My September ATL Homeschool Field Trip Master List

Painting piggy banks during Creative Wednesdays at the West End Library.

Painting piggy banks during Creative Wednesdays at the West End Library.

So I’m practicing planning mindfully the things that I would love for us to do together in our lovely unschool life.  Often, I will know things are coming up, then forget about them and accidentally plan something else, or forget to budget accordingly.  This “school year”, with encouragement from my homeschooling friends over at Kid Cultivators Homeschooling Community, I have decided to do some planning.  As unschoolers, we don’t use curricula, and try to flow with our interests as much as possible, so planning for us is not developing workplans or daily schedules.  What it is looking like is thinking about all the possibilities, and making sure that we are prepared to jump on them when they come up.

With that in mind, I scoured the internet (tee hee, not really) for all the special events that are coming up and dropped them into our family calendar.  And now I’m sharing them all with you :).  Mind you, when I started out, I hadn’t really thought about sharing, so there are some things that I didn’t think my kid would be so interested in that aren’t included here.  Sorry about that :/  Also, not all of these are specific to homeschooling.

Hope you find something to enjoy!

Monday, September 8

Georgia Aquarium Homeschool Day:  $13/student; one free chaperone per every 2 students; homeschool activity at 1:45; MUST MAKE A RESERVATION

Tuesday, September 9

Children’s Museum Free Day, 1-7

Wednesday, September 10

Creative Wednesdays at West End Library, 3-4

Friday, September 11

Ice Forum Homeschool Day:  $6/homeschooled child, $8/ adult

Saturday, September 12

Lowe’s Build and Grow Workshop, 10-11 am

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, 12 pm

Monday, September 15

Museum of Design Atlanta Homeschool Day:  $4/person; a number of activities happening at different times; check website

Tuesday, September 16

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History Homeschool Day, 10-12:30:  $5

Wednesday, September 17

Atlanta Botanical Garden Homeschool Day, 9-12:  $10/person

Creative Wednesdays at West End Library, 3 pm

Thursday, September 18

Escalade Rock Climbing Gym Homeschool Day, 12-2 pm:  $8/climber, $6 for children under 4; pizza available at 1pm for $1/slice

Michael C. Carlos Museum Complimentary Admission, 1-7 pm

Friday, September 19

Georgia Homeschooler Lost Sea Adventure:  Sweetwater, TN; $10.50/child, $18.50/adult; see the Georgia Homeschooler site for more info

Saturday, September 20

Georgia Aquarium Educator Open House:  free with declaration of intent or teacher id; also includes free admission to World of Coke and National Civil Rights Center; MUST REGISTER

Japan Fest, 10 am – 6 pm:  $8

Sunday, September 21

Japan Fest, 10 am – 5 pm:  $8

Play Day at Adair Park, 1-5 pm

Tuesday, September 23

Homeschool Fitness at Wolf Creek Branch Library, 1-2 pm

Wednesday, September 24

Medieval Times Homeschool Day, 11 am – 1 pm:  $28/person

Creative Wednesdays at West End Library

Thursday, September 25

Southeastern Railway Museum Homeschool Open House, 10 am – 1 pm:  $5/person, MUST REGISTER

Create Your Own Puppet Show at Adams Park Library, 4 pm

Friday, September 26

Stone Mountain Homeschool Day, 10:30 am- 5 pm:  $18/person

Anime Weekend Atlanta

Saturday, September 27

Anime Weekend Atlanta

Smithsonian Museum Day (check the website for participating museums)

Kids Origami Club at Peachtree Branch Library

Sunday, September 28

Anime Weekend Atlanta

Tuesday, September 30

Homeschool Fitness at Wolf Creek Branch Library, 1-2 pm


Look out at the end of the month for October’s list!!


7 Habits of Highly Happy Unschoolers

I came across this today and think it is a wonderful reminder!

Learning Happens

These are some brief notes from a talk I gave at the North East Unschooling Conference on August 22, 2013.

7 Habits of Highly Happy Unschoolers
(Based on “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey)

Habit 1: Be Proactive
Don’t be stuck in reaction mode. Move on from reacting to: government pushing you around, parental control when you were young, bad school situations that you suffered yourself, or negative experiences your child had in school.

Being proactive means having the imagination and confidence to make your own choices. If you choose unschooling then remember that it IS a choice. You could send the kids to school like everybody else. Happy unschoolers recognize that they’ve made an alternative choice and it is up to them to choose how to carry through on it.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind
What is the point of unschooling? Figure that…

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I Got a Job Baby!

Hey Folks!

So I have a new gig!  I am currently a writing fellow for the Center for Community Change.  Check out more info about the program here.

Last week a blog that I wrote about Ferguson and the murder of Mike Brown was published by the Coalition for Human Needs.  You can find the blog here.

Stay tuned here and on the CCC blog for more pieces!


Burnin’ and Lootin’

Last night I did not sleep well. I had a case of what I like to call “Black Mom-nia”, that condition where you see a Black mama grieving because her child has been snatched from her, and you know that it could have been you and your child had one variable been changed — a different city, a different time of day, a few years younger or older. And you can’t sleep, because, now that you know, you are duty-bound to act. To do SOMETHING. And you are restless in your spirit.

Yesterday, in Ferguson, Missouri, people took to the streets in anger. A child had been shot and killed by a police officer, his body left in the street for four hours. And it’s important that we know that his name was Michael Brown, and that he was unarmed, and that he was to start college in two days. But it is also important that we know that it would have mattered anyway. If he was not college bound. If he was not a teenager. He would have mattered anyway.

So last night, after peaceful protests and vigils were met by the police with riot gear and dogs and tanks, the people of Ferguson met their vitriol with vitriol. They broke some windows, and they burned some things, and some folks took some stuff. This morning, those images were blasted on tv screens across the country, with only a passing mention of the young brotha, Mike Brown.

But we know what it is. We know that, let them tell it, hair weaves and $5 t-shirts are more important than the lives of our children. And that, let them have it, we’ll have another sleepless night tonight, stressed from the realities of the traumas that lie ahead of our children. We know that they do not value our lives.

But we do.

And so, the burnin’ and the lootin’ has begun. And it won’t stop until our children can walk to grandma’s house without being afraid of the big bad wolves with badges.


You’ve Been On My Mind

I am thinking about Renisha McBride this morning. 

I am thinking about the missing girls in Chibok.  I am thinking about Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and Marissa Alexander, and the 65,000 missing Black women and girls in the US.

Bring Back Our Girls Atlanta poster by Jessica Scott-Felder

Bring Back Our Girls Atlanta poster by Jessica Scott-Felder

I am thinking about all of them and about all of us, about you and about me. 

I am thinking about Black women this morning. 

I am thinking about all the ways we are devalued and maligned and rendered invisible, criminalized and disappeared and killed.

And normally, this thinking would get me down.

But not today.

Because today, I am also thinking about all the ways we persevere, and are resilient.  All the ways we grow and heal and build.  All the ways we work through the trauma of being Black and female in a world designed to break us, to craft beautiful existences.  All the ways we love ourselves and each other in spite of the world we have inherited.  All the ways we struggle together to transform this world.

And I am reminded of who.  we.  are.

They think we don’t know nothin’ but singing the blues. 

Today, I am singing a warrior woman’s song in the names of Yaa Asantewa and Nzinga, Ida B. Wells and Harriet Tubman née Araminta Ross.  In the names of Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer.  In the names of Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee and Renisha McBride and Anna Brown and Rekia Boyd and Charity Hicks.  

Today, I call your names.

Sisters, Remember your names.

Ase. Ase.  Ase O. 


Manikins Post: My Favorite Cartoons

The big kid wanted to do a post about his favorite cartoons. Here’s his list 🙂

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

Premise: They are fighting turtles and they have a huge lair in the sewer. They like going on adventures.
The best thing about the show: the fighting
Favorite characters: Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Raphael
Favorite episode: When they go to fight Spider Bites

Ultimate Spiderman

Premise: Peter Parker is in high school. He just met these superheroes and they became a team.
The best thing about the show: the fighting
Favorite character: Iron Fist
Favorite episode: The one with Deadpool

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)

Premise: Casey Jones and April O’Neal aren’t young in this one. They have lots of different villains like, Hun, Dragonface, Shredder, Fugitoid, and the Neutrons.
The best thing about the show: It looks like they did all the art in Japan.
Favorite characters: The Rat King is very creepy on the show, but the turtles are my favorite. Casey is kind of funny.
Favorite episode: The Rat King episode.

Sonic X

Premise: It’s about Sonic and his first time on Earth, just visiting it.
The best thing about the show: I know all the characters, and I just like the show. I like Sonic usually.
Favorite character: Sonic
Favorite episode: I don’t remember that many episodes.

Steady Til We’re Ready

It’s been a while since I posted, and because of that, I’ve continued to put it off.  Tonight, I felt really moved.

Sometimes, my unschooliness gets put to the test, and I start to get worried.  I find myself looking at lists of what my kid should know, and checking out what my friends’ kids are up to.  I find myself measuring and comparing, and worrying.  And then something happens that makes me realize that all is well with our world.

Lately, I have been worried about writing.  Actually, this is not a new worry.  My big kid has shown not merely a disinterest in writing, but an aversion to it.  Getting him to try to write was so stressful for the both of us.  It was obvious that he wasn’t ready, and so I tucked it away. Besides, he had started reading when he was ready, without instruction, and now he’s an avid reader, often carrying books with him to read in the car.  Nonetheless, the worry creeped in.

The kid and I are perfectionists.  We don’t like to do things that we’re not great at.  Getting things wrong is stressful.  We don’t get into a creative flow.  When I cook, I need a recipe, exact measurements.  When I craft, I need things to be just so.  Detailed instructions.  Once I have decided that I can’t do something, getting me to do it is a tremendous struggle.  I have passed this down to my son.  As my folks would say, he came by it honestly.

Needless to say, art is not something that comes naturally to us.  When he was really young, I thought he would write really early, and be a really good artist.  His dad is amazing with anything creative, and did graffiti when he was younger.  The kid loved writing, drawing, coloring, all of those things.  At some point, he realized that people expected the things that he wrote and drew to look a certain way.  And, with all things wherein he does not care to be constrained by people’s expectations, he shut down.  He stopped writing and drawing altogether.  When he colored, he would only color characters, and he would only do so after looking at pictures of the characters to see which colors were supposed to be where.  Just so.

It wasn’t until recently, after a conversation with a friend, that I connected the writing and the drawing.  So a couple weeks ago, I decided that I would suggest some drawing.  I found a site that had step by step instructions for drawing popular characters.  I found a tutorial for drawing the Ninja Turtle Michelangelo (we are all Ninja Turtles right now; soon I will post pics from his Ninja Turtle birthday party).  He was super interested in making Mikey, and I was super excited to get started.  But the frustrations started immediately.  He couldn’t get the circle right.  Just so.  But I encouraged him to loosen up.  And it paid off.

We drew Ninja Turtles.  I decided that mine would be Raphael, and Kid decided his would be Leonardo

We drew Ninja Turtles. I decided that mine would be Raphael, and Kid decided his would be Leonardo.

With the picture completed, I encouraged him to write the name of his picture, and sign it with his name.  A week later, we drew Batman, and this time, he got annoyed with the tutorial, and asked to draw it his own way.  Then tonight, we reached a turning point.  I found a few sample pages from the first of the Life of Fred books, and decided to try them out and see if he liked them.  When we got to the “Your Turn” section, I told him to grab the paper and pencil, and was met with “Aw, man, do I have to?”  I encouraged him to try it out, and he wrote out his answers.  After the second question, he asked, “Can I write all the letters?”  I nearly fell off of my seat!  “Of course you can!”  We finished writing out and checking our answers, and then he turned the page over and proceeded to write a page full of letters, and words, and pictures to go with the words.  And not even just so, just because.

This wasn’t really a revelation, more like a reinforcement.  The less I project my worries, push him to meet arbitrary goalposts, the more easily he will come to things, in his own time, in his own way, with joy.  I don’t need to compare him with any other kid, because he is who he is.  He is not me, he doesn’t come with all of my hangups, even if he’s a lot like me.  And he shows me every day in a million little ways that he is brilliant, and he is learning, and he is excelling.  And he always will, when he’s ready.

On a final note, I have been pushing through my anxieties too, and doing more drawing.  I’m still not ready to go my own way yet, preferring to do it Just So, with the step by step tutorials.  But tonight I drew what I think is a pretty good Huey Freeman from the Boondocks.  I’m pretty proud of it :).

I found a tutorial for Huey Freeman from the Boondocks, also on

I found a tutorial for Huey Freeman from the Boondocks, also on


Bout to Give Birth to Church

This year makes ten years since I finished college.  It seems like not ten years, but then like a lifetime ago.  So many things have happened since then.  My whole world has changed. 

I try not to romanticize the person I was ten years ago, the life I had in my late teens, early twenties.  I know that things happen as they must, and I love the life I have now.  At the same time, sometimes, I find myself missing that girl, and that life.  Missing going to see the Roots and Kweli every time they hit New Orleans, having all the people at the record store near my apartment know me well enough to tell me what came out that I might be interested in.  Sometimes I miss spending most of my time on the road, driving and flying around the country organizing and talking about the prison industrial complex. 

Sometimes, as I get older, and get more wrapped up in building a solid family, I feel like I can’t see myself.  I lose sight of the things that I want to do.  I can vaguely remember that I have non-human things to give birth to, but there are so many other things in my brain — some of it important, some of it clutter — that I can’t make heads or tails.  And I feel stuck. 

And then I put on some Badu, and she makes me feel like myself.  She reminds me of what I’m here to do, and shows me how to move all the fog, all the voices, and get down to work. 

So tonight, I’m listening to e. badu.  And I’m bout to give birth to church.


Black Girl Stuff

I’ve been working on a few posts for the past few weeks, but have been blocked.  :/  Hopefully I’ll be able to get them out soon.

I’ve been having lots of conversations with my husband about the peculiarities of having a Black girl-child, and the decisions one has to make.  Black parents have their own sets of additional concerns, which I have been considering for as long as I’ve been a parent.  However, having a girl opened up a new set of questions.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the politics of Black hair.  I decided pretty early on to loc the big kid’s hair.  It wasn’t a hard decision.  It had always been a possibility.  My husband has what my people have referred to as “good hair”.  I, on the other hand… well, I’ll just say that when I decided to grow out my hair, one of my aunts looked at me, concerned, and said, “You know you don’t have good hair, right?”  During my pregnancy, and when Manikins was very small, there were the questions:  “What do you think his hair will be like?  Do you think he will have good hair like his dad?  Where are his dad’s people from?”  I knew that I didn’t want good hair/bad hair conversations to be a part of his upbringing.  One would be surprised how differently people can treat you based on your hair type (unless of course you’ve been on the receiving end of this differential treatment).  So, my husband and I decided to loc his hair, and nurtured the rebel child inside of him in the process.

But now I have this baby girl.  The pressure has been on since the womb.  I was told from the gate that the freeformed locs that work for my son would not be acceptable for her.  My mom gave her a zillion barrettes for Christmas so that she could keep her hair done.  And there’s already the waiting and watching eyes, wanting to see what happens when her hair “turns”.  There are also the people who ask if I’m going to loc her hair as well.  I say, “We’ll see.”  I’ve never been too pressed about hair.  I enjoy the feeling of getting my hair done, and I actually enjoy doing hair, but I’ve never really cared much about what my hair looks like.  But I think about it, and think about what it will mean for her life.

And we talk about it.  How we will prepare her for the world.  How we will nurture her Black girl spirit, provide her with the tools she needs.  Introduce her early to the ones who steeled my spirit and inspired the rebel woman in me.  Pass on the lessons I’ve learned from Eloise Greenfield, Nikki Giovanni, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Sonia Sanchez and the like.  Ensuring that she feels free to be whoever it is she wants to be in this life.