While presenting "Why African Americans Should Homeschool" at the Texas Great Homeschool Convention last year, we had an awesome, candid discussion about the challenges that face African American kids in a school setting, and also the challenges African American parents face within their own families and communities when making the decision to homeschool.
On the very back row of the room sat a Caucasian family that had been quietly observing. The dad raised his hand to speak and then stood and shared the most moving story about how Texas parents are able to homeschool their kids based on the pivotal testimony of an unassuming Black woman during the landmark Texas court case that ruled in favor of Texas parent's ability to home educate their children.
The dad struggled to make it through the story and, by the time he finished, there was not a dry eye in the room. I encourage you to read about the remarkable Dr. Helen Jackson, who was slated to be the first Black Woman astronaut, but instead elected to homeschool her children.
While I wasn’t slated to be an astronaut, I left my career as a corporate attorney after watching my oldest struggle in school. I watched a happy vibrant kid, who loved school, turn into a withdrawn child, who regressed academically and began to loathe school and the idea of anything that looked like “learning.”
I was faced with a similar choice as Dr. Jackson – lose my son or leave my career. I chose not to lose my son. So, I left my job in 2012 and haven’t looked back. I have continued to develop my own businesses but everything is managed around my kids, and not the other way around. I am blessed and grateful for having the opportunity to be with my kids and I know it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I know there are many people who are faced with a similar decision. I encourage you to reach out to the homeschool community where you’ll find support.
We all face choices in our lives. When evaluating what to do, just think about the potential of where you and your kids will be in 10-15 years if you choice to homeschool versus if you choose not to homeschool. And decide which outcome would be least favorable – then pick the opposite choice.
By the way, 25 years later, Dr. Jackson, the would-be astronaut, has no regrets.
To learn about the remarkable Dr. Helen Jackson, click here. Thanks to the convention dad bringing Dr. Jackson to our attention, the Texas Homeschool Coalition has written a great article about her.