"Our Daily Blog" #14
By A. Oppong Wadie, Ed.D, Co-Director ABA Educational Consultants
I was once interviewed by Al-Jazeera T.V. regarding the upward trend in homeschooling among African American families. Because I am the co-Founder of Indigo Nation, Chicago’s only non-sectarian, African American homeschooling cooperative, the host tried to get me to define an average African American homeschooler. I refrained from answering that question, contending that African American homeschoolers are as varied as the American population. The host then asserted that he felt, “that these were basically middle-class, college-educated, two-parent families, who could afford to have one stay-at-home parent who homeschools.” “What?” I was confused by that assessment and time ran out on the show before I was able to fully address that misconception.
From my 22 years of homeschooling, here is what I know to be true. Most homeschooling African American families cannot afford to live on a single income. The parent who stays in the home (which is not always the mother), usually works online, works in direct-sales, works at night, or are entrepreneurs. Parents have all kinds of education levels. Several have never been to college. College education is not required for homeschooling in Illinois, (Laws differ from state to state). Many have advanced degrees and really could work in any sector of the society that they choose; however, they choose to make the education of their children their primary focus. Furthermore, there are several African American single-parents on the homeschool journey. Single parents and married parents usually have very tight networks of family, friends, coaches, and tutors who help them homeschool their children.
I share this story to encourage parents who suddenly have to homeschool during this pandemic [and beyond, if you so choose]. You can do it! No matter how long the shelter-in-place lasts, you can successfully augment online education, or teach your child yourself. I will continue to write about this, and I welcome your questions. Below are three pearls of experiential wisdom to help you get started.
Your children came to you, specifically, for a reason. Your children need to hear your family story, and the wisdom that you have. One huge part of home education is teaching your children your truth. Take down the family album. Explain all the pictures. Tell all the family stories. Keep telling those stories- for in them are the keys to their inter-generational wellness and success.
What are you good at? Make sure your child becomes good at your expertise. Your joy is contagious. Share it with your child. You do not have to be Mozart, or to be able to write like Toni Morrison. Share your love of baking, pop the hood of a car and show your child how an engine works, or teach your child soap making (if that’s your thing).
Even if you have a child who is easily bored, just lazy, a stubborn/reluctant learner, or very active you can still teach them. Read to every child -no matter the age. I have let my active children walk around the room while I teach or read because I know they are still able to hear me and they are absorbing what I’m sharing. There are somethings that are non-negotiable (it differs for each family), but, mostly I am flexible and follow the learning style of each child. One does not have to be seated and facing the front to learn, learning happens everywhere and all the time.
Below, Please enjoy an episode of Omni-U Presents: The H3O Art of Life television show, featuring Omni-U faculty member and today's blog writer, Dr. Asantewaa Oppong Wadie.