Tag Archives: homeschool

Getting Started Homeschooling: Develop a Mission Statement

Yes, this sounds pretty extra and way too corporate and duty-like. But, like nonprofits that develop mission statements to make it clear to their public who they serve and what their goals are, you need to be clear about what it is you are striving to do as the curator of your child’s home education. Take it seriously because it is pretty serious stuff.

Now, of course all parents don’t do this. But, I have advised parents to go this route when they are overwhelmed with how to get started on their homeschooling journey. Typically, they are unclear about what the possibilities are and what their endgame is. Writing a mission statement helps you get your thoughts together and begin to strategize with intent.

Why do I want to homeschool?

Some parents realize their mission is to get their child to college and that’s that. Some parents determine that the mission is to have their children strengthen skills in areas that their local school was not able to help develop or even address. One family told me that their mission is ensure that their children are consistently nurtured and supported to pursue the learning areas that best suit their temperament, abilities and interests. If you are part of FB groups like I am, you will see that some parents are more inclined to replicate a school environment within their home and teach to test while some parents abhor the thought of testing completely. Your mission is uniquely your own. Your mission may not be the same as another family. But, how will you know if you don’t give yourself time to reflect on your reasons and sort them out? A mission statement helps with that.

Who will be responsible for developing our homeschool mission statement?

Some parents include their children in developing their mission statement. Some have children too small to help just yet. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can make the experience however you wish. I definitely had an intent for my daughter at four years-old that was more mom-driven than what it is now. Our homeschooling mission statement is not much different than when we first started almost ten years ago, but, my daughter has given input that has made it more intentional and inclusive of some of her own language. My daughter and I came up with the following mission statement this year:

The mission of our homeschool journey is to focus on skill building in the areas of family relationships, Pan-African history, music and socialization. Our homeschool journey provides space for self-directed learning, field trips and opportunities to earn money, express ourselves creatively and spiritually as advocates in our own self-care and the betterment of our community.

The mission statement may change each year. It may never change. But, it provides an opportunity to be clear about your intention and it can help you a lot moving forward.

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling mother, a multi-media strategist and professional creative who has built an expansive interdisciplinary career as a professional in higher education, media, student development and the arts.  You can join her mailing list and register for her courses for homeschooling families at StudentMediaOnline.com.

Are you homeschooling an African American child who also takes courses at a community college? If so, consider having your child participate in this study for a $25 VISA Gift Card.

How to Watch ‘When They See Us’ with Your Children

On June 12, Oprah sat down with When They See Us director Ava Duvernay, the show’s cast, and the real men tagged by the media as “the Central Park Five” for an engaging interview– Oprah Winfrey Presents: When They See Us Now— that included conversation around the making of the show and the experiences of the actors and the real men.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 09: ≈ look on at the Netflix “When They See Us” FYSEE Event at Raleigh Studios on June 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

I am watching Oprah’s special now as I write this and I appreciate that Ava and Oprah assert from the beginning that the men are not the “Central Park 5” but, the “Exonerated 5”. Each actor spoke with deep compassion and care about each of the men they portrayed and how the experience of bringing the story to the screen changed their lives. The Netflix series strongly impacted me as well, so much so that I did not watch it in a linear fashion or all at once. Overwhelming, emotionally searing and painful, I had to watch it in segments. And, because of my experience, I offer these recommendations for people to watch with your children or if assigning this as a viewing experience for your children.

  1. Watch each episode slowly if necessary.
Scene from “When They See Us” found on IndieWire.com

When I say watch each episode slowly, I mean pause it if you need to. Watch a few minutes and come back to it another day if you need to. Talk about it or think about it before pushing the play button again. Whatever you need to do, do it, for, this film is emotionally taxing, particularly if you are strongly empathetic, have a personal experience that is similar or have a strong identification with the state of (in)justice in this country. I am all of the above and left the living room after fifteen minutes of watching. I cried that evening and a little the next day. Ava Duvernay’s beautiful direction and cinematography made the story’s horror palpable and humanized the story in unexpected ways.

2. Check in with your children and ask how they are doing.

Scene from the movie WHEN THEY SEE US

My daughter and her father continued to watch the series’ first episode when I had retired to bed fifteen minutes in. The next morning, I checked in with my daughter to see how she was doing and what her thoughts were of the movie. My daughter is a 15 year-old homeschooler who has taken college courses in critiquing film and pop culture and her initial response lingered on the technical aspects of the film from writing, acting and directing. She then began to ask questions and we researched some of the things published about the case. We discussed the role that Donald Trump played in marking the young men as criminals and creating a narrative that he stands by and does not apologize for. Checking in with your child(ren) lets you gauge how they are processing the information and let’s you know what context you needs to give to make it more understandable for them.

3. Check out some of the perspectives via social media

I recommend going on Twitter to see some of the conversation that the series has sparked. Some of the perspective gives context to things you may have questions on and some of the comments give backstory on some of the people involved in the case, including the prosecutors and detectives. My daughter chose to see what people were saying about the series and learned that the lead detective on the case had gone into publishing and was the inspiration behind one of my daughter’s favorite shows, Law and Order. That knowledge led us to have a conversation about how we consider people within and outside of the media microscope.

In closing, I think the series, while an artistic rendering of a very real and sensational story, is a valuable tool for teaching children about the injustice of America’s legal system. I think it also teaches about the power of media lynching and how vulnerable Black people are within the justice system, particularly when poor, uninformed about their rights and when targeted by those with authority.

Did you watch the series? What were your thoughts? Leave in the comment section below.

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling mother, a multi-media strategist and professional creative who has built an expansive interdisciplinary career as a professional in higher education, media, student development and the arts.  You can join her mailing list and register for her courses for homeschooling families at StudentMediaOnline.com