About Akilah

About Akilah

We cannot keep using tools of oppression and expect to raise free people.

Welcome to Raising Free People™ (RFP), safe space for adults nurturing more partnership and liberation centered relationships with children. My name is Akilah S. Richards. I write and speak to unschool, and to share the ways Self-Directed Education supports decolonizing, deschooling, & getting free.

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RFP work examines the ways that we've accepted coercive, emotionally and physically damaging habits as a normal part of adult-child relationships. With a focus on deschooling one's self, decolonizing education, and exploring radical self-expression, RFP both challenges and informs us to push past coercion and fear, and walk toward a model for living with children that centers community, addresses social justice issues, and believes in trusting and respecting children.

"Every African has a responsibility to understand the system and work towards its overthrow." ~Walter Rodney

Raising Free People™ taps into personal narratives and critical analysis to connect communities and open communication among families and intentional learning spaces that practice Self-Directed Education. Through storytelling, honest dialogue, and mad question asking, we share the vast and varied ways culture, race, and abilities are celebrated through Self-Directed Education.

RFP is actively helping people of color in SDE find and support each other, and the public sharing of these narratives is informing edupreneurs of SDE learning spaces about the location and specific needs and challenges of the families of color in their communities. This work utilizes technology (podcasting, digital content writing, webinars) to have and to amplify the questions and conversations that birth more of the anti-racism and anti-oppression learning cultures and spaces we support.

A big part of Raising Free People work is showing up, in person. I want to show up and do the work. If you need me in your community, just ask. I will always ask for compensation, and I'm always open and flexible about what that might look like based on your needs and mine. Click that image of me with the mic for details on how to invite me over.

Liberatory Parenting

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Get the Unschooling, Explained ebook to learn about unschooling, and how it influences our approaches to parenting and to education. Sign up; start exploring your options.

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BIOGRAPHY

Akilah S. Richards is an unschooling podcaster, writer, and founding board member of The Alliance for Self-Directed Education. Her work both challenges and encourages social justice minded people to explore privilege and power in their relationships with children. In her own family, Akilah, her partner, and their two daughters, use unschooling as a tool for decolonizing education and liberating themselves from oppressive, exclusive systems. Find her conversations and commentary at Fare of the Free Child Podcast where Akilah supports, connects, and highlights people of color designing their own liberation through Self-Directed Education and love-centered community building.

Unschoolers believe in learning and living with education as a natural process that cannot reach its heights if it’s confined to a particular curriculum or set of instructions. It has to happen organically, with support and encouragement from our communities, and trust in our children to articulate their needs, and our ability to observe and support without trying to mold them. By researching, reporting on, and facilitating discussion around unconventional parenting and lifestyle choices for people of color in particular, I join the many others who have been working to create space for themselves to live, learn, and thrive in healthy relationships with children.

The Big Picture

I started out as an independent author; hired an indie publishing company to help produce my first print book in 2007. It was my first public stance on integrating authentic living with mindful parenting. Like all my books, (I’ve written seven more since then) it was a result of me questioning my current situation, wanting something different, and wondering how the hell I could get from my then-current circumstance to the space I wanted to be in.

I started blogging about the same topic I wrote about in the book, and in a couple years, I was featured in a major magazine. I started working with a few brands, wrote a couple more books, started doing public speaking at small events, and eventually went into life coaching, working with women looking to make shift from day jobs they hated to entrepreneurship doing work they loved, living lives that matched up with how they wanted to see themselves.

As a life coach, I was in the Emotional Wellness business, and that work was fulfilling. It taught me a lot about how our unresolved feelings, our backstories, and in many cases, our childhood experiences could serve as tools to power us up in adulthood, or hold us back from really owning ourselves and taking charge of our own lives. The work transitioned from a focus on managing and naming emotions, to exploring and expressing the things that define us, and the things that have the most powerful influence over our choices. I took to calling that work/practice Radical Self-Expression.

Through the practice, I worked with hundreds of women—in person, through books, online courses, and virtual coaching—to make space for deep self-study, including recognizing our natural patterns and core values, and getting comfortable with expressing and protecting our needs inside our relationships. For me, radical self-expression work over the past six years led me to participate in my own liberation, and that of my children, with their father, my partner, by embracing self-directed education in the form of Unschooling.

Unschooling isn’t just about education and children, it’s about how adults and children live together, and how adults and children get to be themselves while they learn, grow, and define themselves. My partner and I are entrepreneurs who see the importance of being producers, not just consumers. As people of color, we see the urgency in learning how to prioritize an understanding of how to provide for ourselves and contribute to our communities without relying on someone to employ us, or to fund our school district, or to see value in our lives. For my family, unschooling is a tool for decolonizing education and liberating ourselves from oppressive, exclusive systems.

Liberatory Parenting

Ebook-ipad-unschooling

Get the Unschooling, Explained ebook to learn about unschooling, and how it influences our approaches to parenting and to education. Sign up; start exploring your options.

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