp. For information for that age group about Africana history, I recommend Lessons from History by Jawanza Kunjfu (Elementary Edition) as a starting point.

      If you like, I can put something together for you and post it here. Let me know if that is something you are interested in. I don’t want to stifle our creativity if you would prefer to do it yourself; however, I am happy to put something together for this purpose and post it.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • sonja

    I homeschool a 5 year old and a 10 year old. My main concerns are rooted in my doubts that I am making the right choice for them. I do have Afrikan centered resources that we use and study which I feel is very important (I would not compromise this). I guess my concern lies in the things that I am unable to teach. For instance some public schools offer clubs for music and other arts. And while I am musically inclined I don’t feel like I can give the same experience that I had in band or chorus when I attended public school. And working with only one income limits how much we can spend on these activties.How can I better incorporate arts into our lessons without breaking the bank? Both of my children show talents in these areas that I would like to develop further. I came from public schools some in the military where I had a variety of choices and experiences that I don’t really even see offered in our local public schools and I sometimes wonder if they should go to a charter school for the experiences while I supplement the Afrikan learning portion at home.Any thoughts?

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Sonja,

      Some public schools open their auxiliary activities, such as music and clubs, to homeschooling students. The first step I would suggest is reaching out to the schools in your area who offer these options afterschool and ask if your child/children can participate.

      Another option is to form your own clubs. You can use social media or local forums to solicit the participation of other parents who homeschool and use pooled money to have a professional teach the classes that require greater expertise. For example, if you have 5 children who want to learn piano, you may be able to pay $10 each per class hour and offer a local piano teacher $50 per hour. Or, you can put up a posting at your local college/university and have a student teach for $20 – $30 per hour, which would be $4 – 6 per person per hour based on a 5 person class.

      Then again, you may have a parent in the group who is willing to teach all of the students piano in exchange for another parent offering all of the students art classes. You can use social media and/or local forums to identify other homeschooling parents in your area and work together with them to create classes/clubs some weekends/evenings to fit all of your needs and budgets.

      Most importantly, remember, when you desire something that doesn’t exist – create it. Be the leader that you are. Let me know if this helps and if you need any more guidance in this area.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • Quiet Storm

    Hello,

    This is my 3rd year homeschooling my 2 daughters. I’m a former PS educator & had a lot of materials at my disposal earlier in our home school journey. I’m at the point now where I want to change up my approach, use resources that reflect our culture and values, as well as become more organized (working from home, homeschooling, chores, and following an African Bio Mineral lifestyle is becoming overwhelming! ) I’m needing advice and guidance on how to effectively juggle it all without letting anyone (me) or anything (homeschool & lifestyle ) go to the wayside.

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Claudia,

      My biggest advice, as a fellow juggler, is to be easy on yourself. There are plenty of books and websites out there about scheduling and organization, and if you can utilize those consistently, they will help greatly. However, sometimes the laundry is not going to be done or you forgot to teach math class or you didn’t meet a deadline, and it’s okay! Failure is a part of success. To fail doesn’t make YOU a failure. Every failure is a blessing, an opportunity to learn and grow.

      For homeschooling, I suggest locating the other homeschooling parents in your area and forming a collective where you can all help each other. See the video “How to start a homeschool co-op” by Dr. Samori Camara on my videos page. By working together, it will relieve some of the pressure from you individually and give you more time to work on your business and food preparation. Balance the chores between yourself and other members of the household with a chore chart where each person takes on regular responsibilities. Also, see “The Fly Lady” website for lots of cleaning advice.

      Write down everything that you are currently doing and which parts are most difficult for you. Ask yourself what steps that you can take to make these areas flow more easily. You have the answers within you. Having a lot of outside pressure can lead us to lose trust in our own wisdom, especially when we are walking in uncharted territory.

      For African centered resources, you can start with Jawanza Kunjufu. Also, Samori Camara has a lot of resources on kamaliacademy.com. Additionally, look into books by Patricia and Fred McKissack.

      Here is a book list that you can start with too: http://www.kamaliacademy.com/book-list-for-young-warrior-scholars/

      Let me know if this helps.

      Thank you for your question!

      Please email me through the contact page with your choice of the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • Mari M

    How have you connected with other homeschoolers in a way that supports this culture centered learning? We would love to connect more locally but are often met with resistance about not being more inclusive

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Mari,

      Finding like minded individuals is like fishing – you have to cast your net wide. I would suggest organizing a forum, town hall meeting, or meet up around culture centered learning in your area. Plan it about 8 weeks out so that you have plenty of time to promote via social media, local advertising, and print materials. Even if only 10 parents show up, those could be your allies. Some of those parents may homeschool and others may not. To create a middle ground, you can collectively start an African centered Saturday school that all of your children can attend. Here is a beautiful example of a successful Saturday school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyaCxl8S-AA

      Thank you for your question. I hope this helps. Also, you are one of the 15 winners! Please let me know which one of the 3 e-books that you would like to receive.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Alvin,

      Are you currently in San Antonio? How has that been for you, as far as networking with like-minded parents so far? I teach periodically at an excellent African centered school in San Antonio, New World Learning Institute. Outside of that, I am not familiar with the independent education support system in SA.

      I would say that Houston is a good city for homeschooling because there is a large body of homeschooling parents and a plethora of resources available. If you have income opportunities in Houston, and it works for your family, we would of course welcome you. 🙂

      Thank you for your question. Please reply with your choice of one the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • D.Rose

    What are your best words of advice for someone considering homeschooling? While I am highly frustrated with the lack of learning that happens in public education, I am apprehensive of doing a disservice to my students (ages 6, 10) by removing them from the standard educational institutions. And further, are there any financial subsidies available for home schoolers?

    • nikalaasante

      Hi D,

      Thank you for your question. I would give you a quote as advice, from Thoreau’s Walden.

      “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

      In quoting this excerpt from Walden, I am saying that it you will do fine, and everything will become simpler with time. The universe will conspire in your favor. You will get help from unexpected places because you are willing to do the unconventional.

      As far as financial help, I am glad you asked this questions because I never looked into it before. If you Google “grants for homeschoolers” and “funding for homeschoolers”, you will find some resources that may prove helpful. Here is one, for example: http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/index.php?id=3

      I will look into the funding question more, because it is an issue for many parents. When I find more answers, I will keep you posted.

      Thank you again for your question.

      Please reply with your choice of one the 3 e-books so that I can email it to you.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

  • Keshia

    Hi Claudia,

    This upcoming August/September will be my first time homeschooling my 9 year old son. I have been researching different ways to make the lessons interesting but I am still afraid and a little overwhelmed. My son wants to stay in school. I work full time outside of the house so our homeschooling time will be very different. Do you have any advice for me?

  • Tiffany

    I am ending my ninth year as an elementary teacher in a couple of weeks. I’m seriously considering homeschooling my second grader next year. I have a couple of questions… 1) what curriculum do you recommend for that age group? 2) I’m also thinking of maybe offering to homeschool a few other children in that same age group as well. Do you know someone or have you experienced this?

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Tiffany,

      Congratulations on your career transition. That is a huge step.

      As far as selecting curriculum, there are literally thousands of options. I would recommend researching student-centered learning and choosing the curricular combination that you feel best fits your child/individual students.

      When my son was in second grade, we used a pretty standard Language Arts/Grammar workbook accompanied by a lot of independent reading, journaling, and reading aloud. For Math, we used the Singapore Math system (2A and 2B). For History that year, we used Story of the World Vol. 1 plus the activity book, Lessons from History by Jawanza Kunjufu (Elementary Edition), and a number of picture books with African American or African topic matter. I can give you specifics about the other subjects we covered that year, if you like.

      I would say research different books and curriculum and decide what works best for your child, but be flexible and forgiving, with yourself and your child, the first year.

      Here is some information about how to start a homeschool coop where you involve other children.

      Thank you again for your question and please let me know if this has helped. Also, you are one of the 15 winners! Please let me know which one of the 3 e-books that you would like to receive.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

  • Alisha H.

    Hi there! This fall will be my first year homeschooling my boys (entering 1st and kindergarten). Any tips on how to teach to their levels of understanding without moving too fast for one but not too slow for the other? (I’m not sure if that answers the question in itself) Thanks in advance!

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Alisha,

      Thank you for your question. The first step to homeschooling with children of any age is to research your state’s legal requirements. You can visit HSLDA for this information.

      Next, look into local support groups and activities for your children. Here in Houston for example, we have an African-centered homeschooling collective that meets daily and lots of city-wide weekly activities. For instance, the Houston arboretum offers a science class for homeschooled students that I have enrolled my son in, in the past. The local museums also offer classes and workshops for homeschooled students here.

      Thirdly, reflect on your children’s learning styles. It may be of benefit to you to research student-centered learning. Since your children are no longer in public school, the approach does not have to be based on what works for everyone. You can teach your children based on specifically what works well for them.

      Next, choose a curriculum or system. Kamali Academy offers an African centered curriculum scope and sequence. Here is a list of free curriculum that you can review as well: http://howtohomeschoolforfree.com/full-online-homeschool-curriculum/

      You can also use some of this and some of that like when you are preparing a special stew. We use a combination of resources, based on what is best for my son.

      Lastly, enjoy the process. Be forgiving of yourself. Be gentle. Be forgiving of your children. They are taking a new journey. Talk to experienced parents for support. Have fun – lots of fun. With children of those ages, you really do not need to cover academic subjects more than 3 or so hours each day. Outside of that, play outdoors, paint, sing, dance, make crafts, watch education videos, go on field trips, explore nature, watch the stars, converse, prepare food together, give hugs, watch movies, discuss, and just have a blast.

      Thank you again for your question. I may have given more information than what you were asking for, but please let me know if this answers your question. I think that the third step alone focuses most specifically on the core of your inquiry.

      Also, you are one of the 15 winners! Please let me know which one of the 3 e-books that you would like to receive.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

    • nikalaasante

      Hi! Thank you for staying tuned. 🙂

      The main challenge with homeschooling one child has been to always surround ourselves with other homeschooled children so that he could have enough socialization. The first year, we belonged to a collective that dissolved. The second year, me and another parent split our school day half and half – I took her son and my son half of the day and vice versa. We had to plan our curriculum together in order to do this because we were each responsible for certain classes each day. This approach worked really well.

      The third year, we joined another collective, which also dissolved. The issues with the groups were around parents needing to change directions in their lives, but the same group of students has essentially stuck together and moved through the various collectives.

      During the fourth through the sixth year, and we are at six years homeschooling this year, we were solo for some stretches. However, I would always take him to a community after school program. In 2014, I had a big event in Houston where I called through social media for all of the Black homeschooling parents to come together. After this meeting, I made a facebook group to be able to communicate with most of them at once. Right now, there are 149 parents in the group. This serves as a vehicle to have periodic events where all of our children can meet up and socialize together.

      Right now, we have a community collective that is formed of all the parents and children who have cycled through the previous collectives, and new folks too. We have 20 children who come everyday and parents work together to teach the classes. I feel that this is the best approach for taking the weight off individuals while allowing the children to be around other little ones with similar goals (reaching their purpose, cultural awareness, environmental protection, etc…).

      Thank you for your question! What has been your biggest challenge?

      Love and Light,

      Nikala Asante

    • nikalaasante

      Also, you are one of the 15 winners! Please let me know which one of the 3 e-books that you would like to receive.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Dr. Akua!

      I was not previously familiar with the Reading Mastery program, but after reviewing the description online, it seems to be a strong system based on combining multiple approaches to achieve mastery.

      For the last child that I taught to read, I used a combination of hooked on phonics, sight word lists, flashcards, abcmouse (during his free time) and lots of reading aloud. This approach was based on what worked well for my student individually, and I would not suggest it as a blanket approach.

      The Reading Mastery program seems to be a lot more systematic and well-researched. Another system that I had success with with the tutoring students is Teach Your Child to Read in 10 minutes a day by Sidney Ledson. Using this book along with lots of reading aloud, the 2 students that I was working with learned to read before we even finished the entire Ledson book. What I did not like about it is that it is not as fun and colorful as Hooked on Phonics or ABC Mouse.

      A third system that I would suggest looking into is the “Charlotte Mason Way“. My best friend, the woman who inspired me with the courage to home school, used this system with her son. By the age of 6, he was reading as fluently as a middle school student. The CM way is Christian-based, but can be easily adapted to fit whichever spiritual system you choose. You would just read your choice of spiritual text in place of the Bible.

      Thank you for your question! Please let me know if you need more information on any of these points.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

    • nikalaasante

      Also, you are one of the 15 winners! Please let me know which one of the 3 e-books that you would like to receive.

      Love and Light,

      Nikala

  • Ashley Brown

    I’m looking to move to Belize in 2017 and will continue homeschooling my 2 boys. I have had no luck finding out the laws to homeschool in Belize. Have you researched any of that yet?

    • nikalaasante

      Hi Ashley,

      I met several homeschoolers there, both African American and Belizean, and they had no issues with homeschooling freely. Also, there is a large homeschooling community in Plascencia. I will be looking more into it, but it seems very conducive to homeschooling from what I saw on my most recent trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *