Why more Black families are homeschooling their children
Speaker 1: (00:00)
A recent us census survey shows that during the last pandemic year, black parents moved their children to homeschooling at a rate of five times higher than previous years. And it's not all due to the pandemic, joining me to explore why black parents are opting to homeschool. Their children is Kadeja Ali Coleman, director of black family school, educators and scholars, and also co-author of the recently released book, homeschooling black children in the us theory, practice and popular culture. Kadeja welcome.
Speaker 2: (00:31)
Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: (00:33)
Your book outlines, how systemic racism and other factors influenced the decision of black families to homeschool. Talk a bit about that. I mean, why are so many black parents looking to homeschool their children,
Speaker 2: (00:46)
Black families who homeschool are not a monolith, but although we are not a monolith, there are some, um, similarities in some of the stories that we share in terms of why homeschooling was a choice. Um, the reality is that for the most part, many people who are choosing homeschooling as a practice, many black families, um, believe that the current, um, schooling system and I'll refer to traditional school spaces, um, such as public private and charter schools as traditional, um, school spaces tend to have increasingly become racialized, meaning everything from consequences, being more punitive when looking at black children, compared to the consequences for white children, suspensions, expulsions to even the curriculum, normalizing and centering experiences that are aren't necessarily relevant to the historical experiences of black people in this country. For instance, parents remarked in a group that we have on Facebook, that one parent in particular, their breaking point was during an assignment that they, that their child had noticing that the history like people in this country started with enslavement. So homeschooling really allows for the parent to curate the learning experience, where is more inclusive of history that extends outside of our history. Beginning with slavery. In addition, many parents also found that COVID 19 provided the space to begin homeschool schooling. As schools went virtual, as many parents, um, started to work remotely from home and provided an opportunity that didn't exist before COVID 19.
Speaker 1: (02:34)
In what ways do you see homeschooling providing a safer social environment for black students?
Speaker 2: (02:40)
It's not only a practice of education, but it's a practice of discovery. And so the safety that's involved in having space to explore who you are, um, and to give space for someone else to have self-discovery without shaming, without punitive consequence is enriching in ways that are, are often overlooked. When we think of education as a practice,
Speaker 1: (03:06)
You know, we often hear about learning loss and the social issues that stem from virtual learning. Are you seeing any of those same challenges in homeschooling?
Speaker 2: (03:16)
One of the, the things that, um, many of the new homeschoolers and I look at, I call look at those who are homeschooling since COVID or because of COVID 19. Um, many of them new to the practice. They're realizing that a lot of the, the learning that their children are engaging in does not take place behind a computer screen, or while they're sitting at a computer screen, or while they're in the house that they're learning that anything from outdoor play, um, traveling to museums, or just engaging and exponential learning activities that don't necessarily require a lot of the tech that we're used to. And that's so integral to our day to day, once children, um, have the, the ability to really have a, a diverse range of experiences and activity that, um, this idea of learning loss, um, is replaced with understanding that learning is ongoing youth development is ongoing.
Speaker 1: (04:17)
And what kind of academic success, black students finding while being homeschooled,
Speaker 2: (04:22)
What the research shows is that proportionate to their population homeschool students are actually more apt to graduate, to persist, which means to continue through college without stopping and, and, and getting again, as well as graduating at higher levels than students who were not homeschool, but portion to their population. And not only do they, um, complete college, they're more likely to complete college and graduate, but graduate with higher GPAs and but many parents and many homeschooling students do not look at success as necessarily comp um, aspiring to college or completing college. Many homeschooling students are engaged activities to build entrepreneurial acumen or, um, to really be of service to their community. So en engaging in preparation, um, for different types of work, whether it's, um, community service, um, or just continuing along the lines of building their skillset, um, as apprentice or, um, through trade. And so homeschooling students, homeschooling families have the same, wants the needs of, of those families who have children in traditional school spaces in terms of wanting their children to be successful. But what success looks like is very dependent on who the family is.
Speaker 1: (05:43)
Kadeja Ali Coleman is the director of black family homeschool educators and scholars also co-author of homeschooling black children in the us theory, practice and popular culture. Kadeja, thank you so much for joining us. Thank
Speaker 2: (05:57)
You for having me.
During the pandemic more parents in the U.S. began homeschooling their children, Census data show. While the numbers increased in all groups, Black parents began homeschooling their children at a rate of five times higher than in previous years. And it’s not all because of the pandemic.
Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman, director of Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars and co-author of the recently released book "Homeschooling Black Children in the U.S.: Theory, Practice, and Popular Culture," said many Black families she has spoken with believe that the current schooling system has increasingly become racialized.
"Everything from consequences being more punitive when looking at Black children compared to the consequences for white children with suspensions and expulsions, to the curriculum normalizing and centering experiences that aren't necessarily relevant to the historical experiences of Black people in this country," she said.
The 2022 report card from the nonprofit Children Now, which grades California on outcomes for children, found that overt and systemic racism is putting additional pressures on Black youth.
Ali-Coleman joined Midday Edition to talk about her book and the success some Black families are finding with homeschooling.