Homeschooling; Unschooling

If I had kids, I would almost certainly choose to unschool them. (I used to think I’d homeschool them, but that was before I heard about the concept of unschooling and realized it’s the approach that best fits my philosophy of learning and life.) Not that school can’t be wonderful; it often was for me since I had a natural tendency to be bookish and relatively compliant. But school can also be very limiting and constricting. And, over the years, it seems like the school systems have gotten more and more rigid and bureaucratic, as well as energy-consuming (both fossil and human).

I’ve written quite a bit about schooling alternatives over the past year. And this past week I ran across a couple of really good articles. Both articles pertain to Black families, but I suspect that they’ll strike a note among other people as well.

• “Why More and More Black Families Are Homeschooling Their Children” (Jessica Huseman,; February 17, 2015). “African American parents are increasingly taking their kids’ education into their own hands—and in many cases, it’s to protect them from institutional racism and stereotyping. … Black families have become one of the fastest-growing demographics in homeschooling … And while white homeschooling families traditionally cite religious or moral disagreements with public schools in their decision to pull them out of traditional classroom settings, studies indicate black families are more likely to cite the culture of low expectations for African American students or dissatisfaction with how their children—especially boys—are treated in schools.”

• “Unschooling: The Educational Movement More Black Parents Are Joining” (Tomi Akitunde, “There’s another movement happening, often considered as being under the umbrella of homeschooling, that’s caught Black parents’ attention: unschooling. While homeschooling is defined as parent-led home-based education, unschooling (also known as self-directed learning) lets children direct their learning. Rather than following a set curriculum, unschoolers are led by their interests, and those interests inform how and what they learn—with parents and surrounding community members there to provide kids with the resources they need. One of the most visible Black unschoolers is Akilah S. Richards. Along with her husband Kris, the author, entrepreneur, and mother of two daughters—Marley (13) and Sage (11)—has been unschooling for six years, and are currently living in Atlanta. She shares her and other people of color’s experiences with Self-Directed Education on her podcast Fare of the Free Child, and runs a workshop called Raising Free People.”

• My earlier posts on homeschooling: Considering Homeschooling? Go For It! ; More Homeschool/Alt-School Inspiration ; A Year of Shutdown, and Homeschooling (guest post from Dr. Jenny Lloyd Strovas of Nature Matters Academy).