From Schoolish to Self-directed

From Schoolish to Self-Directed:
5 Beliefs to Practice + 7 Traps to Avoid
for Confident Self-Directed Education at Home

What are the must-have conditions to ignite and sustain self-directed children?

What does it mean to transition from homeschooling to unschooling? Or from conventional school to unschooling?

Should we adults just back off, leave young people alone, and just watch as they figure out how to (finally) be free to explore whatever they’re into?

How long do we deschool? What about kids; do they deschool too?

A couple years ago, 45 episodes into my unschooling and deschooling podcast, Fare of the Free Child, a woman who participated in a workshop I gave, asked me those same questions.

I said back then that I would do some sort of workshop or course about transitioning from homeschooling to unschooling, but that was before I realized that my podcast was about to change my entire life (and my production schedule)!

Fast-forward to today, nearly 200 episodes in, and plenty more experience with the various aspects of a transition from forced schooling to self-direction. I’ve had the time, space, and production support to share what I know good about shifting from coercive parenting in education to nurturing confident autonomy in children.

I’ve seen it in my own home, but I’ve also had literally hundreds of conversations with parents who range from totally confident unschooling to unsure but committed to the practice.

I want that for you, too! Confidence in your unschooling process, no matter where you are in that process.

In that episode, my friend, longtime unschooler, Itiel McVay, shared her response with the woman in the workshop, and it started with a simple answer: If you use a curriculum, putting it away is a great place to start; I fully support Itiel's answer!

Itiel’s answer is one I fully support because leaving the curriculum alone gives you a major opportunity to observe; observation, my friend, is a powerful relationship tool, main reason being this:

We start to see patterns, which shows us how we might become partners.

Partnership with children, not power over them, is what this is about, and I want to help you shift your mindset and secure a practice that will allow your inner liberation-minded mama, papa, or any name you call yourself, to emerge.

In one short sentence, this course is my way of offering you permission to let yourself deschool, and to let your children do that too!

PRO TIP: Don’t go filling the new free-time with other things you define as educational, interesting, or somehow learn-y. Instead to see the natural curiosities and the things connected to them, and leave room for your children to lead and to help you see when to lead.

Parents and children will lead at varying points, but you’ll get so good at seeing the opportunities to lead and to follow as actual opportunities, which you can’t do if you’re busy filling voids that aren’t there.

Let me help you avoid filling the voids (say that out loud, it feels good!).

Join me here by enrolling in this audio course for parents who desire to raise free people, but just aren’t clear on what the hell that means in practice; how to get to that through daily actions and tiny, mighty, consistent shifting toward liberation when it comes to learning!

Plenty love, Akilah

Get started now!

Course Curriculum

During this course, you will:

  • Save time and energy that you would have put into trying to force your idea of learning on your child
  • Gain control, but probably NOT in the ways you WANT control
  • Learn something new about yourself, or deepen your knowledge on something you just started to understand
  • start asking better questions
  • Experience less missteps while you transition into natural learning (because that IS possible).
  • Get the encouragement and clarity you need as a mindful parent with imperfections and good intentions, just like the rest of us

This Audio Course is For You If...

  • You are a parent, family member, community member, or a revolutionary educator, and you want to interrupt that history and end those habits that you refuse to pass on to the child/children in your life.
  • Right now, you need the energy that comes from participating in a group activity with other mindful parents and educators for mutual support.
  • You are already working on your default behaviors, and want to do that with people who understand both the difficulties and the amazing benefits of that type of personal leadership work.
  • You want the influence of unschooling and deschooling practices to help you design your own confident path forward, even if you're not an unschooler.
  • You need a place to learn how to embrace the things about your children that you do not understand, and the parts that you do not (and may never) agree with.
  • You understand that your parenting and educating practices must involve you, your needs, your boundaries, and the space to work on your baggage -- so you want a space to do personal leadership work, not a place to get general parenting or education support.

Akilah S. Richards

Everyday Raising Free People Practicioner & Your Facilitator

Akilah is the founder of Raising Free People Network, a social enterprise focused on resolving the ways that unexamined experiences with bias and oppression disrupt families' and organization’s capacity to sustain a culture of belonging. The impact of her work in leadership development has resulted in families, social profit organizations, and corporations relying on Akilah's expertise and unique unschooling and deschooling methodologies to name, navigate, and resolve issues of privilege and power that relate to age, socio-economic class, race, and culture.

She is also a founding Board Member of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, collaborating with researchers, educational entrepreneurs, internationally-recognized change-makers, and local community leaders to normalize and increase access to non-coercive education models for all families. Akilah's widely celebrated podcast, Fare of the Free Child, has over 135 episodes that discuss the intersections of parenting, personal leadership, and tools for liberation-centered communication and community. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Raising Free People (PM Press, Fall 2020).


UNSCHOOLING: A child-trusting, anti-oppression, liberatory, love-centered approach to parenting and caregiving. It is also creating and expanding communities of confident, capable people who understand how they learn best, and how to work collaboratively to learn and solve things.

" Affirming! Thank you for this labor of love! I love your topics and how you are raising your children. It's helping me with parenting my 6yo and 3yo spirited daughters. Your podcast has helped me to be at peace with the way that we do school (classical/eclectic/unschoolishy). Keep it coming! I always feel empowered after a dose of your episodes! "

- malMichelle, Mindful Mama

"This course is such a blessing! This exercise, in particular, is so powerful! I am excited to share it with my young folx. Thank you, Akilah, for this offering and to MRM for making it available. So much gratitude"

- J. Spivey

"THANK YOU so much for this recording. I so needed to hear this today. I had a rough morning with my kiddos. I yelled and lost my sh*t and I felt hopeless afterwards. I questioned my ability to do unschooling with them. I appreciate the reminder to be in practice. I need to let go of the idea that I need to arrive at a “perfect” level of unschooling. I am gonna keep re-watching this and please know I am taking your words to heart, Akilah 🩵💜"

- F.L. Benítez

"Thank you! You've voiced all the feelings and intuitions I've been feeling for a while in our homeschool journey, but as a product of traditional U.S. schooling those feelings and intuitions have been buried deep and disregarded so often I doubt myself. So thank you for giving me permission to ditch the curriculum and challenging me to pause and reflect when I feel like filling a seeming void!! For me finding community has been difficult. I hope to be braver this year about stepping out as an unschooler and finding others!!"

- Becky

"i feel like I have had an ebb and flow with #6. I thought I had shed this until my son turned 10. Something about turning double digits had me in a panic and scared i might have failed him bc he's not reading and writing like most 10 year olds. The panic and doubt has passed and i feel more assured than ever that we are doing the right thing for our family, but that mini panic attack was real."

- C.M. James


DESCHOOLING: shedding your programming and habits that resulted from other people’s agency over your time, body, thoughts, or actions. Designing and practicing beliefs that align with your desire to thrive, be happy, and succeed.