For those not already acquainted with the holiday, Juneteenth, celebrated since the late 1800s, is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were given the news of freedom—Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. 

According to a New York Times article by Derrick Bryson Taylor, “On June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Va., Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued more than two and a half years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.” 

Families celebrate this significant moment in history with backyard barbecues or by attending a larger event like the one held in Atlanta, Georgia—which hosts a parade and multi-day music festival.

Does your family celebrate Juneteenth? How will you celebrate this year? Are there new traditions you’ve been meaning to incorporate into your festivities?  You may find some ideas here.

If Juneteenth is new to you, read on to learn more.

Best Practices

What can you do to acknowledge and celebrate Juneteenth?

Beyond attending a celebration in your local area or hosting your own backyard cookout, you can celebrate by learning more about the events leading up to June 19, 1865, and the significance of the date.

As you research, evaluate resources, and plan your homeschool lessons, we’d like to offer a few points to help you facilitate respectful planning, discussions, and activities while learning about slavery and Juneteenth. 

Along with these tips, please use the links provided below to access direct information from members of the African American community. 

Points to Consider

  • When evaluating resources, start with these foundational questions: 
    • Who created the resource? (Try to use resources created by the people you are learning about.)
    • Who’s story is being told? 
    • Is it historically accurate? (You may need to do more research.) 
  • Extend learning beyond a single day.
    • Provide children with historical context (slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction, geography, politics, current events).
    • Explore how the holiday is celebrated in your area and in different regions.
    • Incorporate Juneteenth lessons beyond June—for instance, share Juneteenth stories during a study on “holidays.” 
  • When lesson planning, work to learn more about a specific region and individual people rather than learning about enslaved people and Black Americans as a monolithic group. 
  • When planning activities for your homeschool or book club, it is considered best practice to avoid crafts and activities that would be considered cultural appropriation. Learn more about cultural appropriation, how it’s different from cultural appreciation, and how to avoid it. The PBS Teachers Lounge has a helpful post called Cultural Appropriation: What’s an Educator’s Role?—it offers practical tips and questions to ask when embarking on a new project with your children. If necessary, conduct research to learn more about the craft or activity in question. 

Please let these tips serve as an introduction and explore more at the resources below. 

More to Explore

The following online resources provide information and guidance for engaging in respectful discussions and activities. 

  • Learning for Justice provides an invaluable article for parents wanting to learn more about the history and context of Juneteenth as they prepare to teach their children. 
  • Teach for America offers a collection of helpful links for learning about Juneteenth— including Juneteenth teaching resources. 
  • This three-minute TED-Ed video offers a succinct history of Juneteenth. 
  • Here Wee Read has a list of 25 books about Juneteenth
  • For adults and older teens, the Chicago Public Library has an extensive Juneteenth Reading List
  • Juneteenth.com is filled with resources that cover “How to Celebrate” and a list of past city and state celebrations. 
  • At the Zinn Education Project, find information and a compilation of teaching materials spanning slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and beyond. 

Special Offer

To celebrate Juneteenth, we are offering selected topic-specific Arrows and Boomerangs at cost—just $5.70 each! The offers expires June 19, 2021 at midnight ET.

Juneteenth 2021

Use them now or in the future as you learn more about the African American experience.


Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

We encourage you to continue to incorporate learning about the contributions of Black Americans as part of your regular lesson planning throughout the year. 

Podcast: Thinking Critically, Aging Gracefully & Being a True Influencer with Lyn Slater, Accidental Icon

Brave Writer Podcast

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to my next guest on the Brave Writer podcast through Instagram. I was taken in immediately by her sense of style and yes, her age. As someone heading into my senior years, she instantly gave me hope that I could find the next right thing to do with my life—and to do it looking fabulous! Clothes have always been self-expression for me (at least when I leave the house!). And my guest has that talent of using her personal fashion sense to express attitude, passion, and all sorts of personalities.

Suffice to say: I’m a huge fan! I see today’s guest as a role model for my future. She’s got nearly a million Instagram followers, and has even been featured in television commercials for GoDaddy.

Please welcome my new friend Lyn Slater, the Accidental Icon (@iconaccidental). She has multiple degrees and lives in New York where she taught social work at Fordham University for 20 years. She’s a fashion icon, true, but what really got me even more interested in her was her career in the field of social work and academics—a true critical thinker! Throughout her teaching career, she balances creativity with thoughtfulness for learning and education. She’s also a person of integrity and depth.

Lyn started Accidental Icon when she had trouble finding a fashion blog that offered an urban, modern, and intellectual aesthetic for women who live what she calls “interesting but ordinary” lives in cities. Women who – like her – aren’t celebrities, but are smart, creative, fashion-forward, thoughtful, engaged, and comfortable with who they are.

Listen to the Podcast

Show Notes

How Social Work Shaped Lyn’s Thinking and the Importance of Context

While working with young women from a criminal justice perspective, Lyn realized that, so often, their issues were not about crime, but trauma and abuse. These women weren’t criminals; they were victims. This led to her shifting into social work and taking a more clinical approach to the work she did. Being a social worker allowed Lyn to see glimpses into a world that people who come from privileged backgrounds, like her, never get to see.

Read the rest of this entry »

Summer Class Registration is OPEN

Brave Writer Online Classes

Registration is OPEN!

Sign up now for Brave Writer Summer Writing Classes.

We’re excited to get to know your kids!

Our summer session is more like a summer writing camp than “school” because there’s such joy inside our space. Perfect for kids who were homeschooled and heading back to traditional school as well.

Our classes fill quickly, particularly those at the start of the semester. If you know what class you want, be sure to sign up early to ensure you secure your seat.

Btw: you can enroll in a class through your charter school even if the funds aren’t in quite yet. Just select “charter school” at the payment gateway and we can bill your charter school later.

Learn more here: All About Online Writing Classes

If you still have questions about which class is right for your child, we invite you to send an email to our Help Desk (help@bravewriter.com). Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be glad to give you suggestions that are just right for your family!

Brave Writer Online Classes

Special Arrow: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Tristan Strong Arrow

It’s never been done before! A Brave Writer Special Issue Arrow! What?

Yes, here it is! We’re excited! A chance for you to experience an Arrow over the summer!

From the moment we read Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, we knew it needed to be an Arrow. So, why not make it part of the year-long Arrow program? Well, it’s packed full of so much goodness that it could not be contained in under 400 pages. In fact, it’s almost 500 pages!

That’s a lot of book to read and study in one month, so the Special Issue Arrow was born!

You can buy it now and enjoy it as a summer read while engaging in Big Juicy Conversations about:

  • friendship,
  • loss,
  • storytelling,
  • grammar,
  • Black American folk heroes,
  • and more!

The Arrow is a digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Tristan Strong Arrow

Friday Freewrite: Blurb

Friday Freewrite

You know how books and movies include a blurb (a short, descriptive account of the story) that the creators hope entices people to read or watch? Imagine an event or a period in your life was the basis for a novel or a film and write a blurb for it.

New to freewriting? Check out our online guide.