Read the entire “Why We Homeschool” series by scrolling to the bottom of this post.
The third series installment includes two families who assumed that their children would attend compulsory school like most children do. However, once they began homeschooling, they knew there was no turning back and that they could provide the education and environment their children needed most.
KayCee from Hip Hop Homeschoolers
Full-time, Work-from-Home Mom | Mom of 3 | Homeschooling for 6 years
“It’s funny how your reasons for homeschooling can change over the years. When my oldest started to approach school age, I wanted to homeschool as it just seemed like the “natural” thing to do. But I didn’t know how, so kindergarten registration rolled around and I signed him up. On the first day of school he was still 6 wks away from being 5yo.
It was a mistake. Maybe if I had waited another year I wouldn’t feel that way and he’d still be in school. Who knows. What I do know is that halfway through 1st grade, I was OVER the teachers complaining about my child (the only black kid, who, it turns out, was acting no different than any of the other kids in class), while also telling me what I could and could not do with him (you can’t pull him from school for a vacation, wait until break).
So I started out homeschooling for the sheer freedom of it all. And then I got him home and realized that outside of being able to read, he couldn’t do much else. He could barely add and subtract and couldn’t think creatively at all. My reasons for homeschooling shifted to allowing him to learn in the best possible way for him, and at his own pace. And for years that was it.
And then the beauty of Obama’s election wore off. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. They were my son. The country’s reaction became my new reason for continuing to homeschool. I read everything, watched every available news outlet. Saw the Facebook posts. It was clear. If this was the nation’s outlook on Black boys, then there was no way I could ever send him out into schools where this was the general mindset. He wouldn’t be safe, not physically or mentally. And, as of today, that hasn’t changed. In fact, schools have gotten seemingly less safe in every way possible.
So we homeschool on. For the freedom to work at our own pace, on things that interest us, in the ways that we learn best. We get to have conversations about social justice, tolerance, politics, and the gross inaccuracies of “mainstream” history. We get to abandon curriculum that doesn’t work for us without guilt, and ignore stuff completely for weeks on end to take a trip that allowed us to learn so much more.
Why do we homeschool? In short, because LIFE happens outside the classroom.”
Alicia Lucas from Brick City Homeschool
Unschooler | Afro-Latinx | Mom of 5 | Homeschooling for 6 years
“Our family has been in the homeschooling game for six years. We started our homeschooling journey when we moved to Florida in September, and purely for logistical reasons. We wouldn’t be settled into a permanent address for a month and the school year had started. So we put together a makeshift curriculum and began homeschooling from our little executive apartment that my husband’s employers provided us for the month. That was the what put us on the path to homeschooling. It was supposed to be temporary, and the plan was to have our kids in a “proper” school by the new semester after Christmas break.
We decided not to go back to the traditional path of education for our children. What became abundantly clear to us was during those first few months of homeschooling was that we had A LOT of freedom. The freedom to teach our children in a manner that best suited them, the freedom to take days to enjoy a field trip on a whim, the freedom to explore different ways of learning not confined to arbitrary standards, and most importantly, for us, the freedom to travel when and where we like.
Now to say that the racial dynamics don’t factor into why we homeschool in any way would be a lie. While the school to prison pipeline is something that did factor into our choice to continue with homeschooling and while it is an essential factor, it isn’t the only nor most important factor.
All of these reasons in addition to my children becoming older and coming to terms with how they identify, regarding their sexuality and gender, is equally a factor. The way this nation is erasing LGBTQ people is something that directly affects my children informs how we educate our children.
Let’s be real, most of our schools across the country are not equipped to teach children the basics, not because of the teachers, but because of the constraints, put upon our educators, coupled with the woefully inadequate funding, make for an environment that in my opinion is not equipped to educate the whole child.
As an AfroLatinx family, our reasons for homeschooling are as layered, nuanced and complicated as any other homeschooling family. And it is important to tell our stories honestly, often and loudly.”