Estimated reading time: 12 minute(s)
As a graduated senior on my way to college, I don’t know how differently I would be now if I were in public school. The public educational system did not exist for me, nor my siblings. People who were invested in the system sometimes could not fully understand why my family chose to keep us homeschooled. It is stereotypically known for producing antisocial children with high test scores. We are supposedly students who do nothing all day, yet somehow are intelligent.
But the reality is that I am envied by many public schooled students , especially those in the inner cities. My parents saved me and my siblings from the school-to-prison pipeline where students are pushed out of their schools and into the criminal justice system.
There are too many instances of violence against black and brown children in public school. To have a space where I am not treated like a criminal is a blessing. Though I eventually ran into it with online programs, I was shielded from some of the influences of white supremacy that are found in textbooks, and school curriculums. The beauty of homeschool is that we can create our own curriculum, our own system, and our own way of learning.
Homeschooling your children does not make them antisocial or asocial, unless you make them that way by not providing any Avenue to express themselves in. Being shy and reserved was something that in my high school years I slowly started to grow out of in my own time. I am still not all the way there, but I am so far from where I used to be.
Most of us think that we are threatening our children’s ability to socialize by not placing them in an institutionalized building full of drama. Interacting and networking with people is not something that is only found in a public school. For me, it started with the Farrakhan Twitter Army (FTA).
On September 10, 2013, my mother encouraged me to make a Twitter account to be part of this group of intellectual, digital soldiers. At that time I was thirteen years old and an expert introvert. Though I didn’t like talking to people, I was knowledgeable on current events. Because of my home education, I was also well versed in scripture and how to explain certain verses in both Bible and Holy Quran.
Being homeschooled gave me, and my siblings, a curriculum that was centered around The Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. It gave us a different perspective on all of our subjects, to where we connected everything back to The Teachings as our base. Though with this knowledge being given to me, I was not exactly comfortable speaking about it yet.
Twitter helped because I wasn’t exactly speaking to people, I was typing. On our timelines, whenever propaganda would strike against The Nation of Islam in particular, or the religion of Islam in general, I would take it upon myself to reply back.
This occurred for about five years to the point where now I have gained respect from people from all over the world, mainly in my beloved Nation of Islam.
Being on social media speaking the truth eventually helped me speak up for myself and others offline. There have been several instances , where I have had to push back against white supremacist attitudes. I was able to explain my point and argue in what the Holy Quran describes as, “the best of manners” (16:125).
Long story short, this has gotten me far, by the Grace of Allah, in different respects. I have been able to speak at conferences, give presentations at colleges, and even mount the rostrum, or the “Witness Stand” on Sundays. All of this during my supposedly “ anti-social” homeschooled years (smile).
Here I am in 2018 on my way to Bennett College, inshallah, in the fall. I think back on my school days and all of the trials I went through. Nevertheless, Praise be to Allah that I persisted.
It is definitely not easy to homeschool, or even be homeschooled. However, compared to the evils of this world and the harsh society that mistreats black and brown students.. homeschooling might not be so bad.
(Nzinga Muhammad is based in Rochester, NY. Follow her Instagram @QueenNzinga13)