How we started…
We are in in the 2nd month of our official HOME-school. Not remote, HOME-school homie. Inspired by the pandemic, covid-19, super spreader talk and distrust of schools, we pulled our kids from public education and signed up for time4learning.com. Three kids, 9th, 6th and 2nd so we have one at every level. It was cool beans. *crosses heart* All of the basic stuff was taken care of, Math, Science, English, History. We supplemented the kids’ learning with extra stuff to ensure they were getting something akin to education in culture. For about a month, it was working for all three kids and the two parents.
What was missing…
What was missing was the human interaction, social interaction of school. Teachers were missing, stories, laughter, frustration, that whole 1-on-1 experience was hanging out with the public school adventure. We were not onboard with that at all. Electives were also missing. Time4learning.com doesn’t offer electives; some Spanish stuff but we wanted more. We wanted an experience that our kids would remember and brag about. We wanted something BLACK AF that incorporated African American pride, spirit, ingenuity and accomplishments. The problem was THOSE schools were sooooo doggone pricey.
BOOM! wholelivingacademy.com to the rescue!
We stumbled and tripped over this school! Through family, we learned of a remote school that had BEEN in business, addressed ALL our educational wants, needs AND was affordable. *fold arms* I promise. I wouldn’t lie to my Tribe! Wholelivingacademy.com offered a small, family atmosphere for the kids and we were immediately touched by the teachers’ initiative. On a weekend, during the evening, they called us over the phone for a quick interview with parents and kids. *nodding head* That opening conversation lasted almost 2 hours! We talked about everything from our reasons for taking the HOME-school journey, Multiple Sclerosis and alternative treatments, foods, the experiences that the teachers were having because each lived on a different continent. *raises eyebrows* You aren’t shocked and impressed at that? A group of individual teachers combining their knowledge and skills to create an entire school? Then, each of those teachers is living on a different continent?! Let me tell you what that meant to me, US, over here. In the current state of public education, remote schooling is failing the students, schools and community. A monumental element, founding factor in this colossal failure is the poor experience and training that teachers have in dealing with remote work, remote students, remote expectations. Teachers are in no condition to devise and implement a brand, new system of instruction that focuses on the remote, online experience. They don’t have the tools or excitement to undertake such a monstrous feat. SO, when we heard about this service and the location of it’s educators, we knew the staff had concrete ideas, tactics, strategies to engage remote learners and hold their interest. THAT was HUUUUUUUUGE in the decision to give the school a trial run.
Only our daughters are attending the wholelivingacademy. (The age ends at 8th grade and he’s a 9th grader.) The core classes were right above the level that the girls left. Example, my 6th grader was working on the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of fractions and decimals. When she entered the nerw school, the students were working on integers and the operations with them. Just a tad bit ahead, maybe more than a tad but I am not complaining. My 2nd grader constantly talks about the hardness of school and “Daddy! School is finally hard for me! I like this place sooooo much!” (She is GT, Gifted/Talented, so she never feels challenged by schoolwork. In 1st grade, she was reading 5th and 6th grade books *get it from her Momma*) The courses are not only ON LEVEL, the students are given crazy opportunity to speak, see each other, talk to each other, groupthink and all that jazz. As a parent, I LOVE hearing all the kids sound excited to talk and participate in lessons. I hear that with them. ALL the kids, not just mine, are jumping out their chairs, laughing and encouraging each other. I don’t think I ever had a class that cool beans as a teacher or anything job-related!
*sniff* I’m proud of my daughters for learning these African styles of hair braiding and paying attention in the courses over meditation and harmony. I’m proud of the school itself for offering courses that deal with conflict resolution. I got 4 kids so I need some help in that area. These kids can go at each other like they all born enemies. *eye roll*
Chi Gong – Chi Gong is an ancient Chinese practice of healing, energy and meditation. The students are learning how to perform basic and advanced chi gong exercises; increase vitality by maintaining the balance of bodily energies; prevent and cure ulcers, hypertension, heart disease, and other ailments; and achieve a relaxed and therapeutic meditative state, promoting health and longevity. I KNOW it sounds too good to be true and kinda off-the-reservation but I firmly believe in the power of meditation and selfcare. I, WE, want that instilled in our kids.
Braiding & Twisting – In this course, the girls are learning how braid and twist hair in the various African styles. They’re already doing their own hair! (Well, trying to but you see it coming.)
African Martial Arts – You kidding me? Heeeeeeeeeck yeah, I want my girls learning self-defense moves and actions! AND it’s based in something African too? *loud clapping*
Inner Me – This a conflict resolution class and I’m suuuuuper intrigued. I taught that as a middle school teacher but was never granted an opportunity to use it on the kids. What will the girls learn? We’ll see soon enough.
Kwanzaa – Yooo. This is EXACTLY the type of stuff that I mean by, “we want the girls to learn OUR culture, history, and more of others. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture that is held from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually held on the 6th day.
Music Theory – Music theory tells you how music works. It’s the structure underneath the songs you love that explains how they do what they do. The girls needed something to rock and roll with all the dancing, gymnastics, popping and locking occurring on a daily basis.
Introduction to Holistic Health – Holistic health takes a whole-person approach to health and healing that includes body, mind, and soul as well as environmental qualities of everyday living. This is what I do to fight Multiple Sclerosis, Spondylosis, kidney tumors, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, I harp on this, make videos about it, design shirts for it. You KNOW I wanted my daughters to have it as an actual course that way, I’m reinforcing the lessons and the lessons reinforcing me.
Pan-African History is more of the “Black pride, black AF stuff”. Pan-Africanism was the attempt to create a sense of brotherhood and collaboration among all people of African descent whether they lived inside or outside of Africa.
Another reason that we’re really digging this school is that the teachers communicate so effortlessly with us. Whether it’s questions about the curriculum, lessons, delivery, weather, they are responding quickly and more. The questions and conversations always spin off into goals, successes and overcoming WHATEVER is going on. Whatever, shortcuts for meals, problems with the kids’ behaviors, wondering how they’re doing academically, everything is an open, authentic conversation. I always feel like the answers we’re given are explained and ensured I understood the intention and direction of the lesson. It is AMAZINGLY refreshing!
My son? Good question. Here’s the plan:
He is too old to attend Wholelivingacademy so we’re researching other alternatives. From talking to him, he is interested in focusing on computer type of stuff in high school. His favorite game is Roblox and he’s tried to enter contests and events where contestants “write code to create new areas”. *shrugs* Whatever that means. The plan hasn’t changed, we want to move OUT of the country in the summer of 2021. That discussion was my attempt to motivate and nudge him in the direction of computers and tech. Yes, there is a big difference between playing games and designing games. I just want him to explore because you never know until you try. *wink*
Study.com is the next adventure to improve our HOME-schooling. *fingers crossed*
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