I scratched my head, and I thought. Is it the lack of resources? Is it a lack of culturally accurate and appropriate curriculum? Is it the lack of community and feeling isolated?
I asked my fellow Black home-schoolers what they thought the biggest issue facing them was. Some said, “The lack of access to STEM education.” Another said, “Access to programming.” Still, another said, “The lack of curriculum for Black people by Black people.”
The list kept going on. However, as I looked at that list and reflected on previous conversations, the one thread that connects them is the lack of resources. The pandemic forced 9 million students home for remote education.
According to the 2019 census, Black families were 3.3% of the home-schooling population. By the fall of 2020, the rate had increased to 16.1%. Now, Black families are the fastest-growing home-school population in the United States. The Black home-school community is flourishing, but not without some growing pains.
I have come across many Black families who are frustrated with the education system for a myriad of reasons. After home-schooling during the pandemic, they now see home-schooling as a viable option but often lack the resources to make it happen.
This is why communities like the Georgia Black Home Educators Network, a collaboration of Black home educators from DeKalb Christian Home Educators, EPIC Homeschool Network, and Northeast Independent Preparatory Academy, are so important.
The mission of the Georgia Black Home Educators Network is to provide opportunities, ensure access and secure resources that empower Black families as home educators. Among the resources offered: home-school advising to help families figure out where to begin, low-cost tutoring for learners that need a little more support, STEM classes, community field days, HBCU college tours and transcript help for homeschooled high schoolers, to name a few.
This week, the Georgia Black Home Educators Network, along with several sponsors, is hosting the inaugural Black Family Homeschool Conference entitled Flourish! to bring together resources in home education from around the state and the nation. It starts today and goes through Friday.
I am thankful for organizations like the Home School Legal Defense Association and the yes. every kid. foundation. that see this need and support Black home-school families.
If lack of resources is the main problem facing Black home-school families, as I believe it is, we are starting to find the solution and actively seeking community partnerships to facilitate these.