By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses
When I first got married, about a decade ago ago, I had a sister in law who home-schooled her four kids which then turned into five kids. I had a great deal of admiration for her and how dedicated she was to her kids; her husband as well. BUT, I always thought to myself that there was no way that I could do what she did-no way! Now, I realize it was basically my ignorance talking , or rather, thinking.
Now, I am well into my home-schooling journey with my own two children and I believe it is the best decision I have ever made regarding my children. Obviously, I changed my mind.*smiles.
Because I have my husband’s support and encouragement and assistance in home-schooling our children, I don’t really care about any one eles’s approval. That been said, here are some of the dumbest things that I have heard about home-schooling in the last few months:
1. “You’re damaging your children because they are not being socialized.”
Well, I should mention that my little girl went to one of the best performing public schools in our state and since our state is one of the highest performing states in the country, she could also have been at one of the best public schools in the country. The problem is that in the town we lived in, there were barely any non-white people, let alone Black people. What this translated to, for my little girl, was that she was always the only Black kid in her class.
What I observed her being “socialized” into thinking, at school, was that her hair was not long and beautiful enough, her skin was “too dark-like poop” and that she was too different to want to play with or invite to some of the other kids’ parties.
Outside of school, she had friends (my and my husband’s friend’s kids) and probably over a hundred cousins who she often visited and who often visited us.
Unlike the teachers who have some mis-directed ideas about Black kids, who were convinced she belonged in a “program”, at home and outside her school life, she had a loving little brother who loved (loves) playing with her and two loving parents who think she is a super-star and always believe in her potential and ability.
In addition to family and friends, home-schooled kids can do extracurricular activities and they can join home-schooling clubs and teams.
So, if being in school teaches my kid that she is worthless and stupid, I’ll pass on the “socialization”.
2. “You’re not qualified to teach your kids”
Teachers are trained to teach children in a school setting and unfortunately, even while teaching our kids their 123s and their abc’s, they also teach them to conform and sit still, above all. They stifle their creativity and discourage them from being their wonderful unique selves.
The great advantage that parents have over teachers, is that they have a vested interest AND they have a much more powerful ratio; 1:1. In many public (and private) schools, a teacher can have up to 25 (and more ) kids in a class and she is not able to give individual attention to the kids when they need it. Even with a small classroom size of just 10 kids, the ratio is 1:10; which is ten times more than one-on-one at home. Teachers also need the kids to move along at one pace, in spite the fact that kids learn at different paces.
Also,there are many resources for first-time home-schoolers, such as myself. I was able to purchase a “boxed set” which made sure that my second grader was getting all the content that she needs for the second grade. There are some “boxed sets” which are very low cost and even free. The box-set comes with text books and a guide which covers the main “3-Rs”-Reading, wRiting and aRithmetics. Once we had the core curriculum, my husband and I added what we wanted, like Bible study, home-economics, African History, and even kindness and building relationships.
Research has shown that a home-schooling mother (or father, or both) without a teaching degree gets better results than a school teacher who teaches in school. Homes-choolers score much higher than public school students when they take standardized tests.
3. “Home-schoolers are weirdos who m-o-lest and abuse their kids”
Research has shown that abuse in homeschooling families is rarer than in the general population. Also, newsflash!: M-0-lesters can abuse children before school, and after school and abusers also exist in the schools.
I understand that many people are afraid of what they don’t understand and may even attack it because it seems strange and frightening to them. I do however encourage every parent to home-school their children, not necessarily by taking them out of school completely, but by making their home a learning environment and supplementing the learning that takes place in school (if they keep the kids in school) with learning at home-not just the homework that teachers give. Removing children from school altogether and completely home-schooling them is also another option.
Black kids in America, for instance, just don’t get to learn about themselves and their history in most public schools. Home-schooling can mean buying them books, films and documentaries that encourage them to learn Black history. Home-schooling can mean starting art clubs or drawing clubs for your children. A lot of home-schooling parents that I looked at while collecting information about home-schooling have one basic thing in common; they are heavily invested in their children and their children’s learning. They also pay attention to what excites their kids and try to create opportunities to learn within their children’s interests and play times.
Finally, Homeschooling can also be a call to us, as parents, to also conduct ourselves better because our children are watching and copying us.
For more information and a step by step guide on how to transition your children and family to homeschooling, visit: TheBlackHomeSchoolGuide.com
Nomalanga is a home-schooling wife and mother who helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a former College Professor, Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World, and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter