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When my kids were younger, I was so focused on making sure they had a healthy identity that my focus wasn’t really on teaching them Black History.
While we were home together during the quarantine, I had the opportunity to focus on more of what I wanted them to learn. And suddenly I felt like I had failed.
We started talking about slavery, watching movies about the Civil Rights period (like Ruby Bridges) and my kids were horrified.
I suddenly wished I had started having these conversations earlier. I was nervous about taking away their innocence. But the beauty in being a mom to a multiracial family is that we can have conversations safely at home…in our own time, in our own way. This means ultimately I can share the truth in an age-appropriate way.
If you are looking for ways to share Black History with your children, I’ve got a few ideas for you:
Black History Month Activity Books (Oriental Trading)
If you struggle with finding accurate information and putting it together yourself, check out Oriental Trading. They have Black history flash cards and activity mats.
There’s no harm in finding things that are already put together so that all you have to do is reinforce what you read.
Go on Virtual Field Trips
Virtually visit the illustrious Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.
With travel restrictions still in place, visiting physical museums may not be an option for you. Check out what you have locally. It may be an easy day trip or something that would only take an hour of your time.
Watch Movies About Black History & Talk About Them
Last year, my girls and I watched the Ruby Bridges movie. It was a perfect way to start conversations about the civil rights era because Ruby Bridges was close to their age, and they could relate to her.
My youngest daughter cried when people screamed and threatened Ruby every day when she walked into the school. It was the perfect way to start conversations about race relations, hate, and resilience.
When they said they felt sorry for Ruby, we focused on her bravery instead.
As a young mom, I often wanted to shelter my children from the harshness of our history. However, they won’t be sheltered from the realities of hate in the world, so I’ve realized that it’s never too early to begin having these conversations.
You may even have to pause the movie to have candid conversations with your kids.
And that’s okay.
Teach Your Kids Black History Through Woke Homeschooling
I stumbled across Woke Homeschooling from an ad online. I love the vision: to provide resources for parents to educate socially-conscious children who will grow to become wise and informed world-changers. If you want to teach your kids black history but don’t know where to start, this a great place to start.
There is a curriculum for grades 3-7 and also a high school curriculum. She includes 38 weeks of lessons, including 6 weeks with no assigned reading from textbooks. She encourages you to explore relevant field trip opportunities, research, or watch movies to supplement what your children are learning.
Delina also includes a list of textbooks and tells you whether the audio version is available.
And the bonus for me was that she also includes extensive information about Native American history too–not just about black history.
There is an option for online classes or curriculum you can download and print. The printable curriculum comes in 3 versions: original (biblical-based), secular (grades 3-7) and high school edition.
Black history for kids doesn’t have to be hard. After all, it’s just history.