I was asked to write about how we as an unschooling family work social activism into our unschooling for the first issue of Secular Homeschooler, and how is it that we work on raising our children to be the next generation of activists. I had no earthly idea of how to answer right away because…
Social Activism is Living Life
For us, our social activism is an organic part of who we are and not something that we consciously incorporated.
Social activism is imperative to building a better world for us and our community. As an Afro-Latinx family with children who are part of the LGBTQIA community, social activism is part of living life. It is essential to securing a safe place in this world. This is especially true in the current political environment where racism and bigotry have been given new life.
For our family, social activism and fighting for social justice come in many forms. The most recognizable is attending rallies and marches for causes we find important, and that speak out against injustices. We have done this on a regular basis as a family for the past [seven] years.
We began modeling a social activist lifestyle far before our first march as a family. Even before we began our unschooling journey.
Do the Obvious, But Teach Self-Care
We have always been honest and forthright with our children when it comes to discussing difficult things. It’s important to do the obvious such as teaching history in an honest and accurate way. Or discussing the importance of voting (especially in local elections). However, these are not the ways we raise social activists. Teaching social activism must be embedded in everything we do.
Our family is all about raising liberated humans. We hold space so they feel safe in voicing themselves when it comes to body autonomy. We encourage them to unapologetically take up physical space in the world. I don’t expect our children to give us hugs or kisses on-demand, nor do I insist they give up their body autonomy just to please others. Even in regards to friends and family.
We also accept all people for who they are, not just our children. However, we also do our best to show our children that accepting people as they are do not come at the expense of their own physical and mental well being.
Trust me when I say raising our children in this way is a revolutionary act. Having, Afro-Latinx children, walking in the world demanding respect, and demanding to be treated like fully formed human beings is a huge form of social activism. It is what will make them ready to be leaders and activists in their community. This is no small feat.
Teach Your Homeschooler to Lead
Aside from the work we do as a family on a personal level, we also contribute to building our community. As BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) unschoolers who are also about raising free people and fostering intersectionality, cultivating an environment in our neighborhoods is a big part of our social activism.
As homeschoolers and unschoolers we all have sat in our homes and thought, “I wish there was (fill in the blank) available for people like us.”
Here is the thing as the fine folk at Secular Homeschooler have modeled for us: we can and should be those people.
The “social” chapter of our social activism began because I longed for a S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) exhibition for homeschoolers and unschoolers. I wanted something that looked like a S.T.E.A.M. showcase that unsegregated by age. That was when that light bulb came on for me. I made it happen and I’m currently planning for another one this year.
I was welcomed to collaborate on a Homeschoolers of Color Collective. This is a day where I and two other BIPOC homeschooling families shared our experiences and knowledge with other parents who were curious or new to homeschooling and looking for ideas and resources. It was so well-received that we are planning another one!
Social Activism Can Be Simple Actions
These were events that had a direct impact on my children. I asked them to take an active role in being a part of organizing and participating in them. I gave them the room to participate as much or as little as they wanted to.
By modeling these actions, taking initiatives when we see something missing in our communities, and working on filling those needs ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to do it empowers our children. It teaches them not to wait around for someone else to fix things.
They do not have to wait for someone else to take the reins. Activism doesn’t have to be in the form of huge gestures. It can be as simple as making a decision.
A Final Word
The last bit I will leave you with is:
Give your child(ren) the space to figure out what they are passionate about. How do they want to better their home? Their community? Their city? Let them lead the way in how they feel is best to be activists. Activism about doing the work. There is no such thing as small movements. All big movements start small, with one person or one family.
Now let’s go forth and change the world.