writer. mama. partner. digital nomad. unschooling activist.

Thank you for naming that specific mindset re: the focus on only certain ways of unschooling as being 'great examples of successful unschooling'. I'm still learning to not uplift/center this mindset in many areas of my life & specifically with my autistic/disabled unschooling family.

@disabled.bipoc.in.sdevia Instagram

I read and think and research a lot about parenting to be able to give my 1 year old and 4 year old things and experiences and freedom that I didn’t have. But of all the things I’ve read and researched and all the experts I follow, you bring it all together in such a cutting edge, higher good, culturally relevant way, and I am so proud of you! Thank you!

Racquel Smithvia voice message


Keynote & Workshop Facilitator
Homeschool Association of California (HSC) 2018 and 2019 Conference
– San Jose, CA

Co-coordinator and Co-host
Unschooling as Decolonisation: Learning Reimagined Conference 2018
Johannesburg, South Africa

AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) 2017 Conference
– Long Island, NY

The Black Women’s Life Balance & Wellness Conference
– Atlanta, GA (USA)

Refresh + You = Fabulous Lifestyle Conference
– Atlanta, GA 

Huggies Jamaica sponsored
– Kingston, Jamaica 

Yolanda Adams’ Health & Lifestyle Tour
– Riverdale, GA (USA)

The Black Women’s Life Balance & Wellness Conference, 2012
– Atlanta, GA 

Clark Atlanta University Women’s Leadership Council Panel
– Atlanta, GA

Centers for Disease Control Health Pavilion @ For Sisters Only™
– Atlanta, GA 

Core Connection Lifestyle Yoga & Wellness Retreat
– Ocho Rios, Jamaica 

Blogging While Brown
– Los Angeles, California (USA)

SheCon New Media + Brand Expo
– Miami, Florida (USA)

Atlanta Young Writer’s Institute Summer Writing Intensive
– Decatur, GA


What is Schoolishness? Exploring Ideas for Unlearning Oppression

An interactive lecture on the history, the presence, the threat, and some solutions to the one thing that constantly threatens liberation-minded leadership and caregiving–schoolishness. This is a discussion where you learn the definition, origins, characteristics, byproducts, and carriers of process-over-person centered ways of living and learning. This talk can be customized and expanded to a half-day or full-day format for organizations and corporations.

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Unschooling and Deschooling as Healing Methodologies

An interactive leadership development talk about the ways that the principles and practices in unschooling and deschooling can intersect to form effective means for healing from schoolish, colonized relationships and self-care habits. This talk can be customized and expanded to a half-day, full-day, or two-day format for organizations and corporations.

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How Minimalism and Unschooling Intersect

Sorting, shedding, unlearning, redefining, releasing, reframing–all those terms apply to unschooling and minimalist practices, and they’re worth exploring as a means of strengthening both practices. This workshop will illustrate the connection and give space for folks to come up with ways to honor both practices.

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Personal Manifesto Creation Workshop: The evolution of the vision board.

Without clarity and confidence, vision boards and affirmations are merely busywork. Manifesto creation is meant to keep you aligned with the actions and choices that help you clarify and realize that vision from a deeply authentic space. Whether you want to stop people-pleasing, start a business, end a relationship, stop playing mediocre, or completely change the way you spend your days, a Personal Manifesto is essential. By engaging in this contemplative practice, you name your needs, state your purpose, and become a more active participant in your own joy. In this one-day workshop, we use self-inquiry, we name our emotions, we listen deeply, we explore honestly, and we use all of that to define our needs and intentions. This talk can be customized and expanded to a half-day, full-day, or two-day format for organizations and corporations.

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Parenting Patois: Exploring liberation language in our families

What is patois? Patois is a term used to describe a blending of languages used to establish shared meaning and mutual understanding among people who do not speak each other’s primary language. In our context together, we will explore what it means to partner with children to make space to learn about their needs, and to express our own, without trying to force understanding upon our child, or to become passive as we attempt to ease tension by trying to fit ourselves into what we think will make children happy. Adults are bilingual; we speak oppression by training and we speak liberation by choice. This workshop will help you hold space to realize how many of us arrived at a parenting approach that centers parental controls (performance arts and power-over), and then to discover how we can get to collaborative, emergent, culture co-creation with our children. This talk can be customized and expanded to a half-day, full-day, or two-day format for organizations and corporations.

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How to Focus on Learning:

During this interactive lecture, you’ll learn 10 key terms that will put participants on path for discovery and deschooling around how to support a self-directed learner. It starts with defining and giving examples of Self-Directed Education, branches out into the ten terms that will bring context, discussion, and smarter questions about transitioning from coercive education to liberated learning.

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Raising Free People :: A Mad-Question’ Askin’ Cypher

A 90-minute live version of a 9-week workshop. We are challenging the things we held in our minds as true, getting to know the world through our own lenses, and seeing how we were participating in the oppression of our own people through our parenting, caregiving, and overall relationships with children. Raising Free People workshop is the space for us to apply what we’re learning* into the way we raise and relate to children. And into the way we support children in owning themselves. Key Question: How do I want to feel in my relationships with children, and what am I doing to stay aligned with my desired feeling? This talk can be customized and expanded to a half-day or full-day format for organizations and corporations.

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Booking Request

Fill out the booking request form below to inquire about booking Akilah for your next event.


Fees range from $2,000-$10,000+ depending on the speaker, type of presentation, and number of presentations requested. All speaking engagements require at least travel expenses to be covered. If funding is limited, please consider getting co-sponsorships from other groups or nearby colleges in exchange for additional presentations.

Is the honorarium in addition to the travel expense?*

Akilah S. Richards regularly engages audiences across the U.S. and South Africa. The Jamaican-born podcaster and writer speaks about equity and cultural competence, leadership development, conscious parenting, how people unschool, and unlearning the barriers to being our real selves together, in our homes, in our chosen circles, and in our careers. 

Richards is a founding board member of The Alliance for Self-Directed Education and the mother of two teenage daughters with whom she and her partner, Kris, have been unschooling since 2012. 

In 2016, Richards published the first episode of Fare of the Free Child podcast, now known among the short list of must-listen-to podcasts for anyone considering parenting and leadership from a liberation lens. The podcast focuses on Black people, Indigenouse people, and People of Color (BIPOC) families who practice unschooling and other forms of Self-Directed, decolonized living and learning. 

In 2019, Richards joined the celebrated TEDx Speaker village with her poignant speech, Raising Free People, where she shared the now widely-celebrated philosophy,

“We can’t keep using tools of oppression and expect to raise free people.”

As the co-founder and Executive Producer at Raising Free People Network, Richards and her team produce work to challenge and encourage social justice minded people to explore privilege and power in their relationships with children in particular, and with leadership in general. In addition to public speaking, she facilitates trainings, established and customized courses, and consultations that help resolve the ways that unexamined experiences with bias and oppression disrupt families’ and organization’s capacity to sustain cultures of belonging.

You can find her views on Self-Directed Education, racial equity, deschooling and decolonization for leadership and community in Mater Mea, My Brown Baby, Mutha Magazine, Everyday Feminism, Ravishly, and The Alliance for Self-Directed Education’s celebrated online magazine, Tipping Points, among others. Additionally her advocacy and organizing work has received national press including NBC TV, NPR, CBC Radio, and several print publications, including Essence, Real Simple, Hold the Line, and Rosemary Magazines.