Episode 27: Unschooling Ourselves ft. Akilah Richards

Episode 27: Unschooling Ourselves featuring Akilah Richards

The Unschooling Movement might seem new but it is the oldest kind of learning, says Akilah Richards of Fare of the Free Child podcast; one that recognizes learning differences in children and encourages curiosity, empathy, and independence.


Whereas traditional school models can rely on conformity, competitiveness, and one-size-fits-all curricula, Unschooling strives to create nurturing spaces where students can be themselves, work in community, and collaborate to pursue the information they need because of their genuine interest. During this pandemic time when kids are trying to navigate remote learning and so many parents are worried about their children falling behind and growing disenchanted with schoolwork, Akilah joins Ronit to talk about what Unschooling looks like, how she and her family have made it work, and how this unconventional model fosters compassion, confidence, and a lifelong love of learning in children.

Akilah S. Richards hosts a widely celebrated podcast, Fare of the Free Child, that features more than 150 episodes on Self-Directed Education among Black, non-Black Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. She is a public speaker who also writes for and has conducted live stream sessions with publications including Mater Mea, My Brown Baby, Mutha Magazine, and Tipping Points, the online magazine of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, of which she is a founding board member. Akilah is the author of the forthcoming book Raising Free People, and she and her partner, Kris, are raising two self-directed daughters.



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
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ATEC (Episode 10) (ATEC Pin 3)