Sankofa Homeschool Collective Enters twentieth 12 months

Inside a matter of months, the Sankofa Homeschool Collective will commemorate its twentieth yr of existence. 

Since its inception in 2004, the small group of Black stay-at-home moms who determined to homeschool their youngsters has grown right into a group with roots not solely within the D.C. metropolitan area, however throughout the USA and on the African continent. 

Sankofa Homeschool Collective co-founder Monica Utsey referred to as her homeschool journey, and that of different mother and father within the collective, a testomony to the ability of group and self-determination in a society the place youngsters are sometimes refrained from their mother and father for hours at a time.  

“What we did was a daring transfer in unchartered territory that was motivated by deep love,” Utsey mentioned. 

“We had already executed one thing out of the norm, which was being residence with our youngsters,” she added. “A few of us realized we loved being with our youngsters, educating them, and taking them to theaters, nature facilities, and storytimes at libraries. We simply wished to proceed that so we determined to formalize it as a group.” 

Sankofa Ebbs and Flows By way of COVID, Different Developments

Throughout the week of Sept. 18, homeschool households will take part in one other yr of African-centered, culturally related instruction, courtesy of the Sankofa Homeschool Collective, which Utsey and others have described extra as a group than another college. 

Early on in Sankofa Homeschool Collective’s existence, moms and dads of assorted political and non secular backgrounds met at Deanwood Recreation Middle in Northeast. That’s the place dozens of youngsters and oldsters, a few of whom served as instructors, met weekly to immerse in research about core tutorial topics and extra specialised areas of information.  

By 2015, the collective moved operations to Adinkra Cultural Arts Studio in Mt. Rainier, Maryland the place African drumming grew to become the latest a part of a course choice that included Pan-African historical past, African-American literature, Swahili, narrative essay writing, cooking, artwork and quilting.  

In 2019, many Sankofa college students and their households traveled to Ghana to showcase their drumming abilities throughout 12 months of Return actions that attracted legions of diasporic Africans to the West African nation. Quickly after, COVID-19 introduced the world to a standstill and relegated the Sankofa Homeschool Collective to the digital realm. 

The shift to digital instruction allowed Sankofa Homeschool Collective to broaden program choices and attain households outdoors of the D.C. metropolitan space who wouldn’t have been in a position to take part in any other case. This occurred at a time when Black households throughout the U.S. had been more and more embracing options to public and public constitution faculties. 

As homeschooling strikes past the margins of society, the Sankofa Homeschool Collective maintains its on-line presence and continues to supply enriching in-person and digital actions for youngsters and households. 

This fall, mother and father have organized area journeys to a self-defense class, a CPR class, a radio station tour, the Apollo Theatre in New York Metropolis, and the Audubon Speedway close to Baltimore, amongst different locations. In the meantime, college students between the ages of six and 10 years outdated get to be taught literary units and storytelling whereas exploring African myths and tradition. 

In one other digital class, college students decolonize the assorted fields of science to develop a greater understanding of their relationship with self and the surroundings. Alumni of the homeschool program have even returned as academics, as has been the case with Zaire Muhammad and Adoniyah Ben-Tsalmiel who’re instructing about chess and comedian books, respectively. 

Trishay Younger, a homeschool mom in her first semester at Sankofa Homeschool Collective, will train younger folks how you can deal with their targets and hold calm amid chaos of their lives. She mentioned her work with moms and youngsters in Tallahassee impressed this course, which she has taught at different homeschools within the U.S. 

Over the previous 4 years, Younger, who’s identified in her homeschool group as Mama Yata, has embraced homeschooling as a way of defending her two youngsters from what she described as an infringement on their innocence. Since embarking on that journey, she has uncovered different Black mother and father in her metropolis to the idea, going as far to attach them with Kamali Institute, Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Training Institute and different homeschool teams.  

Younger mentioned her class, titled “Rules of Downside Fixing,” goals to forestall the perpetuation of intergenerational trauma that manifests itself in violent crime. 

“I’m attempting to do one thing completely different so we are able to have excellent adults, and never youngsters in grownup our bodies,” mentioned Younger, a resident of Tallahassee. “There’s a capability for me to have affect over my youngsters versus what the system influences them with. I’m actually huge on dialog and dialogue, and the conversations that youngsters are having now are extra grown. I need my youngsters to remain youngsters so long as they will and hold their innocence with out asking about grownup issues.” 

The Constructing Blocks of a Actual-Time World Alternate

Utsey, a journey coordinator for H.I.M. Excursions in Ghana, alluded to ultimately conducting summer season camps on the African continent for homeschool households. 

In the intervening time, college students and households will proceed to glean data from instructors dwelling on the continent, together with natives of Benin and Nigeria who’re instructing French and Yoruba, respectively. 

In Accra, Ghana, music educator Raphael Yeboah has set plans in place to show his Sankofa college students to African folks songs and musical devices, together with aerophones, membranophones, idiophones and chordophones. 

By way of the custom of oral artistry, these mediums have been used to cross down tales between generations in West African societies. 

Yeboah mentioned his class, titled “African Music: Introduction to African Devices and People Songs,” displays his experiences rising up round music in his group and later studying in regards to the cultural significance as a college scholar. He informed the Informer that music, and oral custom normally, has served as a repository of information a few nation’s cultural heritage. 

That’s why college students beneath Yeboah’s tutelage will be taught in regards to the devices and even get an opportunity to play what are derogatorily known as primitive instruments.  

One instrument of be aware is the atenteben, also referred to as the bamboo flute, which the Akan folks of Ghana use to name on ancestors throughout funeral-festivals. As he embarks on his first semester as a homeschool teacher, Yeboah mentioned he seems ahead to imparting cultural data on younger folks and elevating their consciousness about African traditions. 

“College students have the chance to come across educators from throughout the globe. That offers them room to expertise people who find themselves internationally minded from the consolation of their properties,” Yeboah mentioned. “If we’re to hope for a society of culturally literate folks, then music must be a part of our youngsters’s schooling. This creates room and a possibility for us to impart data on the youthful generations in order that our cultural id can stand the check of time.”