When I read this quote from Dr. Best it really resonated with me. Growing up I don’t remember really learning Black Canadian history in school. Sure, there were mentions of slavery, the Underground Railroad, and a handful of (mostly) American historical figures, but I don’t remember anything about Africville, about Dr. Best, about Viola Desmond. Indigenous studies (apart from the history of colonisation) were just starting to be included and even that was dependant on the school or which teacher you were lucky enough to get. Black history was an afterthought. Most of my knowledge was self-taught. Gleaned in my adult years through personal research. As the years passed more and more resources have become available and I’m grateful to have those resources available to me as I teach my own children. The full history of our country is important as we move forward. Acknowledging and learning from past mistakes but also celebrating the strength and perseverance of Canadians they have been overlooked.
As a First Gen Canadian there’s another layer to this. To know our personal history we have to learn and teach it ourselves. Everyone who is part of the African diaspora knows that our history has been preserved largely through storytelling. Wonderfully detailed records and descriptive history books haven’t always been available to us. Knowing where we come from is something that needed to be handed down through oral history, dance, food, and art. Through the celebration of culture we keep our history alive. As apart of the Caribbean diaspora in Canada I’ve been lucky. We may not have a huge community but we have a vibrant one and I grew up in a big family full of storytellers.
As a homeschool mom I enjoy working cultural activities into our lessons. I use various holidays throughout the year to introduce foods, traditions, and activities. B’s dad is Czech and his mom’s family is Irish/French Canadian. My mom is Trinidadian (Grenadian roots) and my dad’s side is Scottish and English. The truth is, it’s fairly easy to find worksheets and activities for most of those. Scottish, English, Irish, and French are but a quick Google search away. Jump on Pinterest and punch any of them in and you’ll be greeted with hundreds of options. Czech is slightly harder but there are some (although I might take a run at a few fro The Buttons). Google translator and some creativity helps! The Caribbean Islands on the other hand….well, the choices are limited. There’s information but it rarely comes in kid friendly formats or with activities or worksheets. As The Buttons get older I wanted got make sure that they wouldn’t miss out on those lessons, but I didn’t just want a basic worksheet that only covered a few country names and flags to colour. I wanted it to be family friendly. Something we could sit around the table together and dig into. Something that encourages conversation and the passing down of oral histories. So I decided to make my own!
I’ve made a couple one-off worksheets before, depending on what The Buttons needed but this is my first run at a full collection. A variety of worksheet styles keeps it interesting, plenty of drawing and colouring means little kids can join in, and a few discussion questions throughout encourage you to dive in as a family. Part of what I love about homeschooling is being able to sit around the table together and I wanted this collection to encourage that.
Although I designed these social studies worksheets with families of the Caribbean diaspora in mind, it can be used by any homeschoolers/educators looking for some fun ways to help kids learn about The Caribbean Islands. Back to School is around the corner and with so many pandemic-schooling this year it’s a great time to dive into some interest based learning.
For the full collection visit me at BeadsBobblesButtons.etsy.com or try it out by hitting DOWNLOAD below and printing The Big Drum Dance colouring sheet for Free!
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