I remember when I submitted a letter of intent to homeschool my son. It was a decision that was informed by many factors, including the transition to remote learning and the connection between COVID-19 related precautions and the safety of black and brown students.
To be clear, homeschooling was always in the back of our minds. There had been a number of subtle yet alarming occurrences in my child’s school experiences that raised red flags for my husband and me. However, these red flags were addressed by ramping up what we did at home. We’re of the mind that learning begins at home and unlearning what is taught in school must be intentional and frequent to ensure our child is in the world, but not of it. Even when one is satisfied with what the school offers, it does not compare to what is learned at home. What is learned at home sticks — for better or for worse — because it is embedded in an environment of culture, care and continuity.
Though we considered homeschooling, we didn’t act upon it. As an educator, I negotiated my feelings and instead leaned in heavily to working with our son’s teachers to support (or counteract) what was taught in class. That model worked for a while. And by “worked” I’m referring to the type of tension that’s often felt by parents in Black and Brown communities — one of frustration in knowing your child may not be receiving the type of education you would ideally like, but have settled for, because hey, it could be worse. And you do what you can at home and stay involved with the school, but wonder how different it would be if your child received the type of education that you dreamed of.
It’s the type of education that centers the BIPOC experience in curriculum. The type of education that values hiring excellent BIPOC and white teachers committed to dismantling systemic oppression in schools, the type of education that deemphasizes standardized testing, and the type of education that is consistent with the values you have at home. If this seems like a lot to ask of a school, then maybe it isn’t the right school.
When COVID-19 hit we were thrusted into distance learning. Err’body had to homeschool. Some students were learning remotely. While some students were remotely…