You can catch up here:
I just don't feel like I ever got to the meat of what I wanted to say.
In all my personal struggles through the loneliness and relative isolation I felt, I have to say that I am ecstatic with the results.
Sure bad things happened:
- Tensions around the 2008 and 2012 elections as I live in a mostly white Southern Conservative Community, and am none of these things.
- A few individuals making my race an issue in what they felt were personal conversations... "you know, just chatting over differences, iron sharpening iron".
- Not always feeling included socially, and sometimes feeling like my kids were barely included.
- People saying dumb stuff to me that barely hid certain biases.
- My kids had an excellent education through collaboration with their fine arts program, and hands on, at home homeschooling.
- My kids finding confidence and embracing their personal talents
- My kids having pretty good social lives with kids that were well raised
- My kids moving on to the college level and each thriving in their own way.
And in the end, I want to leave a bit of advice to my fellow black homeschoolers
- Don't be afraid to be uncomfortable
- Don't be afraid to be the only one
- Don't let personal preferences prevent you from doing what is best for your kids
- Remember that what is best for you or most comfortable for you may not be what your kids need.
- Don't let others exclude you... include yourself.
- Kill them with kindness.
- Don't be apologetic for who you are. Let them know that you are just was awesome as they are.
- Extend invitations, and let others get to know you.
- Make friends... you will find allies where you least expect them.
- Diplomatically, demand your child gets their fair share.
- Don't walk away when it gets hard. Anything worth doing IS HARD.
Finally, to anyone who made it to the end of this series who wants to run or be in a program that includes people of all races and types.
- Find a way to let go of biases and preconceived notions.. (assuming the black family in your homeschool group needs hand-me-down clothes, or any other hand-out is not cool, unless you know their financial status... Showing shock and awe when you realize they live in a big house in a gated community is not cool either.)
- Think of how activities chosen might affect those who are not like you... not all families want to do another Civil war-1960's era play where there are not roles for any ethic children... and they certainly don't want their kids stuck playing servants. Also, in theatre programs, consider color-blind auditions
- When choosing uniforms and choir outfits... consider all body types.. Not just for the ethnic & curvy girls, but for the plus sized girls too.
- Consider that all the families in the homeschool group may not want to do another Civil War reenactment... Not everyone gets the novelty of it.
- Please, please, please, don't role-play slavery for a history lesson.. for the love of God please don't... at all... ever.
- Make a concerted effort to make friends with EVERYONE in your group, even if it feels awkward at first.
- Choose diversity in the teaching staff... that will attract diversity in the student body.
- Remember, diversity is not just good for the ethic children, it is good for all the children to grow up in a community that looks like the real world.
OK. I think I'm done.
I love you all.