February is known for a number of special events or occasions – Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, George Washington’s Birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, National Children’s Dental Health Month and Black History Month just to name a few.
I’m sorry to always refer to my age as a reference for how things have changed, but it is a terrific measuring stick for trends, cycles, fads, and attitude from one generation to the next.
February is known for a number of special events or occasions – Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, George Washington’s Birthday, Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, National Children’s Dental Health Month and Black History Month just to name a few. When I attended grade school, we did special boxes for Valentine’s Day and got a day off for Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday (we live in Illinois), but the other days and events were unrecognized. As a matter of fact, President’s Day is now celebrated on George Washington’s Birthday and did not come about until the 1980s and Black History Month became officially recognized in 1976; see how things have changed.
The world continues to become smaller, places and events outside of our communities are right at your back door through a number of sources (TV, internet, even your cell phone), and homeschool families have the opportunity to teach more than what you find printed in textbooks. You can do whole unit studies on whatever topic you choose and February presents a plethora of topics.
Black History Month might just present an interesting topic for learning. Here’s just a little background. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard historian, established the ASNLH (Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as the ASALH – Association for the Study of African-American Life and History) in 1915. In 1925, Negro History Week was established in the month of February and in 1976, it became Black History month and was nationally recognized. The month was intended to celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans throughout US History and increase racial awareness.
There is a very good unit study available with some excellent suggested reading that can broaden your family’s understanding of American history from a different perspective. This Far By Faith unit studies team up with the History of US series by Joy Hakim to shine a light on African-American personalities found throughout American History. Along with History of US the author suggests additional familiar books like Around the World in a Hundred Years, From Sea to Shining Sea for Children, Black Heroes of the American Revolution, Black Indians by William Katz, and many other very good books.
Maybe you don’t want to do a whole unit study for Black History Month; instead, you can take this opportunity to read some good books or simply enhance your current history curriculum. Some reading opportunities might include learning about Frederick Douglass through his own words in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass or about one man’s story of the west in Nat Love: African-American Cowboy or take time to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. A couple of options for supplementals might be Hands-On History Black History Activity Book or People and Events in African-American History.
Whatever your choice, take the opportunity this month to learn something new. The times have changed and the options are endless with the amount of information available at your fingertips.
In conclusion, I read a passage from an unknown author: “We could learn a lot from crayons…(They) all are different colors, but they all exist very nicely in the same box.”