Turning Pain into Purpose: Empowering your child’s school when they don’t know they need it

If you are not following me on Instagram, you may not know that we had an interesting Black History Month. And not for good reason! But as usual, Reiko turns everything into a teachable moment, so I am briefly recapping the events here on the blog today to share a resource I created. So let’s get into it, shall we?

“Well, you have the month of February but we have the other eleven months.” Those were the words that a classmate told my six year old son at school during their Valentine’s Day exchange party. You read that right. She also was kind enough to share that she didn’t “Respect black people.” That’s a lot to process. Shocked. Traumatized. Appalled. Offended. Confused. We felt all of those feelings at the same time. 

What started off as the highest of insults and trying to figure out how to explain the word “microagression”  to my six year old son turned into a revelation that my son’s school had severely dropped the ball in addressing the situation. 

I thought that I would be able to just email the teacher and get a meeting scheduled with the parent of the girl who made these racially charged remarks to my son. What really happened is that I had to schedule a number of meetings with the school once I realized that best practices were not being followed on the admin side and that there was a professional development failure on the teacher’s part. 

As Zavier’s mom, it was important that I speak and advocate for him and other students like him so that this never happens again. It also led me to create a resource for the school because I refused to be shushed away. I used my experience as a veteran educator and one really pissed mom to create a guide on how to handle cultural sensitivity on any school campus. 

If you want to know the background of the story, click here so that you have a better understanding of why I went into DEI mode on the behalf of my child. 

If you ever find that your school or place of employment needs to develop greater cultural awareness,  here are 7 Considerations for Cultural Awareness and Equitable Practices. I created it with my mentor and professional thought partner, Lisa Lucario.  It was a labor of love in the name of my son because it was the only way I knew how to truly offer a solution as an outraged parent and a seasoned educator. 

 

 

What are your thoughts? Would you have gone through the trouble of creating a resource to help the leaders in your child’s school do better in handling a culturally sensitive situation?

You can download a PDF version of this resource here. 

Making Memories and Creating Your Own Traditions

I have been sharing my life as a parent for over eight years now. I’ve shared about being a first time Kindergarten mom all the way to being forced to become a baseball mom. As I continue to fly this ship as I build, one thing I really try to be more intentional about is creating my traditions for my own family and making memories. 

I had a great childhood but I can’t say that I remember a whole lot of pivotal memories. I had them I am sure but I just don’t remember a lot of them. I remember going to school and being an avid reader but I don’t have memories of the first time I went on a plane or the first time I went to the beach. Well, that’s not true. I remember almost drowning when we took a trip to Corpus Christi’s beach. Add that to my list of things to unpack in my next therapy session! Ha! 

I want my children to have true memories. Things that I reflect on in their adulthood and can recall the details. That’s why making sure that Zavi and Zara are travelers is important to us as parents. I want them to know that there is a whole big world out there outside of the confines of Houston and I want them to see as much of it as they can. 

Over the past few years, a few of my church friends turned family have decided to own the Spring Break tradition of traveling to a new destination together. Our kids are all around the same age except for the two teenagers. We plan a year ahead and the intention is to do it as long as we can. 

In the past two years we have chosen a destination then rented an Airbnb that can comfortably house 13 people. Remember my Destin, Florida post? 

This year we went to Las Vegas, Nevada and The Grand Canyon. Two families come from Houston and the third family travels from Tennessee. We look forward to fellowshipping and our kids running around having a ball while we play games with adult beverages. Over the past two trips, I’ve learned a few things that you might find helpful if you decided to create traditions with your own family and/or friends. 

  1. Pick one place that is a priority on every trip. Visiting the Grand Canyon was a priority for the group while having a Spa morning at my favorite hotel on the Vegas strp was a personal priority for me. 
  2. Remember that Airbnbs are fun but also require work that may not sound so sexy aka buying groceries for the week, meal planning, laundry, etc. It has advantages because it’s one big sleepover but let’s just say that every day may not feel like a break. Next year, we’re going to an all-inclusive resort.
  3. Do not go overboard with planning activities for the kids. Kids are simple. They want a pool to splash in, junk food and to stay up all night. You don’t have to waste money going to every tourist attraction. Pick one place to go that requires you to site see/experience new things.
  4. Plan ahead. Preferably a year ahead – that way the trip will be completely paid in full by when it’s time to leave. Next year we are going to Mexico. Possibly Tulum and we are already looking into resorts and flights so that we can get the ball rolling. 
  5. Plan one day where you go absolutely nowhere. Enjoy the hotel or the Airbnb amenities. Getting a space with a pool or a firepit for making smores will be what the kids will remember. That’s usually the day when we grill and let the kids run wild. The adults can enjoy laughing, catching up or playing some games. Some of our faves are Heads Up and Kulture Cards. 

Experiences over everything. Take a look at our visit to Vegas here.

 

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Five ways to invest in your child’s hobbies.

Kids are often bombarded with the worst question ever, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I didn’t realize it until I got older but what a ridiculous question to ask a child who just learned how to tie their shoes on their own. 

Reframing the question is one thing but even if it is asked, what do you do with the information once they answer it?

Parenting is a crapshoot. There’s no one way to do it right but at minimum we should be able to expose them to as many things as possible. 

My two children are complete opposites. My daughter is super creative and loves the arts while my son draws the exact same stick man on anything that requires an illustration. We have however discovered that he has a deep interest in baseball. Who knew! We did. But only because we took a chance to expose him to a practice league. 

We thought that we would sign up for T-Ball, just to keep him active and that he would just go the wrong way on the field and play with the dirt in the dugouts. WRONG! He’s obsessed with the history of the game and is performing well. 

I noticed that my daughter had an eye for style at an early age – could that be genetics though? LOL. What started with her cutting up socks into makeshift tube dresses for her dolls has turned into now attending weekly local sewing classes. 

Will he be a professional baseball player? Maybe. Maybe not. But at least he has some experiences associated with the idea of it. It’s not something that he can’t fathom. He can.

Will she be a fashion designer? Who knows. She’s also expressed interest in being an animator, a costume designer, and an actress. My goal is to let her try it all in some small way to see if it sparks something in her spirit. She even tried soccer. And lowkey hated it, she ended up more of a motivational speaker to her teammates on the field but at least she has tried it.

Here are a  few things you can do to invest in your child’s interest now. 

  1. Pay attention to what they watch. Do they play a lot of video games? Ask them if they would be interested in a coding class. Especially mid-pandemic, it may be easier to find something age appropriate online. 
  2. Watch what they watch. Do they watch certain TV shows or youtube videos a lot? Ask them why they watch it so much? Is it for the fashion? For the action? What if you gave them a camera phone, would they be willing to record themselves doing something fun?
  3. Let them help. Do they hang around you when you cook? Do they ask to help? Include them? I know we get busy being busy but maybe helping to chop onions or knead the dough may spark an interest in culinary arts. 
  4. Commit to letting them try one activity for a month or season. Whether it’s dance class or sewing class. Find something that they are interested in and make them commit to it for a short time. Kids (adult kids too) tend to tap out if something is immediately a challenge. Insist that they push past the discomfort because often there may be some interest or skill being developed on the other side of the discomfort.
  5. Ask them. Simply ask them the questions, “What are you good at? What do you like to do more than anything.” Remember they are kids. Simple answers like “to color, to play with my dolls, to cook” are all acceptable answers. Find ways to encourage more of what they like to do. 

Also, expect kids to change their minds and be interested in more than one thing. We were taught to go after one goal when we were kids. The messaging was often that you were a failure if you didn’t do what you said you wanted to do at the age of 5. That’s so archaic and unrealistic. 

Are you doing what you said you wanted to be when you were five? Feel free to follow these steps for yourself. I sure am…at 46 years young. 

This is not a “5 ways to figure out your life” post.

Life has a way of quietly sneaking up on you and giving you a loud smack on the neck. I won’t say I’ve been struggling this year… not completely I suppose. Let’s say it this way, with the help of my therapist, I’ve been working on thriving not just surviving. Apparently, I’ve been in survival mode or autopilot for the last few years but I am actively trying to make some major life adjustments for myself. 

As I actively try to live a life that brings me joy, it’s requiring me to pivot a few things. Things I didn’t think I wanted have now shifted themselves to the front line of goals. Some things are new revelations and some are old ones for some reason they hit differently. 

This will not be a “5 ways to figure out your life” post.   Because I’m still working on it. So here are some random yet real musings I’ve had as of late. 

  1. I’m now at the age where I worry about things like having enough life insurance for the kids. We have plenty  but I want more. LOL! It’s really about leaving a legacy. I wish I had this mindset twenty years ago but that’s not how life works. More than anything, I don’t want my kids to struggle through life. Some things will obviously be life lessons but some things are just about pre-gaming (as a parent.)
  2. People will weaponize family and Christianity (respectively) to their advantage. It’s always from the most toxic people. The people who have the moral background of Al Capone yet are often the ones trying to drag you to their level of toxicity. You are never too old to establish boundaries. 
  3. Success looks differently for mature people.  What I mean is that quality of life, taking care of yourself surpasses having the fanciest cars and Instagram-worthy pics to post. Right now, success is looking like me being able to drop off and/or pick up my kids to school and eat a healthy breakfast and get consistent with a healthy lifestyle. 
  4.  You don’t have to be stuck in life. I wasn’t necessarily stuck but I was content for a long while. I’ve decided to unstuck myself. I’m actively trying to change how I live my life in the coming months, not years… MONTHS. I am not happy complaining about it anymore. Hopefully, I will have an update on this soon. 
  5.  Thriving in life should be a goal. So many of us have mastered the art of survival that we think that just making it is a goal.  Case and point,  my car broke down a few months ago. I had it for 7 years. And I had no intentions of getting another one. Until one day I realized that it’s okay to enjoy life a little – or a lot…mind your business! I finally convinced myself that not only did I need a new car but I deserved the one I wanted. I smile every time I drive now. I’m 46 years old and it’s a flex. Not the car…the smile. 

Life comes at you fast. This year alone has been enough to take anyone out. But I choose to change the things I can. And avoid people who haven’t figured it out yet because time is ticking.  Let’s call this a check-in! Now that you’ve read mine, I’d love to know how you’re doing! Leave me a comment below and share this post if it touched you.

Talking to your children about moving and other family decisions.

I know that my mom cringes sometimes when she sees my parenting style is slightly different from hers. Honestly, hubby cringes too but I’m just trying to do the best that I can. I am not of the old-school style of parenting that suggests that children should be seen and not heard. We don’t quite operate like that. Hubby and I bump heads a little bit in this area but I try to rationalize why I approach things the way we do. 

Recently, we made the decision for our family to move to a new home. This means a new school for 5-year-old Zavier and 7-year-old Zara. I was dreading this decision the most because Zara has been at this school since Kindergarten and has ingrained herself in the culture there. Everyone knows Zara! If you follow me, then you know I wasn’t too worried about Zavier because he doesn’t care anyway. 

After avoiding the conversation for a while, I had a very intentional discussion with them both explaining that we were moving and why we were moving. Things like needing more space, the current house not having all the things we need, etc. I wanted to include them in the idea of moving early instead of just telling them. 

Why? We’re the adults, right? Well, I want them to embrace change and be fully informed even as 5 and 7-year-olds. There’s something about including your children in family decisions that has become super important to me. We do not always get it right, trust me, but I just didn’t want to make this an abrupt and traumatic transition. 

Surprisingly, Zara explained that she was having a “bittersweet feeling” but understood that “no one can stay in the same place forever.” Zavier suggested that we “download the Realtor.com app” to look at floor plans. Again. I don’t know where Zaiver comes from but that’s indeed what he told us. They took it far better than I expected and Zara immediately let it be known that she wants to take the lead for the theme of her new room. 

I know a lot of us grew up in the “speak when spoken to” era of parenting. And I’m not saying that I don’t find myself pulling that card every now and then but I’m hoping that they feel empowered to process feelings and understand the concept change. 

There are so many of us as adults right now who get or are STILL stuck in life because we were never given the language to understand or process transitions in life. Hopefully, this experience will be another notch of coping as they grow into adults. And Let me be clear, I’m not saying that we would have changed our decision to move if they didn’t take the news well. But I still want them to feel like they are a part of this family and not just cute props!

You can read more about my parenting style on Mom.com. 

How to stage a pre-loved home for sale.

If you missed the news on Instagram, our family is preparing to move to a new home by the end of the year which means we need to sell our “pre-loved” home to a lucky new occupant.

 

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I’ve personally been through this process before so there are a few tricks that I think help move the process along.

Clear your home of personal effects.

ALL of your family photos, cultural art, etc should be removed so that potential buyers can visualize themselves in the space. Now, this is twofold because you do want to stage the home with simple universal art and other decor to make the home warm. I will be removing all personal photos and art and replacing them with a super cute art piece of a dog and a custom piece of my favorite plant, a sansevieria (Snake) plant.

Declutter, declutter, declutter!

You want the home to have a clean and clutter-free vibe. It’s normal to collect things over time but when selling your space, homebuyers want a clean slate so they can envision their items on shelves, etc. This also means decluttering closets. Most buyers look for maximum storage so be sure to rid your closets and shelves of boxes, hodgepodge, and odds and ends. I am going through each of our closets and storing most of the items at a storage facility. There will be one pretty storage box in each closet to house my family’s absolute necessities for living in the house while selling. That’s a great excuse to make a Homegoods or Target run, right?. Get rid of clothes or at least pack up those clothes that are out of season so that when a potential buyer opens the closet it doesn’t tell a terrible story!

Get your Pinterest on!

This is the perfect time to try some of those Pinterest tricks that you’ve been saving for years and never tried because you live a real life. So now that you get to sell a fake life…do those special bathroom folding tricks where your towels look like a duck! LOL! Change out your pantry and use those glass jars with the corks to stage that perfect pantry! This is YOUR TIME!

Clear off ALL kitchen and bathroom counters!

I know we love to keep our chips on the counter and have our bread at the ready but this ain’t the time. THIS AIN’T THE TIME! While we are on the subject of the kitchen…Spruce up your cabinets and pulls. Wipe them down or if you need to run a quick stain on them, this is the time.

Bedding should be light and airy. And matching.

That’s it.

Get rid of extra furniture in the bedroom but not all.

Buyers like to see how the space can be used in each room but be smart about it. This may mean putting your bulky dresser in storage or relocating it. You want a buyer to feel like they have room to grow. For example, we are replacing our current dining room table since it is very large and doesn’t give the appearance of enough room. We want the buyer to be able to ease their way around the kitchen so we are going to replace the dining table with a smaller/round dining table to encourage the eye to focus on the space.

Have you sold your home? Share any tips I’ve missed in the comments below.

 

Destin Florida: Drawing Lines in the Sand

If you’ve been keeping up with the Fosters (that’s us) you’ll know that prior to two weeks ago, our family had not been on a family vacation since 2019. We were over it and decided to book a vacation. Of course, we followed all safety precautions because it’s still a pandemic. (We actually booked a vacation last year but decided against going) We settled on a family and friends trip to Destin, Florida before spring break because that’s our business. (Insert Tabitha Brown’s voice) 

We went the Airbnb route to host 13 people and mainly because we wanted to save money and be near a beach. I’ve heard so many people rave about Destin over the years so I was looking forward to finally leaving Houston and seeing something new. We all needed it.

 

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But dare I say that I didn’t get the “warm and fuzzies” while in Destin? Like not at all. It was based on a few collective and individual experiences that we had that just didn’t sit well with my spirit. 

The first red flag was when we all got to the beach for the first time. This was my kids’ second time being to the beach in their lives so they were beyond excited. The Airbnb we stayed in was technically within walking distance which was a selling point. It was a Thursday, midday. Not many people out. As mentioned, this was the week before Spring Break so there were no crowds. 

Of course, we noticed that no one “looked like us” on the beach but that’s not a new experience when you’re black in America. As we unloaded and began to walk on the beach we were met by a “beach attendant.” He was maybe early twenties at best.

He made a direct line for us and met us before our feet even hit the sand. He proceeded to tell us that it was a private beach and that if we stayed, we had to stay on the “public part of the private beach.” Mind you that this beach was listed as part of the Airbnb’s amenities. What bothered me the most is that he never asked if any of us have access to the “private beach.” Maybe my sugar daddy was letting me use his access for the week, he doesn’t know my life! I digress. 

Keep in mind that there are at least 4-5 adults in our group and a whole bunch of kids clamoring to get to the water. 

So beach boy decided that he would further explain that the “public” part of the beach was any area that had WET sand. The sand had to be wet which meant damn near in the water only. I felt myself getting hot but I decided to stay quiet because I didn’t want to call it what it really was. 

By this time, there were definitely eyes in our direction. To be honest, if it was up to me, I would have left but the kids would have been devastated. There were also more level heads in our group and they handled it way better than I would have if it were just the four of us. 

Eventually, we conceded and let him know that we understood that the WET sand was the only area we could occupy. Do you know this fool had the audacity to walk over with us and draw a literal LINE in the sand so that we knew where we couldn’t cross?!? By this time, I am boiling hot. My friend shut him down immediately and explained that we don’t need his artwork to help us understand. 

The kids got in the water. We all did our best to power through the experience and not let it affect the kids’ visit. The kids played and splashed while I kept not so secretly staring at beach boy anytime he was in my peripheral vision. It was not lost on me/us that no one else around looked like us. There were some teenagers that were with us and I hate that this will be one of their memories. 

That was the most outstanding experience but not an isolated feeling while in Destin. I remember being at the Boardwalk and standing in line at a food truck. I was quite obviously being ignored so I left the line and went somewhere else. 

Don’t get me wrong. We still enjoyed each other and our stay. There were plenty of drinks and good food, swimming and laughing had by all. 

Because that’s what we do right? We make the best of situations. I am also fully aware that these are isolated incidents and likely to happen again if we stayed somewhere else or even just went on a different day or a different time. But I personally have no intentions of finding out. 

It was still a great road trip and some much-needed fellowship with some of our favorite people in the world. 

Update: I did a google search. This is what came up. 

What is a private beach in Florida?

The sandy part of the beach above this line, if it’s not public beach, is usually private. Most Floridians have understood this as the “wet sand/dry sand” law. In other words, every part the water touches is public while dry sand is private. – Sep 3, 2020

I guess what’s most frustrating was the humiliation of the experience. For this young kid to offer to draw a line in the sand for a group filled with adults was degrading. I get rules, I do. But it’s how you handle people. And again, how did he know that we didn’t have access to the private part? We assumed that because we had access through the beach house that this included walking on the beach. Miscommunication? Probably? The beach was not even close to being full so I didn’t understand the urgency. And I also noticed personally that other people who were just arriving at that same entrance of the beach did not get approached. Will I return? Nah. Unless we own the private beach! Adding to my list of goals!

Emailing your child’s teacher about Dr. Seuss

Hey you! So it looks like we’re starting off the month with an email to Zavi’s teacher! Very often, I get direct messages from moms who aren’t sure if they should say something about the lack of diversity in their child’s classroom or in the curriculum. The question is always, “Should I say something?” My answer is usually “yes.” If this sounds like you, and you need help constructing emails to your teacher, keep reading.

March kicks off the national campaign, Read Across America. Read Across America uses prompts from Dr. Seuss’s books to encourage reading. I will be honest in sharing that I have not always thought that Dr. Seuss’s books were racist. I grew up on them. My mom collected them at one point. She even saved them and gifted them to me to give to Zavi and Zara. But they never made it past my car trunk. Because by then I knew better.

Dr. Seuss’s books are riddled (pun intended) with racist stereotypes and imagery. And given that I am a veteran educator, and always maturing as a parent, some things don’t get a pass. So even though I was not sure if our district or campus was participating in the Dr. Seuss activities this year, I didn’t wait to find out. So about that email???

Because I am an educator myself, I understand how emails can really trigger teachers.  I really try to keep things professional, to the point, and always make sure that it’s clear that my first priority is my child, not anyone’s feelings. In the same breath, I do think it’s possible to approach challenging subjects with teachers/schools/administrations without attacking the teacher. 

Before I show you my email, here’s a general rule of thumb for emailing your child’s teacher. 

 

  1. Use a pleasantry at the beginning of the email. No one wants to be attacked out of the gate.
  2. Share your concern clearly. Don’t ramble. Don’t talk about what you heard. Base your concerns on your experience. 
  3. Be transparent about approaching the teacher. 
  4. Be clear that you are a lifetime advocate for your child AND also a support for the teacher. Teachers or admin want to know that the student’s education is a partnership. 
  5. Offer a reasonable suggestion or solution.  ALWAYS come to the table with an answer to your own question.

Example Email

 

[Start with a greeting] 

Good morning Mr/Mrs, 

Are you ready for the weekend like I am? 

[Mention problem immediately] This may seem random but will your class or campus be doing Read Across America/Dr. Seuss books? I am only asking because Dr. Seuss’s books are filled with racist stereotypes and imagery and I do not support the use of the books as a resource. 

[Your desired outcome] If so, I just want to be able to offer my child* other resources/books at home that support diversity and inclusion during the week. 

[Be transparent about approaching the teacher] It’s highly uncomfortable for me to ask [Affirm that you are advocating for your child] but I am my child’s die-hard advocate and fan so this comes along with the title. 🙂 

If the campus/district has no plans to participate in using Dr. Seuss’s books to support Read Across America, then it is fine. 

[Offer a reasonable suggestion] Please let me know if I can help with other books/resources that support diversity for the week while keeping with the theme. I don’t mind him participating in the week at all. It’s just the actual use of Dr. Seuss’s books as the resource I find challenging. 

[Let the teacher know you are here to help] Feel free to call me or email me. I am here to support you in all ways. 

Sincerely

Parent

Now that you’ve seen one of at least a handful of emails that I send to school in a year, remember, you never have to apologize for being a parent to your child! This post is not to tell you to hate Dr. Seuss. This is for you if you want to voice your concern but don’t know how to address it. It may not be a big deal to other parents. and that’s okay! P.S. Zavi’s teacher replied to the email saying that I had no worries and that she wasn’t into Dr. Seuss anyway. Crisis averted. 

Here’s a great resource from Carlos Whittaker to help you decide if this your battle. 

 

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Feel like it’s too late to contact your school about this? Bookmark this post for next year! You can also find me on Pinterest for easy access to ALL my resources.

 

*my child – I will be replacing all names in emails shared on this blog, because you know, crazies. Also, unless stated otherwise, all matters referred to in these posts have been resolved with our school/teachers.

 5 Uses For Bar Carts That Have Nothing To Do With Alcohol.

Most of us have made changes in our homes within the last year thanks to COVID. Nothing like a good quarantine to make you live in your house! One thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to move or restyle little corners of my home all of the time. It may start with just switching out a vase then turn into a complete room makeover in the middle of the night. Just me? Okay. I will take that charge. One item I’ve come to love is the bar cart! Have you used your bar cart for more than just storing alcohol and libations? I highly recommend it.

Bar carts are great for so many reasons: 

  1. Don’t have room for a bookcase? Use a bar cart! Bar carts allow you to style your favorite books by color and provide varying heights for picture frames and other little trinkets to display. So go on and stack those cookbooks that you swear you will use one day. 
  2.  Have you turned into a #plantbae in the past year? Are you constantly looking for new plant stands or places to put your new babies? Use a bar cart. Styling your plants on the shelves also makes it easier to move them where they can get the best sunlight. 
  3. Add storage bins or baskets to hide board games, remote controls, magazines, etc.
  4. Use them as bedside tables. Most bar carts have 3 shelves which are perfect to hold a lamp, storage baskets, and your favorite pictures.
  5. Use bar carts to display toys in a kid’s room. They are the perfect height for little ones to grab their favorite toys without trying to climb chairs. You can stack their favorite books or display their favorite toys. You can even use them as a chic mobile diaper changing station in a nursery. 

The possibilities are endless. Bar carts can literally serve a purpose in any room in your home, especially if space is limited. Because I love you, I linked some of my favorite bar carts in my Amazon store. You can find inexpensive ones at Ross, Homegoods, or even Burlington Coat factory but Amazon certainly has some affordable ones as well. 

I hope this post has inspired you to elevate your favorite things with a chic bar cart. If you liked it, please leave a comment or share this post with your friends and family. 

 

How to supplement your child’s Black History Month school lessons.

It’s Black History Month. If you’re an adult that means celebrating the accomplishments of people who have contributed to American Culture in all areas of life. If you’re a parent of an elementary student that probably means you (and your kid) see the same people highlighted every year. If you have a kid in Pre-K through 5th grade, that means your child will no doubt learn about Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and if the teacher is really spicy…Ruby Bridges. Likely a coloring page will come home with one of those faces on it. And there’s no problem with those figures. They are indeed worthy to be celebrated. But Black History does not begin with slavery and end with Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was hoping, especially following a year of volatile outcries and admittance of social inequities, black boxes, and social promises to do better, that there would be SOME effort to do more but my spidey senses say that’s not the case – and it’s frustrating. So I thought I would share five Black figures to share with your own children at home. Because if the schools aren’t going to make an effort, even now, do your due diligence.

Here are five more faces to add to the Black History Month conversation.

Kamala Harris

This one is too easy and takes the least amount of research. The first woman Vice President in U.S. history. The first African-American and first Asian American President. She attended historically Black, Howard University

Amanda Gorman

The first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate and the youngest poet to speak at an inaugural event at the age of 22.

Valerie Thomas

The NASA physicist who invented 3D movies and Television. She remembers been fascinated by technology as early as 8 years old. She invented the illusion transmitter in 1980 that is still used by NASA today and she is still alive. Scientists are trying to figure out how to use her invention to look inside the body.

Jennifer King

In January 2021, Jennifer King became NFL’s first full-time Black female assistant coach. The NFL began in 1920.

Simone Biles

Simone is one of the best gymnasts in the world. She is the most decorated American gymnast with 30 Olympic Medals and she still competes today. Her family even owns World Champions Gym where she practices in the suburbs of Houston.

There you have it. Five new names to add to the list. I admit that I am writing this post out of frustration after asking my own children who they have been learning about for the first week of Black History Month. The answer? Martin Luther King, Jr, and Harriet Tubman.

Let me make it clear, they deserve to be remembered and honored but can we make a little effort. Somehow I knew they would say those names. I am just asking, especially if you are an educator, to go against the status quo. See how your students light up. Watch their faces when you say that all of these people are alive today and some even made history just a few weeks ago.

If you’re a parent reading this, this doesn’t have to be “another” virtual lesson. This can be as simple as a conversation with your kids when you pick them up from school. Start with “Have you ever heard of Amanda Gorman?” And take it from there. For older kids, you can text the name of someone and ask them to find you a youtube video about that. If you just need a manipulative, run to your local Michael’s store and grab these creative worksheets to follow up your discussions. I grabbed a pack for my own kids because I already knew I was going to have to supplement what they are learning.

There’s way too much information out here on these internets to not try. And if you need more resources, Here are a few sites that have excellent resources for parents and teachers. Many of the resources are free 99!

Resources:

https://laneshatabb.com/
https://readlikearockstarteaching.com/
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Its-Moniques-World

Now go forth and do better. And if you’re a white teacher with an entirely white class, this month is especially for your students. They will be better for it!

Disclaimer: My children go to a great school. They try. They really do. More than some schools, trust me. I don’t have complaints because they do incorporate lessons. I just want to be wowed by something out of the box. That hasn’t happened yet. Not in this area. It could happen though. It’s still early in the month. Until then, I got this. At home. Year-round.