What happens when formal education falls short on cultural teachings? Multi-racial children are not bound by one race history and schools tend to teach textbook histories of cultures often with a G rating. Not all of history is G rated nor should children be limited by the teachings of one grade school, middle school or high school teacher. Parents may feel they then need to step up to the plate and offer a more in depth education on the history of all familial cultures, but how can this be accomplished in an unbiased manner?
The Internet – A Source of Fantastic History Knowledge
The ultimate source of information today is the Internet. Starting a family tree on a site like Ancestor.com is a great place to start a discussion about real cultural history. As parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are added to the family tree, parents can take the time to discuss the ethnic background of the family member and a bit of history about the time when that family member lived.
The Library – Yes They Still Exist
Local libraries often carry publications from decades ago. These publications can be the starting point for ethnic and cultural discussions between family members. Parents can take a quick trip to the library and copy a few articles from the 1960s or 1970s pertaining to equal rights or some other form of history that relates to the cultures represented in the family. From there, families can discuss the articles over dinner or at a weekly history discussion meeting with snacks from one ethnic side of the family.
Take Things Slowly and Progress from G to PG With Caution
Depending on the age group of children in the household, some history lessons are better left to a later time. When talking about slavery, it is easier to address the issue of why slaves were kept and who kept slaves with younger children while older children may want to discuss the impact of slavery on the family unit and the history of the family. Of course, this assumes one parent is African American. Historical lessons from all cultures are bound to have sensitive topics that require age appropriate discussions.
Make Things Fun, but Know Your Stuff
The unbiased part of the entire process requires parents to learn about cultures from their past just as they are teaching children about these cultures. Parents need to tell the entire story and not just a portion that is relevant to how one parent feels or thinks about an event in history. Raising multi-racial children comes with a unique set of history circumstances that no history teacher will be able to cover in just one year.