12 NOTEWORTHY TAKEAWAYS FROM SESSION ONE:
- Your morning needs, mood, and rituals might be different than your child's. Consider that an opportunity to develop agreements instead of defaulting to (your) dominance.
- Communicate to have a conversation, not to prove your point.
- Resistance is the roadmap. Use your child's pushback to question your stance. What are the unmet needs, and how can you learn more about those?
- Parents don't need to solve all their children's issues. Give them space for their own ideas to develop.
- There is no equality in adult-child relationships, but there can be equity and friendship.
- Remove any assumptions that your child or your parent should know how you feel; express yourself.
- A parent's "why" doesn't mean a child should comply.
- Parents aren't always wrong. Neither are children. Try to approach conflict with curiosity, instead of certainty that there's a right/wrong way to approach the solution.
- Hierarchy exists in parent/child dynamics. Don't try to erase that. Instead, prioritize agency, which does not always dismiss or disregard hierarchy.
- Children can and do develop trust and understanding in their parents' experience and responsibility.
- Determine what respect means to each individual, and work on communicating from that understanding.
- Figuring shit out together is a perfectly valid structure.
12 NOTEWORTHY TAKEAWAYS FROM SESSION TWO:
- When a child trusts themselves, it allows them to constantly develop their discernment skills. Try not to get in the way of self-trust development with well-meaning control tactics.
- Work toward developing a shared understanding of how each member of your household defines trust, equity, and boundaries.
- Boundaries may feel uncomfortable when set by a child for a parent, but they still need to be respected. Communicate your concerns about the boundaries, but honor them anyway.
- There will always be exceptions; don't let those exceptions give you permission to disrespect, encroach on boundaries, or employ other tools of oppression.
- Answering questions doesn't define intelligence or competence; let your children know when you don't know something. Say "I don't know."
- Become a better observer. Make less assumptions. Ponder your way toward partnership.
- Pivot instead of reacting without thinking. Respond with questions to learn more, rather than reinforcing your point of view.
- Remember that a child is a complete being. Still developing cognitively (like adults), and should be regarded as a thinking, feeling human being.
- Partnership can start as early as infancy and toddlerhood. Phrases like "that's nothing to cry over," for example, are early ways of undermining children's needs and feelings.
- Just listen. Don't try to fix things so often. Let children be heard without having to defend or perfect their point of view.
- Pay attention to the lens of Right Now, instead of trying to parent past who your child is now, in favor of how you hope they turn out.
- Rigidity of rules is the opposite of helping children cultivate confident autonomy.
""I feel like I've found my PEOPLE!!!! I wasn't able to attend the previous live, but it was SO good! Thank you to Akilah and Marley for that good fresh language to illuminate what the hell we're experiencing at our varying degrees of our deschooling and unschooling. I am so very very grateful for everyone here."
The process of unraveling our own privilege and presuppositions around caring for children is ongoing. It is okay to recognize we have more work to do –and to feel conflicted and unsure about how it will all work out. We are challenging the things we held in our minds as true, getting to know the world without the confines of our unexamined beliefs.
Raising Free People workshop is the space for us to apply decolonization and deschooling to the way we raise and relate to children. And into the way we support children in owning themselves.
This workshop, and this practice, helps adults focus on transitioning from master to partner; embracing collaboration instead of coercion; being willing to listen; embodying compassion as we raise and support confident, happy, community-minded, fully-equipped, liberated people.
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What You Get In This 2019 Version
PURCHASING THIS COURSE GIVES YOU ACCESS TO THE AUDIO-ONLY REPLAYS FROM THE OCT 8TH AND OCT 15TH SESSIONS.
• Two Facilitators
Marley Richards, a brilliant and confident teen unschooler (who also happens to be my daughter :) is collaborating with me this year. If you attended the 2017 workshop, you may remember Marley; click “watch promo” on the 2017 workshop’s page to see Marley explain that version of the workshop.
• Mother-Daughter Dialogue on Healthy, Liberatory Relationship-building
Here’s what we’ll cover. The ones in italics are the ones Marley says she especially wants to discuss:
- Working together (trainings and keynote)
- Choosing battles
- Mutual respect (things I see as disrespectful that you don't & vice versa)
- Calling in Sage & Kris as support
- Being ourselves together
- Feeling safe expressing feelings
- Managing moods/attitudes (both of us)
- Agile Learning Center (ALC) tools we use
"Akilah talks a lot about unschooling as a way of raising children, but also what it means for questions of race, gender, colonization, and how to un-learn a lot of the ways in which hierarchy and power tend to frame how we interact with children. I enjoy it because it’s a way to not stress out about the world and deprogram a little bit, but also a way to ground myself in hopefulness, because it’s not just about my generation and the generations before me surviving; it allows me to think about what decolonization can mean for the future. Also, sometimes as a mom, I have no idea how to unlearn power while raising kids, because a lot of us have no framework for that, having grown up with similar, authoritarian parenting styles."
- Hadiya Sewer, Ph.D.
This workshop is NOT exclusively for unschoolers
or people already embracing Self-Directed Education (SDE). It will most definitely draw on SDE principles because they are liberatory and so very much part of my own awakening, however, this work is far more than an approach to learning!
It's a mindset that takes away the one leader/savior/knowledge-keeper and replaces that with confident autonomy and a community/world approach to living, learning, producing, and nurturing relationships.
Through Raising Free People work, you will:
- get more mindful of your own practices,
- start getting rid of reactive habits that have hindered you from being more trusting of yourself,
- become more practiced at pivoting away from cultural indoctrination and fear-based caregiving over to partner-centered actions.
THESE ARE THE AUDIO-ONLY REPLAYS FROM BOTH LIVE SESSIONS
"Great stuff Akilah!!! We have just begun our deschooling process, traditional school ended for them a little over a week ago. I'm learning to be patient with myself as a we figure out what raising free people looks like for us. Its a grueling process with lots of layers. I'm appreciative to be in this workshop and be able to dialogue about it all."
- Katrina Morrison
Frequently Asked Questions
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Akilah S. Richards is a writer, mama, partner, digital nomad, and unschooling activist. She produces podcasts, books, classes, and articles on radical self-expression in practice and in study. Find her conversations and commentary on Fare of the Free Child Podcast where she supports, connects, and highlights BIPOC families designing their own liberation through Self-Directed Education and love-centered community building.
Marley Richards is a 15-year old dancer and writer. She is part of an unschooling nomadic family that lives in various cities, organizing around liberation-centered living and learning in community.
"This was very moving, I wanted to run out into the street with you Akilah! And reading the comments also sparked soooo many insights. Sage’s words help me navigate my own relationships, especially with my husband, and are a tool to help our children navigate their relationship with one another. It reminds me how much good work can be done in our relationship (my husband and I) as a mirror or example to our children. I see too that I often (mostly always I’m sure!) personalise what is happening. If I’m not jumping to defend or responding with emotions of my own, I’m making it about me by internalising the others’ experience. I identify with the empath, feeling what others are feeling, but being too empathetic can make it all about you again and your experience and emotions. So for me, this needs disruption too. Choosing compassion over empathy. Choosing to be the witness. (As empathy is not always what’s required.) When we see our children’s emotions spilling out (and anyone we’re close to), we want to rush to “do something”. In your response Akilah, you said choosing ‘not just observation but silence’ and this is very powerful. I really like what you said too about coming back to it later. By then I’ve had time for my own emotions to subside and allow a more intuitive, compassionate response that’s in line with my beliefs and the part I’m playing in raising free people. Well, that’s the ideal I’m going for!"
- Nicky Grandin