Ithaca College offers a world of multicultural resources for homeschoolers

Ithaca College rated #9 among regional universities in the north.

Every day, I scour the Internet looking for quality resources that I can share with my students. Like a little girl on Christmas morning, I could hardly contain my excitement when I discovered how much Ivy League darling, Cornell University, and Ithaca College love their homeschoolers. These two schools offer valuable (and free) resources that every teacher should take advantage of. One, is the Homeschool Science Program with challenging science kits for students of all ages. I will discuss that program in a separate blog, so check back. The other fabulous resource is Ithaca’s WISE Program: Working to Improve Schools and Education.

The program is the brainchild of Ithaca professor, Jeff Claus, who teaches Social and Cultural Foundations of of Education, a broad-based, social science study that focuses on analysis of contemporary issues in education with particular emphasis on issues of equity, diversity, multicultural education, and the development of schools more effective for ALL students and families. The purpose of the course is to help these future teachers develop greater sociocultural understanding, embrace new ideas, and garner respect for those who think and look differently.

There are a variety of interesting topics to choose from. Here’s a few:

In How schools  kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

A Girl Like Me, is a thought-provoking video with African American girls who are honest about public perceptions and expectations of them. From their big butts to their nappy hair, color is more than skin deep for these young African-American women who are struggling to define themselves.

The Asian American Experience has excellent resources on the Hmong: people living traditionally in isolated mountain villages throughout Southern China and Southeast Asia. They are also usually known as Miao in China. Their culture has been long misunderstood. According to oral history in the Hmong community, it is said the Hmong women hid the ancient Hmong paj ntaub script in the clothing of the Hmong people, especially in the pleated skirts of the Green Hmong. From this time forward, the scripts became motifs or symbols in Hmong embroidery Knowledge of the scripts was not so relevant in the lives of the Hmong and was eventually lost. Today the motifs in Hmong embroidery are used as decorations in clothing, accessories, and crafts.  Learn more.  Resources for elementary age children, click here.

bChicken feet – Ko taw qaib


  • Abstract Art: Art that does not attempt to represent external, recognizable reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.
  • Appliqué: Ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric are sewn or stuck onto a piece of fabric to form pictures or patterns.
  • Batik: A method of producing colored designs on textiles by dyeing them, after having first applied wax to the parts of the fabric to be left undyed.
  • Chain Stitch: An ornamental stitch in which loops are crocheted or embroidered in a chain.
  • Closed Blanket Stitch: A Blanket Stitch variation in which the vertical stitches are alternately angled to create triangles.
  • Couched Herringbone Stitch: A pattern consisting of columns of short parallel lines, with all the lines in one column sloping one way and all the lines in the next column sloping the other way so as to resemble bones.
  • Mirrored Image: An image that has its parts arranged with a reversal of the right and left, as it would appear if seen in a mirror.
  • Moj Zeej: A human-like figure usually cut from joss paper to represent the soul of a sick person.
  • Money Bag: A decorated bag with shoulder strap used as ornamentation in Hmong attire.
  • Monk’s Cloth: A coarse, heavy fabric usually used for cross-stitch embroidery.
  • Noob Ncoos: A square made specifically for the deceased. It represents the landscape of the ancestors in the afterlife.
  • Paj Ntaub: Hmong textile art. It refers to a flower cloth.
  • Pattern Tracer: A tool used in batik artwork to make patterns and motifs with hot wax.
  • Peacock Ocellus: An eyelike spot on the peacock feather.
  • Phuam: A Hmong headdress/turban headdress.
  • Pom Pom: A decoration consisting of a ball of tufted wool, cotton, or silk.
  • Pov Pob: A Hmong courting game in which young men and women toss balls back and forth.
  • Qua Sev: An elaborate textile embroidery use as a belt and worn with Hmong women’s clothes.
  • Quilt: A warm bed covering made of padding enclosed between layers of fabric and kept in place by lines of stitching.
  • Reverse Appliqué: A decoration or ornament, as in needlework, made by cutting and sewing the upper material to expose the fabric below.
  • Running Stitch: A stitch that runs back and forth through the cloth without overlapping.
  • Siv Ceeb: A thin black and white striped cloth worn with Hmong women’s headdresses.
  • Surface Stitch: Parallel rows of running stitches used to fill or reinforce worn areas of a textile.
  • Tapestry: A piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by weaving colored weft threads or by embroidering on the fabric.
  • Tsho Tshaj Sab: An elaborate hemp robe use for dressing the deceased in a traditional Hmong funeral.
  • Xaguv: A Hmong silver necklace worn around the neck with Hmong attire.
  • Yarn: Spun thread used for knitting, weaving, or sewing.

The Healthy Kids section contains articles and programs that promote healthy options for children at home and at school. Cooking with kids is a web site that educates and empowers children and families to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable foods from diverse cultural traditions. The site offers a plethora of recipes from around the world. Here’s one:

  Black Bean Tostadas  

Black Beans
  • cans (15 oz ea.) black beans
  • ½ medium onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½tsp ground cumin
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp fresh oregano or ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Tostada Toppings
  • ounces mild cheddar cheese grated
  • ½head Romaine lettuce thinly sliced
  • cup sour cream(optional)
  • Salsa Fresca
  1.  Drain the juice from one can of black beans. Empty both cans of beans into a bowl. Use a potato masher to mash the beans until they are no longer whole. Set the mashed beans aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the black beans. When the beans begin to boil, reduce the heat to low, stir in the salt and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Although I discovered a number of broken links, I am glad that I hung in there. I made some fabulous connections and great ideas to use with my students.

Keep in touch.  TAMS and ED stands for Technology, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Education. We provide a tough yet achievable home school for students who need personal attention in a safe home environment. We utilize a number of cross-curricular teaching tools including standard textbooks, computers and technology, academic excursions, and handson learning. Our qualified Board of directors consist of certified educators, parents, and administrators who are passionate about challenging every child to reach for the academic stars. Visit our website.

We promote diversity and tolerance in a safe learning environment. For TAMS and ED students, the world is their classroom. Come and join us!

Felicia Moon-Thomas, Director

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