Thinking about my first post re: unschooling, I'm thinking, is that what I'm really doing, according to the definition? I said I teach them about such and such subjects which is more like homeschooling than unschooling. Unschooling is supposed to be child-led. I do provide them resources which I have at home already like books, language curriculum and stuff I get off the internet. They make morning baskets that they fill with books, activity books, glue sticks, cards etc. I do make selections of what they learn about to make sure it's good content and that they'll be able to read it.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY LEARN
We recently started homeschooling on the first week of March after I unenrolled them from online school. A lot of resources we have are from our homeschool wish list like Black History Flash Cards from Urban Intellectuals. The boys will pick out cards of people they want to learn about, print out a coloring page or activity page, and write/draw about that person. For instance, volume 2 of the cards are about Black women. My 9 year old son picked out a few cards, read them and then made a collage of them. He also attributed it to Women's History Month. These cards have taught my kids not just about people but issues that affect Black people like redlining. My 12 year old son made a paper on redlining.
Like I said, I print out resources from the internet and one of those resources is from a website KidsKonnect. I printed out activity pages that I made into a booklet, one of which was on the Black Panther Party. My 9 year old decided he wanted to start his day by reading about BPP. It was tough for him to read so I looked up Pinterest and found a brochure note taking sample page and downloaded. I printed it out and as I read to him, he filled out the brochure with a summary, important points etc. His analysis was "it makes me self love." We talked about it and he felt like it represented him and his community, he loves himself reading about the BPP, he said.
I have lots of language materials that I've collected over the years from not just my community but other O'Otham nations like Ak-Chin, Tohono and Salt River. A few months ago when I homeschooled my 9 year old, we went over how to read the Akimel O'Otham language alphabet, long vowels and numbers. He then turned around and taught his 12 year old brother what he learned. That's how my eldest learned how to read Akimel O'Otham, from his younger brother. I feel that's how it's supposed to be, learning from your siblings. It warms my heart thinking about it.
We learn a lot about birds because birds are a large part of Akimel O'Otham culture. Our song culture is rooted in songs about birds like the macaw, red-winged blackbird, and the oriole. These songs teach you about not only the birds but places and routes they've taken. I have tons of u'uhig (birds) materials from our community museum so I use these materials and the website All About Birds which is by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We talk about song culture, meanings in culture, look at pictures, listen to their calls, learn about their environment, and go outside to watch them.
We spend a lot of time on art projects. My kids learn most everything through art. My eldest makes comics and my youngest makes collages. We always make zines together on just about every topic. When we do spelling together, my youngest and I make mini zines of the words with short definitions. My kids make art based on what is around them and how they feel about themselves. My youngest always, and I mean always, every single day draws and colors pictures of rainbows. Everything is rainbows. My therapist said it means he's full of hope. He also makes a lot of queer and disabled art because he knows I'm queer and disabled and he's very proud of it. His brother makes comics about the O'Otham Universe full of Black O'Otham superheroes, super dogs, battling chronic and mental illness and using song power. They also make a zine Black Indigenous Boy which is on its third issue. The oldest makes the content and the youngest designs the pages.
WHATEVER IT'S CALLED, THEY'RE DESCHOOLING, THEY'RE INDIGE-SCHOOLING
No matter what you call it, my kids are deschooling, indige-schooling. They are learning what they'd probably never learn in school, maybe not even learn until college. I do my best to teach them what I know, what I'm aware of and what I'm not aware of. I give them the resources to learn from and once they get a glimpse of it, they want to know more. Because it actually represents who they are. I want for them to be prepared for life and their reality as Black Akimel O'Otham boys who will turn into Black Akimel O'Otham men.