3 Reasons why black people don’t homeschool

This is a guest post from Judy Sarden, a homeschooling mother of two, business advisor, writer and attorney. This is a photo of her son.

After leaving my job to homeschool my children, I hit a paradox in black middle-class culture. No one is questioning my decision to homeschool. Rather, almost everyone has acknowledged the horrible state of public education and how it is failing black kids. Many people have even applauded my decision to take my kids’ education into my own hands. But then everyone questions my decision to leave my corporate law job, leaving “all that money on the table,” selling the big house and moving into a much smaller house.  The final blow is when I’m asked when I intend to return to work and how long we plan to live only on my husband’s salary.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that many black middle class kids are falling behind in school, few black families have made the leap to homeschooling their kids.  There are several cultural reasons why black people continue to avoid homeschooling despite it being the best choice for their kids.

1. Blacks have a duty to honor achievements of the Civil Rights Movement.
Black parents today were raised by the generation who lived through the civil rights era. My own mother participated in the marches on Birmingham. The Movement sought opportunities that were previously unavailable to blacks: open access to the voting booth, a quality education for children at an institution of their choice, and the ability to pursue a profession of their choice with advancement based on merits.

The price of progress was extremely high, so it is extremely difficult to consider giving up those hard-won gains. The pressure and expectations from family and friends is immense. After all, we are the first generation of blacks who have had the ability to achieve everything that whites have achieved. We can become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, live in large houses in any community that we chose, drive luxury cars and go on annual family vacations to exotic places. The lifestyle that the black middle class has achieved was only a dream for our parents and grandparents.  So quitting a job to stay at home with kids and taking those kids out of public school is generally not part of the black middle class mindset.

2. Black girls are raised to be self-sufficient.
I grew up with involved parents. My dad, a former Marine, always provided for us. When my parents divorced, Daddy remained my best friend and closest confidant.  My mother remarried and my stepfather treated me like the daughter he always wanted. Yet, despite the constant presence of two loving and supportive dads, I was raised to believe that you can’t depend on a man. It was understood that I would always need to work and support myself. And even if I did have a husband with a good job, I needed to be ready to help my husband support any kids we had. I was taught that while white mothers may stay at home with their kids, I should never think that my life would allow such an extravagance.

So, despite the black middle class mirroring what you may find among white middle class families—two parents at home, a nice home in a safe community, a dog and a minivan—you won’t find many stay at home moms among black families.  Except for my aunt, who made great sacrifices to stay home when her kids were young, I didn’t know any black stay-at-home moms when I was growing up. Even today, it just isn’t done. Even when the dad works. Even when the dad has a good job. 

3. Blacks think private school is a good alternative.
When middle class blacks can’t abide the local public school, they seek out private schools. In some communities, the more prestigious, the better. A prestigious private school is not only supposed to offer black kids more opportunities than the local public school, but also indicates a family’s social status. But evidence is surfacing that black kids are suffering from the same issues in private school that are plaguing their public school peers.  Indeed, some of my own acquaintances will admit that private school just isn’t working. But when paying in excess of $20K per year per child, most people typically don’t let others in on that dirty little secret.

I never thought I would become a stay at home mom who homeschools her children, but as I watched my son endure a terrible pre-K year at a private Montessori school, I knew that I had no other choice. By the end of his pre-kindergarten year I watched the light go out of my son’s eyes. An eager and advanced learner had become a child who hated school and resisted anything that looked like “learning.”

After pulling my son from school, it took over 6 months to deprogram him from his annus horribilis, and another 4 or 5 months to get him on track to actually want to learn again. A full 12 months after leaving school, my now six year old has returned. He is happy. He loves learning. He understands that learning doesn’t only take place in a classroom. He seeks out learning in our everyday experiences.  He finds pleasure in his achievements both academic and extracurricular. It’s beautiful to see my boy happy and inquisitive again, and worth every penny that I left on the table when I quit my job.

61 replies
  1. Monica Leonelle
    Monica Leonelle says:

    Wonderful post. I’m not always as excited about guest posts on P’s site, but this one has great perspective that P could not share herself, making it an important addition to the blog.

  2. Gretchen S. Winfield
    Gretchen S. Winfield says:

    Thank you for a wonderful article. We’re homeschooling our 6 ( adoptive) children ages 14..14..13..11..11..8. This has been the best time of our lives. Our children are special needs according to Georgia’s guideline for Africian American ( hard to adopt status). We’re homeschooling them through Georgia Cyber Academy. There learning everywhere and loving it. Thank you! Gretchen.

  3. Sheela
    Sheela says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and for having the courage to go against the tide….I had a similar experience in private schools with my oldest daughter…we tried 3 years of both Waldorf and Montessori and I was sure one of those would be different enough to be worth the cost long term. They were not.

  4. sunshinesmom
    sunshinesmom says:

    As a black homeschooling family, I agree immensely with your perspective. My husband and I both have friends who are very interested in when I am going to return to the workforce and when our daughter will return to school or rather “how long” we are “going to keep up the homeschooling thing”

  5. mh
    mh says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

    I want to encourage other African American homeschool moms to participate in homeschool research at the National Home Education Research Institute.


    Please consider participating, homeschool parents.

    Gretchen S. Winfield, did you foster the children before adoption? Does your state permit homeschooling foster children? I’ve been curious about how child welfare departments address homeschool.

    • Gretchen S. Winfield
      Gretchen S. Winfield says:

      Yes, we fostered these children before we adopted them. We’ve had them since birth. I’m not sure about Georgia’s policy of homeschooling foster children, I’ll be glad to look into it. This is wonderful.

  6. MBL
    MBL says:

    Great post!

    The civil rights links in 1. were extremely hard to read. I am glad that I did, but wow. Much more detail than I ever knew.

    When I read the links from 3. I was reminded of Race to Nowhere. In RtN, parents filmed a documentary about their daughter’s situation (among others) and didn’t ever consider homeschooling. I cried all the way through. I’m afraid to see American Promise b/c I’m afraid the same thing will happen. It sounds like things turned out okay for Idris, but how his parents saw the light go out of his eyes and continued filming rather than making the difficult choice that you did, I’m not sure I could understand.

    When people suggest that pulling kids from public schools will effect change and force schools to provide a better education, I think it depends. I think when parents start pulling gifted minority children out en masse, heads will roll. My pulling my high scoring white child actually helps “close the testing gap.” So really the impact…not so large. But when high scoring minorities leave, well that can seriously affect administrative jobs.

    At least that’s what I’m guessing. I wonder which groups other people see have having the most power, as far as schools worrying about losing.

    Also, reading those links in 1., I have no idea how to broach our nation’s history with my nearly 8 year old. She just isn’t very aware of such issues, and I don’t know how or when I should present the history without changing her current view of skin color just being another visual difference. I’m afraid if I bring things up artificially, I will end up having to explain stereotypes and pig-headed people. She knows a bit about other US presidents, but she’s growing up with a baseline of “US presidents are black” and I’ve explained a tiny bit about how it is actually a big bleepin’ deal, but I’m just dreading the loss of her innocence and learning just how crappy people can be. Wow, I’m chipper.

    Ummm, but GREAT post!!

      • MBL
        MBL says:

        Thank you so much Michele. What wonderful resource. I will definitely apply some of the suggestions and delve further into the site. Although with some trepidation given my preferred “head in the sand” approach to difficult topics (sex trafficking awareness on the site.) I tend towards existential depression and become worthless when overwhelmed with the baseness of humanity.

        I like how the author of the post tends towards “later rather than sooner” for level of information shared given the “you can never go back” nature of knowledge expansion.

        I’ll again recommend James Webb’s new book Searching for Meaning: Idealism, bright minds, disillusionment, and hope from great potential press.

        Thanks again.

    • Kelsey Langley
      Kelsey Langley says:

      I’ve been struggling with sharing our nations history with my 7 1/2 year old daughter as well. She loved learning about the 4th of July this summer and why we came here from England and why the Declaration of Independence was so important, but I’ve struggled with our history as a slave nation. It’s hard when you don’t want to draw distinction between skin colors that isn’t there right now. I was watching The Help the other night when she came in and I had to flip the channel because she started asking questions that I didn’t have answers for.

      Thoughts, Penelope? Do your boys ask about history? My daughter is so curious and loves being told “stories” about how things used to be.

      • Judy Sarden
        Judy Sarden says:

        I am putting off the US slavery thing for now with my kids. My approach instead is to cover world history first, ancient history specifically. Then midieval history, on up to modern times. On the way, we’ll learn about slavery all over the world, with all kinds of people, with various social and governmental structures.

        So when we end up talking about US slavery, they’ll understand it from a global, historical and political perspective. I think it will make more sense than just diving into US slavery the way they do in schools. Basically, slavery has existed since societies have existed and the US had their own flavor just like everyone else. With the global background, we can compare how different societies began slavery, how slavery endured, how it came to an end and then how the enslaved people fared as members of society afterwards.

        Without that perspective I think kids grow up thinking black people were the only people in the world who were enslaved.

      • Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris
        Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris says:

        Why would it be difficult to tell your child the truth? Is there some shame you are feeling that prevents you from wanting to talk about the truth? My children read Before the Mayflower well before we even began to discuss the Declaration of Independence. And why would you discuss the making of this nation and not discuss who “made the nation”? Are you not going to share that children were kidnapped from the shores of their native countries and brought here to build this nation? You child can receive that education, in public school no need to homeschool them to give them the “whitewashed” version of history. Just my two cents.

  7. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    Great article. That is the reason why I like Michelle Obama ~ because she doesnt do many “extra ” things. When asked why not, she said raising her kids was more important. The black middle class needs to see its ok to let moms stay home.

    As a person who grew up with blacks in schools I am shocked to remember how far we’ve come in a short time. It seems natural to have you be middle/upper class. :)

  8. Heather Sanders
    Heather Sanders says:

    Thank you. It brought understanding to things I “noticed”, but didn’t “notice”, if that makes sense. Also, on the heels of watching The Butler, your first point is all the more clear.

    Judy, I beg you to get a blog. I want to hear more of what you have to say. :)

  9. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie says:

    How does a free nation justify warehousing children in failing schools and then later when many of them reach adulthood, in prisons? The United States has the largest prison population in the world (China is in a distance second place with a population 4 times the US).

  10. HomeschoolJules
    HomeschoolJules says:

    I hate to be the only one that does not have a glowing review of your post, but I have some issues that bothered me about it.

    1. The freedom to home school is also one of the ways to honor achievements of the Civil Rights Movement. I am not sure I understand your reasoning why it is not. Why on earth anyone would think that honoring the civil rights movement means you are limited to public schooling your children only. Civil rights leaders fought and died so that the African American community could have the same rights as the rest of us.

    2. Why does homeschooling mean that the wives or girls are not self sufficient. That is probably the most insulting thing I have ever heard about homeschooling families. That the woman is somehow subservient to her husband in order to homeschool her children. If I say much more I will find myself getting angry.

    3. Private school is a good alternative, but home school is private school.

    I am sorry I find your post very odd, and it seems to come from a different place than any african american mother who home schools her children.

    • Judy Sarden
      Judy Sarden says:

      @HomeschoolJules. I am black and I do homeschool my kids. And I suppose that I also have grown up within a culture that you find odd, and of which I am guessing you are not a member. But to your points:

      1. One of the primary catalysts for the Civil Rights movement was the decision in the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education, which was indeed about equal access to public schools. Neither private schooling nor homeschooling was part of the Civil Rights agenda. http://www.civilrights.org/education/brown/
      2. There is no mention or implication of being subservient to one’s husband in the post. Only the loss of the mother’s income with which to help provide for herself and the family.
      3.There are no voucher programs or tax contributions to help with homeschooling. No scholarships. No herding of children into confining classrooms for 6+ hours a day. So while homeschooling may take place away from a public school building, I don’t know that it’s the same as private school. After all, when you talk about private school, you’re really just talking about an institution similar to public school, only you get to pay extra for it.

    • Charlene
      Charlene says:

      I think you’re reading it a little too literally, the writer is referring to the black experience/ mindset re these points and this certainly reflects my own. For example homeschooling does not mean a woman is not self sufficient but if home schooling is achieved through reliance on a husbands salary this would not be seen as independence in the community. I think you may not be accessing the information from its intended angle.

    • Sbrown
      Sbrown says:

      You’re addressing this from your annoyance rather than from a specific, cultural experience. Point number one recognizes that after being subjected to substandard education, black people fought for the right to receive the same quality education, at the same time and in the same place, as white counterparts. The fight was never about homeschooling. Nobody cared if blacks kept their kids at home and unschooled them, home schooled them, or no schooled them. They just didn’t want them being schooled with the white children. The fight was to break down that barrier, specifically in school. The honor comes from holding up “our” end of the bargain to do well in school and contribute to society. There is a cultural believe that school is the place where trained professionals are qualified to teach our children. One has to completely step away from the historical understanding to delve into the world of homeschooling.

      Point two is a nod to the fact that only 35% of black children are raised in a two-parent home. This isn’t fluffy bra-burning about rights to do it just like a man, and find your voice in any station in life,I am Woman, Hear me Roar. This is about survival. If you have to raise a child alone either because the man who impregnanted you never married and stood by you, or the man you were married to left, you better have a back up plan! You better gird yourself up to do this alone because that man might leave you, and you better be able to provide for yourself and our children. In the face of that cultural atrocity, the thought of staying home and depending 100% on someone else to provide is foreign. Self sufficient by the author isn’t about the ability to do it, it’s about the necessity to do so lest one become part of the 65%.

      The final point explains itself. The ability to pay for a quality education is a privilege but that privilege doesn’t trump the benefits of homeschooling.

      The good news is that we are all growing and learning. There’s always another opportunity to widen our narrow minds and learn more about different perspectives and journeys. I hope this provided some level of clarity.

      *disclaimer- I am a Black woman who was raised in a two-parent home with a stay-at-home mom and a father who never left. I was raised in a community full of the same type of families and didn’t learn about the issues plaguing the black community until I started dating, went off to college, and met people from different walks of life. Initially I found it odd that you were bothered by the authors personal experiences, then I realized you just didn’t know.

  11. Fun Homeschool Mom
    Fun Homeschool Mom says:

    I too left a successful career (in medicine) to homeschool and despite some challenges, I could not imagine my life any other way or my child’s education in any one else’s hands. As a friend of mine said, am I less qualified to teach my own children than someone with less education who does not even know or love my child?

    I have known too many “successful” parents, retired, surrounded by piles of money but no kids who want to be bothered with them. Not the future my husband and I want. Relationships matter more than material success. Sometimes I feel like many in the black middle class may disagree with this. Educational achievement and status seem so important.

    Shout out to Jesus Christ for leading me and my husband come to our decision to homeschool!

    • Larelyn
      Larelyn says:

      I am also an African American physician-Podiatrist and homeschooling mother of 3. I have chosen to work part time to make this sacrifice possible. God is Good and will provide for all of OUR needs during this homeschooling journey!

  12. mh
    mh says:

    Elijah Anderson, in a book called “The Cosmopolitan Canopy,” spells out a little of what is animating this discussion.

    His book deals with the way people interact in “safe” places – places that are not specifically “white” or “black” or “rich” or “poor” — as opposed to the way they interact in their private spheres.

    Some people (whites as well as blacks) are cosmopolitan — seeing the importance of fitting in sociably and tolerating others’ quirks, learning about other people and staying non-judmental despite potentially offensive behavior.

    Others (whites as well as blacks) are ethnocentric — seeing the importance of carrying on their particular traditions and world-views, and seeing others’ inadvertently offensive comments as intentional and potentially racist/judgmental.

    We all gloss over our innate preference when the situation calls for it, is the thesis of his book.

    I see this in homeschool, and in the arguments AGAINST black families homeschooling, and in the arguments FOR black families homeschooling.

    Do we homeschool to transmit our worldview or to avoid a worldview antithetical to our own style preferences? Maybe both. Do we homeschool to blend in or do we homeschool to stand out? Maybe both.

    It’s an emotional issue. Being “different” in the black community carries a different, more judgmental weight to it.

    Homeschooling is a rejection of cultural norms. In the black middle class, cultural norms are powerful things — they are what distinguish the black middle class from their poorer counterparts. And at any given moment, a middle-class black person faces being mis-judged (and penalized) in a way that white people do not face. Oddball white people are oddballs. Oddball black people are dangerous.

    A black family that homeschools usually begins to socialize more frequently with white families and less frequently with black families. This can seem judgmental to other middle-class black families — many of whom rely on solidarity and class-status to differentiate and protect themselves.

    Anyway, I don’t know the answers. But homeschooling is complicated for black families. The promise is there… but the risks are real.

    • Janelle
      Janelle says:

      “Home schooling is risky for black families” . . . I get that there may be a lot of factors that play into whether or not a black family chooses to home school or not, i.e., finances, single parent home, family issues, stigma, or whatever, but for me it was a “risk” worth taking. (Although I do have to say I didn’t see it as a risk.) I AM ONE OF THOSE BLACK MOMS WHO HOME SCHOOLED ALL OF HER CHILDREN! I’m putting this in all caps because I want it to be known that it has already been done by me and others. I also have 5 black sons. All (except the 13 yr. Old,) is either in college or graduated from college. (We all know the statistics for black males). No they are not all geniuses. They are normal well adjusted citizens with goals, successes, jobs, and healthy and diverse relationships. We exist, and our kids turned out OK. My relationships within the black middle community hasn’t suffered either.

        • Janelle
          Janelle says:

          mh, Thanks. I often hear and read so much speculation about home schooling and what the future holds for home schooled kids. Few have actually asked, talked to or gotten the perspective from their grown adult view. As I sat at my oldest child’s graduation from grad school last month, I realized that he was receiving his 3rd degree (Community College, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree). He’s been living on his own for 5 yrs., been employed since the age of 13, bought and paid for his car with his own money, pays his bills, has a good friendship base, plays sports, has a neat girlfriend, his own opinions about life, politics, living and so much more – and is able to articulate them. Basically, he’s living a normal productive life. That’s all I was trying to teach him and his siblings to do. My story is one of teaching self governance. I did that, and sitting at that graduation, well, it felt good to see a man, my son, walk across that stage. I was not in his college classrooms throughout his college career, he was. But I had the freedom and opportunity to cultivate through his home education those skills necessary to “make your life happen”, work hard, play hard, live happy,persevere and much more. I never saw the learning light go out. This homeschooling thing has been worth the ride, and I’d do it all again if I had to. Sorry for the long post, … but the benefits have been many. The results are what I’d hoped for and I’m thankful.

  13. Lisa S.
    Lisa S. says:

    Judy — thank you for a wonderful post! I think it was spot on and it certainly speaks to my experience – especially the paragraph about black girls being raised to be self sufficient. I think (and I hope) more parents will begin to take homeschooling seriously as we see more examples of how the public school system is failing our kids.

  14. Viv
    Viv says:

    I am interested as to whether there are any black African mothers/families homeschooling; especially in Africa. I haven’t met any and I’m thinking about it. I’m worried about the social impact on my kids. Schools in Africa tend to form the basis of social circles, at least after family. Will they feel ‘left out’ even if they do get a better education. Ironically, most of the time, the better or more expensive the private school, the less interaction they get with actual black middle-class families as more expatriates and generally white families tend to send their kids to these schools.

  15. Aleksandra
    Aleksandra says:

    Great article and great insight. Another example of the varied obstacles homeschoolers face. I applaud this mother for sticking to her instincts.

  16. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    This is one of the few of Penelope’s posts that I actually liked. I would never home school since the child misses out on valuable lessons that only interaction with other pupils can give. We are a typical middle classes white family, there is a difference that we have chosen to have an “immigrant” way of thinking. By that I mean, work hard, study hard, use your brain, stick together and appreciate family values. My child is told that school is her job and that her career starts at school. At the same time we talk a lot and discuss her problems. We don’t solve her problems because, quite frankly, she knows better than me most of time but just discussing it helps her to find the solution. I could never talk much with my parents since they would offer pointless advice based on their own limited and biased knowledge. I believe that she has a greater ability for solving personal problems at 12 yo than I had at 30 yo. If she was home-schooled then she would not have this ability. (By the way living with the immigrant way of thinking also means that she is fluent in 2 foreign languages. I had none at her age.)

    • Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris
      Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris says:

      Jerremy, I think you assume homeschooled means you and your children home alone all day together. That’s not what we do. Perhaps you should research homeschooling a bit more before sharing an opinion on the topic. My 8th grader is homeschooled and she is able to spend more time with her peers in socially healthy ways than she ever did when she went to a brick and mortar school. Not only has she created her own girls organization with dozens of members, but she organizes community service activities, participate in group academic classes with 5 to 10 students not the 25-30 in your schools, she is able to lead and decide for herself which sciences, math, literature, and history subjects she would like to delve into, and she is a company dancer with the Georgia Ballet Theatre. I am sure come college application time, you will wish you had made the same decision. Good luck!

    • Janelle
      Janelle says:

      Jeremy, just as you’ve taken steps to make sure your daughter can solve personal problems, so too have homeschooling parents. It sounds like you did a few things differently than your parents to achieve that goal. We homeschooling parents are just as aware of our kids social, personal and “other” societal needs, and take steps to ensure our kids needs are met, even if it doesn’t look the same to some. 5 of my 7 completely home schooled kids are of age, and are doing quite fine in the “life” department. Homeschooling does not equate to “one who is void of interaction with self and with others”. My kids are just regular young adults and teens dealing with the same stuff as anyone else. I don’t have a desire or need to hold their hands though life or relationships. Please don’t assume that home schooled kids are automatically incapable of solving a personal or relationship problem adequately, or that they spend no time around their peers. It’s just presumptuous. However, you are entitled to your own opinion.

  17. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    This post made me smile. I am an African-American mom that is starting out home schooling with her 2 children. The school system where we live is horrible and I know that I can do a better job. I also left my full time job and my husband is going back into the workforce to support us. It’s a tough choice but in the end, it will be for the best.

  18. YC
    YC says:

    I’m not a mother (yet) but I just wanted to drop a line and say how much your post echoes the successes of the feminist movement. Of course the civil rights movement is different but I think the two share a very strong “you have to pursue the career because you can” thread that remains incredibly powerful today.

    I guess that’s not homeschooling specific but just mirrors a sliver of what girls are going through having grown up in black families climbing the social ladder. I think working class people of many ethnicities have gone through this struggle and it’s at least good to see that it does come around to a more independent-minded approach to some extent.

  19. Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris
    Dr. Hamidah Sharif Harris says:

    As an African American homeschooling mom, and the owner of a healthcare consulting company with offices in two states, and the Director of a 2-day a week homeschool academy, who believes we are not working and homeschooling. Really? This article is almost offensive. First, honoring the Civil Rights Movement has nothing to do with keeping our children in oppressed schools. Second, I have not met a homeschooling parent yet that does not work or earn a living with her spouse. Third, the shield on private schools were revealed a long time ago. Our children are still not receiving the attention they deserve nor the resources.

    • HomeschoolJules
      HomeschoolJules says:

      Dr. Harris you echo my sentiments perfectly, and said them much better than I ever could. Your career and family are working well together. But even people who are work at home moms are no less career women. I was a Nurse educator before my second child was born with multiple health issues. Coming home to take care and school her was the best option for us. At first I felt very different about not earning a salary and my husband’s salary being something that gave him more decision making power than me in the family. But he was the one who insisted it was not a separate entity, and that it is a team effort that makes earning that salary possible. If anyone needs proof that it is money that is not shared equally, try taking that to court in a divorce. The courts wont stand for a wife being subservient and earning less than her husband. Why should we?

  20. Janelle
    Janelle says:

    Been there, done that, heard it all before and I agree with you 100%. I home schooled all seven of my children from beginning to end. Started when my oldest was 3,(Now they are 13-25). I have NO, NADDA, NONE regrets. I could run down the accomplishments and stats, but I won’t bore you with the details. Here is the link our story if your interested.


    We managed to “make it” on his income. Yes I’m college educated,I kept looking at the results of kids in general (regardless of color) and even that was dismal, so I just did it. I was taught that I was capable of doing whatever I wanted to do and to not let anyone make race a reason why I couldn’t or should do one thing over another, so I didn’t, and I’m glad! The whole “black woman” thing gets on my nerves quite frankly, but I totally get your points and think they are quite valid. Thanks for your post!

      • Janelle
        Janelle says:

        Judy, your welcome. Glad to share. I read so much speculation about what a home school kid is lacking. When I dig deeper and ask those expressing that view, it is usually, “I know a friend, of a friend, of a cousin who home schooled their kids, and I heard they were weird, or couldn’t do this or that”, etc. A child can have behavioral, learning or communication issues regardless of where they went to school, which is why we all attempt to parent the best way we know how. We are in a day and age where we have educational choices. One may be better or worse for a particular family/child. Let’s give parents who care a little more credit for being keen about knowing what’s best for their child. Mine happened to be homeschooling, and I respect those who choose/chose differently. I am intelligent and capable enough as a woman/mother to decide if staying at home is the best thing for me and them during their educational years. I haven’t stopped pursuing goals that are important to me either. At this point in this whole process of homeschooling (I’ve been doing this for 23 years now), I still am satisfied with persisting in it.

  21. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Great guest post with intelligent well thought out points! As a African American upper-middle class family choosing to homeschool, I couldn’t agree more.

  22. Mama O
    Mama O says:

    I appreciate this article and every person who chose to reply. Do any of you know of blogs by black women who stay at home? I am beginning my motherhood journey and would love to learn about what works.

  23. mh
    mh says:

    Mama O,

    Do you have little kids? There’s Fun Homeschool Mom: http://www.funhomeschoolmom.com/

    There are a lot of links at this page, and it is fairly current: http://www.successful-homeschooling.com/african-american-home-school.html

    Here’s a cafemom discussion group for stay-home moms (not necessarily homeschooling): http://www.cafemom.com/group/111104

    And I like this publication: http://www.theroot.com/views/stay-home-moms

    Mama O, Best of everything to you, and keep checking in here — it will be fun to get to know you better.

  24. Rolanda Anderson
    Rolanda Anderson says:

    I really enjoyed your post. I am an African American who homeschools my children. People often ask the question why do I homeschool? I am simply answer by saying that I believe the school system was not challenging them enough. Also, there are many other benefits of homeschooling that public and private schools are not able to give my children which are constant motivation and one on assistance.

  25. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    Thank you to both the author and to the blog owner for shining a light on the perspective of a black homeschooling family in this article. I am a long-time (16 years and counting) homeschooling parent of 4 children. Our family is middle class, with two parents, and we are Black. Like parenting, there are many challenges in our days, however, it has been well worth it.

    I agree with a number of other posters in that one of the victories gained in the Civil Rights Movement, was the freedom of choice in the education of our children’s lives. I am grateful that I have the option of educate my children in this way. It is truly a blessing.

    Please be encouraged, as a homeschooling parent of any race, that despite the challenges faced, it can be done successfully.


    Thank you so much for this post. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. My 12 year old daughter gets good grades however I know in my heart she’s not being challenged enough. I would love to try homeschooling her however I’m afraid of the curriculum. I could barely help with her 7th grade homework. Help

    • Judy Sarden
      Judy Sarden says:

      Shauni – There is no need to be afraid of curriculum. Penelope and many of her commenters don’t use any curriculum. Others, like myself, use curricula as a guide and then work with our kids in a way that covers the subject while still creating a student centered learning environment. Some people purchase a complete curriculum and follow it to the letter. Then you have some that use online programs where their kids have online teachers that teach the courses; the parents simply act as facilitators to ensure the work gets done.

      In short, there are many, many options for homeschooling. There is no need to feel intimidated because you don’t know everything the kid is supposed to learn. I personally teach what I can and outsource everything else. Depending on where you live, there could be tons of great resources in your community, you just have to know where to look.

      Good luck! And if you think your daughter needs a more stimulating and challenging environment than school, you won’t get any argument to the contrary from anyone who regularly comments on this blog!

      • Yardyspice
        Yardyspice says:

        There is so much information out there for people who are new to home-schooling that it can even be overwhelming. Shauni don’t think you will be going it alone. I would suggest that you find home-schooling groups in your area so you can talk to other parents about their experiences with older kids. My friend has kids in college and she doesn’t have a college degree yet she was able to home-school two of them all the way through. You can do it!

        • SHAUNI
          SHAUNI says:

          Thank you everyone who responded to my reply yesterday.. You all are truly inspirational women.. I will tackle this fear head on.. Much love…

  27. Kiki Deas-Ray
    Kiki Deas-Ray says:

    I realized this post was written over a year ago but it was absolutely wonderful…Everything you wrote was dead on. I’m an African-American Mom who homeschool my 2 young children and I love it. We travel with my husband on his business trips and turned it into exotic field trips for the children. My kids are smart, kind, and curious about the world but my family still think that Public School can offer my children more than I can. My oldest son was homeschooled and is now at an Ivy League school but that don’t stop them from thinking I’m failing my younger 2. We are paralyzed by fear and inferiority. This pre-historic thinking hinders our race from giving our kids THE BEST which is US.

    • mh
      mh says:


      Thanks for commenting. I went back and re-read this string of comments- what a great way to start the day!

      I absolutely agree that it feels like we are paralyzed by groupthink and ancient history. And culturally, there are plenty of people who are more than willing to cold shoulder a family who he schools because that family is going against the grain. It’s bizarre and sad.

      But your post makes me happy. We homeschool and travel too! That’s the best part.

  28. Sistergirl
    Sistergirl says:

    There are more Black Homeschoolers than many people think. We just keep it on the hush. I am black and a Master Degree holder. I homeschooled after realizing that many so called prep schools and Christian start ups are not challenging the children in a way that they will be prepared for corporate America. We had to make money to realize the issues are the same academically. No matter your neighborhood. Then one day you realize that you need to use your education to bless your OWN kids.

  29. Sistergirl
    Sistergirl says:

    Please update because there are millions of Black Homeschoolers. It may be depend on where you live. Many Black Homeschoolers keep it hush because of criticism.

Comments are closed.