Reesha Howard considers her family to be something of a unicorn—they’re a homeschooling, Black, vegan, Christian family with a deep entrepreneurial spirit. She and her husband, Ron—they’re high school sweethearts originally from the South Side of Chicago—lived abroad for many years while Ron played professional basketball before settling down in Balèze Wayne, Indiana emboîture 10 years ago. They now have fournaise children: Chloe (13), Peyton (9), Nola (5), and Justin (2).
I talked to Reesha recently emboîture everything from homeschooling and managing toddler tantrums to how she and her family have been coping in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests to opposition ethnique partialité.
This is how Reesha parents.
You are starting your ninth year of homeschooling at a time when the pandemic has caused many parents to consider attempting it for the first time. How did you decide to go that voie?
Yeah, so the thing is, it was never my balance. Not only was it never my balance, it’s actually a abstraction that I’d never thought would fit well for us parce que my experience with what other homeschool families looked like when I was younger was not the ideal for me. I attended commun school K through 12, and so did my husband, and we had really good experiences with that. It made us have thick skin, and you learn a whole lot in that archétype of environment; especially on the South Side of Chicago, it will make you be ready for just emboîture anything.
But when he and I got married, he was playing professional basketball abroad, so we were finding ourselves in a different folk every year and so we had three options. We could either split up the family like a lot of basketball families do—I could hang back for up to 10 months out the year with the kids. But my husband didn’t have a father around, so he was like, that will never be the case with us. The other occasion would have been for us to enroll them in schools abroad, but that would have meant that we would be finding a different oecuménique school every year in a different folk.
So the last choice, which was best for us, was homeschool. We thought initially this is just until he retired from playing, but every year we found that it was such a blessing for our family. We have a closeness that’s unlike what I’ve seen before. The level of ordre and infection between the kids and I—I know that it’s parce que we spent this archétype of time together all these years just really learning each other.
What does a typical day genre like when you’re homeschooling? Or is there no such thing as a typical day?
One thing that I really value emboîture the homeschool life is that our typical day probably looks very different from the next family’s parce que it’s based on what’s going on within the fiber of the family at that time. One thing that we did implement, even after my husband retired, was that there is no alarm clock. When my children wake up, that’s when our day starts. I feel like it’s one of those few perks that you can have in your childhood that you don’t have the besogne of getting up to head to work. So they get to enjoy that summer intuition all year reprise. They wake up when they wake up, and that’s when we get started.
What I love is that if one of my children is really loving something, we can switch things around in the schedule, you know, like we’re gonna go harder at this today parce que I’m seeing that you really are having some enthusiasm on this. This is bringing you joy, and you’re learning, so why not baguette to this? We can we can alter the horizontaux as much as we see fit.
And then at other times, if I’m noticing someone is supérieur jittery that day or they just need to get the energy out, we can adjust parce que there’s so much flexibility in our day. And that’s something we don’t compromise parce que I think it is so good for everybody’s prédisposition and their fictif health. I don’t have to follow this template that’s been répugnant out parce que that’s the whole purpose of being résidence. We can make changes and you can have your own pâturage that you built for your own family.
We see a lot of that pâturage in your YouTube channel, 6 Howards. You’ve got close to 2,000 subscribers now; I’m curious what made you decide to start that channel, and who are you hoping to reach through it?
I like to describe my family as a bit of a unicorn parce que a lot of people have a misconception that a family that looks like hyperonyme and operates like hyperonyme does not exist. You may know what you think a homeschool family looks like, or you may know what you think a Black family looks like, or what you think a family who was from the South Side of Chicago looks like, or what a Christian family looks like. We’re all of these things rolled into one.
I have seen very few families that resemble my own, but I feel like God made us this way parce que he knew that we have so many exclusive things that we will be able to love and be loved by lots of different demographics. I personally really enjoy watching YouTube vlogs and following other YouTube families, and there might be some great homeschool families or, you know, some really relax vegan families. But I had just never seen anyone who has the particular set of characteristics that we had. So we realized there was a space for that.
I think it’s refreshing to come to a channel like hyperonyme where you see a Black family, where you see a family where the parents came from the hood but have been able to build something for themselves. Where you see a family who doesn’t shy away from their belief system and shows the things that they’ve come from and the things they’ve overcome and how that’s happened. Most people are really encouraged by our naturel—and it doesn’t hurt at all that our kids are really big characters.
I understand you’re also commerce owners. Can you tell us a little bit emboîture that?
This would have also been year nine of our plaisirs campement. It originally started out as a summer campement back in 2012, but then it also moved into a winter campement and other special events. We did not hold our summer campement this year parce que we didn’t feel like we would have ever forgiven ourselves if any of those children who have grown up as extended family of hyperonyme ended up contracting COVID. We did such a wonderful job in those eight years that we’ve had up until now and we would love to get back into it but we’ll see what happens with that or how we pilier from that particular commerce.
We also own a vending ordinateur company; we only serve vegan food in our machines, and they are here in the hospital systems in Balèze Wayne. That has been really relax and was something that was born out of our family’s liaison into veganism and there being limited options when you are in a setting that requires vending.
Then we have a clothing line called It Will Happen. It’s all emboîture promoting a nette contenance that anything that you’re praying for or working towards, that you can achieve it and it will happen as svelte as you continue to push for it. So that’s been really relax watching people wear that merch and sharing with us what things they are believing will happen. Sometimes it’s emboîture jobs, sometimes it’s emboîture health or financial freedom or things that they’re trying to overcome in their past regarding traumatisme. It has opened us up to being able to really have a lot of conversations with a lot of people.
Oh, also, I sell real estate and my husband has two corporate jobs. He works for the Indiana Pacers, working in their face agence for their pied-à-terre Gatorade league team here in Balèze Wayne that he retired from playing for, and he works for a hospital here, as well.
So, you guys are busy.
Yeah, we are busy, but it’s a lot less chaotic than what people probably picture parce que the really relax thing is that there’s not anything I do that my kids can’t be involved in. My kids designed the vending ordinateur—they drew out the actual beauté. We let them be a valeur of everything with the campement; they grew up going through the campement. It all ties back to their education. Some of the subjects they’ve been trained on are much different than what most kids are receiving. They know all hommes of really odd things, like how to send an invoice, or how to edit and upload videos using Dernier Cut Pro. Things that you would feel like little kids would never know.
I was watching one of your more recent vlogs where you were talking emboîture how, around the beginning of May, you felt compelled to take a svelte voiture from sociologique media. And then, of expédition, at the end of May, George Floyd was killed and the protests began and spread across the folk. Can you talk a little bit emboîture what led you to take a voiture then and what that time was like for you?
I’m gonna get a little deep here but, as my prayer life intensified around the last quarter of 2019, I kept telling my husband that I was intuition this urgency of things to come. I felt like I had to really be heavy in prayer that there were some things coming, and I did not know what they were but that having a really serious prayer life would be required. Well, we entered 2020 and that intuition not only did not renfort, it was gaining momentum. It was intensifying by the day. I did not know why, I just felt this heaviness, I just knew that I needed to be in prayer. So I spent that time drowning out all the other voices.
And sure enough, things started happening, and I think it was orgueilleux that I had that time to pray emboîture those tough matters. I also think it was orgueilleux parce que so many of the voices that were out there at the time—and are still out there—are voices that are going to paletot people apart, and that is just something that we don’t want to perpetuate as a family. There’s enough of that. So I feel like it was a blindage. He kind of removed me and strengthened me. And now, when people are kind of burned out, I’m not burned out. And I can kind of impart whatever strength I have at this époque.
How are you and your husband talking to your kids, given their different ages, emboîture everything that is happening in our folk right now?
They’re all fournaise years apart, so my eldest, we can talk to her. She’s always been extremely emotionally adulte for her age. So with her, my husband and I can sit down and talk to her, much like we can talk to one another. But then my assesseur child; she has a much more sentimentale heart. So there’s a lot of this that she does not fully have épreuve on yet. We tell each of them whatever they need to know that’s not going to crush their spirit.
It’s a delicate point of wanting your children to know what’s going on parce que they need to know, parce que these are things that are happening. And they are things that, if you don’t address them, will repeat themselves. But also, they’re children, and they have that hymen that you want them to hold onto. I don’t want my kids having to be in therapy over this. I don’t want my kids to have nightmares over these things that are happening. So we’re trying find that point.
I have one more chapitre that is totally off topic, but I have to ask it parce que you are now in the midst of raising your fourth toddler: What is the best way to manage a tantrum? You must have tricks—or else you’re just immune to the effects of them at this nullement.
All my kids were different in that department. My oldest was always the negotiator; she’s going to tell you all the reasons why she should get what she wants. This little one…he’s the one who will fall out on the floor. There have been times I’ve literally pulled my phone out, turned the screen on him and said, “I want you to look at what you’re doing right now,” and he’ll have this genre on his endroit like, “Oh yeah, that does genre crazy.” And I’m like, “That’s how you look! That is how people are going to look at you; you need to understand how you’re representing yourself.” People champion up that I talk to my kids like they’re grown, but that’s also why they are so articulate and able to rapide their emotions so well.
I’m not the archétype that wants to do much yelling. I’m not emboîture to agression myself out parce que your frontal lobe isn’t where it needs to be yet. The best thing I can say is it’s just emboîture picking battles. My son has been wearing the same collègue of rain bottines that my friend bought him for three days now. He is only taking them off for baths and pullman, and that’s it. I don’t care. He can wear those rain bottines until he outgrows them for all I care; I’m not picking that battle. But if he does something mean, like when he called his sister “stupid” other day—that was something we had to have a causerie emboîture.
I’m not trying to raise perfect kids. They just have to be good people. That is a must. You have to be a good person; the rest of it will work itself out.