There are literally tons and tons of homemaking blogs, websites, and vlog channels. But I wanted to make the distinction that my homemaking perspective is rooted in my heritage as an African American. There are certain aspects to homemaking that are unique to my background of being an African- American woman raised in the Midwest with Southern roots. Mahogany is a rich brown wood. And trees have deep roots just like myself. So that is why I choose Mahogany Homemaker.
When did you first decide that homeschooling was right for your family?
Our homeschooling journey started 7 years ago when my oldest child was in a public school pre-k program. I was hesitant to enroll her to begin with but at the time my husband was not on board with me keeping her at home at that point.(He is now my biggest support.) So after about 3 or 4 months my bright eyed eager to learn child was beginning to loose her spark. I would ask the teacher every day how she was doing and she said she was fine and I had nothing to worry about. Well when it came for conference time she informed me that my daughter had speech delay and she wanted to recommend her for special assessment and speech therapy. I was in shock and floored. My daughter(who was 3 at the time) was a very fluent and clear communicator. She was actually an early talker. She never missed a milestone. So this was news to me.
Come to find out my daughter had been sitting in that school all those months and was not talking in class at all. It was because she had been bullied by another student and when she tried to inform the teacher nothing was done so my daughter not knowing what to do began to withdraw. This was all I needed. I didn't want her there in the first place. So I went to my husband and asked him if we could began homeschooling. After seeing the results of the local public school he was ready to agree to us getting started at home. I mean he knew for sure we could do a better job than that. It took me almost two years at home to undo what that school did in a few months. I spent a lot of time building my child's confidence when it came to her school work. She has since blossomed into a very outgoing bright young woman. So we know it was the right decision. Since we started our journey our family has expanded quite a bit. I am now the mother of 5 beautiful children. So all of our other children when came time just joined in on our homeschool journey. We are in it for the long haul. Homeschooling is now our norm.
As we know with homeschooling and mothering there are many ups and downs. How do balance the down times when things are not going as we'll?
No matter the circumstances you are in I believe all mothers face challenges and adversity throughout there journey. Nothing is picture perfect. The key is to learn how to be flexible. If you get knocked off your horse know how to dust yourself off and get back on and keep riding. Prayer is obviously a good place to turn as well. I mean I think continuing to build a strong relationship with the Creator is key to being able to withstand the trials that sometimes come in life. Over the years I have not overcome every obstacle with grace and ease. I have had plenty of times where I took the hard route in the situation. But looking back I can say the thing that makes moving past adversity the most difficult is not relying on my spouse and children to see me through. Moms sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and that it is our duty to fix everything. But sometimes we forget that we are in a family and that means we have a whole team willing and waiting to be called out onto the field with you.
Nothing is picture perfect. The key is to learn how to be flexible.
Tell me what are a couple of your favorite curriculum and books?
Even though I am a self confessed “Curriculum Junkie” I totally have been a DIY curriculum girl. I do more window shopping of name brand curriculum than I do actual purchases. I use homeschool catalogs, websites, podcast, and videos as inspiration to create my own tailor fitted curriculum for my children. It saves money doing it this way which is a factor cause we are considered a large family. And I find it easier to teach what I have put together myself. Now the DIY way is not for everyone. For one thing its is a lot more work. I mean I have spent many times burning the midnight oil. So doing things this way is not for the faint hearted. But this is the way I have done it for many years now.
Now there are some great resources that I think helped give me some good guidelines to start with building my own. I will try and narrow down a few but there are many. One the first big resources I came across in the beginning of our homeschool journey is “The Well Trained Mind” by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. Also “Home Learning Year by Year” by Rebecca Rupp was a goodie. One great resource to help get you started with African History is “Africa The Untold Story” by Michele Mitchell. Also Africana Studies Professor Dr. Molefi Kete Asante has two great history text out that can be used as is or tailored into maybe unit studies are “Classical Africa” and “African American History: A Journey of Liberation”. For more resources I recommend visiting my Pintrest page. I have loads of Pin Boards that are categorized very well into various homeschool topics and units.
What inspired you to start your blog?
I actually started Vlogging first. I began sharing videos on YouTube back in 2007. YouTube was still fairly new then. I was literally the 2nd mom of color to do videos on the topic of homeschooling. Since the community presence wasn't as big as it is now on YouTube I would seek out connections elsewhere. I discovered many forums and yahoo support groups for homeschooling. That was when I began to notice in peoples signature at the bottom of there post they were linking people to there blogs. I would visit these blogs and see all these wonderful inspirational pictures and post all about homeschooling, homemaking, and natural family living. But there were only a handful of brown faces. So I decided to start my first blog back then with a free blogger account.We were bend towards a Classical Education at that time.
My blog started just as a journal to chronicle our homeshool experience in classical education. I wrote about what I was teaching the children, our field trips and outings, and challenges I faced in choosing materials. So I stayed with that first blog for years. Over time my Youtube Channel began to gain much intrest. There was a surge of mommy vloggers and bloggers coming online. So I relaunched my channel this time on the platform of Homemaking from the perspective of a Stay at Home Mother of Color. I received assistance from my wonderful comrade and fellow homeschooling blogger and vlogger Demetria Zinga over at Christian Homeschool Moms.com With her motivation and expertise I was able to create an blogging space to accompany my new YouTube Channel. So that is the story of how MahoganyHomemaker.com got started.
How do you manage being a homeschool mom, blogger, full time stay at home mom with five kids?
Well for one I do not blog professionally. Blogging is my journal and my ministry to the homeschool community. So that takes a lot the pressure off for me to have consistent new post and materials all the time. That would just be to much stress for me at this point in my life. I have 3 children in the 5 and under group right now. As far as being a stay at home mom and homeschooling I look at my roll as not being one of someone who wears many hats but only one hat. That hat is “Mom”. I am mom rather I am homeschool, blogging, or managing the needs of the my husband and household. As long as the only the person I try to be is “Mom” then the rest just falls into place.
Being a African American mom that home schools and very passionate about a women returning to natural mothering. How do you deal with the challenges of outside opinions on your mothering style?
Although I am quite aware that the average person is affected by outsiders opinions I tend not be concerned with that. I have always stood out from the crowd throughout my life. I have always walked the road less traveled so when I decided to become a stay at home mom and then a homeschooling mom it was just a drop in the bucket for my friends and family.I was already the 1st to choose breastfeeding of bottle feeding, cloth diapering, organic foods, natural hair, etc… I did get a lot of questions and unwanted opinions but that is just it. They are other peoples opinions. When it comes to decisions about my family the only people that matter is my husband and I. No one else get a vote. You know folks growing up were always quick to say stuff like “You don't pay none of my bills!” Well I take that sentiment in this case.
I had the privileged and pleasure of being reared under my grandmother who was a phenomenal homemaker and a mother of 13. I can only hope to have an inch of what she had. Homemaking in my family left with my grandmother. After her generation in ushered a new era of the Professional Woman. It seems in my community most women choose professions outside of the home rather than inside. I much rather be a Professional Mom. The payoff is way more rewarding. At least for me.
What tips would you give to new moms that are considering homeschooling and want a better education for their children? Yet are a afraid to to make the leap because of the social norm.
I basically feel like there are many reasons to consider when choosing rather or not homeschooling is right for your family. I would not let the opinion of others be one of them. They are your children and you need to decided as a family what is right for your children. Essentially homeschooling is not just an educational option but a lifestyle choice. Go into it knowing that it will be a change for the better. Start your homeschooling journey with a clear goal as to ‘Why” you are homeschooling and “What” your end vision is for your child's education.
Where else can we find you online?