Let’s be honest: in some homeschool communities, particularly in the Midwest, it can be hard to find families of color.
If you are a homeschooler of color, you might find it awkward to constantly stand out, whether you’re flipping through history curriculums featuring very few people of color or caught in racial discussion in a co-op class.
As an African-American homeschooler, I used to struggle with being the only black girl in co-op classes or at homeschool meet-ups. But I’ve since learned to embrace how God made me–our differences are beautiful and amazing!
So here are four lessons I’ve learned as a homeschooler of color.
Lesson 1: Embrace your identity.
Embrace your culture, race, heritage, and/or nationality. These are parts of your identity; they don’t define you, but they are part of who you are and who God created you to be.
Embracing your identity can manifest in several forms. Maybe you try picking up your family’s language, wearing traditional clothes to a special event, or intentionally talking with people within your culture.
For me, embracing and celebrating my blackness meant accepting my natural hair, reading up on black history, and enjoying black pop culture. But this all starts with a personal choice to claim your racial background as your own. Embracing your identity can be the first step on the road to thriving as a homeschooler of color.
Lesson 2: Educate yourself.
It’ll be tough to fully embrace your racial identity if you know little to nothing about it. That’s why I encourage you to educate yourself on your background.
And the beauty of homeschooling is that you can convert this interest into school credit. Find courses focused on your culture/history, or even create your own course (“History of East Asia”, “Latin American Literature”, etc.).
Not only is this beneficial to you, but creating your own rigorous course can be an impressive addition to your portfolio! I even plan to further my knowledge by taking a second college major in African American Studies.
You don’t have to go that deep to educate yourself–I just suggest learning about your history and culture. You could even try a field trip (see 20 field trip destinations in Kansas City, including the American Jazz Museum!). You never know how that knowledge could help prepare you for your future.
Lesson 3: Educate others.
After learning about your own culture, feel free to share it with others. It may break down some awkward barriers.
Once I started learning about black history, I could discuss racial topics with my non-black friends with more confidence and understanding. I discovered that often people did not know the history behind some topics, prompting them to respect my viewpoints, even if they still disagreed.
So once you know more about your background, use your knowledge to start healthy dialogue with those who are different from you.
Lesson 4: Engage with your community.
Find members of your racial community and connect with them. Befriend other teens, elders, or mentors who share your racial background.
This doesn’t mean avoiding others of a different race or socializing exclusively with people of the same race as you. This means intentionally seeking bonds with people who already understand and have experienced your culture and history.
Some of the ways I engage with the black community include supporting black-owned businesses, selecting black female mentors, and connecting with fellow black writers/artists. You could attend a cultural celebration or volunteer at an organization geared towards your racial background. Find a way to foster relationships with those who share your culture and origins.
After learning–and enacting–these four lessons, I’ve grown to love and be proud of my racial identity. I hope you can too!
How do you learn more about culture and history? Let us know in the comments!
We have updated this blog post, originally published in 2018, for timeliness and detail.
You are very talented and a awesome individual. I am proud of you and I’m looking forward to reading your novels someday. The sky is the limit of what you can achieve. Continue to put God first and being great a person for God’s Kingdom!
Love Derrick A. Cook.
Aw, thank you so much Derrick! I’m excited to send you signed copies of my novels someday 😉 Thank you for encouraging me and believing in me. All glory goes to God 😀
Thank you for this lovely and well-written post. My family is multi-racial via adoption, and I think all of my children are beautiful in their individual ways, but sometimes they don’t realize that. I hope to teach them all 4 points that you wrote about.
Thank you for reading, Anne! I visited your blog and your family is indeed beautiful. Knowing our beauty and value in God’s eyes is so very important. I know you’ll do an excellent job raising your children to see that value! Thank you again, Anne, and blessings to you and your family 🙂
Thank you for your beautiful and well-written post. Our family is multi-racial via adoption, and my beautiful children often feel awkward. I have been working to and will continue to teach all 4 lessons you wrote about here.
I really liked this article.
Thank you Brian! 😀
My family is hoping to move to the KCK area sometime next school year to be closer to family. We’ve decided homeschool is the best choice for our kids right now but I really want to find some ways to connect my adopted African American 8 yrold son to some other African Americans, preferably Christians. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there some African American churches with kids or more diverse homeschool support groups? We are Assembly of God background but very ecumenical in our thinking.
Hi Becky, congratulations on your move and your decision to homeschool! We’d love to help you out on this journey and help you find some resources for your son. If you could email us at info[ at ]midwestparenteducators.org, we can direct you to some suggestions and recommendations. Thank you for reading and for being proactive in finding an empowering, diverse community for your son! 🙂
It’s been weeks that I’ve wanted to comment, but I’ve been prevented all this time! My family is multi-racial via adoption, and the points you made in your post are exactly the feelings of my heart. This post was well written, and it touched my heart.
Hi Anaise, I’m glad you were finally able to comment! I’m so glad my words resonated with you. I know many homeschool families are multi-racial, and it’s wonderful that you understand your family’s need to embrace their own individual beauty. Thank you for reading and for your kind words! Blessings to you and your family 🙂
I enjoyed your article. I was wondering if you have any recommendations of homeschooling curriculum that offers more of a diverse worldview, particularly in the area of history. Thanks!
Good afternoon. This is my second year home schooling my kids. And we are getting adjusted. But I really need help with the social aspect. They need to be around other kids their age. Can you help?