Saturday, April 13, 2013

Designing an Education System

Back in January of this year I read about a challenge of designing a system  of education that babies would grow up with an understanding of their peoples cultural achievement and positively add to them. For many African/Afrikan Americans this can be a challenge. Our children are often brought into a school with Eurocentric education and little if any positive looks at the vast multitudes of minorities that also attend their schools. My question how can you have a positive out look on education if your thoughts, beliefs and history are all but ignored? The education gaps will continue because education in this country, although calling itself diverse, has often continued to ignore and change the wrong things. No this is not a down on teachers as I work with a lot of very dedicated teachers. This is more of a problem of a system that was first created to be separate, but forced in many places some 50 years ago to integrate with little other changes for success for many children. In essence even though I should not say it No Child Left Behind is a joke. If it has created anything it has created a national curriculum that teaches to the test, erased the creativity and energy from the people we have placed to educate our children, and still has no idea how to truly embrace the many different cultures, values and learning styles of the children caught in the system.

Ok back to the question of creating and education system. Seventeen years ago I started to create such a plan that I thought would create strong warriors out of my children. The system was simple it taught cultural and religious values to my children. They were taught to think, learn and discover at a very young age. Their lessons where weaved together through literature often looking at a event or time period from multiple eyes so they could see a realistic prospective not a bias prospective that often plagues history books and language arts books filled to the brim to pass on an Eurocentric ideas. I do not hate this education but I grew up with it and it did not help me have a positive image of myself or my own people. Instead of being able to read a multitude of authors with different cultural identities and thoughts I was stuck reading a extremely limited selection of African American authors and an abundance of Caucasian ones. This in itself may not seem wrong but we begin to create or identify not only by the values of our parents but those as well of our peers, communities, and media influences.  Sorry off on a side trail back to my children's education journey. About 8 yrs ago life events prevented me from homeschooling. February of this year I brought home one of my four children after many problems in the public school, at home, community and with health. Figured it was time once again to recreate a system of education the ignites learning, imagination and is culturally relevant.

The question now in my mind is what is a culturally relevant education? How do you bring courage, faith and determination into your child's heart and soul? Again looking at present and past books on ourstory, African American history, classics, literature and poems. A few new books found their way to the sinking book shelves, bin of school work and piles of currently reading. Two of the best books I have bought to date are African American History: A Journey of Liberation and

Education for Liberation: The Top 20 Questions and Answers for Black Homeschoolers.

My plan is to create a education plan that fits my current child and can be slightly altered to fit the rest of my kids. 

I hope to share some of my Saturday school lessons with you. What is Saturday school it is the term I am using to address my need to make sure my homeschool has a Afrocentric out look to build positive happy adults. 

Pages from History

Paging through the pages of the past can't help but see. Our elders fought with strength a dignity. One step forward 100 steps back they kept doing the dance. Depended, independent and codependent they tried to break the chains, yokes and pains that held us in one place. The torch was passed on to us and what do we do. Simulate, reevaluate or decimate our selves and others. We are failing the fight as the tired warriors pass into the happy land. Smoke screens and mirrors in the form of guilty pleasures over taking us with the same money hungry desires that brought us here often in chains. It time once and for all to break the chaos still attached to our minds, forget the struggles of self identity and understand the history of our past from the lips of our own. God has a plan if we can just stop the tide going from schoolroom to behind bars, and once again learn how to be community build up what is ours from the ashes of a system created to allow us to rot. Designed to make us fail and fall farther behind. Don't believe open you eyes we are at the bottom of every chart that is positive and at the top of all those that are negative.  My plea is not to be the Huxtubles or the family on MTV. Find your self, recreate the future so the little ones coming up can look back at their elders and see we did not fail but carried the torch that truly set us free.

Original thought taken from my journal today 4-13-13

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not Fitting the Mold

If I had one wish it would be that people would stop stereotyping kids that don't fit or get along with the standard education models. Today I was at court with one of my children. I recently pulled her from the school system that was not a great match for her and began to home educate. Imagine my shock when the judge said she dropped out of school. She most certainly has not. Nor is she being homeschooled to avoid truancy laws. She is being homeschooled to rediscover herself with out the pressures of peers, administrators or others that want her to hang on to the bad girl title and place in the society. She is being home school to again gain the love of learning that she had as a child, before being put into the institution of school. She is being homeschooled to pursue her own interests instead of the cookie cutter mold that seems to be the norm until college. She is being home educated so she can create a closer bond to her family. She is being home educated so that she can be the guide to her future. She is being home educated so we can work on the bigger issues of depression, migraines and low self esteem. Not every kid fits into traditional brick and mortar schooling that became standard in the 1850's. It's funny that we look at new traditional schooling as the only way to get an education when so many we'll educated people in our history were self taught, well read, and filled with ambition and curiosity.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homeschool Journey Begins

After an 8 year break I brought one of my children back home to home school. The biggest lessons I learned after a eight year struggle with public schooling this child.

1. Just like not all kids can be home school not all kids can be public schooled.
2. We come in all different shapes, learning styles and ability levels. To often even today the school setting often resembles a pre cut mold casing trying to duplicate the same student over and over again. This may be great for creating workers but does it create thinkers?
3. There are some really great teachers out there that spend lots of their out of school time and money to making sure your child's in school time is spent learning.
4. There are many reasons why traditional high school does not work with every student.
5. Parents need to do what is best for their child. It's not a debate or a bulling situation that some one from the outside should make.  Just because you survived traditional school does not always mean its the best place for your learner. Think about that many of us found out we learn best in non traditional places like online colleges and distant learning.

So what is one high scholar and mom going to do with this adventure make it memorable and educational. The adventure begins with Sonlight's Core 100 Teacher and Student IG and a good library card, sprinkle in some African American history off the kindle, whip in a side of biology from CK-12, drop in a once of SOS Math, stir in the child's own interests and we are off for a enjoyable ride. Care to join us or follow our adventure follow along on this blog.