Erika Davis-Pitre lives in central Connecticut where she is the Legislative Vice President
for Connecticut's Homeschool Network. She enjoys travel, is an avid reader, a great cook and a local community activist. Erika
loves to spread the news about unschooling to everyone she meets--especially to people of color.
Erika writes FUNgasa's
Q & A column and maintains the Marafiki Networking Directory. She is the proud mother of 4 children:
One sixth year
unschooled, great and curious 11 year old;
one high school graduate and former unschooler, today a smart and athletic 19
year old college freshman;
one creative, insightful and always schooled 21 year old college senior;
and one talented,
thoughtful, all grown up and always schooled 25 year old.
Always learning and growing wife to her wonderful husband,
Erika's personal mottos are --"You can't be ahead or behind yourself" and "I am learning all the time, the tombstone will
be my diploma."
I have been an unschooler now for many years. In those years I have belonged to many groups, attended many workshops
and I have mentored many people as they started their own homeschooling/unschooling journeys. But for me what was always missing
was seeing other unschoolers of color sharing this great lifestyle choice with my family. To live and learn in freedom--that
is what unschooling is for me--is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and to your family. And to share
this journey with others in my community has been and is a real blessing.
Sure, in the last few years, many more people
of color have come to see homeschooling (curriculum-based/adult-led) for what a great opportunity it truly is and the number
of support groups and websites where one can connect with other homeschoolers of color are growing. However, finding support
from other people of color who are unschoolers (child-led/natural learning) in real life and on the web proved very difficult.
Then I began to realize what needed to be done. I had to be willing to be the change I wanted to see. So, in the last year,
I joined with other African-American unschoolers from all over the country to form the first web-based support group for unschoolers
of color. And out of that group, I attended the First Annual African-American Unschooler’s Grand Canyon Camping Trip
(Yes I did say Annual--a core group plans to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that it happens annually).
plan to attend a gathering in the fall in Vermont with homeschoolers from all over the country to discuss a new vision of
what college can be at Goddard College. And in what I feel is my greatest challenge yet, I contacted the coordinator of the
largest unschooling convention in the country that is being held in Peabody, Massachusetts and asked her if there were any
people of color scheduled to speak at the conference with the topic of the growing diversity in unschooling. When she informed
me that no, the subject of unschoolers of color would not be addressed at the conference this year, I offered to present a
talk about and for unschoolers of color at the convention in late August. She graciously agreed to offer me time in her very
busy schedule to present to me yet another opportunity to connect with more unschoolers of color.
You might ask why
this is so important to me, making connections with other unschoolers of color? For me, it is a way to ensure that unschooling
is a viable option for my children and grandchildren in the future. And I also want to make sure that they have one of the
most important things that I feel leads to being a whole person--a supportive and loving community in which to grow and learn.
So, look around you. Is there anything missing in your community? Are there any needs that are going unfulfilled?
Can you join me in being the change you want to see?