Episode 32: Parenting Decolonized Podcast-Unschooling Liberates Parents Too with Iris Chen

Let’s talk about unschooling and how it liberates both parents and children.  

Here is some truth to chew on…conventional schooling is a trap with capitalist undertones. I’m not sure if you know this but conventional schooling was reserved for the elite before child labor laws were enacted in the early 1900’s. After children were prohibited from working in factories, it was the industrialists that standardized schools as we know it.

“The modern education system was designed to teach future factory workers to be “punctual, docile, and sober”

The antithesis of conventional school is unschooling. Unschooling is a consent-based education system that empowers children to advocate for themselves and see everyday life as their learning experience. It’s an opportunity to liberate our children from the trap of aligning their value with their self-worth or only seeing education as part of the path to the “American dream”. 


Now I can hear some of your thoughts…

“But what if I can’t unschool?” “What if my child wants to go to conventional school?”

Lean in so you can hear me now…YOU CAN STILL UNSCHOOL! 

Unschooling is a powerful empowerment and liberation tool. It is a lifestyle which elevates the learning experience beyond the four walls of a classroom. It’s about consent, about finding your passion, about learning how a child naturally learns. So even if your child goes to conventional school, you can live the unschool lifestyle at home! BUT…that’s gonna require some work on your part to do some unlearning the schoolish mindset, a process affectionately known as “deschooling” in the unschooling community. 

Unschooling leads to raising leaders instead of followers. It helps them learn how to navigate hard situations, how to advocate for themselves, and how to assert their autonomy over their minds and body. It’s really all about consent and liberation. 

“The education system violates children’s consent and conditions them to accept oppression.”

In this episode, I am joined by Iris Chen – Wife, Mother, Author, and Peaceful Parenting Advocate. Iris and I discuss:

  • Tiger (authoritarian) parenting: the pressures of the immigrant experience
  • Unschooling: Resisting the schoolish track, liberating children to pursue their passions
  • Redefining success and owning our values and personal goals
  • Deschooling for parents – renewing your mind
  • Consent-based education – raising children to have autonomy
  • Taking back our power and showing our children how to advocate for themselves
  • Demystifying homeschool myths

I personally plan to unschool Gia once she reaches the age to attend conventional school as protection against antiblackness, ableism, and indoctrination into a white supremacist, caplisist system, reinforced by teachers and curriculum. I’m starting my own deschooling path as I type this, so if you are too, you’re not alone. We are parenting for social justice after all…so happy you’re on this journey with me!

Iris Chen is the founder of the Untigering movement and author of Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent. As a peaceful parenting advocate, intersectional unschooler, anti-oppression activist, and deconstructing tiger mom, her mission is to inspire generational and cultural transformation, especially among Asian communities.

In her book, Untigering: Peaceful Parenting for the Deconstructing Tiger Parent,” she shares her parenting journey. She talks about her struggles transitioning from a tiger parent to a peaceful parent.

Iris spent 16 years living overseas in China but now resides in her native California with her husband and two sons.

Check out Iris on social media and read more about her adventures in parenting and unschooling:





And if you’re a black parent who wants to learn how to be a more conscious parent, we’d love to have you in our Facebook group, Conscious Parenting for the Culture.

We’ll be discussing this more on the Parenting Decolonized Facebook page so see ya’ll over there!