Tag Archives: African history

Approaches to Homeschooling in the 21st Century

IMG_20140630_105232 (2)

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  This concept of home schooling is outdated, if it ever held any truth.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

October is Black Science Month!

3157_451836334859369_470653295_n

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.

23927_450929008283435_260161252_n

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

Free E-Book This Week Only: Education for Liberation: The Top 20 Questions and Answers for Black Homeschoolers

Free E-Book Here

black homeschool

Greetings,

I hope that you can benefit from this valuable information provided by Dr. Samori Camara.  Download the full book free on your Kindle this week only.

While we all have our unique approaches to homeschooling, it is important to understand major methods as relates to what is best for our children.  African Centered Education, as encouraged by Dr. Camara, puts African antiquity and modernity in the center of what can be a highly multicultural curriculum.  Consider that there are thousands of cultures within the African Diaspora for our children to learn about, as well as European and Asiatic cultures.

Have your children learned about the Ashanti or the Mau-Mau?  What about the Ba-Aka or Maasai?  Does your child smile when he or she hears that you are about to recount an Anansi tale?  Does he or she get excited at the thought of plantains or fufu?  If you have not already researched African Centered Education, you will learn more about it in this free e-book, as well as gaining insights into homeschooling that will help any parent.

The book description on Amazon is as follows:

Are you ready to take the education of your child into your own hands? Are you disgusted with over testing and miseducation? Are you unsure about how to go about getting started on the journey of providing education for liberation?

Then, this book is for you. Within it, I use my years of practice and research to answer the most pressing questions new homeschooling parents have. No need to scour the internet getting half-truths and whole lies. The answers are here.

Will your child be able to go to college? Without question!

Can you do it? Absolutely!

“As parents you are the first teachers, so why not continue that natural process. You can teach your child using a culturally relevant curriculum, cultivate their minds and grow their spirits, and help bring out the natural genius already within them. You can find the time, resources, and faith to give your child the greatest gift: the gift of self-love, self-awareness, and self-determination.”

About the author:

Samori Camara, Ph.D., is the Founder and Director of Kamali Academy, an African-centered school in New Orleans, and is quickly becoming one of the nation’s leading authorities on Black education and building independent Black educational institutions.

Kamali Academy in New Orleans:

kamali

All the Best to You and Your Family,

Nikala Asante

 

African Centered Curriculum

Screen-Shot-2013-08-12-at-9.25.26-PM

Greetings!

Many Black parents want to create a culturally astute homeschool for their children, but do not know where to begin.  Unfortunately, there is not a ton of packaged curricula available that begins in ancient Africa and follows the Diaspora to modern times.  The great news is, there are committed young people working to make this happen.

One such brother is Dr. Samori Camara of New Orleans, Louisiana.

samori

He founded and continues to maintain an African-centered homeschool collective, Kamali Academy.  Kamali has received national press for its effectiveness, in publications such as Source Magazine.  Dr. Camara has also published a book and many videos to assist parents with home education.  In addition, he provides online classes in subjects such as Mental Math, The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, and Afrikan Literature (the “k” in Afrikan representing African people all over the world, rather than only on the continent).

Presently, Dr. Camara has continued his path of creating a strong body of resources for home educators by building a detailed K-12 Curriculum.  The entire collection can be purchased for immediate download at a cost comparable to purchasing one subject textbook for one child.  Preview or purchase the curriculum here (http://www.kamaliacademy.com/curriculum/).

While it is important to have guidance, it is just as crucial that we continue to compile pedagogical ideas and curriculum that we feel are relevant to the canon of African-centered education.  As we share that content, we can expand the amount of information available for future educators.

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

What Kind of Adults Will Our Children Be? Part 1

Greetings,

The goal of 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.

Which traits are representative of these ideal adults that we are molding?

Dr. Amos Wilson, author of many books on African American child psychology, such as The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child and Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children, offers a list of attributes to cultivate in Black children based on traditional African values.

  • respect for adults
  • independence
  • persistence
  • curiosity
  • experimentation
  • discovery
  • universal sense of justice
  • respect for order
  • social interest
  • good manners
  • sensitivity to persons and environment
  • self-esteem/family and community pride
  • commitment to promises made or contracts
  • love of learning
  • ethnic/cultural identity
  • general care for humans of all races
  • reverence for life

How do we nurture these traits within our children?  

The first and best way to teach our children any good habit is to model it.  Outside of that, whichever spiritual system that we practice will serve as much of the moral foundation for our children.  Even if you do not consider yourself religious, be sure to discuss morals on a regular basis.

We can also look to the moral guidelines from traditional Africa and teach our children not just to memorize them, but to practice them in daily life.

The Nguzo Saba

The Nguzo Saba is a character-guiding system based on East African tenets.  It was adapted in the 20th century by Maulana Karenga, an African American scholar into seven simple principles.

NGUZO SABA
(The Seven Principles)

Kwanzaa Symbol - Umoja (unity)   Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Kwanzaa symbol- Kujichagulia (self-determination   Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for                   ourselves.
Kwanzaa Symbol - Ujima (collective work and responsibility)    Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and   sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
  Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to   profit from them together.
Kwanzaa symbols - Nia (purpose)   Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community   in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kwanzaa symbol - Kuumba (Creativity)   Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our   community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Kwanzaa symbol - Imani (faith) Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

How can we practice the Nguzo Saba?

We can think of creative ways to incorporate the Seven Principles into our daily lives.

For instance, unity can be demonstrated by working as a team to cook a healthy dinner or clean the house.  Unity can also be practiced by working together to accomplish a larger goal, such as cleaning up a block in our neighborhood.

My son and I sometimes go downtown to help feed the homeless.  We meet up with a wonderful group here in Houston that serves dinner to over 100 people 4 times a week.  When we go there and interact with homeless of all races and genders that we might normally pass by on the street, it has a profound impact on both me and my son.

This week, let us all practice the first principle, Unity, in creative ways.  Please leave feedback in the comments about how Unity was applied in your home this week.

Over the coming blogs on this topic, I will suggest methods for implementing the other 6 principles as well as introduce other traditional African moral systems.

Stay tuned!

(Artwork by BrothaJ2 from deviantart.com)