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Freedom Challenge: African American Homeschoolers Paperback – January 1, 1996


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Paperback, January 1, 1996
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lowry House Pub (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962959111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962959110
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Why don't more African Americans school their children at home? By many accounts, there is every reason to avoid public schools, with their low academic expectations for black children, their general avoidance of black history, and their reputation for violence and negative peer pressure. The reason may be found in the opening pages of Freedom Challenge, a collection of essays by people of color who homeschool. "I can't do it because I'm black," one teenager sadly insists after listening to a speaker tout the advantages of homeschooling. "I walk into some business to get a job, they want to see my diploma, I tell them I educated myself according to my own interests, and it's over. They say, 'Right. Another dropped out nigger.'" With that bold beginning, this book sets out to challenge that notion and encourage others to buck the system. It does so by example; the essays are all penned by parents and children who have taken the leap into homeschooling. Their experiences, written in lively, insightful passages and accompanied by black-and-white family photos, should inspire others to follow.

The contributors are 20 families who span the globe, including one military family of six that takes its homeschool on the road to Japan and another that lives on a boat in a co-op community in a Sausalito, California, harbor. While the book primarily focuses on African Americans, it includes two multiracial families. The stories--some written in first person, others in a question-and-answer format--are frank and revealing. One essay deals with the issue of racial politics when a black homeschooling network is challenged by an Asian family entering the group. Editor Grace Llewellyn, a white former teacher who has written two other books on home education (Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School and The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education) closes with a helpful list of books, magazines, and other resources primarily aimed at multicultural homeschoolers. The combination makes this a rare, mandatory read for anyone who falls into either category. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

From Booklist

Whatever the quality of the nation's public schools, it's clear African American students are particularly affected by their weaknesses. It's not surprising, therefore, that Llewellyn--editor of Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don't Go to School (1993) and author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education (1991)--found more than a dozen parents and children willing, even anxious, to share their experiences with what Llewellyn calls "unschooling." Some of their narratives are formal essays; others use an interview format. The learning resources these families draw upon can be as ordinary as a bug or a lamp and are limited only by the parents' or the kids' imaginations. Although homeschooling is an option for only a small fraction of the children who want to learn, true believer Llewellyn certainly makes it look good for all in this success-story collection. Appendixes include a transcript of a homeschoolers-of-color discussion group, advice on how to start homeschooling, and a long list of useful resources. Mary Carroll

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1999
I checked out and read several books on homeschooling before making the decision for my son. The variety in teaching styles and methods used and the results, all good, convinced me even more that I needed to do this for my child. He is a very good reader and excellent speller for his age, however, he struggles in math. Even with that knowledge, his teachers were willing to push him along without even the offer of any additional help for him. Because I didn't want him to be lost in the system, I pulled him out. Because of the courage of the parents in this book, I knew I could do it too. My son is nearly to the place where he should be in math and it's because he had the full attention of someone who cared enough to make sure he was not pushed along and that he actually learns.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bonita L. Davis on July 28, 2002
Education has been a primary concern for African-Americans throughout their history. At one time they were denied schooling, then had to accept segregated schooling and are now left with public schools that are failing. If you are an African-American parent concerned about your child's future, homeschooling may be a viable alternative.
Freedom Challenge is a compilation of interviews of parents and their children who have chosen home schooling and achieved remarkable results. The parents give the reasons why they chose this alternative after having gone through negative results in the public and private school sectors. These individuals share a diverse background of education and vocation. At some point in time they discovered that the schools were failing them and decided to do something about it. The young adults, teenagers and younger children share their experiences in going through home and public schooling. Their sensitive insight and enjoyment of their present schooling affirms the need for such an education that empowers them and their parents.
Schooling has become a political football as the country debates about vouchers, testing and holding teachers accountable. African American parents need to consider what is in the best interest of their child. Homeschooling may be the answer. This book can serve as a catalyst for you to make such a critical decision in your child's education.
Although the interviews were informative and the parents views enlightening I felt that the text didn't provide the parent with enough information about the process of home schooling. What curriculums are available that are Afrocentric in nature for a family to follow? How do African American children compare with their white counterparts who are also home schooled?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 2001
If you are interested in homeschooling this book is a great place to start because it is written by the parents and children who are actually doing it. It is very real and speaks directly from their hearts.
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The schools don't work. The kids go to school and they don't come home educated. Something is wrong. This book really shows it.

Concerned parents used to make a big splash and raise a fuss, and do all the things that "involved" parents always do. But when the child comes home from school and the parent has to essentially teach them a whole day's material in order for the child to complete their homework, that's a tall order. On top of everything else a family has going on in the afternoons after school, then the parents have to take the whole evening and re-teach the children.

The children aren't dumb. Something is wrong in the schools.

So involved parents are doing the smartest thing -- they are starting to say, "Something is wrong. Even if this situation at the school starts to change, it will be too late for my children."

Parents have to try something new. Homeschool. Unschool. We can do this.

Another good book you should read, to learn about the ins and outs, is John Taylor Gatto Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition. Also Teach Your Own Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling.
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