How to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your Homeschool

martin luther king day homeschool ideas

Whether you’re celebrating Martin Luther King Day or Black History Month in February, these ideas will be great for your homeschool! 

Sometimes homeschoolers can get so focused on our curriculum that we forget to stop and celebrate some of the holiday celebrations that may get more attention in public schools. 

I realized this the other day when my 8-year-old boy asked me who Martin Luther King was and why he has a day on our January calendar. 

So to help you have some quick and easy ways to teach your kids about Martin Luther King Day in your homeschool, we’ve compiled nine ideas for you to check out below! 

Free Martin Luther King Jr printable

To make your observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day more meaningful in your homeschool, we’ve got three great MLK printables available in the Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library!

To get access, click right here or on the image below! 

Martin Luther King printables

{{Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission if you click through or purchase at no cost to you. For more information, click here.}}

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.? 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the preeminent leader of the civil rights movement in the United States from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

He was an American Baptist minister who sought equal treatment for blacks through civil disobedience and peaceful protest.

For his continual efforts, King won many notable awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

9 ways to observe Martin Luther King Day in your homeschool 

Keep on reading to check out our Martin Luther King Day homeschool ideas!

Read or listen to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech

To read the entire transcript of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech, click on this link here.

This version has breaks for each of the different moments of applause, which can help your kids get a feel for how the speech was received in the moment.

To watch or listen to this iconic speech, we’ve got the entire 17-minute speech right here for you and your kids:

Read MLK biographies

There are lots of great Martin Luther King, Jr. biographies for kids!

All of the titles below are available on Amazon.

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This Caldecott Honor book uses quotes from actual speeches from Martin Luther King, Jr. to drive the narrative.

The art is stunning and innovative, too!

I Am Martin Luther King, Jr.

This great book, from the Ordinary People Change the World series, is a favorite at our house! With engaging illustrations and easy-to-read text, this book is great for younger elementary schoolers.

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This book is a bit more advanced than the one above. With short chapters and more text than illustrations, it’s still intended for a younger elementary audience.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Part of the National Geographic Kids series, this biography of Martin Luther King, Jr is a great option for your homeschool too!

I Have a Dream

This book focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech, familiar to us as the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Beautiful watercolor art and a complementary CD with a recording of the speech make this book really special.

Watch a Martin Luther King documentary

If you have a visual learner, watching a documentary about Martin Luther King, Jr. could be the perfect way to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in your homeschool.

Related article: How to Determine Your Child’s Learning Style

Freedom Homeschooling has a fantastic list of MLK documentaries, conveniently divided by age group.

Also, you can always do a simple YouTube search for “Martin Luther King, Jr. documentary for kids” and find lots of great options that fit your school schedule too!

Have kids write their own “I Have a Dream” speech

Use the free printable worksheet from The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library to help your kids write their own version of Martin Luther King’s most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

When Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, he deviated from his prepared remarks and gave the most well-known speech in the United States, apart from the Gettysburg Address.

He spoke of the things he dreamed for his four young children. He described peace in turmoil-filled states such as Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

Martin Luther King day printable worksheet

This simple worksheet encourages your kids to dream about what they would like to see happen in our communities, country, or in the world today.

Maybe they’ll dream of a world free from pollution, or war, or disease.

Whatever it is that they dream, this free worksheet will be a wonderful way to commemorate Martin Luther King Day in your homeschool!

Read excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s other speeches

While the “I Have a Dream” speech is definitely the most famous of MLK’s speeches, he gave many other notable speeches that are worth listening to or reading with your kids!

As a well-accomplished orator, some of Marin Luther King, Jr.’s other famous speeches are:

The Montgomery Bus Boycott speech

This speech was given in response to Rosa Park’s famous refusal to give up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

It was also the speech that put Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the national spotlight for the first time. You can read it in its entirety right here.

(It is quite lengthy, so it’s a good idea to read it in advance and share the highlights with your kids during your homeschool day!)

“Our God is Marching On”

Given in 1965 in Alabama, this speech featured the famous concluding lines spoken by MLK: “How long? Not long! … His truth is marching on.”

You can read the full text of the speech right here as part of Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.

“What is Your Life’s Blueprint?”

Given to middle schoolers at Barratt Middle School in Philadelphia in 1967, this speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. is our personal favorite here at The Reluctant Homeschool Mama!

It is well worth a read, especially if you have kids in upper elementary school or above. Click right here to check it out!

Here’s a can’t-miss excerpt:

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. But be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Free MLK word search printable

You can use the Martin Luther King, Jr. word search printable to introduce the topic, keep your kids’ hands busy while you read to them, or use it to sum up what they’ve learned about MLK.

MLK free printable word search

This free Martin Luther King word search is available in The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library.

And yes, there’s an answer key included on page 2!

Martin Luther King, Jr. printable word scramble

This printable word unscramble is also available in The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library.

It is a great companion to the word search above and can be done individually or as a group during your homeschool day.

martin luther king printable free

MLK coloring pages

If you have younger homeschoolers or kids who just love to color, be sure to snag the free MLK coloring page here in The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library.

martin luther king free coloring page

Crayola.com also has a few other free Martin Luther King, Jr. coloring pages available too!

Do copy work featuring Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous quotes

If copy work is part of your regular homeschool work, it would be a great idea to have your kids copy down some of MLK’s most famous quotes.

Here’s a quick list of five different copy work options that could work well for kids of most elementary grade levels:

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

Final thoughts about our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day homeschool ideas: 

We hope that these nine different Martin Luther King, Jr. homeschool ideas will help you have something meaningful to do to celebrate this important January holiday!

Choose the activities that work best for your kids and their learning styles, and please let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Related articles with homeschool help for moms:

The 5 Best Paper Planners to Help You Organize Your Homeschool 

How to Create an Amazing Personalized Daily Schedule as a Homeschool Mom

How to Successfully Work from Home and Homeschool (without Losing Your Mind!)

Pin the image below to easily return to this article in the future!

martin luther king day homeschool ideas pin

Which of these fun activities will you do to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in your homeschool?  

How to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your HomeschoolHow to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your HomeschoolHow to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your HomeschoolHow to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your HomeschoolHow to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Your Homeschool

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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