When I first began my search for a homeschool curriculum back in 2015, I honestly had no idea where to start. I had a preschooler and a  Form 1B student who were both eager to learn and I was eager to teach them. I did know that I didn’t want to give them “school at home” but rather create an environment that would inspire them and help to quench their thirst for knowledge. While researching all the things, I came across the Charlotte Mason Method and I was immediately drawn to the teachings and the emphasis on living books. Yet, the list of books most blogs and sites I looked to for guidance, very rarely had books that showcased black people or black authors. So what is a parent to do when creating a Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum for black kids?

If you are unfamiliar or new to Charlotte Mason, living books are a “means of helping a child form a personal relation with someone or some idea.” These books should be well written, not dumbed down but books we adults would enjoy too, and they should truly make the subject come alive. For example, we are studying American History and today we read, Squanto and the First Thanksgiving. This book really cemented in the children’s minds who Squanto was and his contribution in history; more so than a textbook would have.

You can find a list of living books for every subject on the Simple Charlotte Mason site. As I scrolled through the plethora of living book options, do you know how many were written by black authors or were about black people?

Not very many at all.

I did not want to bring dozens of books into our homeschool library that my kids could not identify with.

Create Your Homeschool Vision

Before you can begin piecing together your homeschool curriculum, you have to start with the overall vision you have for your homeschool. It is easy to start with what you don’t want for your homeschool then you’ll be able to come up with your vision.

For me, I knew I didn’t want my kids to be afraid to speak up and voice their opinions, no matter what they were. I knew I didn’t want them to do a ton of worksheets all day and not feel like they were actually learning anything.

I did want them to discover new things, did deeper than the surface, ask questions, and go about their own ways of getting to the answer. I wanted to create an environment that made them excited for the next day and even go about learning for themselves after the door to the school room closes.

I also wanted them to know more about who they were, where they came from and just how important it is that they succeed in life because of it.

Ask Them What They Want to Learn

I didn’t want to throw information at my kids. They had enough of that at school. I didn’t want them to be bored and get tired of learning. So I asked them what they wanted to learn.

Of course, some things have to be taught, like math. But I could teach it to them in a unique way that would make them excited about it. In order to do that, I wanted to know what they wanted.

They wanted to learn about animals, the history of the United States, and they wanted to learn about coding.

So I went to work gathering materials and resources to be able to teach them what they wanted to learn. But I also wanted to incorporate black history and current black faces and achievements into the lessons for my kids.

charlotte mason homeschool curriculum for black kids

Make Charlotte Mason Work for Your Black Kids

Whether you are black yourself, or you are the parent of black kids, you can make the Charlotte Mason method work for your black kids. I used Simply Charlotte Mason and the free Ambleside Online curriculum as my guides of what a Charlotte Mason curriculum looks like.

You need math of course, science, geography, literature, language arts, and enrichment studies such as foreign language, handicrafts, art, music, and nature study.

Laying out the subjects, take the time to research where you can input black voices. For me, a big one was literature. I wanted to make sure my kids where seeing themselves in the books they would read.

So instead of Little Women, I gave my daughter, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. And instead of Edgar Allen Poe, my son is reading poems by Langston Hughes.

I mentioned earlier that my kids wanted to learn about animals. Did you know Mary J. Wilson was the first black woman to become a senior zookeeper? We didn’t either. I wanted to give my kids these kinds of things to learn about throughout the year through the books we read together.

You can easily create a Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum for black kids using a guide and simply incorporating black voices, black authors into your subjects. If you need more ideas for books, look for an upcoming post on just that.

What black voices will you be incorporating into your homeschool this year?