Tag Archives: parenting

Because of Them, We Can

Greetings,

I am IN LOVE with these photographs! Check out more at: http://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/

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The site describes their mission as:

The Mission :To Educate and Connect a New Generation to Heroes Who Have Paved the Way

On October 28, 2008, just days before the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, my first son Chase was born. On July 9, 2012, a few months before President Obama’s historic re-election, my second son Amari was born. Six months later, a few days before February 2013, I began to reflect on my sons and their promising future – specifically the opportunities they could pursue as a result of the progress and achievements made by individuals past and present. I also thought about the responsibility and at times the fear, I carry as a mother raising Black boys. I thought about how just one-year prior, Trayvon Martin was murdered. The murder and circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s death awakened my consciousness and moved me to create the “I Am Trayvon Martin” photo campaign. It was through this painful time for the Martin family and America that I came to realize that my lens could truly serve as a microphone that could amplify the feelings, fears, dreams and even the pain of a community.

The Because of Them, We Can campaign was birthed out of my desire to share our rich history and promising future through images that would refute stereotypes and build the esteem of our children. While I originally intended to publish the campaign photos, via social media, during Black History Month, I quickly realized how necessary it was to go further. With so many achievers to highlight, and thousands of children to engage and inspire, 28 days wasn’t enough. On the last day of February, with just 28 photographs in my collection, I decided to resign from my job in order to continue the campaign. On March 1, 2013, after most national and local conversations about Black History and Achievement ended, I released a photo of a mini-inspired Phyllis Wheatley and began the journey to continue the project for a full year.

A year later I have come to the conclusion that even 365 days aren’t enough. What began as a mother’s passion project quickly evolved into a movement. Today we are committed as ever before to encourage and empower people of all ages and hues to dream out loud and reimagine themselves as greater than they are, simply by connecting the dots between the past, the present and the future.

I think that you will enjoy them too!  Black History 365!

Best,

Nikala Asante

Cooking as Curriculum

Greetings,

I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season.   We have definitely been enjoying spending time with family, cooking, and eating.  Especially the eating.

Being vegan for only 4 years, cooking food for the holidays has been a learning process.  There is always the simple route – grabbing some Tofurky and a box a stuffing, but that’s not my style.  For the past few years, I have been making a vegan gumbo with ample sides for Thanksgiving.  This year, I included my son in the cooking process from start to finish.  He washed, chopped, stirred, and baked to his heart’s content.

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Having fun making potato salad.

Which brings me to the reason for this post, do you include cooking classes in your child’s curriculum?  If so, for which reasons?  If not, for which reasons?  Personally, I believe that Home Economics are a natural part of the homeschooling environment.  Children being involved in these processes is fun and teaches them to be responsible adults.  I still remember recipes from cooking with my grandmother at age 9 or 10.

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Vegan gumbo, potato salad, coleslaw, and hot water cornbread.

So, you may be wondering, where do I start?  I would recommend starting with these awesome no-bake chocolate peanut butter cookies, great for any age, Kindergarten and up, with adult supervision.  We adapted this to vegan by using almond milk and Earth Balance butter.  We also sprinkled in a few vegan chocolate chips and threw some coconut flakes on top.

Vegan gluten free no bake oatmeal chocolate peanut butter cookies.

Vegan gluten free no bake oatmeal chocolate peanut butter cookies.

 

You can also check out this neat list of vegan no-bake desserts if you want to keep it simple and healthy.

Here is a cool Pinterest collection of vegan recipes for children.

Understanding that everyone is not vegan, here is an awesome collection of omnivore recipes from Kid’s Health.

And a whole host of kid-friendly recipes from All Recipes.

Enjoy making some of these delicious recipes with your little shining stars and we will chat again soon!

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

Why Black Parents Choose to Homeschool

Greetings!

Please check out this great article by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD, about why many African American parents are choosing to homeschool (http://theatlantavoice.com/news/2013/sep/27/more-100000-african-american-parents-are-now-homes/).

Dr. Kunjufu lectures, trains teachers, and has written many books about improving academic achievement for African American children and the importance of African Centered Education.  One book by him that we personally use in our homeschool is Lessons From History, Elementary EditionEach chapter presents a stage of Black history, beginning with ancient African civilization.  Also, there is a vocabulary list, questions, and exercises for each topic.

lessons from history

 

I respect Dr. Kunjufu’s work and would recommend it to any parent to use for a Black history component of their homeschool.  There are only two criticism that I have of Lessons From History.  One: Sometimes Kunjufu makes broad statements without fully explaining them, and you will have to do the research yourself to justify his statements to your child.  This is less of an issue in the Middle School and Advanced editions because the length of the text allows the author space to detail each idea introduced.  The Elementary Edition is simplified.  Depending on the comprehension level of your elementary student, you may just want to skip straight to one of the more advanced editions and make adjustments as necessary.

Enjoy the article via the link, and tell me, why did you choose to homeschool?

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

 

Choosing Homeschooling for Special Needs: Guest Post by Stacie Wyatt

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Homeschooling: Why I chose this alternative, crazy path?

My sister, Nikala, asked me to write a guest post for her blog, Black HomeSchool Mom. I thought my sister was nuts for homeschooling her son. Who wants to design curriculum? Who wants to deal with kids at home all day long? As you can tell, I was not a fan of having my kids at home all day. I love to ship them off on the bus, then head back to bed, maybe clean up in peace.

I never thought I would homeschool anyone, but myself.

In 2011, my oldest son moved from Georgia to Texas to live with me. His father had him solo since 2005 and it was now my turn. My maternal gene finally kicked in after having Kalen and I thought it was a good idea. School started down here within 2 weeks. Mama kicked into overdrive to get Brad enrolled in public school. He had his issues (meltdowns) but he did good until the end of the school year. Note: Brad is Autistic, ADHD, and has sensory issues.

His behavior issues got worse on the bus and in school. I was getting messages home from the bus drivers daily to the point where I was starting to dread him coming home from school. There was little written notes, but a lot of verbal notes. They wanted him off the bus and out of school. I even put him back on medication to control the behavior (Risperidone and Clonindine) but then it didn’t kick in fast enough for the bus drivers (since they was the ones giving me the messages).

Brad bit a student, but I did not find out until two weeks later. Brad also hugged a student, who was also special needs, but more verbal. She complained. The school had to separate the two students in the line, waiting for the bus. Even made Brad a bus line helper to aid the situation. He also had an increase in meltdowns, but no one knew why. His routine did not change at home, but I have no idea if something changed at school.

My son could not get kicked off the special needs bus and the special needs class. I had no way to get him to and from school. My mother did not get home until after school started. I started looking into alternatives for Brad. Private school. Online school. My church’s new charter school. Private school did not take medicaid. Church school did not accept Brad. He did not make the initial lottery pick. Then, the administration called a few weeks before school started because the enrollment was still low. I brought all my paperwork but got declined because I did not have a mortgage or rent agreement in my name.

I had heard about Brad’s home school on television before, but did nothing. I finally filled out an interest form on the website. He was enrolled. I still don’t like my child being at home all the freaking time, but I also don’t have to worry about those messages being sent home. I understand now that legally no one can put a special needs child off the bus or out of school without an IEP meeting and trying to make accommodations first. This will come in handy whenever I send Brad back to public school. I hate to send him back and run into the same problems, then have to pull him again.

The school creates their own curriculum, since it is a public school alternative. They send the books, the computer, and other materials. I have to log-in daily to attend live classes and log attendance. His work is scanned in weekly and uploaded to the drop box. If he needs to go to the doctor, I do have to get a dr’s note.

I also loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Jose, Brad’s in-person speech therapist. Jose comes to the house once a week and teaches Brad. Brad has made tremendous improvement since Jose started working with Brad in May, 2012. Brad was also receiving online speech therapy. I can live without that, as long as I have in-person. With public school, Brad received 8 sessions of speech total. I asked for more, but he never got it. I am thinking about re-enrolling Brad in public school next semester or next year. I wish there was cheaper special needs schools in the area. I am dreading sending him back. But anyway. Have a nice day.

Stacie Wyatt

stacie

About me:

Stacie Wyatt is a 33 year old, African-American, living in Houston. Stacie is also a published poet and author (Love.Lust.Life; Chocolate Kisses; Conversations 1; Conversations 2; Conversing with Normality; Conversing with Sexuality; Conversing with Salvation, and Miscarried). Her books are on Amazon (CreateSpace and Kindle), Lulu, Barnes and Noble, Audible, and Smashwords. She is also a blogger (Perfect Chaos and Celibacy Diaries). Next, Stacie is the mother of two special needs boys. Stacie loves to read, write, listen to music, and find free stuff online.

Social Media:

Perfect Chaos

Perfect Chaos Fan Page

Celibacy Diaries

Celibacy Diaries Fan Page

Twitter

Pinterest

Klout

Google Plus

Youtube

Vine (sdwyatt)

Instagram

Kalen and Brad fan page

SDW Poet Fan Page

Amazon Author Page

 

Yoruba Names Lesson Plan

Yoruba Names Lesson Plan

Greetings!

I hope that your week is going well.  Today, after a discussion about the meaning of names, I felt inspired to search for a lesson plan about the reverence given to the naming process in Africa.  Sometimes, people ridicule African names because they may be difficult to pronounce.  It is important that we teach our children respect for names, no matter how different that they may sound.

For instance, in Nigeria, Abayomiolorunkoje is one name for a boy from the Yoruba ethnic group.  In America, a boy may be teased for having a name so complex.  However, in Yoruba, the name means, “People wanted to humiliate me, but God does not allow [it]“.

Follow the link for an awesome lesson plan on Yoruba names, appropriate for students 2nd grade and above.  One note: the link to the Smithsonian website within the lesson plan did not work, so you can visit this site (http://www.onlinenigeria.com/nigeriannames/Yoruba.asp) for a list of Yoruba names and their meanings.

This lesson plan can also be adjusted for discussion on Akan day names (http://www.twi.bb/akan-names.php).  The Akan people in Ghana oftentimes name their children based on the days that the children were born.  It would be very simple to have an Akan naming ceremony as part of a unit about Ghana.

Enjoy, and all feedback is welcomed.

All Best,

Nikala Asante

Single Parent Homeschooling

Single Parent Homeschooling

Greetings,

This is a great blog for all of the single parents out there.  I hope you are having a great week!

All Best,

Nikala Asante

How to Work and Homeschool

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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

Ultimate Homeschool Blogroll

Ultimate Homeschool Blogroll

Hip Homeschool Moms Button

Greetings,

Do you ever wish you could connect with other homeschooling parents and see what is (and what is not) working for them?  Well, hiphomeschoolmoms has compiled that blogroll and here it is!

Thank you, hiphomeschoolmoms, for your awesome work.  

To everyone else, enjoy!  And if you are a homeschool blogger, be sure to add yourself to the listing.

All Best,

Nikala