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Including history in our curriculum that is not always taught in the traditional classroom is one of the reasons I chose to homeschool. My husband and I want our daughters to learn about world history–the good, the bad, and the ugly–in the most unbiased way we know possible. Sharing the history of all people will always be our intentions. As a nation, we will soon celebrate a famous black leader’s birthday and holiday, as well as, celebrate during the nationally recognized Black History Month in February. Now (and everyday) is the perfect time to teach kids about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History.
When Sharing History, Remember These Things
- Be honest about the topic. When discussing the Civil Rights Movement and other moments in history, it will not always be a story of roses, so share the history and try your best to include the entire truth.
- Use age appropriate language and vocabulary when discussing the topic. This is an extension of the point above. You know what your child is ready to hear about, so use discretion. My preschoolers certainly were not ready to hear about the violence that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement, but sharing with them the inequalities that people faced during that time and before was effective.
- Make learning history exciting! Create activities to help your child remember the facts you are sharing. Help them visualize what happened during that time of history.
Utilize Your Library
Heroes of American History: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Edith Hope Fine
This biography shares information about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his childhood up until right before his death, including pictures that you may have never seen. It does, however, include a lot of words but the information shared by the author is organized in a way that will make it easy for you to sort out and share with your child.
We March by Shane W. Evans
If you are looking for a great picture book about the Civil Rights Movement, put We March
on your list. It has only a few words on each page but together, those few words and illustrations shed light on families marching during the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King.
Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange Audio Narrated by Phylicia Rashad
Get to know the woman who stood behind Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through this poetic picture book. Coretta Scott shares Mrs. King’s commitment to Dr. King and to the Civil Rights Movement. It also includes a disc for a read-a-long experience. The poem is narrated by the award-winning actress, Phylicia Rashad, best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Beautiful music and sounds accompany her narration, as well as a signal for children to turn the page when necessary.
Use Printable Resources
Coloring and writing about a particular subject also helps to give children a better understanding of the subject. I found this printable Black History coloring book online for only 99¢! There are 20+ pages of African-Americans who changed the world with their inventions, skills, movements and ideas. Children can color a picture of the notable person as well as trace a sentence that describes what that person accomplished. It is a resource that you can download and use all year long.
For more writing practice, download this free packet I created just for you.
Is sharing history with your child important to you? What resources do you use?