Today we celebrate the life of a crusader, Martin Luther King Jr., a man who changed the political and social landscape of our nation. As homeschooling families, it’s easy to ignore or gloss over this holiday or Black History month. The truth is that many of our history books do not adequately represent multicultural experiences. All generations have much to learn from this man and his legacy. In this time of racial tension and political change, we have the opportunity to teach our children about MLK’s legacy of non-violence, peaceful protest, bravery, and most importantly, his commitment to equality as an inalienable right for all. Here are our favorite ways to teach, honor and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
6 Engaging Martin Luther King Jr. Lessons for Homeschoolers
- MLK History: Spend time researching and reading through biographies on the life of MLK and his civil rights contemporaries. Discuss what makes a person brave, resolute and determined, based upon what you learned. Find one admirable character trait in Martin Luther King Jr. and challenge your children—and yourself—to adopt it this year.
- MLK Faith: What stands out most to me is the faith that Martin Luther King Jr. held throughout his life and trials, and that of his wife Coretta Scott King upon his assassination. MLK was at first a pastor. His Biblical beliefs about social justice from the light of the Gospels fueled his role as an equality crusader. Read through this article regarding his faith, and these quotes from his sermons. Challenge your students to choose their favorite MLK quote related to faith and create a piece of artwork using paints, pastels and other media for their rooms or your homeschool wall. What better way to immortalize his life and this day!
- MLK Maps: When I was in 5th grade, I read a biography of Martin Luther King Jr. I was inspired by his faith and the courage that many civil rights leaders and crusaders had while marching, holding sit-ins, and being threatened or bullied for their protests. The widespread nature of the movement in the south intrigued me. Spend time researching the many places MLK marched, held meetings or other engagements like sit-ins, or was jailed. Then create a map with your homeschoolers marking key cities and adding elements like dates of events, turning points, and where Martin Luther King Jr. was during these critical moments within the Civil Rights Movement.
- MLK Dreams: Of course the most famous of all of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches was his “I Have a Dream” speech. And for good reason! MLK could rouse and inspire a crowd like no other during his time. Read this famous speech with your homeschoolers and create this mobile with younger learners. Challenge older students to research modern injustices and write (and deliver!) a Dream speech of their own to a crowd of your family or homeschool group.
- MLK Then and Now: Martin Luther King Jr. fought against the injustices he and his contemporaries were experiencing back then. While so much progress regarding equality in the U.S. and throughout the world has been made, countless injustices still exist. Our God is a just God and will fight for the orphan, widow and oppressed. His mighty right arm is often the church, His people, acting and fighting for the most vulnerable in this world. There is nothing that honors the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. more than to continue fighting against injustice that exists in our nation and the world today. Many organizations such as World Vision, International Justice Mission and Sojourners are on a mission to challenge and positively impact civil, social, economic and political injustices around the world. Why not read about these organizations and adopt a civil rights injustice cause as a family?
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
As homeschoolers we have the unique opportunity to teach our children, from a young age, to stand up for their faith and injustice, and to provide the flexibility and freedom they need to explore these issues in a safe environment. As we measure our teaching this year, let us not shrink back from the hard, the controversial, the important work and opportunity that studying and celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. presents to us.
What is your favorite MLK Jr. quote or legacy? Tell us in a comment below!