More Blacks Choose to Home-School

January 3, 2011  |  

(Chicago Tribune) — The children sat placidly in their chairs, elbows on the table, eyes forward. One munched on a clementine. A group of younger children, ages 3 to 5, colored quietly in the back.  “We lost a woman who was very important to us,” announced Afrika Porter-Ollarvia. “Dr. Margaret Burroughs.”  What do the students know, she asked, about Burroughs? Several hands shot up, and answers popped out: “She was an artist!” “Her poems were famous!”  Welcome to the classroom of the Indigo Nation Homeschooler’s Association, where the curriculum is centered on African-American history, culture and language. The 12 families who participate in the co-op meet once a week at the Grande Prairie Library in Hazel Crest, where they learn about the ancient art of African storytelling, lace their lessons with words in Swahili and talk about important role models in their culture, such as Burroughs, the co-founder of Chicago’s DuSable Museum who died in November. “Families feel like the American education system does not teach African-American children,” said Porter-Ollarvia, a Country Club Hills mom of three. “A lot of times in textbooks, you’ll see ‘package run, package go,’ Jane and Jack and Jill. But you won’t see African-American names like Zarifah and Muhammad. And a lot of times our children need to see their names and have a point of reference and see themselves in the books.”

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