Thursday, September 29, 2022

Social Emotional Learning App for Children

LuvBug: Play-Based Learning App

The following post is a collaboration between Luvbug Learning and MommyMaestra. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Not long ago, I shared a post on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in homeschool. Educators across the nation are currently focused on SEL education as one of the preventative measures when it comes to school violence and shootings. But SEL is something that benefits each and every one of us. These are skills that are some of the important ones children need to learn and master...but these days, they often go undeveloped. If kids aren't learning these at school, then they need to learn them at home and vice versa. Today's post features the LuvBug app, which is one tool parents might consider using as they teach SEL at home.

This post contains affiliate links.

NameLuvBug: Play-Based Learning
Subject(s): Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Skills
Brief Description: An interactive app for kids that teaches children social emotional learning skills through games and videos.
Price: From $6.49/mo. up to a one-time payment of $199 for lifetime access (A special discount is available for my readers if you scroll down.)
Language: English (more languages coming)
Ages: 4 years and up
DeviceiOSAndroid, Amazon

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skill are those that have to do with how a person works. Sometimes called "people skills," they involve how we interact with others. A few of these skills include:

  • communicating,
  • listening, 
  • empathizing,
  • team work,
  • openness to feedback,
  • adaptability,
  • time management.

It's a lot harder to learn soft skills as adults (but it's not impossible). The best time is when children are young and learning to identify and control their own emotions and reactions.

My youngest is 5 years old. And he has a hard time managing big emotions. So I've been reading about SEL and looking for different resources that will help me to help him. 

LuvBug is one resource that I've recently learned about. It's designed by a lot of experts in the field of psychology and child development to help nurture SEL skills in children.

LuvBug: SEL App

Why Teaching Feelings to Elementary Kids is Important

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. As we grow up and emotions become more complex and (sometimes) more intense, it's important for us to be able to self-regulate. Impulse control is important. But we can't control our emotions if we don't known what we're feeling. So identifying those emotions is the first step toward self control, as well as empathy.

A Social Emotional Learning App

I introduced my 5yo to the LuvBug app the other day and as I watched him use it, I liked how the app doesn't just teach him to identify emotions, but also to imagine how other people are feeling in different situations. Teaching empathy can be hard. So this is definitely one thing I really like about this app.

For example, while playing a game, my son was presented with something along the lines of the following:

Dance party! But your friend doesn't know how to dance. How do you think they feel?

- Thankful
- Happy
- Embarrassed

He is still too young to read, so he taps on the little help button by each word and a small window popped up with text plus audio that recites the word and what it means. He's challenged to choose the correct answer.

The app also offers videos that teach important lessons. Here's an example:

What I like about the app

I truly like the Parent Dashboard and the fact that it is available online and not just through the app. I prefer to access things like this on my desktop. 

I'm also very picky about the amount of time my son can spend playing "video games." This wouldn't even be an issue, except that I have two older teens who like playing STEAM, Minecraft, and other games. (Now you know why my 5yo is wanting to play.) 

I actually don't let him have access to an iPad except once a week for a short while. And even then it is a challenge to get him off. That's one confrontation I can avoid with this app because it shuts itself off based on the Play-Time Settings that I've set up. The app closes itself with a simple response (which I could edit if I wanted): 

LuvBug: Social Emotional Learning App

I can also see what topics my son learned because the Parent Dashboard gives me detailed learning results. For examples, on this day, my son correctly understood three different terms related to emotions:

LuvBug Parental Dashboard

I also like that I can customize what my son sees based on his age level. From the Dashboard, I can choose his level which affects what games and videos are available for him. And I can change it at any time. 

Overall, I can see this app as being a really good guide for parents that shows us what concepts and skills to focus on or reinforce outside of the app.

A Discount for You!

The LuvBug app has three pricing options: 
  • $6.49 ($8.99) a month for their annual subscription
  • $10.99 a month for a 6-month subscription
  • a one-time payment of $199 for lifetime access

But MommyMaestra readers can enjoy a discount and get the annual plan for only $5 a month! Although LuvBug offers promotions throughout the year, $5/month is a considerable savings beyond any promos. Just use the discount code: LUVBUG5 at checkout.

This discount code expires on Oct 15, 2022.

So if you feel this is a good fit for your family, head over to LuvBug Learning and get signed up!

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LuvBug Social Emotional Learning App for Children

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Back-to-School Roundup of Spanish Activities

Back-to-School Roundup of Spanish Activities

MommyMaestra sponsor 
Spanish for You! has shared many amazing resources here over the years. If you aren't already a fan of theirs, then you should try looking through all of the free printables they've shared...and then go to their website and buy one of their excellent curricula sets to get serious about your Spanish learning!

Today, we're sharing a round-up of Back-to-School-themed activities, some of which you can find here on MommyMaestra. Check them out and then go order your homeschool curriculum sets for the coming school year! They are perfect for both home and school classrooms!

Back-to-School-themed Spanish Activities

These are some of the fun downloads available from Spanish for You!

Supplies for Learning Spanish

Merriam-Webster Webster’s Spanish-English Dictionary for Students

Merriam-Webster's Illustrated Spanish-English Student Dictionary

Digital Voice Recorder

Digital Voice Recorder 
(Great for working on your pronunciation!)

Llama Composition Notebook

Budget-Friendly Spanish Learning Program

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History

Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History
The following is a sponsored post in collaboration with Chicanx Scholars. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One of my favorite things about Hispanic Heritage Month is learning about (and sharing!) remarkable resources that help our kids learn about the contributions of Latin Americans in world and U.S. history. This line of flashcards from Chicanx Scholars is a prime example! And what makes them even better is that the company was started by parents who reflected on their own school experiences, recognized something was lacking, and did something to change it for future generations. 

This post contains affiliate links.

Flashcards Featuring Hispanics in History

There is a growing number of children's books that highlight the Hispanic experience. But finding other materials continues to be a challenge. I appreciate it when people realize the value of creating and using other types of learning tools, because not all children learn the same way, nor are they all avid readers. Some kids prefer to learn through activity-based projects. 

These flashcards provide a way to supplement books and worksheets when teaching about Hispanic Heritage Month. And there are three different sets from which you may choose.

Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History

The History of Mexico Flashcards

While all of the decks that are available are excellent, this is probably the best set, in my opinion. Why? Because it is really hard to find ANY resources in English that are about the history of Mexico...and geared for children.

I've seen several parents asking for materials on Mexican history and historical figures in my Facebook group for Hispanic & Bilingual Homeschoolers. And each time, it has been a real struggle to find resources to recommend. Not anymore! This flashcard set will be at the top of my list. 

This set of 52 cards covers people and events from the Olmecs to the Mexico City Earthquake, and Benito Juarez to the Battle of Zacatecas. I would use this as a spine for studying Mexican history and select a card, then research the topic of the card more in-depth (or have your student do so). 

Each card comes with an image and the name on the front, and a bullet-point list of key facts on the back. Most of the cards also have a date on the front, but a few don't because dates aren't applicable. It's obvious that a lot of work has gone into researching each cart topic. I give this deck an A++ rating. :)

Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History

The Chicano Movement Flashcards

These flashcards take an in-depth look at the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. It includes, of course, Cesar Chávez and Dolores Huerta, but it also highlights many little known leaders of the movement, whose work made a national impact. Quieter figures such as Helen Fabela Chávez (Cesar's wife), Jessie de la Cruz, Emma Tenayuca, and Rodolfo Acuña are featured. (Don't know them? Look them up!!)

But there are also a lot of important moments in the Chicano movement that are included. This is especially important because too often historical events are often overlooked by (non-Latino) historians or those creating curricula.

Latinas Breaking Barriers Flashcards

This, of course, is always a popular topic. Latinas love stories or resources that highlight the achievement of other Latinas. We already know how tough we are. But we want the world to know it, too. And when we see these stories being written down and handed down, there's an orgullo that we ALL feel. Because we know these women; they are our mothers, our grandmothers, our tías, and primas. 

I looked through this one curious to see if there would be anyone listed that I didn't recognize and I was happy to see quite a few of them. Many of them are from California - which is where the Chicanx founder, Danny, is from. If you are from California, you may find this to be especially interesting. But either way, what a great way to introduce new Latina faces and their accomplishments. 

Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History

How to Use Them

There are a few different ways to use these flashcards. As I mentioned earlier, the main way I would use them is as a spine for a class on Mexican studies, Mexican-American Civil Rights, or Latina studies. 

Students can memorize the names and accomplishments of each person, place, or event. They can also choose a card from the deck and do more thorough research or a presentation on the topic. (The picture above is one of the graphic organizers from my Historical Figure & Event Study Pages set.)

The decks may also be used as a trivia game to assess your child's knowledge of the subject. 

Or you can simply use them as conversation starters for your class or family.

What I Like

I find these cards to be a fabulous resource for parents regardless of whether or not they are homeschooling, as well as educators. I could easily create a homeschool course for my teen on any of the three topics covered by these flashcards. The figures and events on each card present the perfect jumping off point for more in-depth study and all together would be a great way for parents to supplement their children's history education. 

It's important to note, however, that the focus is primarily on Mexican/Mexican American figures and events. If that's what you're looking for, then these sets are for you! That said, the Latinas Breaking Barriers set does take a broader look and includes international figures such as Guatemala's Rigoberta Menchu, Chile's Michelle Bachelet, Puertorriqueña Dr. Antonia Novello, and several others.

Buy Them Today!

Visit the Chicanx Scholars shop on Etsy and take a look at their card decks for sale. Or, if you know exactly which one you want, you can click on these links to take you there:

Mexican History Flashcards

Latinas Breaking Barriers

Latinas Breaking Barriers

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Flashcards on Hispanic Figures & Events in History

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Under the Mambo Moon

You can't celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic culture without talking about music. The Spanish and Latin beats are embedded in the foundations of Spain and Latin America. One of my favorite books to recommend when it comes to introducing children to the music of Latin America is Under the Mambo Moon. We got a copy of it years ago and it still has a special place in my heart. It is such an original way to talk about music that it engages young readers. Here's a review I wrote a few years ago for the Latin Baby Book Club.

This post contains affiliate links.

A chapter book highlighting Latin American music

Under the Mambo Moon
by Julia Durango
illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck

My familia loves music - especially anything with a Latin rhythm. So I was overjoyed to find the new book, Under the Mambo Moon. Inside the pages of this unique story, readers can explore various types of Latin American music - from Colombia’s cumbia to the Dominican merengue to the candombé of Uruguay.

The story line itself is a little unusual. The first thought that came to my mind was that this book would be perfect for a play. Young Marisol is the narrator. She helps out her Papi at his music store where people come in to buy their favorite songs. Papi says, “You can read people’s souls by the music they listen to.” (Looking at my CD and record collection, I wonder what my soul is saying? I’ve got everything from Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 to SpyroGyra to Yiddish-American Klezmer music. Oy.)

Interspersed throughout the book, are brief poems told by each customer who enters the store to buy the music of their homeland. João is a fan of bossa nova, while Professor Soto prefers Andean tunes that he has heard played on a zampoña player. Mr. and Mrs. Mayer are tango dancers, but young Gabriel loves the vallenatos of Colombia.

VandenBroeck cleverly uses color to help the reader distinguish between the main story line and the individual poems for each character. I appreciate the careful attention that he gave to depict each dance accurately with special attention to costumes and musical instruments.

The only thing that would make this book better would be an actual CD to accompany it and provide examples of each musical style. However, Putumayo has some great albums that would complement this book nicely. Or you can visit All Around This World's website and listen to music from different countries.

I also like how at the back of the book, the author includes a brief history of the amazingly diverse Latin American music and dance. Durango talks about the influence of indigenous, European, and African cultures on the rhythms and even the musical instruments used to create the various styles of music. She also includes a short description of each music style mentioned in the story.

Under the Mambo Moon is written in English with some embedded Spanish text. This book is best suited for children ages 4 and up.

Parents and teachers: This book is an awesome resource if you are studying music, Latin America, culture, traditions, multiculturalism, the colonization of the Americas, etc.

Buy your own copy of Under the Mambo Moon!

You may also purchase a copy directly from the Charlesbridge website:

Albums that complement this book

Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha

Samba Bossa Nova

Latin Playground

Happy reading!

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How to Draw Like Picasso

As I was working on activities for Hispanic Heritage Month, I researched artists. I was thinking about Cubism and how to draw like Pablo Picasso, so I decided to look up some video lessons for kids and found a fantastic collection of videos that you may enjoy. Some of them include a short biography on Picasso at the beginning of the video, but not all of them. I hope that you'll find one (or more!) of these tutorials easy to follow and inspirational. You can learn more about the artists if you visit my post on Pablo Picasso Lesson Plans, Activities, Coloring Pages, and More.

This post contains affiliate links.

Gather Your Art Supplies

Before you get started, first decide on the video tutorial you'll be using. Then go ahead and get all your art supplies together. Here are some of the supplies used in the following art lessons.

How to Create a Picasso/Cubist Face

We'll start with this lesson for K - 5 from Meghan Bergman (be sure to check out her Picasso card game, too)

Mr. Schuette 's - ART CLASS has this simple art lesson for younger children.

I Love Drawing has this mini-lesson on CUBISM FOR KIDS!

Art Fun with Vanessa Lombardo shows you how to draw two different types of faces. I like how she uses different supplies to color in the faces.

Rainbow Parrot Art has this great tutorial on Cubist Portraits. I think it is better suited for older children.

She also has this excellent Picasso Portrait Lesson for Beginners.

Tutorials for Unique Cubist Art

If you'd like to get away from human faces and would like to try something different, check out this one from Admire Design.

Or if you don't like drawing at all, maybe this cardboard Cubist face tutorial from Ms. Pomranky's Art Room is more to your liking!

And this one from Art with Ms. Steratore is awesome, too. It features Picasso's Blue Guitar...

Here's Part 2 and Part 3

Cubism Tutorials for Digital Drawings

The one is a Cubism/Picasso-inspired portrait using illustration software or app, such as Procreate.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month Printables for Middle & High School

Hispanic Heritage Month Printables for Middle & High School

Hispanic Heritage Month has rolled around once again and this year I have some new HHM resources for middle and high school students. In the past, I have focused a lot on elementary and lower middle school grades. But I see a lot of teachers purchasing those products and using them with older students. (Here's my list of Printable Lessons and Activities to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month that are for all different ages.) So this year, I sat down to create lesson and activities with those educators in mind.

Here is a list of my HHM downloads, starting with the new ones available for this year, as well as my other established favorites. :)

Hispanic Heritage Month Printables for Middle School & High School

Hispanic Heritage Reading Passage

I am so excited about this one! This new one-page reading passage is dedicated exclusively to Hispanic Heritage Month and talks about how and when it came to be, why it is important to celebrate it, and who are some important figures in U.S. history. It comes with an 8-question comprehension quiz and answer key.

The coolest part is that it includes a digital version if you prefer to assign it for virtual instruction. 

**Note: Those of you who purchase my reading passages regularly will be happy to know that I am working on adding digital versions to all of them. Yay! 

Hispanic Heritage Month Trivia Challenge

This is a Google Sheets™ file designed as a supplemental assessment game! Students test their knowledge of Hispanic Heritage Month by answering up to 12 self-checking trivia questions. They have to choose 8 questions to answer, but may gain bonus points by answering more.

It's a great assessment activity to pair with the following:

Hispanic Heritage Month Escape Room

In this Google Sheets file, students must answer 12 (self-checking) questions about Hispanic Heritage Month to unlock the final word puzzle, then unscramble the letters to escape! Comes with two digital files - one in English, the other in Spanish - plus printable task cards, in case you want to use it as an in-class activity and not as a digital one.

Additional Printables that Highlight Hispanics in History

A More Complete History: Hispanic Activists (Unit 1)

This comprehensive Teach for Justice unit focuses on five important (and often forgotten) historical figures of the 1900s using articles and mini documentaries as our secondary sources. The 150-page unit for high school students includes lesson plans for in-person and virtual learning, as well as essay questions, project based learning options, and research & present topics. Options for worksheets and summative assessments allow for differentiated learning.

The five figures covered in this unit are:
  • Jovita Idár
  • Sylvia Mendez
  • Ralph Lazo
  • Willie Velásquez
  • and Helen Rodríguez Trías

I have also begun breaking up this unit into the individual lessons and making them available, starting with Jovita Idár:

A More Complete History: Hispanic Activist Jovita Idár (Lesson 1)

Jovita Idár is in the news lately because she will be the first Mexican American woman recognized by the U.S. Mint on a coin in 2023 as part of their American Women Quarters Program. 

This 30-page lesson plan closely looks at her life and work. The activities require research and critical thinking. It includes Google Drive options for worksheets and summative assessments allow for differentiated learning and virtual instruction. Answer keys and essay rubric are included.

You can also find this free sample of one of the lessons from the unit, in case you'd like to try before you buy:

A More Complete History: Hispanic Activist Willie Velásquez (Lesson 4)

When and How to Use Them

All of these lessons and activities can be used in either a school or home learning environment. If you are a parent, you may use these to supplement your child's main curriculum. Or use them in your homeschool as an additional class that dives into heritage studies. Or even better, use them in history to study the contributions of Latinos to world and U.S. history - their stories are too often overlooked.

For more excellent resources, be sure to visit the National Museum of the American Latino.

Parent and Teacher Opportunity

Did you know that if you send me a photograph or two of one of my products being used in your home or school classroom (no faces necessary), I will send you any non-bundle item free from my shop? You pick the product!

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Career Courses for High School Homeschoolers

Career Courses for High School Homeschoolers from Edison Learning

The following is a sponsored post with Edison Learning. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

My oldest son is entering his junior year of high school. As such, we're always on the lookout for elective courses that he can add to his schedule and transcript. Edison Learning offers eCourses for middle and high school students. And at the time of my writing this, they have 22 elective courses available.


Quick Overview

Program: Edison Learning
CourseAeronautics and Space Travel
Religious Perspective: Secular
Format: Online
Grades: 9th - 12th
Price: varies; options include subscription (starting at $45/m) to a one time payment (starting at $250 for 1 semester eCourse)

Career eCourses

There are some excellent choices available in the career eCourse section on the Edison Learning site. From AI and dentistry to finance and entrepreneurship, we really like the breadth of careers covered. They even offer six certification courses, three of them for Adobe: InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. From what I've read in the news, pretty much ALL of the courses are for career paths that are in demand.

My son and I looked over the options and we had a hard time choosing a course because so many of them looked really interesting. But we finally narrowed it down to three choices: 

  • Drones: Remote Pilot Certification Course
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality Applications
  • Aeronautics and Space Travel

Civil Air Patrol orientation flight
Taken a couple of years ago during his first flight.

Because my son is in Civil Air Patrol and is working towards becoming a pilot someday, we decided to start with Aeronautics and Space Travel. He loves learning about space, too, so this seemed like it really just fit him best. When he finishes the course, he'll probably follow up with one of the other two.

How it works

Once you register for a class, you'll receive an email with your login instructions. My son's course was self-paced so we simply added it to his schedule and he logs in on the days he takes Aeronatics, and is taken to his dashboard on the platform. From there, he starts his lessons. 

My son likes the presentation. His Aeronautics eCourse isn't a live class; it's all recorded so that he can work at his own pace. There are 11 units in all. My son goes to his dashboard and then clicks on "Learning" in the top nav bar. It takes him to the units and he clicks on the lesson. So far, each lesson begins with a video, followed by a reading assignment, and then a "Concept Check" activity, which may be a short answer or discussion comment. 

He can also pull up the video transcripts if he so chooses. I know some students do better reading the material rather than just watching it on video.

Career Courses for High School Homeschoolers from Edison Learning

That top nav bar also includes eight other clickable options:

  • Report Card
  • Announcements
  • Course usage dashboard (this is great!)
  • Documents
  • Members
  • Goals
  • and, of course, Home
I won't go through all of these, but I will say that that the course usage dashboard lets you see how much time you've spent on the platform doing lessons and such.

What my son likes 

My son likes the topics that are covered. He loves learning about both flying and space. At first, he wasn't sure he'd learn anything he hasn't already learned in Civil Air Patrol. But to his surprise, there has been a lot of new information. So for him, it is engaging and worth his time. 

He also likes the presentation format. A video, followed by reading, followed by some sort of activity (short answer, discussion, etc.). And he says the platform is easy to navigate. 

Career Courses for High School Homeschoolers from Edison Learning

What I love about it

The part I love the best is that this is an actual class that will benefit him in his present career choice. My son's 16. I can't be 100% certain that he'll become a pilot, but I know he's been focused on that for a few years now and we are encouraging it as we know that it pays well, is something he seems to enjoy, and there's a huge demand for pilots. Over the next decade 80,000 pilots are expected to retire. Airlines are recruiting like crazy. 

Up to now, Civil Air Patrol has been the only resource we've found that is nurturing his interest and will actually help him achieve his pilot's license. This eCourse was like a gift to us when we learned about it. Everything he learns about aeronautics is not only increasing his curiosity, but something tangible he can use and apply to his future career in aviation.

I also love that the course is self-paced and so my kid can go as fast or as slow as he needs or wants. If he has extra time on a day that the course isn't assigned, he can hop over there and do a lesson. It's a great fit for our family.


There are two options available to families. You can either sign up for a monthly subscription or just purchase access to one semester eCourse with a one-time payment. 

The pricing plans are as follows:

Monthly Subscriptions

Basic: 49.99 a month for access to one course

Standard: 84.99/mo. for access to two courses

Premium: 124.99/mo. for access to three courses

One-Time Payment

If you would prefer to just pay up front for access to one course for a semester, you can totally do so. Prices start at $250 and depend on the complexity of the eCourse.

But keep an eye out for discount codes. This past summer, Edison Learning offered the first month of lessons free for families that subscribed. That's an awesome deal!

If you are looking for some excellent eCourses that allow your child to explore career paths - maybe they know what they want to do for a living...or maybe they don't! - then go and take a look at Edison Learning's career eCourse section

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Career Courses for High School Homeschoolers from Edison Learning

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Thursday, September 1, 2022

Jovita Idár Lesson Plan

image source: U.S. Mint

After more than three quarters of a century, Jovita Idár is in the news again. Only this time, she is the subject, not the writer. Jovita will be one of five women recognized by the U.S. Mint in the 2023 American Women Quarters Program. (Learn about the other four women.) Her image will be found on a U.S. quarter. Maybe you've never heard of Jovita Idár. If not, continue reading to learn about this fierce, intelligent, and compassionate role model we have in our history. Scroll down to find my printable lesson plan. To learn about other remarkable figures, check out my post on Latinos in History Your Children Should Know.

This post contains affiliate links.

Who was Jovita Idár?

Jovita Idár was born in the border town of Laredo, Texas, in 1885. Jovita’s family was one of the few middle class Mexican families. Passionate about education and civil rights, Jovita’s father, Nicasio Idár raised his kids to be highly educated and with a strong sense of social justice. 

The second of eight children, Jovita excelled academically. It’s no surprise that she started off as a teacher. But she became frustrated with the lack of resources available to Mexican students and the one-sided curriculum that omitted or demonized Mexican figures and culture. She understood the lasting damage this did to Mexican children who learned that being white was good and being brown was bad. Before long, she decided that she would be more effective at creating social change as a journalist fighting for equal education and the civil rights of Mexican families. She began working for La Crónica, her family’s newspaper. Nicasio was proud of his daughter’s outspoken character and encouraged her interest and involvement in politics.

In her weekly articles, Jovita protested the racist, anti-Mexican culture that permeated not just her border town, but also throughout Texas and the Southwest. Signs refusing service to “Mexicans and dogs” were often hung in storefronts. Segregation was strong. And voter intimidation - frequently through violent killing and mutilations - was common. 

It’s important to note that Jovita did not restrict her articles to her father’s paper. She frequently wrote for other Spanish-language newspapers throughout her life, oftentimes under pseudonyms, such as “Ave Negra” (Black Bird) and “Astrea” (the Greek goddess of justice).

Jovita Idár and members of Union of Stone Mason and Bricklayers, Laredo, Texas, ca. 1915,
General Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections.

The First Mexican Congress

In 1911, Jovita and her family organized the First Mexican Congress - El Primer Congreso Mexicanista - in response to the lynching of a 14-year-old boy. The goal was to find solutions to the inequalities and racism that existed for Mexicans and Mexican Americans. It also strove to unite Mexicans on the issues they faced and create a unified front to fight for their rights and better living conditions. 

The event had a huge turnout with officials and citizens from both Mexico and Texas attending. It is regarded as one of the largest Mexican-American civil rights gatherings of the time.

Unsurprisingly, Jovita ensured that women were central to the event and not only helped to organize it, but were speakers, too.

The League of Mexican Women & the White Cross

Shortly afterward, Jovita also founded La Liga Femenil Mexicanista (the League of Mexican Women), which she modeled after the Mexican Congress. It’s goals were to engage and empower Mexican women, support women’s suffrage, teach adult literacy classes, and champion quality education for Mexican children. She served as its first president and their first project was providing free bilingual education to Mexican children from poor families. Its members were highly educated women and mostly working class who learned about politics so they could improve conditions in their communities.

Jovita saw the fluidity of living in a border town and sought to rally families on both sides of the border. Fully bilingual, she understood that the success of Mexican families required change in both countries. She left her journalism behind and served in the White Cross (founded by her best friend Leonor Villegas de Magnon) when the Mexican Revolution made its way across the Texas border in 1914. 

A couple of years later, Jovita was able to hang up her nurses’ uniform and return to her love of journalism when she began writing for El Progreso newspaper. After the paper ran an editorial criticizing President Woodrow Wilson's order to dispatch U.S military troops to the Mexico–United States border, Texas Rangers showed up at the newspaper, armed and ready to close it down. But Jovita herself barred entry and refused to let them enter while boldly quoting their First Amendment rights to freedom of the press. (They returned the next day when she was gone and smashed the printing press to bits.)

The First Latina Newspaper Owner

Two years later, in 1916, Jovita purchased her own printing press and started her own Spanish-language newspaper called La Evolución in which she continued to expose the discrimination Mexicans experienced. It was probably the first Latina-owned newspaper in the United States.

Wedding portrait of Bartolo Juarez and Jovita Idar, 
General Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections.

Five years later, Jovita’s brother, Eduardo, took over the running of the paper when Jovita moved to San Antonio with her husband, Bartolo Juárez. But Jovita didn’t stop her crusade for social justice. Together, they founded the Democrat club. And they quickly became leaders in the community. As such, Jovita embraced civic engagement and gave back to her community by founding a free kindergarten, volunteering as an interpreter at the local hospital, and assisting undocumented workers in getting their naturalization papers.

Jovita Idár Juárez died in San Antonio from tuberculosis on June 3, 1946.

She was fierce and intelligent and compassionate. What a wonderful role model we have in our history. 

Get the Lesson Plan

If you're looking for a lesson plan to share Jovita Idár's story with your older children, consider Lesson 1: Hispanic Activist Jovita Idár from Unit 1 of my curriculum, A More Complete History. 

This 30-page lesson plan is part of my comprehensive Teach for Justice unit that focuses on five important (and often forgotten) historical figures of the 1900s using articles and mini documentaries as our secondary sources. In this packet for high school students, you'll find lesson plans for in-person and virtual learning, as well as:
  • essay questions,
  • project based learning options,
  • and research & present topics.

It includes Google Drive options for worksheets and summative assessments allow for differentiated learning and virtual instruction. Answer keys and essay rubric are included.

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