A Brave New World: The Black Parent Resistance

A Brave New World: The Black Parent Resistance
PHOTO BY SAGE OAK CHARTER SCHOOLS
Homeschooling is an act of resistance, and Black parents have found themselves at the forefront of this educational exodus. They are shirking the status quo and re-positioning themselves as the main facilitators of their children’s education, future, and dreams. Black parents and students are unapologetically creating a new narrative increasingly forging new paths for success in this brave new world. “Census data shows that home-schooling rates doubled between the start of the pandemic1 in March 2020 and the fall of that year. This time, the largest growth in homeschooling was among Black families, with a fivefold increase…By October 2020, nearly 20% of adults who reported homeschooling their children were Black, 24% were Hispanic or Latino, and 48% were White, according to data from the Household Pulse Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.”2

While there is not one main driver as to why the tides have shifted, Black parents have been forthcoming with why they’ve sought out this specific route of instruction: 

  • over policing and bullying of Black children in schools
  • systemic racism and the lack of representation in literature and history books
  • resegregation and standardized testing
  • prevalence of school/mass shootings

While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives some context for the reasons and challenges behind why Black parents are making the switch.

 “What made me pull the plug and make the final decision to homeschool was when our eldest son was transitioning from middle to high school. It did not feel balanced. The workload, extracurricular activities, exclusion of the arts and extra-long school days - it was not healthy or sustainable,” maintains Lori-Ann Scott Harper, a Los Angeles transplant whose homeschooling journey began in 2016. Harper says she has seen a significant increase in her children’s confidence, ownership of their uniqueness, problem-solving skills, and ability to tap into their passions. “This year, my daughter learned Japanese, Spanish, and sign language. Where would she get opportunities to learn all of this in one year? It is a freedom that we would not have in a traditional school.”

Harper’s biggest challenge has been connecting locally with other Black homeschooling families. While she sees this changing, she is proactively bridging the gap by seeking out groups like Liberated Minds Black Homeschool & Education Institute and Melanin Village, which provide support, resources, online events, and meet-ups. She asserts that beyond that, “Homeschooling has been the best decision I could have ever made for my family.”

In Mario Koran’s 2023 article, ‘No More Skewed History’: Why Black Families Homeschooling Grew Fivefold, he ascertains that as “The number of Black families turning to homeschooling grows, they are simultaneously creating communities that allow Black children to learn in culturally affirming environment, free from the punitive approach of traditional schools.”  

Ultimately, the goal is that education will be more inclusive and attuned to the needs of Black children. That is a future we can now all hope for.

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