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In this episode, Akilah speaks with LA-based mother, activist, and entrepreneur Melinda Alexander. They talk about the questions that drive them in the direction of commiting to raising free people and how deschooling and unlearning show up in that experience. In her own experience as a former school teacher, Melinda shares some insights on how a scoolish structure can limit the children in certain contexts. They conclude that partnership and listening are what facilitate an emergent structure. The child is the curriculum and the parents are the facilitators, both are students and teachers!
Parents, educators, unschoolers and entrepreneurs tune in weekly to FOTFC to connect about unschooling, deschooling, conscious parenting, and self-directedness. We imagine that Fare of the Free Child will resonate as much as it educates, and we hope that featuring Akilah’s work here will also encourage you to expand and diversify your own reading and podcast queues around parenting and motherhood, sharing her work and others you follow with your communities.
We’re excited to chat with host Akilah Richards in an upcoming podcast season when we resume our conversations with artists, activists, writers and beyond. In the meantime, our goal today is to center Akilah's brilliant work and encourage you to follow, listen, learn and support her podcast and upcoming book: Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work.
MELINDA ALEXANDER ON INSTAGRAM @mumumansion
PRE-ORDER RAISING FREE PEOPLE- www.pmpress.org
UNSCHOOL COURSES- www.rfpunschool.com
TEDX TALK- www.raisingfreepeople.com/speaking
Fare of the Free Child’s Shownotes
Welcome to the fourth Deschooling Release Party (DRP) session, a celebration of our commitment to unlearning oppression in our relationships with children and Self. Volume I was about self-care and this one (Volume II) is about pivoting from fear and panic over into what we’re being guided to do. Melinda Alexander will be joining us to talk about the role in ritual in her mothering. More recently, she and her son Raider, started transitioning from schoolishness to unschooling.
“If you travel down a long ass road and find the intersection— of art, feminism, fashion, Buddhism, social justice and motherhood— you’ll find me standing there in a MuMu, having a yard sale, raising money for Black Lives Matter.” – Melinda Alexander
Melinda is an LA-based mother, activist, and entrepreneur. Influenced by her parents work as longtime anti-racist, civil rights organizers, both art and social justice kept at her center.
After having her baby in a tumultuous transition/divorce, her life changed. The work she does now, which she calls Women’s Work, helps other women find their voice as part of a liberation and unlearning process, “Getting Free”.
Melinda is raising Raider, her Black son in an anti-Black power structure, with a feminist, social justice-oriented focus.
WHAT WE DISCUSS
Akilah and Melinda talk about the questions that are driving us in the direction of commiting to raising free people and how deschooling and unlearning show up in that experience. Raider was depressed and did not get used to the school structure. Melinda saw this and advocated for her son by emailing the teachers, it ultimately ended up in them transitioning to unschooling.
In her own experience as a former school teacher, Melinda shares some insights on how a scoolish structure can limit the children in certain contexts. Intrinsic value is not possible in a school setting, unless you are completely self-directed. Based on the pursuit of validation (did I do well?), the children have never been given a choice and always have been told what to do, and how to do it. By the time they finish school, they don’t know anything about themselves.
They conclude that partnership and listening are what facilitate an emergent structure. The child is the curriculum and the parents are the facilitators, both are students and teachers.
Thank you so much for your feedback on episode 170, we are always happy to hear from all of you! We were honoring mothering in its various forms and also launching our family of podcasts.LIBERATION WALK
- In order to continue through this journey of healing and self awareness process we invite you to subscribe to all five podcasts on Raising Free People Network, our liberation work platform.
- Be sure to join our Facebook group.
- Head over to Melinda’s website and instagram for more musings on love and liberation.
- Pre-order Akilah’s book, Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work!
- Organizations like Metro Atlanta Mutual Aid Fund are organizing collective help for Atlanta’s BIPOC families affected by COVID-19 – Please donate.
- Support the show at patreon.com/akilah