Tag Archives: multi-cultural

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

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

Fulfilling Responsibility: My Drop in the Bucket

Coaxing a small girl to take deworming medication.

Coaxing a small girl to take deworming medication

Greetings,

As I recently shared, I spent two weeks of service in Haiti in the latter half of May.  Here in the States, I often feel that I am living in false reality.  In the age of social media, talk is confused with action and acknowledgment is mistaken for participation.  When I am not actively contributing to solutions – my intelligence is only self-placating and my degree useless.  It is not enough to know.  I must do.  It is my human obligation to direct my life in a way that adds to alleviation rather than exacerbation of the ills of the world.

 It is my human obligation to direct my life in a way that adds to alleviation rather than exacerbation of the ills of the world.

Due to the United States unique and often exploitative relationship with Haiti, anytime that I buy a shirt, I may be supporting a sweatshop.  The CEOS get rich while the workers have to choose between eating and sending their children to school.  Anytime that I use my phone, I may be supporting a call center that does not allow pregnant women to breastfeed or take restroom breaks.  These are all things that I have heard personal testimonies of well-known American companies doing in Haiti.

I cannot completely eliminate my role in Haitian exploitation because imbalanced trade with developing countries is so circumferential to our economic system.  However, I can proffer alms to equity.  As a good friend recently told me, it may be only a drop in the bucket, but if no one puts any drops in the bucket, the bucket will be empty.

My “drop” is a choice to support a young girl’s education.  Elandia is in second grade. Her favorite class is reading.  Elandia, her mother, and 2 sisters live in a small tent in CAPVA since the earthquake of 2010. Someday, she wants to live in a big house and have her own bed.  She aspires to be a doctor because there are many sick people living in CAPVA that aren’t able to receive medical care.

Elandia Pierre-Louis

Elandia Pierre-Louis

I met Elandia while running a deworming station near her school.  Contrary to the norm in Haiti, Elandia’s mother does not have to pay for school.  It is funded by donor contributions.  Elandia and her classmates’ educations depend on people continuing to care enough to donate.

Whether Elandia has a uniform each semester (usually children in Capva’s only real outfit) depends on if those who begin to donate remember that children are always growing.  Some of Elandia’s friends came to school nearly naked because no one donated for uniforms for them this year.  Some boys wore only women’s blouses that hung to their knees, because that was all they had.

988486_779144432130788_442353307345271042_n

 How you decide to put your drop in the global bucket is your choice.  Today, I made my first $30 monthly contribution to Elandia.  My $30 will pay for her books, uniforms, and help to keep the school running for her peers.  If you would like to do the same or find out more, please visit holdthechildren.org.

Many friends have told me that they want to contribute to an international aid group, but are afraid that the money is not really going to the children.  I visited Elandia’s school myself and can vouch for the credibility of the organization.  Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  God bless you.

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Creating Cross Curricular Lessons

Greetings,

Interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching involves a conscious effort to apply knowledge, principles, and/or values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously. The disciplines may be related through a central theme, issue, problem, process, topic, or experience (Jacobs, 1989).

Malcolm X - El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

Malcolm X – El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

What are Cross Curricular Lessons?

Cross curricular lessons integrate knowledge, improve learning, and increase student engagement.  Instead of narrowly focusing on one subject at a time (i.e.: adding single-digit numbers for a Kindergartner), the student interacts with multiple subjects around one central objective (i.e.: learning to make a fruit salad using single-digit calculations – 6 grapes + 4 grapes equal ?, etc…).

Where can I find some to use this week?

KinderArt is a great site for free Cross Curriculum Art lessons, grades K-12.  Objectives from the disciplines of Math, Literature, Geography, Music, P.E., Science, Social Studies, Transportation, and Architecture are introduced through fun art activities.  KinderArt also has great multicultural lessons.

The National Education Association has put together this awesome free collection of lesson plans, printables, and videos with various disciplines such as Math, Art, Architecture, and History learned through lessons from Mayan culture.  The lessons are targeted toward grades 5-12.

Games Children Play introduces children’s games from around the world, through which your students will improve knowledge in math, history, and language arts, while having a great time and being introduced to a new culture.  I can’t wait to play Senet, a board game from ancient Kemet (Egypt).

How do create Cross Curricular Lessons?

First, decide what the objective that you would like to centrally teach.  For example, in the video below, I wanted my son to understand that poems were not composed of just words, but of images.  When he writes his poetry, he can be cognizant of including images as well.  Sometimes poets can get so caught up in their language that we forget to string images together.  I am sure that you can think of a poem that you read in high school that seemed to be a heap of vocabulary with a signature, instead of an accessible piece of art.

In order to reach our objective, I shared an excerpt from my poem, The 16th Strike.  Since the images in the poem are connected to specific historical events, we had to stop multiple times for clarification.  This was great because the lesson became creative writing, art, and history – all-in-one.

Enjoy the video and please, let us know how you create cross curricular lesson plans.

 

 

How to Work and Homeschool

Image

Greetings!

I hope that your week has gone tremendously well.  The topic for today is how to work and homeschool.  My personal situation is a little unique.  I am a single mother, I homeschool, work 2 part-time jobs, and go to school full-time.  First, I will tell you how I am able to do this.  Then, I will present some other options that you can consider.

My hectic schedule works (and pretty well too!) because I organize with other homeschooling parents in my community to teach my son for part of the day, and in return, I teach their children for part of the day.  He also attends piano lessons with another parent and her child while I am at work.  Both of my jobs allow me the flexibility to study at the office; so, I use this time wisely to stay on top of my schoolwork.  Also, one of my jobs, which I work on the weekends with a non-profit organization, allows me to bring my son with me.  He even helps me at work.

The take-away from my set-up is that if you work together with other parents, even if they are just “sitting” for you part of the day, your child(ren) can have a rich homeschool experience.  Also, they get that fun “socialization” component in!

Now, here are some other options to think over:

  • Start a homeschool collective or co-op (while this link is for a Catholic Co-op, I think that the information is relevant for groups of any religion)
  •  Run a website with items for sale
  • Teach English online
  • Work at home as a call center rep
  • Make jewelry (or other craft items) and sell them on Etsy
  • Clean houses or offices part-time (and take your children)
  • Tutoring from home
  • Instrument lessons
  • Become a licensed childcare provider
  • Join a MLM like Avon or Mary Kay and host parties
  • Host an Exchange Student
  • Substitute Teach
  • Website or Graphic Design
  • Pet Sit
  • Make Gift Baskets or Floral Arrangements
  • Become an online educator (for an online K-12 school, for a college/university, or independently for a subject you are an expert in, i.e.: writing a blog, hosting webinars, and doing consultations for that subject)
  • Creating and teaching an online course independently with a site like schoology or coursesites and collecting payment with PayPal

What are other ideas that you have for how to work and homeschool?  Please share!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Green Belt Movement Curriculum

Greetings,

I hope that your week is going well.  Today, I want to talk about a super heroine of mine.

Dr. Wangari Maathai she was born in a small town in the East African country of Kenya.  Even though it was hard for a girl to get an education in this area, she completed grade school, flew to the USA and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences, and a PhD in Anatomy.

She used her love for science and nature to start the Green Belt Movement  in 1977.  Women involved in the GBM have planted more than 10 million trees since 1977 which has helped to restore the soil in Kenya after immense deforestation.

Dr. Maathai was the first African woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize.  She earned this honor for her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy, and peace”.

She received honorary doctorate degrees from 13 universities, in Kenya, the USA, Norway, and  Japan.  She also received over 55 awards in her lifetime, such as the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights from South Africa and the Indira Gandhi International Award for Peace from India.  Dr. Maathai was voted one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine and one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine. 

Sadly, Dr. Maathai passed away in September 2011.  Fortunately, her legacy continues.  The Green Belt Movement has published a Community Classroom curriculum through PBS including lesson plans, handouts, and videos for grades 9-12 (or ambitious&talented younger students). 

Please make use of this curriculum to expand your students’ social, environmental, and cultural awareness. 

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

Greetings,

I have sometimes heard people say, “Isn’t education just education?  There is no Black or White education… it’s all about what works.”

By the same token, I have heard people say, “Literature is just literature.  It’s not Black or White.”

Some even go as far as to say labeling education or literature by race or culture is “racist”.  (Sidenote: Culture is what is important here.  ”Race” is a social concept based on phenotype.)

So, let’s talk about culture.  Which cultural group is predominantly central to modern education and literature?  The answer is obvious: Anglo-Saxon culture.

This is not accusatory, it’s just a fact.  If you take an English, History, or Math class, you will learn about Shakespeare, the Greeks and Romans, and Pythagoras.  You will be less likely to learn about August Wilson (a great African American playwright), the ancient empire of Mali, and Imhotep (the first known physician – an African).  If you are a Black student, you see Europeans being great throughout history.  Yet, your “history” is limited to a handful of heroes and heroines spanning from Harriet Tubman to President Barack Obama.

Let’s talk about literature.  One can attain a PhD in literature without reading more than a few Black authors.  How many literature students are required to read from the African Writers’ Series or the Norton Anthology of African American Literature outside of those specializing in Africana Studies?

If you are a Black student, should you not read more literature reflective of history and cultures of the African Diaspora?  Would that not grant you a greater understanding of your modern plight?

Would a well-balanced education with account of Africana contributions to all disciplines not grant you greater knowledge to solve modern Africana problems?

With these questions in mind, please enjoy this wonderful video by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie on the danger of a single story.

Herbs: Indoor Container Gardening Part 2

Image

Greetings,

As I begin to collect items for our indoor container garden, I am finding some very helpful printables and lesson plans. 

Herbs in the Classroom: Begin a small herb garden with an egg carton or Dixie cups.

Herb Identification Worksheet: Identify summer herbs with this neat free printable.  Some included are dill, rosemary, and basil.

Start a Pizza Herb Garden: plant herbs that your children will use to make a pizza!

Herbs for Kids: What’s Safe, What’s Not: From WebMD. St. John’s Wort, for instance, is not okay for kids.  Many herbs are.  Lemon balm for instance, calms anxiety.  (Use herbs for medicinal purposes at your own risk/benefit.)

Sensory Herb Garden Handout: Which herbs have the strongest smells and tastes that children can enjoy?  Use this handout to better understand the sensory aspect of your herb garden.

I hope you find these helpful.  Also, here are some generally helpful kids’ gardening printables:

Plant Parts: Parts of a plant.

Plant Growth: How a seed grows.

Plant Measurement: Track plant growth with this free printable.

Enjoy!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Indoor Container Gardening

herbs

Greetings,

We recently purchased a little pot of lavender with the goal of starting a small indoor container garden of herbs and vegetables.  For those of us who are yard space-challenged, indoor gardening may be an optimal option to get in touch with our green thumbs.  Our lavender has already grown to about 150% of its original size within 3 weeks.  With this in mind, we will be expanding our indoor garden to include more herbs and a few vegetables.

Gardening is a valuable component of a well-rounded homeschol curriculum.  If you would like to join us in our indoor gardening venture, please visit the following links:

Easiest Vegetables to Grow Indoors: Lettuce is at the top. Spinach, radishes, and tomatoes (using an aero garden) are also viable.

Herbs to Grow Indoors: Any herbs can be grown indoors, under the right conditions.

How to Grow an Herbal Tea Indoor Garden: Chamomile and Mint Tea is great for the kids and for you too!

Gardening Lesson Plans for kids: Awesome lesson plans from Growing Minds.

More Gardening Lesson Plans: Lesson plans for kids from Utah State University

Enjoy your indoor garden and let us know know it goes!

All Best,

Nikala Asante