On this episode of Thinking Love, Amy and I welcome our first guest ever, Erika Alicea. She is talking to us about multicultural history in a Charlotte Mason education.
"It is necessary to know something of what has gone before in order think justly of what is occurring today." Towards a Philosophy of Education
1:50 Erika, tell us about yourself and how you became interested in multi-cultural history.
1:58 EA I live in the Bronx, and was a classroom teacher for 12 years in the NYC public school system. Growing up, I was constantly reading but I never saw myself reflected in the books that I read. I grew up bi-culturally and my father was very adamant about teaching us Puerto Rican history.
3:55 EA I set off on a quest to find books that reflected me and the people around me.
5:35 How does multicultural history relate to Charlotte Mason's principles?
6:23 EA I'll share a few quotes.
7:50 EA After the Bible, history was the most important subject for Miss Mason. It is about understanding the past to make sense of the present, and even to look forward towards the future.
8:25 EA : "We cannot live sanely unless we know that other people is as we are with difference." Volume 6, Towards a Philosophy of Education.
9:55: Pulling those quotes out was so meaningful, Erika! We have probably read them in the context of the book, but hearing them this way makes me think, 'Oh this really does address multicultural history!
11:00 EA: Everything Charlotte Mason did was holy spirit led. There is an insight that was deeper.
11:52 EA: During her time, they didn't have the resources that we have now. So if we only base it on the resources we use, then we limit ourselves. Go back to her principles, use the methodology, but then use the resources that we have.
13:10: In volume 6, she uses the word patriotism a lot. She wanted us to have the wider view and perspective so we can reasonably love our country.
14:24: Contemporary history doesn't mean modern history, she means studying the same time period as you're studying in your own countries history.
15:00: Why do you think that when Charlotte Mason says, "as early as possible" does she mean older children who have been in school for a couple of years?
15:20 EA: She gave full respect to the child. She moved from the concrete to the abstract.
17:05 EA: Every country has diversity, so during the early years you can learn about the diverse cultures within your country. It's a balance.
20:00 EA: I love reading biographies.
22:50 EA: Last year we read the entire Little House series, and my daughter learned so much!
13:15 Tell us about your simple approach for multicultural books in your homeschool.
23:30 EA: In form 1, books focus more on people than on events. Form 2, Ms. Mason talks about the use of a spine (a book of historical events told in a chronological order). This should be narrative, and a living book. Then she adds in history streams, which is basically another nation's history.
25:23 During the Charlotte Mason Inspired Conference, someone mentioned that in Canada, they teach about the American Revolution from the Loyalist side. This made me realize that there are different perspectives worth reading and learning about.
27:50 EA: Charlotte Mason wanted children to come to their own conclusions instead of being told this is right and this is wrong. It's about being intentional!
29:00 It wasn't until I moved overseas until I realized how myopic my view of history was.
30:31 EA The most important thing I can say is to pray and to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading on this.
Erika Alicea is a former public school teacher turned homeschooling mama to one spunky 11 year old girl. Born, raised and still living in NYC, Erika helps her husband, Efrain, pastor an urban church plant in the South Bronx.
Unfortunately, Erika didn’t homeschool her daughter from the beginning and the transition from traditional school was a difficult one. However, when Erika was first introduced to Miss Mason’s educational philosophy through God-sent friends, it was an answer to many of her prayers.
On any given day, you can find Erika taking pictures of nature treasures in the city that often go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of urban life. Erika enjoys learning about all the beauty a Charlotte Mason (CM) education has to offer and loves the freedom CM methods allow in instructing her daughter, especially when it comes to honoring their Puerto Rican heritage.
Erika is a firm believer in a multicultural education for all children through the use of diverse, living books. She uses her website Charlotte Mason City Living as a resource to help parents diversify their instruction and as an encouragement to all families, especially for those who feel Miss Mason’s philosophy may not be inclusive enough or even possible for an urban family of color.