Black parents who see success in homeschooling are speaking out as more black families embrace the homeschool alternative

“I was homeschooling before I knew I was homeschooling,” said Mallory Tay of Washington, DC, who homeschools her young children.

Tay is one of a growing number of black parents who are taking their children’s education into their own hands.

“I have never put her academic future in anyone else’s hands. These are my kids,” said Elijah Muhammad of Oklahoma City, who also homeschooled his kids. They have broken academic records, including Shania Muhammad, who previously held the title of the youngest person to enroll at Oklahoma City Community College at age 13, until her younger brother Elijah Muhammad broke her record when he was accepted at age last summer accepted into the OCCC at the age of 12.

Since 2020, census data confirms that black families using homeschooling methods have increased from 3 percent to 16 percent, higher than any other racial or ethnic group.

Tay is a mother of two, and she says she pulled her daughter out of public school after just one semester because she felt the students surrounding her daughter weren’t a good fit for the education she was giving her daughter, an education full of self-affirmation and lessons around her interests.

“It took her three years to heal from some of the trauma that happened in that one semester as a 4-year-old,” Tay said.

Tay is one of the many Black parents who participate in the Deliberated Minds Black Homeschool Education Institute, which provides an African-centric curriculum, training, support and resources to Black families who homeschool their children. The program is led by Queen Taese, who says that unlike traditional public school curriculums, she listens to children’s interests and bases learning on their interests.

“I would look for internships because these are practical ways for them to apply what they’re learning, because we need to bring education to life, because education needs to be a living and breathing curriculum,” said Queen Taese, founder of Deliberated Minds, Black Homeschool- educational institute.

Homeschool doesn’t exist in one form, while some parents prefer to manage their child’s entire education from home, others use homeschool as an adjunct to complement traditional public education, this was Elijah Muhammad’s way of homeschooling his children .

“I just made it extra, sort of like an after-school program, we always worked after school, worked summers, worked vacations, worked weekends, I just added it to what was already there, ‘ said Mohammed.

Like Taese’s program, Muhammad’s homeschool program, Prep One Collegiate Academy, tailors curriculum to a child’s interests to keep them engaged in learning.

“Once I figure out what you’re good at, we do a lot of exploration, skill exploration, career exploration to see what clicks, and once we figure out what clicks, we focus on that and develop it further,” said Muhammad.

Over the past year, Atlanta Black Star has highlighted several exceptional black students, many of whom were admitted to college at a young age. They include Caleb Anderson, 13, who attends Georgia Tech, Elijah Preiccely, 15, accepted at Southern University, Hayley Taylor Schlitz, 19, the youngest African American woman to graduate from her law school, and Alena Analeigh, the youngest African American woman that ever existed were admitted to medical school. The common thread shared by all of the young people featured is that they were all homeschooled at some point during their academic careers.

“They heard about these prodigies and these kids who got into college at 12 and I was thinking, like, how do they have time to do anything else, and I’m a student and I’m getting straight A’s. They’ve been homeschooled, they’re being taught the way they learn, they’re being taught things that are necessary for their growth,” Tay said.

Joyce Burgess, program director for the National Black Home School Association, says the growth in homeschooling among black families can be attributed to several reasons. “They make these conclusions that peer pressure doesn’t have to bother them with unnecessary racism, they don’t have to bother themselves with bullying, they don’t have to bother themselves with negative peer pressure,” Burgess explained.

Despite the benefits of homeschooling for Black families, money and time prevent some parents from considering homeschooling as a viable option. Tay says her advice to Black parents who are considering a homeschool journey for their children is that they must take advantage of the resources that are available online and in their communities at little or no cost.

“For the parents who are overwhelmed or insecure, I would say find a community, join a community, whatever it is,” Tay said.

“Often times I talk to different families and they try to homeschool on their own and it’s not meant to be done on their own,” Taese said. “Sometimes it’s cooperatives, sometimes it could be different collectives, sometimes it could be your neighbor or someone you meet at the library and you go on trips together and create curriculums together. There are so many ways and many ways to do this. What needs to happen is we need to detox from our own curriculum trauma, so it’s a journey we need to take together,” Taese continued.

While no federal laws regulate homeschooling children, students must meet state regulations that include subject-related testing. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, 3.1 million students in grades K-12 were homeschooled in the United States in 2021, and a 2015 study found that black students who were homeschooled scored 23rd on standardized tests to 42 percent better than black public school students.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/09/27/its-not-meant-to-be-done-alone-growing-numbers-of-black-families-are-homeschooling-their-children/ Black parents who see success in homeschooling are speaking out as more black families embrace the homeschool alternative

James Brien

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