Akilah S. Richards is the founder of the Raising Free People Network, a group that helps families, organisations and corporations solve big issues in education, leadership and personal development

I’m Jamaican. My parents moved to the US when my brother and I were small and we went to school and college here. I first met my partner, Kris, in high school, and after college, we dated and married. Our children, Marley and Sage are 17 and 15. They started out in conventional public elementary school. After a short while, Marley began to express her frustration with not having time to think her thoughts. She excelled, but two years in, she was continually frustrated. She would say they were ‘peopling’, as in doing and saying things she wasn’t giving them consent to do. Eventually, Kris and I withdrew the kids from school with the proviso that if it didn’t work we would put them back.

Let me tell you, we certainly didn’t unschool from the beginning! We started out trying to do school at home. As you can imagine the girls resisted that. It was very messy, very bumpy, and we went back and forth. I recall moments of ‘Oh, my god, they've been on the screens too long. Let's go back on to the curriculum.’