Our Own Stories

Fare of the Free Child

I asked Akilah S. Richards if she had any thoughts on my post Fragility and Freedom in Self-Directed Education.

An unschooling activist, Akilah Richard’s smart, wide-ranging podcast, Fare of the Free Child, pushed me to finally try homeschooling. It continues to guide my husband and me. As she describes it, “Fare of the Free Child is a weekly-published podcast community centering People of Color in liberatory living and learning practices.” I highly recommend it to anyone interested in alternative education and intentional living. Like Peter Gray, Akilah is a co-founder of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Read more

I wrote my post out of frustration, but Akilah’s response is empowering. I want to refer back to it, so I’m sharing it here. She responded to me in video form, which I’ve transcribed below.

Hey Phoebe, I wanted to thank you sort of face-to-face for taking the time to share with me what came up for you as you read that piece and saw what Peter [Gray] is involved in, and his perspective. I hear you. I hear you on the frustration, to say the least, with the difference in perspective about history and time and people. I also, though, don’t see it as Peter Gray’s or anybody’s responsibility to tell our stories. That’s why we need to be sharing; that’s why we need to be writing and talking and podcasting. We own our stories. That omission of that other perspective of history is for us to tell, and for us to remember and to make sure that our children know. And everyone else does the same: they share what they know. So, yeah, Phoebe, we’ve just got to keep on sharing our stories, too, and find the spaces to make sure that people know this perspective. And that’s what I think both of what we’re doing is all about. I do need to say, though, that I’m with you on this idea of who needs to be resilient. And we hear those messages a lot about needing to be more compassionate or more patient, and [we] say: “Really.” But it still brings me right back to what I feel is so important, which is the value of our own stories in our voices, with our own insistence on being heard and valued and recognized, among ourselves first.

I’m grateful for these wise words, as well as the thoughtful responses of friends and family to my post on Facebook.

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