More Black, Christian families have opted into homeschooling in the COVID era.
Liuan Huska of Christianity Today writes that Black families have a history of homeschooling, going back to the 19th century. Black heritage has become an important addition to modern-day homeschooling. Where public often schools focus on White dominated and defined history, homeschooling brings Black figures into the conversation. Amber Johnson has been coordinating a curriculum for families in the Atlanta area based on Victorian women’s philosophy.
Amber O’Neal Johnston likes to say, “In my house, Charlotte Mason has an Afro.”
Johnston is among generations of homeschooling parents inspired by the 19th-century Christian educator. She believes in Mason’s philosophy that children should be treated as full-fledged people and that educators cooperate with God to create a learning environment rich with books, nature, experiences, and ideas.
But as Johnston claimed her Black heritage over the years, things changed. Her once “bone straight” hair is now worn natural. “It’s big. And I love it,” she said during a Zoom interview, showing off a heavy mass of curls behind a white and patterned headband.
Johnston wants her four kids to claim and love their Blackness too—but she noticed how the books on Charlotte Mason reading lists, full of white authors writing about white characters and history, taught a different lesson.
It was her eldest daughter who shifted Johnston’s view when she remarked, “You said we study important things at school. We study only white people.”
Johnston was stunned.
Since then, the homeschooling mom has worked to bring Black figures and history into the Charlotte Mason approach. She became a board member for the Charlotte Mason Institute, taking the Victorian woman’s philosophy and infusing a “necessary dose of Blackness into it.”
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