5 Recommendations for Black Families Who Want to Homeschool

There are many important things to know before you start homeschooling. Here are some helpful considerations as you decide if homeschooling is a good fit for your family.

Father and son sitting at a desk working on school work.

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By now, you’ve probably heard there has been a massive jump in Black homeschoolers

The Census Bureau’s Home Pulse survey reports that homeschooling Black families rose from 3% in the Spring of 2020 to more than 16% as of the Fall of 2020. As it stands, Black communities are the fastest-rising demographic in homeschooling. Homeschooling advocates and experts continue to discuss the benefits of home school for Black families.

Joyce Burges, a co-founder of the National Black Home Educators Association, told ABC News that her organization witnessed a “gradual increase in the number of Black families” choosing to homeschool, but “with the pandemic, it rose so incredibly.”

recent survey found homeschoolers are “increasingly less conservative, more diverse, and less religious” compared to homeschoolers who started before the pandemic. Professor Cheryl Fields-Smith of the University of Georgia’s Mary Frances Early College of Education, who has researched homeschooling among Black families, recently told Time Magazine, “Homeschooling has become such a refuge for many families, Black families in particular, that they don’t have to go to the under-resourced school that they were assigned.”

With such a conversation about the benefits of homeschooling, you may be curious whether homeschooling is right for your little ones. Or maybe you’ve decided to homeschool but are unsure what homeschooling format is best for your family. There are many important things to know before you start homeschooling. Here are a few helpful considerations as you decide if homeschooling is a good fit for your family.

While there are roughly about seven different methods of homeschooling and plenty of spaces where each overlaps with another, a few formats may feel more compatible with Black culture or Afrocentric curriculum than others.

Homeschooling rules vary depending on where you live:

Like with every institution of learning, homeschooling does have rules. Learning the regulations and expectations where you live is an essential first step. Black parents considering homeschooling should know information like the homeschool regulations in their state, the age range that children are expected to be in school, and if there are state-mandated subjects. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is an excellent resource for parents who seek a comprehensive, state-by-state guide on what they need to know and do before starting to homeschool.

Learn your child’s learning style and needs

Your child has a unique way of learning. You can think of it as their superpower. But often, parents are left uncertain of their kiddo’s learning style and wondering how to identify it. You can start by thinking about your kid’s personality. Does your child like to sing? Do they have a vivid imagination? Or maybe your child loves to move around or enjoys talking.

Parents can find indicators of their child’s learning preferences in each of these questions. For example, if your child has a great memory, they may be a visual learner. Kids who love to sing may benefit from more auditory approaches. Got a good reader or writer on your hands? Your child may benefit more from reading and writing styles. Got an athlete or dancer? Your child may benefit from a kinetic approach. Simply using your daily observations of your child will show you what kind of learner they are.

Learn your teaching style

Your teaching style is just as important as your child’s learning style and is based on your personality. Before you start homeschooling, it’s helpful to consider if you are a person who schedules every minute of the day out or if you are more flexible and adaptive with your schedule. You should consider whether you love being outside or thrive in a climate-controlled environment.

Parents considering homeschooling should also consider how much interaction they want with others. Ask yourself if you are an extrovert or an introvert and if you prefer a one-on-one approach or group setting. Understanding your teaching style and your child’s learning style will show you which method of homeschooling to choose. It also clues how to set a rhythm with your child to minimize and manage potential style clashes.

Research the many homeschool methods

Not all homeschooling is equal. There are various ways to homeschool, and finding the one best suits you and your children may take some time. While there are roughly about seven different methods of homeschooling and plenty of spaces where each overlaps with another, a few formats may feel more compatible with Black culture or Afrocentric curriculum than others:

Eclectic Homeschooling: Eclectic Homeschooling is the most popular style of homeschooling—and for good reason. Black homeschooling families may find it is child-directed and treats the curriculum more like an open buffet rather than a stringent meal plan. This method incorporates the other homeschool methods, taking the best of each and combining them for a custom learning experience for kids. Eclectic homeschooling is great for Black families who value flexibility. And because it is so popular, there are plenty of networks to create your thriving community.

Unit Studies: Unit Studies allow homeschooling families to study themes and topics across different subject areas, such as history, geography, and literature. For example, parents can use Unit Studies to teach their children about the various African Kingdoms using not only History but Literature from the time and Geography of the continent. While Unit Studies are best accompanied by other methods to prevent gaps in other areas, like math or science, this method is good for Black families who want to observe a specific event through several different units.

Unschooling: Opposite of the School-At-Home method, which is essentially taking a school’s curriculum and teaching it at home, Unschooling challenges the notion of schooling altogether and can be as varied as all of the schooling methods and adapted to the needs of the parent and the child. This method is a free-form, activity-based form of homeschooling that allows students to explore their passions and embraces diversity and multi-dimensional learning. This method is excellent for Black parents who value minimal structure and maximum support of their child’s expression and interests.

Montessori: An often overlooked homeschooling method, the Montessori method is a child-centered, humanistic method of homeschooling that values inclusion and self-reliance. Families will find that the Montessori approach allows young learners to engage with the world around them. This method is beneficial for Black families with younger children who are learning through play, are tactile learners, or have children with special needs. 

Find your community 

You don’t have to explore homeschooling alone. There are a growing number of Black Homeschooling communities online. From the 12,000-strong Melanated Homeschooling Families Support Group and 10,000 The Black Homeschoolers Connection to smaller groups, simply to your social media of choice, and you can find community. Many Black homeschoolers also connect to form pods for support and resource sharing offline.

Homeschooling is a liberating way to educate our children that puts the power back in the hands of the parents. Like every method of education, homeschooling does come with its challenges. And every homeschool, like every family, is unique. The ultimate goal is to find out what works best for your family and what equips and empowers your children for their future.

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