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Sunday, February 09, 2014

On Being Black and Homeschooling, Part 5

This is my final word on being black and homeschooling.  For the foreseeable future.

You can catch up here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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.
Meanwhile, good things happened:
  • 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. 


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Being in the theatre adds a whole different layer to that 'being included in homeschooling' idea. Because yeah, I saw a play in which a black student played the daughter in a family... and it just was so uncomfortable because it didn't "go" with the story. You can't really suspend reality and get into the show, you're wondering if the "dad" is a fool and a plot twist is coming up. BETTER would have been a different sort of play altogether that would allow for unrelated "stars" and not just servants. Something like the Wizard of Oz would have a ton of unrelated characters, or Our Town. Stuff like that. :)

Ahermitt said...

People can and should get over the "one of these things don't go together feeing". Plus, is is not professional theatre. It's kids.

Meanwhile, in college, my AA Daughter just played Cinderella pretty convincingly. sure, there's a moment of "I'd like to hear the backstory on that" but you get over it and get into it.

But like you said Happy, if you are trying to be exacting in picking roles, pick shows that don't exclude,

Karen Loethen said...

I've read all of the way and I LOVE YOU TOO.


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I think you're right, Andrea. The fact is that so often we don't need to know the "backstory." More and more families are inter-racial and they get that way all different ways, none of my business how. But with a play or TV series, you're always expecting something sneaky, yk?

I do hope you keep the series up. Sometimes the hardest things to write are the things your audience most need to read and think about.

Ahermitt said...

Whew Happy! It takes so much out of me... so I guess it is the most real and authentic I have been. I will try... I am sure I have more to offer.

Karen, thank you so mud for your support. I really appreciate it.

Ahermitt said...

Karen, thank you so MUCH for your support. LOL.