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Tiersa McQueen

6 Podcast Episodes

Latest 24 Jul 2021 | Updated Daily

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Tiersa McQueen - Unschooling and Conscious Parenting

The New Schools

Tiersa McQueen is a full time working mother of four and a proud unschooler. She is a graduate of Howard University and works full-time in corporate retail as a Location Planner. She’s an advocate of Unschooling and Conscious Parenting. Check out Tiersa’s Twitter and YouTube Channel for great content and more insight on unschooling and self-directed education. Key Takeaways: 00:00:18 Evolution Into Unschooling 00:09:47 Advice to Parents 00:16:57 The mindset of respecting children 00:29:01 Raising independent and free children 00:32:42 Benefits and opportunities for people of color and Black Parents who do Unschooling. 00:38:28 Debunking the Myth: “I can never Homeschool because I am Not A Teacher” 00:43:27 Deepening relationships with children Quotes: “The unschooling philosophy was like learning by doing and having experiences.” “You have to figure out ways to live life and be in the world.” “Children understand why it would be necessary for them to know. And then they just do it on their own.” “Once children have the why, they learn so quickly.” “Children aren't as unreasonable as we think they are. They're more reasonable than we give them credit for.” “I didn't want to fall into the same trap that our boomer parents fell into, which was advising us for a future that didn't come, that didn't happen. A place that doesn't exist anymore.” “Children are going to evolve. I don't want to always focus on the future.” “Parents are the first teachers.” “Parenting is hard. You need people and there’s no way you’ll know everything.” Social Links: Twitter - https://twitter.com/tiersaj Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/mother_bae_i YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM9W1D9umDk05sMIO_gEFzw Books Mentioned: Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent by Iris Chen The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud Podcast Mentioned: Fare of the Free Child Podcast


26 Jun 2021

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S1E10 Unschooling and Gentle Parenting w/ Tiersa McQueen

Damn the Absolute!

Mass schooling is a relatively recent phenomenon, an experiment in education that gained steam following the industrial revolution, becoming increasingly widespread in the nineteenth century, in part, due to advocates like Horace Mann. Mann was a social reformer skeptical of parents’ abilities to properly educate their children to become future employees and democratic citizens. He believed that these common schools, as they were called, could remedy the lack of proper discipline found in some homes. Notably, Mann homeschooled his own children outside the dictates of these common schools he advanced for other people’s children. Further, he and his fellow reformers worried about the flood of diverse immigrant families that were challenging contemporary cultural and social hegemony. Mann went so far as to argue that these marginalized groups were “wholly of another kind in morals and intellect.”  Mass schooling champions asserted that compulsory education was necessary for preventing the corruption of young children in the hands of those they deemed ill-suited to properly foster their moral and intellectual development—namely, their families and respective communities. Traditional schools were to be the means of instilling a particular sense of shared American identity that would allow American democracy to function well. This is not to color all mass schooling advocates as cultural chauvinists but to highlight that what we consider traditional schooling today is, in many ways, informed by the notion that parents and children lack the skills required to learn outside the schooling system. Traditional schooling embraces a view that learning best occurs when a uniform curriculum is imposed upon young minds, children being segregated according to age within rigid classroom structures. It is commonly held that becoming a successful and contributing member of a democratic society requires going through the mass schooling system. Conventional schooling’s primary goal is knowledge acquisition—with everything else being secondary. Students tend to be treated as passive subjects, receptacles for the knowledge considered necessary by their teachers, school system administrators, and other centralized educational authorities.  What might a more student-centered learning environment look like? What if instead of imposing a universal curriculum onto children, they were instead provided with the resources needed to help them achieve their own self-selected goals? What if becoming a socially- and emotionally-intelligent human being was the primary goal of an educational approach, rather than being supplemental to knowledge acquisition?  Jeffrey Howard speaks with Tiersa McQueen, an unschooling parent of four children. Following her own experiences as a teacher and her children’s encounters with mass schooling, her family has embraced unschooling and gentle parenting. According to McQueen, these two philosophies go hand-in-hand, holding central the idea that children deserve full respect, greater autonomy, and tailored support as they learn how to thrive as young people—and eventually, as adults.  Despite her advocacy for self-directed learning, she acknowledges that she isn’t completely opposed to schooling. It’s still an option for her kids should they choose it. However, as a Black parent, she is well-aware of the school-to-prison pipeline and the reality that Black children are punished far more frequently and severely than other children in schooling environments. She expresses that she can’t wait for traditional schools to change in order for them to become safe and nurturing places for her children. McQueen considers the criticisms lobbed at unschoolers and self-directed education advocates, suggesting that many of them are stereotypes pertaining to a type of homeschooler that doesn’t really exist anymore. Unschooling and gentle parenting are difficult for some people to imagine, and have their own share of difficulties, but she observes that her relationships with her own children have never been better. She also notes that the depth of her children’s learning has increased dramatically as they’ve been able to direct time and attention toward their own goals and interests.  Some things to further consider. A century ago, the philosopher and social activist John Dewey proposed a notion of education as “learning by doing,” emphasizing the need for practicality in meaningful learning. What might happen if more young minds were afforded this approach, supported by family and community members as they experimented with overcoming the challenges they face in their particular social environments? In what ways might an unschooling approach to learning better prepare people to navigate the demands and problems unique to their local contexts? And how might unschooling better prepare children to participate in democratic living? Show Notes “When You Get Into Unschooling, It’s Almost Like a Religion” by Molly Worthen (2020) Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work by Akilah S. Richards (2020)  Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent by Iris Chen (2020) Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray (2013) John Holt “First Impressions of an Unschooling School” by Jeffrey Howard (2018) Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald (2019) Horace Mann’s Troubling Legacy: The Education of Democratic Citizens by Bob Pepperman Taylor (2010) “My Pedagogic Creed” by John Dewey (1897) Democracy and Education by John Dewey (1916) S1E19 Buddhist Reflections on Race and Liberation w/ Charles Johnson (2021)


17 Feb 2021

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Ep 191: Why & How We Unschool Tiersa McQueen on the Importance of the FREE Part in Raising Free People

Fare of the Free Child

Episode 191 is all about the deeper work after we accept self-directedness, and get into the layers of transitions, consent, emergent structure, children and trust.We'll be chatting with Tiersa McQueen, and SDE advocate, wife and working mom of 4 children (including twins), who is serious on how to develop new tools for liberation-centered relationships. We’ll be making mad question’ askin on power, boundaries and decolonization.  “I tweet for the Black married moms who homeschool. We outchea. Unschooler. Gentle parenting.” - Tiersa McQueenWHAT WE DISCUSSDigital community and liberation tools: Tiersa talks about how Twitter has given her the opportunity to discuss unschooling as a liberation tool towards she and her husband’s commitment to raising free people. Intergenerational trauma / intergenerational healing and unschooling: We move forward to Tiersa’s experiences with her four children. She describes her unlearning process as something that happened in a very organic way, by observing her children, checking the way they spent more time in things they were interested in, as opposed to the things she told them to do. It became an ongoing evolution of emerging structure. She also points out the importance of listening, returning to what learning already is, and to relationships with trustworthiness in ourselves and towards children.Let it be. Intuition, trust and relationships: Akilah and Tiersa talk about the importance of letting things just be, and how something apparently passive can open up so many possibilities. When we don't force any of the learning processes of our children, we can learn  from what’s already happening, and develop partnership practices from that space.Relationships based on power vs trustworthy relationships: They also chat about how conditioned we are under certain structures that are supposed to work out as ideal to educate our children, Tiersa shares how good it’s been for her to unschool her children.Community and Self-Directed Education - Boundaries and responsibility: Akilah and Tiersa conclude by discussing how freedom includes responsibility, along with intention, therefore we need practice in our home environment to ready our children to be responsible in communal spaces. They talk about unschooling as a series of transitions to get to a deeper relationship, and a means of learning some ways to be supportive while also honoring our and other people’s boundaries.LIBERATION WALKCheck out Tiersa’s Twitter for great content and more insights on unschooling and self-directed education. Here’s also Tiersa McQueen’s Youtube Channel as another resource!Unschooling was in the New York Times! In case you missed it, it’s called ‘When You Get Into Unschooling, It’s Almost Like a Religion’ by Molly WorthenAkilah’s book, Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work is available! Get it at rfp.com/bookRaising Free People Network’s Presence Counselors Leslie Bray and Anthony Galloway, Jr. are here to support unschooling and deschooling processes for families and organizationsSubscribe to Akilah’s Youtube Channel!Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/akilah)


21 Oct 2020

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In Teaching You Learn with Tiersa McQueen Transformative Principal 350

Transformative Principal

Tiersa McQueen is an unschooling mom and has a great story to tell. Follow her insightful comments on Twitter. You can learn a lot of math through cooking. What about math? Math is everywhere. Homeschooling vs unschooling vs public school Many different styles. You can relax a little bit with homeschooling. Ask your child what they want to learn. More of a family interaction. When you have choices, it totally changes the experiences. How do you know they’re progressing? Black holes - 4th dimension We live in a digital age with lots of social media. It’s never been easier to find your tribe. Our educational approach is really about having experiences. You have to get out of the mindset of being just your age group. How are you adapting with everything being closed? Libraries, etc? advice for a mind shift from being in school to home schooling? Three biggest mind shifts needed. We don’t have a schedule of everything that needs to happen every single day. Children do need structure. It comes from the family, not from following a bell schedule. Children need a lot of sleep. I had a lot of unlearning that I had to do. I always had this idea of children as people. The first thing I did was buy some curriculum. The things they were starting to learn were not coming from the curriculum. They were coming from the things they wanted to learn. How long it took for the mindshift to happen to her kids? Started to read John Holt What if we didn’t buy curriculum? You go as far as your interest goes. You have them in an environment that stimulates some learning. They don’t think of things in a linear school-based fashion. What her favorite tools non tech with kids? The tools of the home. They talk to each other. Socially involved? Finds ways for her kids to interact with other kids outside the home. Recommendations for learning more. How to be a transformative principal? Give kids some free time to learn something on their own. Not every second Today’s Sponsors Innovative school leaders across the country have started tracking online student participation using TeachFX because it’s one of the most powerful ways to improve student outcomes during COVID — especially for English Learners and students of color. Learn more about TeachFX and get a special offer at TeachFX.com Today’s Transformative Principal sponsor, John Catt Educational, amplifies world-class voices on timeless topics, with a list of authors recognized globally for their fresh perspectives and proven strategies to drive success in modern schools and classrooms. John Catt’s mission is to support high-quality teaching and learning by ensuring every educator has access to professional development materials that are research-based, practical, and focused on the key topics proven essential in today’s and tomorrow’s schools. Learn more about professional development publications that are easy to implement for your entire faculty, and are both quickly digestible and rigorous, by visiting https://us.johncattbookshop.com/. Learn more about some of the newest titles: Michaela: The Power of Culture by Katharine Birbalsingh Teaching WalkThrus: Visual Step-by-Step Guides to Essential Teaching Techniques by Tom Sherrington and Oliver Caviglioli Putting Staff First: A blueprint for revitalising our schools by John Tomsett and Jonny Uttley The Teaching Delusion: Why Teaching In Our Schools Isn’t Good Enough (And How We Can Make It Better) by Bruce Robertson Stop Talking About Wellbeing: A pragmatic approach to teacher workload by Kat Howard John Catt is also proud publisher of the new book from Transformative Principal host Jethro Jones: SchoolX: How principals can design a transformative school experience for students, teachers, parents – and themselves Visit this page to learn more about bulk orders and how to bring John Catt’s research-based materials to your school: https://us.johncattbookshop.com/pages/agents-and-distributors


27 Sep 2020

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How to unschool your children and yourself (with Tiersa McQueen!)

Raising Rebels

We’re ALL figuring out how to educate our children during the pandemic. It can be overwhelming and scary, and sometimes it feels like we’re all alone as parents, trying to make it work. This week, Tiersa McQueen (follow her @tiersaj!) joins us to share her wisdom and experiences with unschooling her four children, and why she’ll never go back to the traditional model of schooling. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


10 Sep 2020

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67: Learning From Unschooling During Isolation w/ Tiersa McQueen

Human Restoration Project

Our podcast today features Tiersa McQueen, an avid homeschooler who raises her four children in an unschooling philosophy. Tiersa and her husband both work opposing shifts to allow this to occur. Tiersa frequently posts on her Twitter and Instagram handles as MotherBae, critiquing traditional education, offering support as an unschooler, and demonstrating how we can adopt unschooling among our children. I invited Tiersa to talk about this pedagogy and offer advice for educators who are now supporting their students in their home environments, as well as many who are raising their own children alongside this.GUESTSTiersa McQueen, avid homeschooler and unschooler who posts under the handle @MotherBae to critique traditional education and represent Black married moms who unschoolRESOURCESHRP COVID-19 Resources and CharitiesTiersa McQueen on Twitter (@tiersaj)Tiersa McQueen on Instagram (mother_bae_i)Tiersa McQueen on YouTubeFURTHER LISTENINGGirlfriends Guide to Homeschooling with Angela Jordan Perry: Episode 91: Dual Employed homeschooling Parents of 4, Tiersa McQueen See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


11 Apr 2020