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Is your homeschool curriculum culturally relevant? The Outschool checklist

Use this checklist to see if your homeschooling curriculum is culturally responsive and reflects the diversity of your community and country.

At Outschool, we strive to offer all learners welcoming and inclusive learning experiences. If you also value creating an inclusive classroom for your homeschool, we created an easy-to-use checklist for you! 

When selecting a homeschool curriculum for your learners, you can use this checklist to see if your choices are inclusive. Meaning they reflect the diversity of your community and country. 

One way to think about this is to consider whether the homeschool curriculum you are using is culturally responsive. A culturally responsive curriculum is filled with stories, activities, assignments, and illustrations that reflect diverse populations. 

Curriculums that only reflect the lives of majority populations – for example, White people and culture, nuclear families, or able-bodied people – reinforce ideas that sideline many students. Those who may feel unrepresented include students of color, students learning English as a second language, single parent/multi-generation/ LGBTQ+ led families, neurodiverse students, and students with disabilities.

We created a simple checklist for you to use to see if your homeschool curriculum is culturally responsive:

Is your homeschool curriculum culturally relevant? The Outschool checklist - check-list
  • Does the curriculum expose your learners to a group of diverse authors, characters, identities, and cultures?

  • Are people of different cultures, skin tones, and abilities central to the stories being presented?

  • Do the characters accurately reflect the histories and experiences of their cultures? 

  • Are the characters portrayed in non-stereotypical ways?

  • Does the curriculum encourage students to connect to their real-life experiences, communities, and cultures?

  • Are there references to different cultural traditions, languages, religions, names, and clothing?

  • Are diverse family structures (i.e., single parents, adopted or foster children, same-sex parents, other relatives living with the family, etc.) represented?

  • Are characters with disabilities represented?

  • If there is conflict in the storyline, are the characters of color not mostly considered the problem?

By using this checklist, you are taking a giant step forward in selecting an inclusive curriculum for your learners. Here are some suggestions for inclusive curriculum resources I love for you to check out:

  1. The Zinn Education Project: The Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the teaching of people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country.

  2. Facing History and Ourselves: Facing History & Ourselves uses lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.

  3. OurShelves: OurSelves curates diverse book boxes for children ages 0-8.

  4. CommonLit: CommonLit is a nonprofit education technology organization dedicated to ensuring that all students graduate with the reading, writing, communication, and problem-solving skills they need to be successful in college and beyond.

  5. Zearn: Zearn Math is the top-rated math learning platform used by 1 in 4 elementary-school students and by more than 1 million middle-school students nationwide. Everything Zearn does is driven by the belief that every kid is a math kid.

  6. Woke Homeschooling: Woke Homeschooling provides US History resources for parents to educate socially-conscious children who will grow to become wise and informed world-changers.​

  7. Or check out Outschool’s online classes for homeschoolers. Our mission is to give kids a voice and choice over how they learn. We invite teachers with unique backgrounds and life experiences to create a place where any kid can learn. A place where they can explore subjects and formats based on their passions and interests. 

What culturally responsive resources do you love? Join our Facebook group Homeschool with Outschool Parent Community or our Parent Hub and share your ideas. 

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Jennifer WolfeJennifer leads strategic & DEIB partnerships for Outschool. She's a former The Learning Accelerator partner and advisor to many ed tech companies on the development of high-quality K-12 curriculum.

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