Home Schooling and Diversity
- Mike Farris, Esq. President of Patrick Henry College
- 2001 10 Jul
The number of African-American families choosing to home school is growing, according to a Washington Post article from October 2000. Are home-school resources available that meet the needs of African-American families? Veteran home schoolers Joyce and Eric Burges formed the National Black Home Educators Resource Association to help fill that need.
Following is the interview I conducted with the Burgeses on my radio program, Home School Heartbeat.
Mike: Joyce and Eric, thank you so much for being with me here on Home School Heartbeat today.
Eric: Thank you for having us, Mike.
Mike: Joyce, tell our listeners a little about your family and your home schooling experience.
Joyce: We have home schooled five children for nearly 11 years, beginning with our eldest son, Eric, when he was 14. Our two sons have graduated from home school high school, and we're still home educating our three daughters. Also, we're blessed with two additions to our family: our daughter-in-law and a granddaughter.
Mike: That's great, congratulations! Now you formed the National Black Home Educators Resource Association in July of 2000, but I know you've been thinking about this for a while. Eric, can you tell our listeners about your vision for the NBHERA?
Eric: Well, the vision is really to educate the black community on the viability of home education. We'd also like to help those who wish to get started in home schooling and we intend to do that by networking them with home educators that are veterans, that have been doing this for a while. And also, we've set about to research good curriculum and materials that are written by black Americans and make them available to those individuals that would like to use them.
Mike: Joyce, I've known you for a long time, and I believe that as an African-American you've found unique challenges in developing a home school program, largely in the area of curriculum. I'd like you to share with our listeners the story of your daughter Candace and the Little House on the Prairie books.
Joyce: Well, Mike, when my daughter Candace was reading the Little House on the Prairie series, she asked if there were any children like these characters who were black. My response to her was, "Well, let's just find out!" So after checking in the libraries, we found quite a few black children-characters-similar to the prairie days. These resources will be listed in our resource section in our publication.
Mike: Eric, what are some of the resources you hope to make available to families?
Eric: Well, some of the resources that we hope to make available are good books that are written by black Americans about black Americans and their contributions to history. Also, we'd like to make available suggested music that would strengthen the family and its relationship. We're looking at films and other companies that will help us share the vision of building the family, godly character, and the responsibility of life.
Mike: Eric, I'd like to ask you about the types of networking you hope to promote among black home schoolers.
Eric: Well, you know, many blacks, and especially some of the younger generations, have no known heritage to connect with -- and particularly that which is positive. So negative role models and cultures are created by those that seek no connection with the values you and I believe in. Productive historical black figures have been hidden throughout history. Now new figures have emerged, those whose example and character deserve no imitation. The future of this nation needs all of us. Blacks and whites have been separated and stereotyped too long by prejudice and this has been propagated by the media, who claim to be on the side of reconciliation. However, I believe that this ministry is reserved for wise Christians, armed with the elements of healing and respect. Purposeful relationships can then be achieved by those who desire to understand on both sides of the spectrum.
Mike: Eric, I know that the National Black Home Educators Resource Association has plans to publish a national quarterly magazine. Tell our listeners about that.
Eric: This publication will come out quarterly. It will features books, our curriculum written by black Americans, that have been reviewed the NBHERA. It will also highlight a black family and the accomplishments pertaining to successful home education and family life to encourage other families. This publication will also highlight positive events related to black American life. And NBHERA will seek to have contacts listed on the state-by-state level. Also, we'll highlight accomplishments of black Americans in the history of this nation, and we'll encourage men according to Ephesians 5 and encourage women according to Titus 2 and 5, which is so needed in our time period.