This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Inspiring Online History and Civics Courses, Interview with Nichelle Nelson. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Inspiring Online History and Civics Courses, Interview with Nichelle Nelson
The past can be an incredibly inspiring source of knowledge and learning. For many, history and civics classes in school were where we first learned about the world around us and our place in it. But what happens when you have the opportunity to learn more?
Nichelle Nelson from Warp and Weft History is here to show us how online history and civics courses can bring greater depth and understanding of these topics. Get a unique look at Nichelle’s personal journey with online courses as she talks about her experience, tips for success, and more!
Enjoy this inspiring interview with Nichelle Nelson and we discuss ways of inspiring online history and civics courses in your homeschool!
About Nichelle Nelson
Nichelle started homeschooling back in 1993. Did she know she was always going to homeschool? No, she didn’t. In fact, it didn’t ever enter her mind the possibility of homeschooling until one day in prayer.
After Nichelle and her husband got married, they immediately moved to the Azos, which is a small island off the coast of mainland Portugal.
At the time, her and her husband had extensive conversations about family life for when they had kids.
They often discussed how they wanted to raise their family and how they wanted the culture of their family to be. By the time their firstborn daughter was born in 1989, they had established Nichelle to be a stay-at-home mom.
This in itself was weird for Nichelle because her mother and her mother-in-law were both pretty much pioneers as far as women of color in their professional fields. They were always the first woman of color to do this, the first woman of color to do that.
And so the idea of her being a stay-at-home mom was a bit out of her comfort zone. But because they are people of prayer, they felt strongly to pursue this direction in life.
One day, Nichelle was praying for Adrian, their firstborn, and she remembers this really strong feeling that Adrian was to never enter the public school system. This caught Nichelle off guard, once again, because she knew that this meant at some point in time they were going to hit a big windfall and need to school her and her future siblings.
When Adrian was about 8 months old, they moved from Azos to Germany. It was during their time in church one day when homeschooling came up again.
Her husband introduced her to a family in the church that taught their own children at home. But Nichelle wasn’t impressed at the time because she had absolutely no dream, no fantasy and no thought process in her mind to ever teach her own children.
Then later on, she met another family who homeschooled.
And the very first thing that impressed her about this family was how well the siblings got along together. For the older one to pick up the younger one to make sure she was eating and comfort her, she was awestruck.
That was the first draw to homeschooling for her, the idea of familial closeness. It really touched her heart.
Then, on another day, she was standing in the same hallway in church, enjoying a deep intellectual conversation with someone as she was looking away at something. At one point, she turned around, and she saw the person she was talking to was a 12 year old young man. He happened to be a homeschooler of a Latino family.
And it was the mother of that Latino family who became her gateway to the homeschool community. She loaned her all of her teaching home magazines, and inspired Nichelle further about homeschooling her own children. This prompted Nichelle’s own homeschool research.
When they moved to Okinawa and Okinawa, the homeschool world completely opened up for them as there was a very large, very active homeschool support group called Christian Home Educators.
Nichelle went back to college while she was still homeschooling her kids, and got a degree in counseling. But the journey there includes a saddened path. Along the way, she lost her firstborn daughter, Adrian, to a brain tumor that they were aware of for only 72 hours. They had no idea about it; it was extremely sudden.
Homeschooling was such a blessing to Nichelle because when she looks back, she is thankful for every single day of her life with her daughter.
Once Nichelle and her family came back to the States, they had a lot of pushback from family about continuing to homeschool. Some of their objections were that Nichelle wasn’t educated and she didn’t have a college degree. And it even got pretty insulting at times, being told she was too stupid to homeschool and how her children would never be anything doing homeschool in a kitchen.
Nichelle proved the naysayers wrong, however, because when both daughters continued their education into college.
It was also right around the time she needed to reinvent herself.
She looked back at her homeschool journey and to decide what aspect of that she would miss once it was over. The first thing that came to mind was keeping children to read. She didn’t pursue the traditional elementary school setting; instead, she became a history mom.
Both daughters had competed in the National History Day competitions, and one eventually became a museum curator while the other works on Capitol Hill.
Nichelle knew history was going to be something that she wanted to do. She decided to enroll in college classes to finish her degree, and so she enrolled both her youngest daughter and herself into college. They even had one or two classes together! They went to school together until, eventually,her daughter went off to Baylor.
Now she holds an associate’s degree in history from Austin Community College. She is also a top ranking graduate from Huston-Tillotson University and received her bachelor’s degree in History.
And because of the pandemic, she wasn’t able to get into the school she wanted to get her Master’s degree. Instead, she got a master’s degree in education in multicultural studies, which really fits with her entire life’s story.
Starting Warp and Weft History
Nichelle responded with incredible resilience to the pandemic. As the education sector was turned online practically overnight, she was able to take on challenges and develop innovative strategies for success. She has used her experience in teaching to create a learning environment online that is both creative and engaging for her students, with exciting activities that go beyond what traditional classrooms can offer.
Through her quick action and enthusiasm, she has given students opportunities to learn even as the rest of the world struggles through these challenging times.
Nichelle and her daughters have done an amazing thing by creating Warp and Weft History, a comprehensive and interactive website that covers multiple aspects of history.
Their courses span from US history to African American history, world history and even National History Day coaching.
The courses provided on the website can help students gain a deeper and more thorough understanding of historical events, conflicts, people and movements across all corners of the world. It is indeed an extremely useful resource for anyone interested in learning more about history or just brushing up on concepts they have already learned.
You can catch several courses live, such as US History, and expect to learn more about multicultural perspective. Nichelle teaches the stock stories, the broad popular stories we’ve all heard of.
And then she goes deeper into teaching the stories that aren’t popular, called the concealed stories. She looks at those stories to see whose voices are absent and where did the resistance fall in?
Nichelle will then take that information and put it in a digital format in order to share those things that they’ve learned online.
They do this with many of their courses.
One particularly popular course is World history One. She’s using Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World’s Ancient World book, but bringing into it educational and virtual field trips with focuses on archeology, linguistics and migration patterns. This always gets the kids excited about history.
She also has an African American history course, where they discuss US history from the African American perspective and bringing in concealed stories that you might not hear about. These classes are usually about 90 minutes, one day a week.
There’s also National History Day coaching for students who want to participate in the National History Day competition. This coaching course gives the opportunity to take history information and display it in five different categories as a(an):
- documentary, or
Warp and Weft History offers a variety of courses that focus on different periods of history. These courses cover topics like the major events, turning points, and civilizations that have shaped our world today. Join Vicki and Nichelle for discussion on inspiring online history and civics.
Connect with Nichelle Nelson with Warp and Weft for Inspiring Online History and Civics Courses
For more on History for homeschool high schoolers, check out these episodes:
And these posts:
Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!
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