Rewriting Christian Homeschool Narratives

Drawing from her personal experience and passion for inclusivity, Jada Ahnye Kamau ’23 looks forward to developing Christian homeschool curricula that tell diverse and truthful narratives about the world and its people to glorify God.

Words: Marisa Foxwell Duttweiler ’13

Wheaton College IL Jada Kamau

“I want to have a program that honors and humanizes people and honors the world and its diverse cultures.”

Jada Ahnye Kamau’s names mean knowledge, beautiful, silent warrior—in Hebrew, Swahili, and Kikuyu respectively—an apt description for this ambitious young woman. Before she was born, Kamau’s parents prayed she would be intelligent, but they also had a strong desire for her to pursue the knowledge of the Lord. As a pastor’s kid, Kamau and her family moved around quite a bit and she was homeschooled until college. These early homeschool experiences laid the foundation for Kamau’s resulting passion for educating and investing in children, especially as she witnessed the care her own mother poured into teaching Kamau and her siblings.

In her family’s homeschool environment, Kamau acquired teaching experience at an early age as she helped to tutor her younger brothers. At first, Kamau thought she wanted to pursue a traditional teaching route in a public school, but as she explored her passions more in-depth, she recognized how the lack of diversity, inclusivity, and representation in homeschool curricula had made a lasting negative impact on her. She has since made it her goal to create homeschool curricula that humanize students, foster inclusivity and awareness, and honor the Lord.

Despite researching other schools, Kamau became more and more interested in Wheaton because of the College’s interdisciplinary studies (IDS) major, in which she could combine different majors to best suit her passion. Now a senior at Wheaton, Kamau’s independent study integrates philosophy, literature, and Christian formation and ministry. Much of her time has been spent reading extensively to begin formulating a philosophy of education in which more than a single story is told.

“I often only heard stories of old, dead white men growing up, and if we did talk about African American culture it seemed to be mainly defined by slavery,” Kamau said, reflecting on the textbooks and other resources available to homeschool families. “I want to have a program that honors and humanizes people and honors the world and its diverse cultures,” she concluded.

Kamau has felt support from many avenues during her time at Wheaton, but perhaps none so strongly as through the Office of Multicultural Development (OMD).

“I didn’t expect to experience such a beautiful community with other people of color,” Kamau admitted. “But the OMD is a space where I feel seen and known. People truly want to know my story. I don’t have to explain my racial identity every five minutes.”

Kamau also participates in the Wheaton College Gospel Choir, hosts a podcast for the Pub, a student-led academic and literary journal, and serves as a teaching assistant in the English department and a student ambassador for IDS events and symposiums. Recently, Kamau also had the chance to exercise her creative side by writing and recording a song called “Psalm 88” for “Scrapbook Stories 107,” a student-produced album sponsored by the Storytelling Project and released in April 2022.

“My time at Wheaton is encapsulated in that song,” Kamau said. “Every moment has not been rainbows and flowers. Some things have been very difficult, but I connected my heart cry to the heart cry of David and it allowed me to voice my struggle and feel more comfortable with it and to encourage people to come to the Lord with their struggle like David did.”

Beyond Wheaton, Kamau hopes to pursue a master’s in curriculum development and a Ph.D. in philosophy of education, continuing her life’s work to improve and diversify homeschool education.