The Key

The Oscar winner for Best Original Song went to a guy who thanked his mother for letting him quit soccer to be in a musical. He dedicated his win to all the kids who sing in the rain and to all the moms who let them.

I’ve written before about passion and how EP frees my kids up to spend time on their passions. That’s what has been important to me, giving my kids a good foundation and then letting them build on it, their own way.

I know it’s hard to let your kids play and explore and create and have fun when you hear about how “rigorous” this and that curriculum or program is. “Rigorous” seems to be a big buzzword in homeschool circles these days. I’d rather have joy and peace than rigor in my homeschool day.

My oldest is going off to college this fall. She’s my first “proof of concept.” She has always done school the “easy” way. School before Easy Peasy was even easier for us. Easy Peasy was actually a longer, more involved school day than what we did before. My daughter is an EP kid; she was using it before anyone outside of our family knew it existed.

My kids did all the EP lessons when they were younger, but as I’ve gotten kids into high school, I’ve let them take more of a lead on their direction. I let my daughter spend as much time on her art as she liked. As she got really focused on art, I didn’t stress over her math and science that she didn’t like. We just moved along in math at her own pace. I wanted her to learn, not just get through. For two years of high school science I let her choose her subject. She did anatomy one year and spent the year drawing muscles and bones and labeling them. The next year she studied light. She researched it and wrote a big paper on it. Light was something she was focused on in her artwork that year. She likes history and English, so she wanted to continue with the regular EP courses in those subjects through high school.

So what was the outcome? She won a full scholarship to her only-choice school. She believed she knew where she should go to school; I trusted her and let her only apply there.

It can be hard when your child wants to go into the arts or some other field where you know jobs might be hard to come by. It can be tempting to worry and to want them to have all that rigorous education when they really just want to create. If your child is passionate and puts in the time and hard work, then they can get good enough to be one of those ones who get to make a living doing what they love. That Oscar winner used to be just a boy singing in the rain.

My next oldest is starting a video game design company. He’s hoping to launch the alpha version of his first big game this year, as a freshman. He got his first unsolicited job offer at thirteen. I can already see that he can be successful at his passion, what he pours his spare time into.

Is Easy Peasy the key to every child’s future? Of course not. There is a key, though. It’s called the grace of God. He gave my kids their talents and personalities that drove them to the things they love to do. He provided free art lessons for my daughter after I was fussing to Him in prayer about how I couldn’t help her move forward with her art. He inspired the Easy Peasy way of school that gave my kids a great foundation and the hours to invest in their work. He matched my daughter up with a school that not only accepts her but appreciates her.

So when I look at my eleven year old reading or making music and his younger brothers dancing and creating imaginative games, I try to relax. God’s got a plan for their future and it’s a good one.

And a note: EP has high quality courses. There are many high school courses that are based on AP courses. There are courses that use lectures and materials from universities. I’m not saying that EP lacks in “rigor.” I’m saying I’m against rigor for rigor’s sake. There was no need for my daughter to tackle an AP physics course just so I could feel I was giving her a rigorous education. I hope you can see the difference. And, of course, I’m not saying that your kids or all my kids are going to get full scholarships. I’m just saying that I can trust it’s going to all work out okay. I’m putting my faith in God, not in my curriculum, not in rigorous academic standards, not in anything else.

Here’s the article on the same theme that I wrote for the main site.

Black History Month

There are other links on the main site.

Pathways to Freedom

African American History Month  Follow the links to learn about individuals.

Leaders and Events (videos)

Explore: Scroll down and click to see the collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

African Americans in Science (modern-day)

African Americans in Science  Follow the links to learn about individuals.

Letters and Speeches

 

Javascript Enabled

If you are getting a message about javascript needing to be enabled on your Georgia Virtual Learning pages, be assured that GVL is aware of the problem and is working on it.

For the meantime, try clicking on the little keyhole on the top left of those activities. Sometimes you can get a text version of the activity. You should be able to get the words and definitions and that’s what the other activities practice, so for now you will just have to practice from your list and not with activities.

Do you realize how prevalent racism is?

Below is my cousin’s story of encountering racism as the mother of a biracial son. Overseas we experienced racism as people thought we were Muslim (because we dressed modestly and had lots of children). We couldn’t get help at government offices or even at the hospital. Hotels were “full.” We were spat at, and people avoided eye contact with us. Of course, we could change their attitude towards us in a second by letting them know we were American. I was glad for the experience because it gave me a glimpse of what our friends endured constantly as Roma, the discriminated-against Gypsy population, but we knew we could never really experience what they experience, living as unwanted by society, day in and day out.

The thing is, everyone is racist in their own way. No matter how much you are determined not to be. Our culture teaches it to us. It’s heartbreaking that our culture has created a negative image that young black boys in particular either accept or have to constantly fight to break out of. How sad that they are taught this poor image of themselves. Did you know studies have shown blacks will score lower on a test that has them mark their race before they start? It reminds them of those low expectations society has placed on them.

Please read my cousin’s story below. I’m sure his teachers aren’t purposefully being racist. It’s an unconscious bias. It’s deep inside of us. It takes courage to spot and deal with. So I challenge you to dig for underlying racist thoughts in yourself and in your kids. Do your kids have any wrong ideas about blacks not being good or smart?

Below is by Erin Koewing

I never really understood how much racism there still is until I had a brown child. Sure, I knew there was racism and obviously that was awful, but I saw it as individual people, individual acts. I had brown and black friends and I heard them talk about how they were treated and I hurt for them. But I didn’t get it. I dated and married a black man in the south and I thought I knew then what racism was, how much it hurt. He was pulled over so much it was ludicrous. Driving a minivan. Waitresses refused to serve us. People said nasty stuff. I started to avoid making eye contact with people in public because I didn’t want to give them any opening to hurt me.

And then I had a brown child. A really noticeably brown child. People stared. All the time. It was exhausting. But I had the luxury of stepping away and being white. I remember being relieved to go to work, to go in a store without my husband or child because I was invisible. No one stared, no one made comments. I wasn’t an object of curiosity or disgust. I was just a person. And so ashamed that it was such a relief to just be a white middle class woman.

The first time anyone said anything racist directly to Wesley he was three. Three years old. And another kid in his preschool class told him every day, “I can’t play with you because you’re black. My dad says you’re black like Obama. My dad says our family don’t play with black kids.” My sweet boy told the teacher the kid needed help learning his colors….the boy kept calling him black and he was brown!

Do I worry about my kid’s interactions with the police? Absolutely. He told my mom that there’s a cop that drives up when they are playing air soft sometimes and sometimes follows him when when he rides his bike. That whenever he sees the cop he makes sure to smile really big and wave and say hi so the cop doesn’t think he’s bad. My ten year old is trying to make sure this cop doesn’t see him as a threat. I guarantee none of his friends are worried about that. I know in 36 years it’s never crossed my mind.

But, statistically, he’s very unlikely to be killed by a cop. That’s not what keeps me up at night. What I really worry about are the daily interactions that are soul destroying. That put him on high alert all the time. That make him feel like he is less than, that he has to fight just to be seen as equal. It’s my 8 year old crying in the middle of the night asking me why teachers think black kids are bad, why they give white kids more chances. Ashamed that he told a new teacher that he was Indian so she wouldn’t think he was black. It’s the lowered academic expectations. It’s the assumed negative intent for all behavior. It’s the perception of my almost never angry or rough kid as “behaving aggressively” when he does normal stuff that would be dismissed as playing around if he was white. Its people asking him over and over and over why he’s brown and I’m white. All he hears is “why are u different? You aren’t like us.” It’s kids at the pool making him the captain of the black team when choosing teams and telling him no one wants to be on the black team. No one wants to be like him. It’s telling him “your kind doesn’t belong in this neighborhood.” It’s not being invited to birthday parties because “my dad says we don’t let *** in our house.” It’s being on the defensive all the time to keep himself from being hurt worse. It’s my 10 year old telling me that I shouldn’t say he’s brown anymore, I should call him black because “that’s all that people see anyway.”

And I still don’t get it. I have no idea what it’s like to live in his skin with that kernel of fear all the time. But I know what it’s like to watch him navigate it. I know that my kid is scared. I know that it’s not right that he has to grow up this way. I know we have to stop pretending that childhood for me was the same as it is for him. He matters. Making change matters.

Back in the USA

We’re here. It’s been a little over a week. The suitcases are all put away, and we’re almost on a regular schedule. We still need to visit some family before we can really get into “real” life.

We’ll be living with my parents outside of Philadelphia for the indefinite future. My husband’s work is only part time, but it’s a good flexible job and he needs to continue with it since his students are counting on him to keep teaching his online foreign language classes. He is also able to continue his ministry from here of encouraging pastors and church leaders around the globe through email, messaging, and Skype. Our other income is from EP and especially Genesis Curriculum.

We will be in the States for at least a year and a half, but I think it could be much longer. We do want to get back overseas, but we’re not going to go just for the sake of going. God will have to give us new direction to do so. He obviously arranged things to get us here, so we are being content with that. Starting next year we’ll be moving into a new phase of parenting with a child entering college. It is a relief that it looks like we won’t have to send a child off to another continent for school! But maybe this will be a season in the States while we see kids through this transition to college.

I, of course, would love to have our own home. (I’m turning 40 this year and have never owned a home.) However, we don’t want to live in debt so that we can be free to go if the Lord sends us. We’re first saving up for a car before we can even think about a home!

Thank you to everyone praying for us. It’s a big transition to the States, and it’s a big change of lifestyle and culture. Pray for us to find meaningful ways to minister as a family here. I don’t want my kids to lose their understanding of how others live by being sheltered in suburbia. I don’t want my kids to forget that we’re rich compared to the rest of the world.

Here’s a video walking down the street to visit our friends in Macedonia. We visited them at least once a week. When we lived in Macedonia previously, we lived in this Roma (Gypsy) community. This was normal to my kids. (At the end I’m trying to show how there are several doors. There are four families living behind that one gate we entered through. Each door is a different family’s home. Each home may have one or two rooms. Some homes on the street house multiple families.)