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Book Release + A Contest: Character Building for African Centered Scholars

Greetings,

The time has arrived!  Character Building for African Centered Scholars is available both as a trade paperback and as an e-book!  As you requested, I am running a CONTEST to give away some copies!  The first 7 people to comment on this post will each receive a free e-copy of Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  (If you are one of the lucky winners, please leave a review on Amazon!)

Even those who win copies may still want trade paperbacks too, so here is all of the info for where to snag your copies. (Also, you can check out the awesome Amazon previews!!!):

Character Building for African Centered Scholars, Grades 1 – 4

Character Building for African Centered Scholars, Grades 4 and Up

Again, thank you for your support, and I will be posting lots of great free resources for the semester soon, so be on the lookout!

Grades 1 - 4

Grades 1 – 4

Grades 4 and Up

Grades 4 and Up

Would you like to have a simple, fun, and interactive way to teach your children African centered moral and spiritual principles in a way where they can easily understand and apply them?

I am excited beyond words to announce that I have released a book series titled Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  The first two books are for Grades 1 – 4 and Grades 4 and Up.  The following books in this series will expand more in detail on the ideas covered in the main books or add to them.

In Character Building for African Centered Scholars, your students will learn character building principles from Ma’at, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba, the Adrinka Symbols , and more!  The many sacrifices that we make to educate our children are for one reason and one reason only: to shape them into successful, critically thinking, and independent adults with good characters.   Each book is fun, interactive, and written in a way where it serves as both a textbook and a workbook!  I’m so thrilled and you will be too!

With Love,

Nikala Asante

New Book Series: Character Building for African Centered Scholars

Greetings,

Grades 1 - 4

Grades 1 – 4

Grades 4 and Up

Grades 4 and Up

Do you struggle with your children’s behavior at times?  Are you looking for a way to include Character Building in your curriculum, but can only find overly simplistic or strictly religious workbooks on the topic?  Would you like to have a simple, fun, and interactive way to teach your children African centered spiritual and moral principles in a way where they can easily understand and apply them?

I am excited beyond words to announce that I am releasing a book series this August (just a few weeks away!) titled Character Building for African Centered Scholars.  The first two books are for Grades 1 -4 (77 pages) and Grades 4 and Up (107 pages).  The following books in this series will expand more in detail on the ideas covered in the main books or add to them.

In Character Building for African Centered Scholars, your students will learn character building principles from Ma’at, Iwa Pele, Nguzo Saba, the Adrinka Symbols , and more!  The many sacrifices that we make to educate our children are for one reason and one reason only: to shape them into successful, critically thinking, and independent adults with good characters.   Each book is fun, interactive, and written in a way where it serves as both a textbook and a workbook!  I’m so thrilled and you will be too!

Pre-Order Now for a 20% discount!!!  Your book will be shipped by August 31, 2015.

Each chapter is easy to read for self-guided work, with images and lots of activities.  Also, there are additional activities in the back of the book to keep your student engaged and developing an excellent character:

Read an excerpt from the chapter discussing Ma’at (From Character Building for African Centered Scholars: Grades 4 and Up):

MA’AT

“I have satisfied God with that which He loves.  I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the naked, and a boat to those without one.” – The Book of Coming Forth by Day

Ma’at is a concept of morality that originated in Kemet (ancient Egypt).  The figure of Ma’at as expressed in hieroglyphic carvings is that of a woman with extended wings or a woman with a feather on her crown.  According to this spiritual philosophy, when a human being transitions out of the physical realm (death), he or she meets Ma’at, and then his or her heart is weighed against a feather.

If one’s heart is weighted heavily with wrongdoing and poor character, it will be eaten by Ammit, a monstrous being who is part lion, part crocodile, and part hippopotamus.   Once this happens, one will not be able to achieve eternal life, but will instead become a restless spirit – a ghost.

How do we interpret this in modern day terms?  First, let’s look at the meaning of eternal life, or immortality.  Can one truly become immortal?  If so, we have not witnessed this phenomenon on earth.  Science has not generated immortality on earth, nor has religion.  However, we do see that humans have achieved immortality through their legacies.

For example, let’s examine the story of Imhotep, who is best known for being the architect of the oldest known pyramid.  He was born around 2,667 BCE – nearly 5,000 years ago.  Imhotep was born neither rich nor privileged, but he worked hard to develop his intelligence and to be of service to those greater than him.  He did not just sit around and think, “I wish that I was smarter,” – he studied regularly to build his knowledge.  He did not just read to make good grades or to impress others.  He put his knowledge into action.  In turn, he developed himself into the first known physician, a legendary architect, a brilliant poet, a scribe, an astronomer, and the advisor to King Djoser.  He went from being a regular kid with no special head start in life to being a multi-talented genius who gave advice to the king.  Wow, isn’t that incredible?

As a result of Imhotep’s practice of good character, he left a legacy that is still widely honored and studied nearly 5,000 years later.  That is a form of immortality.  Imagine – what if people are still learning from your life 5,000 years from now?  That was the goal of many ancient Egyptians – to live their lives so well, with such upright actions, with such beneficial works, that people would still study their lives as examples for how to live, thousands of years later.  Let’s now examine the principles of Ma’at to understand how the Kemetic people went about striving towards immortality.

SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MA’AT

  1. Truth
  2. Justice
  3. Harmony
  4. Balance
  5. Order
  6. Reciprocity
  7. Propriety

What do these principles mean and how can we practice them daily?

TRUTH – Truth is to tell what really happened, i.e. not telling lies.  But, truth is also to understand what is real and what is false.  When we commit to learning history, we can separate fact from fiction and take action based on full knowledge.  For example, we know that Christopher Columbus did not discover America, so we do not honor him, celebrate him, or idolize him in any way.  We instead honor and celebrate real leaders who made sincere contributions to the advancement of African people all over the world, and to all humanity.  Truth also applies to being able to critically analyze the information that we receive for flaws or biases.  If we read a news article that refers to one young male who got into some trouble as a criminal, and another young male of a different ethnic group or culture who made a similar mistake as a troubled teen – that is a bias.  They may have both been troubled teens who needed help.  You can then write in to the news outlet asking them to make a correction, or you can write your own newspaper or blog to report from a more unbiased perspective.  Actions like these would demonstrate your commitment to truth, and also help shape your legacy.

(Pre-order now!)

Check out the Table of Contents for Character Building for African Centered Scholars: Grades 4 and Up.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction                                               7

How to Use this Book                                 11

Character Building Principles:

Ma’at                                               16

Iwa Pele                                            47

Nguzo Saba                                     61

Adrinka Symbols                              74

Character Building Examples:

Queen Nzinga                                  81

Shaka Zulu                                        82

Marcus Garvey                                83

Fannie Lou Hamer                            85

Alice Walker                                     86

Putting Principles into Practice:

Creative Writing                               89

Music                                                          90

Visual Art                                          91

Technology                             92

Critical Thinking                                93

Community Service Extensions                 94

My Glossary                                               97

My Notes                                                    101

Thank you for reading this far!  I may run a contest to offer free copies to select followers.  Comment if you would be interested in a contest of this nature. :-)

All the best to you and your family!

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

Approaches to Homeschooling in the 21st Century

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Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm X

Greetings,

Home education can take various forms, according to your needs and resources.  One common perception of home schooling is that you will spend all day at home with your children, painstakingly drilling through academic subjects, while isolating them from the rest of the world.  The most frequent that you will be asked as a home schooling parent is, “What do your children do for socialization?”  This concept of home schooling is outdated, if it ever held any truth.

Personally, I am a single mother who works part time during the year and full time during the summers, attends school, and home schools my son.  Thus, I have had to be very innovative in my approach to home schooling.  I use a combination of the three methods that I have listed below.  If you struggle with making money while home schooling, visit How to Work and Homeschool.

What I can tell you is that home schooling your children does not require 8 hours a day and you do not have to do it alone.  Honestly, there are too many resources and like-minded parents available to make doing it alone necessary.  

As you plan your upcoming school year, reflect on these methods for home-educating: 

Old School:

Decide which subjects that you want your children to study and secure books and worksheets in these subjects.  Combine instruction, self-guided exercises, and independent projects.  Include online components, outdoor play, and regular exercise.  Plan daily time for reading, whether that be student independent reading or you reading aloud.  Allow your child to fellowship with other children through after school programs, academic clubs, community/district sports teams, and/or religious meetings.

Home School Collective/Cooperative:

You will still decide which subject that you want your children to learn, but you may not be teaching/guiding in all of these subjects.  You will work with 1 or more other parents to provide a collective education for your children.  Sit down before the semester begins and plan which times and subjects that each of you will teach or guide the students.  For instance, you may teach English and Writing, another parent may teach Math and Science, and another parent may teach French and Art.  

If you need to work part-time, you may leave your child with the other parents for a certain amount of hours each day and they may do the same with you.  Or, you may work full-time and pay or barter with the other parents to teach/guide most of all of your children’s subjects.  The reason that I said, “teach or guide” is because not all subjects require teaching.  

A new math lesson, for example, may require 15 minutes of presentation and demonstration and the exercises can be completed alone by your student in an additional 45 minutes, with a small amount of guidance.  Similarly, a reading comprehension selection with questions can be completed independently many students, third grade and above.  Also, junior high and high school students should be taught how to learn rather than just memorizing what is taught in lecture format.  At the JH/HS level, well-taught students can follow in-text directions, watch online videos, complete independent research for a majority of their work.

Mixing it Up:

Another approach to home education is to take advantage of local classes and opportunities being offered.  Your city’s major museum may offer a fine arts class for home schooled children, while the Black bookstore may have a Saturday history class.  Many nature centers/arboretums and libraries also have home school offerings.  

Research free and paid home school classes and activities in your city at the beginning of the semester, and you can combine your selections into the daily schedule.  Also check your local YMCA, community center, or parks for swim, martial arts, boxing, soccer, softball, basketball, football, or other athletic training that may interest your child.  

Another important resource to research is musical training in your area.  You can enroll your child in private lessons for any instrument that you choose, and join or form a home schooled children’s band.  Free or low cost language courses are offered through many public libraries or religious facilities as well.  For instance, in Houston, children can learn Spanish or Mandarin Chinese for free through Houston Public Library, French for  a low cost through Houston French Alliance, and or Arabic through local mosques.  In any area with online access, your child can use free resources like Duolingo to learn a foreign language.

Are you already using one or more of these approaches?  Are you planning to incorporate part of all of an approach listed here for the coming school year?  If so, please get back to me and let me know how it works out for you.  Blessings to you and your family!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

 © 2014 Nikala Asante

International Pen Pals

Greetings,

Today, my son received his first letter (via email) from a boy his age in Senegal.  This is the first time that my son has ever had a pen pal, and he is really excited about it.  I have been researching international work exchange (volunteering with a family, business, or NGO in exchange for room and board) and found a sweet homeschooling mom in Senegal who needs help with her children for a semester or so.  If things go well with our children getting to know each other, maybe we will stay with her family for a little while to gain a different experience of the world.  (If you are interested in opportunities like these, visit workaway or  HelpX.)

Benefits of a Pen Pal

senegal1

Having a pen pal can help our children to learn more about their selves and about the world.  They can also practice reading, writing, and typing skills in the process.  You can tie in lesson plans on English Language Arts, Geography, and Social Studies easily into your children’s pen pal writing assignments.  For instance, they can learn about the terrain and weather in their new friend’s country, the history, the culture, and the literary classics.  Also, they have fun playing the games and sports that their friend abroad plays.  Best of all, you can try the delicious international foods together!

macarons, peanut soup 048

Over the next week, my son and I will learn more about Senegal at the library and on the internet so that we can better understand his new friend’s country.

Finding a Pen Pal

If you would like to get your children started with International Pen Pals, there are several sites that can help.

Students of the World: Etudiants du Monde (Students of the World) is a French non-profit association, whose aim and ambition is to open the doors of the world’s cultures to young people. If you are a student, then the website will  propose you pen-friends who are the same age as you, in the countries of your choice. Then, you will be able to discover new cultures, exchange ideas, stamps, postcards, improve your knowledge of a foreign language, and why not decide later to travel there ? The database includes 250,000 pen pals from 220 countries, 4,000 blogs, 7,000 clubs, 2,500 pen pal groups, many forums, educational games, 248 schools from 57 countries, and cultural information about 234 countries & territories (including 234 forums, 532 touristic pictures from 65 countries and 750 “virtual tours” views from several countries).

Global Pen Friends: Global Penfriends Internet Friends Club specialises in Postal and E-mail pen pals from all around the world. Their members are REAL people of all ages, looking for pen friends. Registration and profile submission is free. Their goal is to create a comprehensive listing of people from all over the globe who are interested in communicating with other people, whether it be for friendship, cultural exchange, language, travel or education.  The site is family friendly and developed with Safety in mind. People of all ages are welcome here and can search for new contacts in a safe and friendly environment. All profiles on our system are manually approved for language and content.

My Language Exchange: My Language Exchange is the effort of Helene Cormier and Dan Yuen to help people all over the world learn, practice and become fluent in a foreign language.  Together, they decided to use the Internet to bring the benefits of language exchange practice to people all over the world. In October 2000, MyLanguageExchange.com was launched. This was an online community that has since helped thousands of people find language exchange partners and improve their second language.

Pen Pal Safety:

There are some basic rules that you can follow to keep your child safe when writing to a pen pal.

1. Choose reputable websites.

2. Use Skype or other video chat software to verify that the person you are writing to is a child.

3. Don’t arrange to meet with anyone without having had extensive conversation and doing some of your own research.

4. Never send money to anyone.

5. Don’t respond to requests for sensitive personal information (i.e. copy of your passport, social security numbers, etc…)

The sixth rule here should be HAVE FUN, but I already know that you will do that. :D

I hope that your children have a great time with their new pen pals.  Let me know how it goes!  We will do the same.

All Best,

Nikala Asante

 

October is Black Science Month!

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Greetings,

If you have never heard of Black Science Month, it is no fault of yours.  This special time to celebrate Africana scientists was recently established by four young African Americans: Leonce Hall, Kimberly Washington, Sydeaka Poisson, and Asar Imhotep.  They are committed to “promoting the accomplishments and achievements of Blacks in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”.  Currently, while Black Science Month’s website is under construction, the collective is sharing tons of valuable information on their FaceBook Page (https://www.facebook.com/BlackScienceMonth).  Some of their recent posts concern free medical school for Blacks and Latinos, a link to a Black inventor online museum, and a cartoon with Black characters personifying the scientific method.

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Blacks are “not good” in Math or Science is a long proclaimed myth that through self-fulfilled prophecy, is affecting many of our children each day.  How many of our boys believe that they are supposed to excel in athletics and struggle with academics?  How many of our girls believe that computer programming and electrical engineering is only for Whites and Asians?  Projects like Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S (a hip-hop based science program) and Black Girls Code  (both of which are shared on Black Science Month) are working diligently to change these myths.

Fallacies about Africans in Science are also dismantled by Black Science Month.  Many students believe that Africa is one big charity case or war zone, based on images that they have seen in the media.  Learning about the Nigerian who built a jet car that runs on the road and sea or the South African student who invented a waterless shower will open students’ eyes to a new reality.  A reality in which their history and present is inundated with creative genius.

Asar Imhotep, a University of Houston Linguistics alum, states that he got involved with creating the page, “to encourage Black people to participate more in the various sciences, whether it be Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Mathematics, Agriculture…”.  Imhotep gave us the inside scoop on what’s next for Black Science Month – exciting science experiments that children can conduct at home!  Like the page on FaceBook and stay tuned throughout the year for news, history, opportunities, and much more!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

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

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

Six Teaching Tools for Black History Month | Edutopia

Greetings,

I hope that you and your students have been having an awesome week.  Here are six great resources for Black History Month to get February off to a great start.

All Best,

Nikala

Six Teaching Tools for Black History Month | Edutopia.

Black History Month Teaching Tools

Black History Month Teaching Tools

Greetings,

I hope that you and your students have been having an awesome week.  Here are six great resources for Black History Month to get February off to a great start. 

All Best, 

Nikala

Black History Month Resources

King_Jr_Martin_Luther_093.jpg

It’s that time of year again – Black History Month.  While African American History needs to be celebrated year round, February is a great opportunity to stock up on diverse lesson plans and printables.

Below is a starter list of links that I found useful.  We can continue to build this list together as the weeks go by.

Please check back every week or so for updates on this post.

Free Black History Month Resources:

http://edhelper.com/BlackHistory.htm: Free printable plays, easy readers, photographs, lesson units, and more on African American history.  This is a GREAT site from what I see.

http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/soc_studies/blackhistory/:

Teachnology offers many free Black History printables.  Please be sure to check out the “Revolutionaries of African American History” printables at the top.

http://homeschooling.about.com/od/holidays/ss/blackhistprint_all.htm: “Famous Firsts” Black History Month Printables including word searches, crossword puzzles, and draw & writes.  I challenge you to research the history of 5 people of African descent that made notable contributions to history before the Transatlantic Slave Trade to include in your Black History month curriculum this year!

http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/black-history-month.htm: National Education Association presents lesson plans, quizzes, printables, video, audio on Black History.  Poetry, literature, jazz, and much more…

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/inventors/: Scholastic presents “Top Ten African American Inventors”.  Click the “Find out More” button after the short synopsis on each inventor to see more detailed biographies.

http://www.abcteach.com/directory/holidays-months-and-seasons-months-february-black-history-month-3635-2-1: ABC Teach Free Printables including Black History KWL Charts, Report Forms, and Acrostic Poem Forms.

http://www.nickjr.com/printables/all-shows/seasonal_black-history-month/all-ages/index.jhtml: African American history activities and printables.

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/black-history-month/teacher-resources/6602.html: Includes many free crafts, lessons, quizzes, and activities on Black History.