A Blessed Heritage- History Curriculum Giveaway!

When I was in Elementary school I hated Social Studies. It was unbelievably dry, boring, and full of facts I simply did not want to commit to memory. As I moved on to high school things didn’t get any better. Boring wars taught by boring teachers after lunch. Spare me! In fact, it wasn’t until college that I began to love history. I met a professor that made history come alive. I remember thinking to myself back then that if I ever had kids, I pray they get a teacher like Dr. Hancock who can make history jump off the pages!

As I was researching curriculum for the 2017-2018 homeschool year, I thought about why my college professor succeeded in making his students hungry for history. What did he have that others seem to be missing? because they all seemed to have the passion, but it didn’t translate well in their teachings. Then it hit me – he didn’t use textbooks; He used living books! And not only did he use living books, but he used diverse living books. I could see people that look like me in quite a few of them, something that was rarely possible for me in my high school history books.

So obviously I began searching for books just like that to share with Johanna. I wanted a curriculum filled with living books, but that I didn’t have to put together. I’m a big fan of not reinventing the wheel. What I know for certain is that history textbooks seem to be very White washed. If you believe what you read in them, then African Americans were first barbarians, then slaves, then hey MLK Jr., Rosa Parks,  Malcolm X, and Barack Obama! That’s all we amount to in many books, and Native Americans were just happy to break bread with pilgrim folk.

If you’re a person of color, or just a parent wanting to make sure that history is presented to your child as authentically as possible, that’s pretty frustrating. So you know I was beyond excited when I came across a history curriculum written by an African American mother that was inclusive of people that look like me.

A Blessed Heritage is a curriculum put together by Belinda Bullard. Right on the front page of her website she explains that they offer “a more diverse portrayal of American history for a more diverse generation of students.

Once I read that and perused the website, I knew exactly which history curriculum we would be using for the upcoming school year, and I just had to speak with Mrs. Bullard. I was blessed to be able to interview her via email to give you all some insight into how this curriculum came about:

H+C Mama: How long have you been a homeschooler? What made you decide to homeschool?
BB: We are entering year 15 or 16 (it’s been long enough that I have forgotten how long it has been!) of our homeschooling journey. I wish I could say that I responded to the voice of the Lord via some burning bush or a calling that kept me up at night, but in truth, our story is far less awe-inspiring and much more practical! We were both the epitome of urban professionals, chasing the American dream and realizing the consequences thereof to our family dynamic as well as our time and energy. When our oldest was a baby, we met a couple that were homeschoolers, but otherwise, we had little exposure to what seemed like a great concept–just not for us. When we found out we were expecting our third child, we started thinking seriously about making changes that would allow us to spend less time traveling for our careers and more time being a family. Memories of that homeschooling family we met earlier became more and more a part of our discussion about what should change, and a month after our third child was born, we “officially” became a homeschooling family.

H+C Mama: Why did you create A Blessed Heritage? Did anyone inspire you to do so?
BB: A Blessed Heritage was the result of my own passions regarding how I wanted to educate our children. Specifically, my hope was to accomplish the following:

1) to help them understand who they are in the larger picture of life
2) to instill pride in them regarding their past, present, and future as African-Americans
3) to point them continuously back to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior

Having said that, if there was a primary inspiration, it would be our three children. As I began to put resources together, however, different people would come to me (as confirmation, I believe) that there was a larger need for these types of products. Most of us have to do the same leg work to create what I often refer to as inclusive history, and so I saw our history series as a one-stop shop. Additionally, I was a training manager for several years before I walked away from corporate America, and I continue to teach students locally and long-distance. All of that curriculum design training and experience served me well in putting together the curriculum that is now in place. Finally, I saw the opportunity to share multi-cultural history in light of what is God’s plan. I did not want to leave whole eras and people out based on comfort level, as traditional curriculum do; I did not want to present our history in a vacuum, or present it from a place of anger or hatred. I wanted to integrate the story we all know, featuring our presence and the presence of other races and ethnicities who go unmentioned in traditional history curriculum, and tell that same story from a Christian worldview.

H+C Mama: How should blessed heritage be used? As a spine, a supplement?
BB: Each volume of our products (we now have a 2-volume set for elementary, middle school, and  high schoolers) is created to be a stand-alone, 1-year history curriculum. At the elementary level, we do not use a spine, but instead tell the story via living books. The purpose at that level is to introduce American history and acquaint young students with people and faces that will become increasingly important as they uncover deeper truths. We do use a spine at the middle school level, where we delve deeper into American history and begin to think more critically about what happened and why. The reading list is more comprehensive and challenging, and the activities are geared more toward independent research and understanding. Finally, we refer to the same spine used in the middle school level, but the expectation is that children generally know the outline of American history when they reach high school. That curriculum is presented more so in survey format, highlighting key eras and events, and engaging students in more critical thinking and writing about this country, how we arrived in our current situation, and what role each of us plays in changing our future.

Again, all Blessed Heritage products can be used as stand-alone products, but I have a number of customers who love the curriculum they have and simply want to add our curriculum as a supplement. This is also easily done, as we have a reading list and activities that can be incorporated into another history study without too much manipulation.

H+C Mama: Can we expect more African-American focused curriculum from you?
BB: Absolutely! There are other history products in addition to our core curriculum, including our line of podcasts. The podcasts are what I call “history shorts,” geared to edu-tain those students and families who love auditory tools and might not prefer an extended session over books and notebooks. They “hook you in” with life lessons from some people you might not have heard of, like Bill Pickett, or A. Philip Randolph, or Madame C.J. Walker.

Beginning in 2017, we will also introduce a number of other supplemental products that will continue to broaden our knowledge of people of African descent. Plus, I will revise our elementary curriculum to include more skill sets and activities for little hands. I only wish my fingers kept up with my mind in getting all of the ideas out and published, but with the Lord’s help, I will get there! Keep watching for new products on our blog, and on our website.  Also, our newsletter subscribers get the earliest sneak previews and our subscriber discounts!
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I hope that interview left you as excited as I am because thanks to A Blessed Heritage, one of you will win volume 1 of Our History, HIS-Story ! Enter thru rafflecopter below and the winner will be announced on Friday, July 28 at noon! Good luck!

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Summer Reading Giveaway!

Like a lot of a parents I worry about my child losing very necessary skills during the summertime. I’m all for having time off, but I also feel like the learning train for math and reading should not stop. Because I am blessed to be a homeschooler, I am able to homeschool year round, and that’s just what I do. However, I do just focus on very specific things, and any teaching that is done only lasts an hour or two, then Johanna is free to go about her day as she likes.

One of my favorite places to find learning material is in the Target dollar aisle. From maps to flashcards, I’m always surprised at what I find there. I was recently alerted that they had a ton of education materials currently in the dollar section and I jumped on it. Mmmm but in my excitement I ended up getting a book I already own, and then I turned around and went to the Scholastic warehouse sale and did the exact.same.thing! So my loss is your gain! I’m giving away 2 books and a couple of other surprise goodies on my youtube channel that I think elementary aged kids will enjoy. This giveaway is very short as I want to get it mailed out before I get too busy. Visit my youtube channel for the rules. Good luck, and happy reading!

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Crayola Color Wonder Messy Kids Contest

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I love art and so does Johanna. What I don’t love is when her art makes a mess all over the house. Paint and marker marks where they don’t belong make me want to ban this form of creative expression in our home. Lucky for us Crayola created the Color Wonder Mess Free line and catch this awesomeness – they are currently running a contest where you can win $250 worth of Crayola Color Wonder products, with a Grand Prize consisting of a $1000!

Now you have a chance to win the products that will keep your house and kids mess free! The color wonder products show up beautifully in the books, but won’t show up on your kids clothes or the walls. As a parent you’ve gotta love it!

How to Enter:

Follow @Crayola on Instagram.
Log into your Instagram account, post a picture of a mess that could have used a Color Wonder intervention. Tag @Crayola and use #MessyKidsContest. Each picture receives one entry. You also must follow the @Crayola instagram account to qualify to enter the contest.

One winner will be chosen each week from now through November 21, 2016, to win $250 worth of Color Wonder products.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $1000 check.

You can also purchase Color Wonder products here.

The Crayola product, information, and contest rules have been provided by Crayola. Please visit the Crayola Website for complete contest rules and regulations.

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Crayola Cling Creator Review and Giveaway

Looking for ways to have fun with your kids this Christmas break? Crayola’s Cling Creator will keep kids busy and creative by allowing them to create their own window decorations!

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Cat not included 🙂

If you follow me on facebook or Instagram, you know that Johanna and I love being busy having fun and creating things, especially during the Advent season, so you can imagine my excitement in trying Crayola’s Cling Creator! My friend Lexi helped me setup the tubes, molds and instruments in the caddy while our kids bounced up and down in excitement ready to give it a go.

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The Cling Creator contains everything you need to make the clings and to create your own molds. Did I mention that you can even use glitter in the molds? Squeeee! Apply the clings to windows or mirrors. Don’t worry, they peel off super easy! It’s meant for ages 8+, but Johanna was able to work through it with no problems with my guidance.

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Making the clings are super easy and after 20 minutes they are ready! Now, we would love to make our own molds at some point, but I have to build up my creative esteem first.

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The Crayola Cling Creator makes approximately 20 clings and refill packs are sold separately. Feeling crafty? Enter to win a Crayola Cling Creator and a $50 gift card!

To enter please leave a blog post comment – What is your favorite creative active during the Christmas season?

Do the following for additional entries and leave me a comment on each letting me know you are liking/following/subscribing for the Crayola Cling Giveaway:

  1. Like Johanna’s Mama on Facebook
  2. Follow Johanna’s Mama on Instagram
  3. Follow Johanna’s Mama on Twitter
  4. Subscribe to Johanna’s Mama

This giveaway is open to US residents and will run until midnight EST Friday December 18, 2015.

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I was not compensated for this post but the Crayola Cling Creator, gift card, information and additional gift pack have been provided by Crayola. As always, all opinions are my own.

Winner of the Crayola Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway

Thank you so much to everyone that entered the Crayola Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway! I was really excited about this giveaway, and I hope you were too. If you don’t happen to win, you can go here to find the crayola products I was giving away.

The Winner Is...Congratulations Barbara W.! You have until Sunday at 10am to contact me for your prize.

Good luck next time everyone!

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Crayola’s Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway!

Were you ever asked to draw yourself in class when you were a kid and the only skin color crayons you could find were peach or brown? Or how about coloring books? Did you ever go to color in a picture of a kid that kind of looked like you in a coloring book and the brown was too dark, or the peach was too pink to really resemble you? That’s the world I grew up in. There was not a lot of diversity in crayon colors when it came to trying to match my skin tone. So imagine my surprise when I was browsing twitter and saw a crayon box that said Crayola Multicultural Crayons! Family, I literally started tearing up and squeeeing all at the same time. I believe I shouted “OMG WHAT??? Squeeeee!!!!!” I confused the heck out of Johanna. She didn’t know if she should flee or dance.

You all know that I love products that celebrate diversity in skin tones and hair, especially products that my daughter can relate to and use to reflect herself. Needless to say I dropped everything I was doing to contact Crayola and say ” are you serious? Is this for real? You guys are amazing!”. Now, I won’t say that this includes every skin tone in the world, but it is a great step forward.
Johanna'smama(2)Crayola sent me several products to test and they were gracious enough to send me products to do a colorful giveaway as well!

One winner will receive:

  • (1) 8 pack of Crayola Multicultural Crayons
  • (1) 8 pack of Crayola Multicultural Colored Pencils
  • (1) 10 pack of Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers
  • (1) 64 pack of Crayola Crayon Colors
  • (1) Pack of Modeling Clay (4 colors inside)

To enter, simply 1) subscribe to this blog and 2) leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite crayola product is. Follow the guidelines below for up to 5 extra entries:

  1. Tweet about the giveaway and make sure to at me @johannasmama
  2. Follow me on twitter
  3. Share the giveaway on instagram and tag me @iamjohannasmama
  4. Follow me on instagram
  5. Visit my facebook page

You have until 11:59pm est Thursday, August 20, 2015 to enter. Winner will be announced via blog post and by email at 10am on Friday, August 21, 2015. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me to claim the prize. Good luck!

*Open to the US only.

DISCLOSURE: Johanna’s Mama received several samples of crayola products for testing. However, no additional compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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*Giveaway* – Curl Centric Curly Kids Coloring Book

About a month ago I did a review of the Curl Centric Curly Kids Coloring Book. Johanna loved it and still does! As she was coloring in it the other day, pointing to the pictures she colored and exclaiming “she looks like me!!!”, it came to me that I want other kids to feel that way too. That is why I have decided to do a giveaway!

#jmcurlygiveawayYou will receive one copy of The Curly Kids Coloring book by Curl Centric. It contains over 30 images of curly haired beauties that your daughter will love to color and identify with.

How do you enter?

Entering is pretty easy. You MUST follow my blog. Also follow me on facebook (http://facebook.com/johannasmama) and twitter (@johannasmama). For extra entries follow me on instagram (@iamjohannasmama), and pinterest (@johannasmama), tweet and/or regram the image with the hashtag #jmcurlygiveaway. Please leave a comment below telling me how you entered and your handle on all sites you used to enter as well. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 8th. Good luck!
*Winner will be announced on the blog and by email. Item will ship directly from vendor. You have 24 hours after being chosen the lucky winner to send me your address*.

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