By Gloria Jones Ellis, M.A. – Educational Therapist & Co-Founder of Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions
Homeschooling parents who are white supremacists will not appreciate the Lighthouse Homeschool Solutions curriculum. Our curriculum is intentionally designed to include a multitude of perspectives, and the learning activities included in our units of study are designed to encourage empathy, compassion, and critical thinking about the experiences of all people.
Recent news in the homeschooling world has included mention of popular curriculum based on and used by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalists. I don’t propose to tell people how to raise or educate their own children, but I’ve certainly been surprised by this news.
Call me naive, but, until recent years, I simply never realized that these views were so prevalent in our country. I always took it as a basic truth of human nature that people believe in the value of respect for other human beings.
I saw deviations from this belief as exceptions rather than the rule, but my thinking is shifting. Fear of anything “other” seems to be driving more and more Americans away from compassion and empathy and towards cruelty and even violence. Even more frightening is the education that is taking place in the arenas of home, classroom, media, and politics that indoctrinates young people into bigoted thought and belief and divides us into groups that retreat into distrust and even hatred of anything considered different or other. As a student of psychology, a parent, and an educator, I have always believed that educating children on our common humanity was an essential goal. But, it appears this goal is simply not universal, nor is it profitable enough, for those who view power and money as more valuable than human beings, to pursue.
So where does this leave us? We may feel overwhelmed by the fact that states are banning books and denying rights to people whose appearance, lives, beliefs, and/or choices are “different” from those in positions of powers. But, I take heart in the fact that there are many other parents and educators out there who do believe in the value of demonstrating, teaching, and encouraging respect for all human beings. These are the people who will appreciate our homeschool curriculum!
Our units of study were designed by educators who believe in the value of all human beings and work to teach appreciation for multiple perspectives and experiences. We work to present information from different viewpoints.
So, in a single history lesson, a student might read a historical news article about the justness of Manifest Destiny followed by a political speech from a Native American leader who sees the land of his people being stolen. In the follow up activity, the student might be asked to imagine themselves transported back in time and seeing the world around them through the eyes of a Native American child, an American politician, or a poor white settler in the early 1800s. From that perspective, they are encouraged to share their beliefs and goals and to consider the actions they might take in pursuit of those goals. Later, the student is encouraged to complete an activity submission form in which they identify their sources of learning, summarize what they learned, reflect on and share their personal feelings about the information, connect it to prior learning, and further consider how someone with a different perspective might view this same information. Ultimately, our curriculum resources and lesson format are carefully thought out to ensure that our students are critical thinkers who can empathize and consider different sides of an issue as they form their own opinions and beliefs!
At Lighthouse, we are educators who love all types of literature and relish stories that express and illuminate different experiences and viewpoints! We want every child to feel valuable and strong. We want all students to feel confident in their beliefs while thinking critically about their origins and respecting the beliefs of others. If you share these goals, we hope that you’ll join our community!