Who We Are

Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars (BFHES), LLC was started in April 2020 by Black homeschool researchers Dr. Cheryl Fields-Smith and Dr. Khadijah Ali-Coleman. BFHES is a pioneering educational research group that integrates research and community practice through the publication of scholarly work and engagement of homeschool practitioners.

In summer 2020, we implemented the inaugural BFHES Virtual Teach-In, featuring over 20 speakers and attracting over 200 participants for a seven day event. In tandem with our event, we coordinated a call for submissions for our forthcoming book, Homeschooling Black Children in the US: Theory, Practice & Popular Culture. We selected over 12 authors who will contribute a compelling chapter for this publication which will be released in spring 2021. In September 2020, the BFHES co-founders became the editorial team managing the Information Age Publishing series, Contemporary Perspectives on Black Homeschooling. Our book, Homeschooling Black Children in the US: Theory, Practice & Popular Culture, will be the first book published in the series.

BFHES continues to engage with our community through monthly “tea talks” and maintaining a burgeoning community of homeschool educators via Facebook. As of this writing, the group has surpassed 800 members since its start in July 2020. Our mission is to provide ongoing community engagement regarding black homeschooling through (1) the publication of scholarly and trade work on the topic, and (2) the production of community events targeting black homeschool familites and entrepreneurs engaged in the practice of black homeschooling. BFHES is the first US-based research and education group dedicated specifically to the topic of black family homeschooling.

Cheryl Fields-Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Cheryl Fields-Smith is co-founder of Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars (BFHES). She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice (Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education) at the University of Georgia. She is the most prolific researcher focused on Black families who homeschool in the United States. She is the author of numerous articles on homeschooling and author of Exploring Single Black Mothers' Resistance through Homeschooling. She is a 2018 ASPIRE Fellow, a 2015-2016 Service-Learning Faculty Fellow, a 2014 COE Carl Glickman Faculty Fellow and founding board member of the Internatinal Center for Home Education Research.

Dr. Fields-Smith's research interests include family engagement and homeschooling among Black families. Her dissertation explored family engagement from the perspective of 22 Black middle class families. Later, she received a Spencer Foundation Grant to conduct a two-year study focused on homeschooling among 46 Black families. From this study Dr. Fields-Smith has published several journal articles and chapters, which among them include the first empirically-based publication to focus exclusively on Black homeschool families. Her research on homeschooling among Black families has most recently been featured in a PBS NewsHour report and the Atlantic.  Prior to earning her doctorate from Emory University in 2004, Dr. Fields-Smith served as an elementary school teacher in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk, Connecticut. During her tenure as a teacher she taught in two magnet schools, both of which employed the Bank Street Model, which emphasizes child-centered, hands-on, experiential learning through thematic, social studies-based integrated instruction.

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman, Ed.D.

Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a committed homeschooling mother and enthusiastic co-founder of the Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars (BFHES). She is an accomplished performance artist, educator and scholar who recently earned her doctorate in 2020. Dr. Ali-Coleman studied Higher Education through the Community College Leadership Program at Morgan State University. Her research includes study of African American homeschooled students who are dual-enrolled in community college, creative placemaking as a tool for community building and high impact learning practices. Her dissertation studied the perceptions of preparedness for college through interviews with eight African-American dual-enrolled teens who attended community college in Virginia, Texas, and Maryland while being homeschooled for high school. You can read her dissertation here. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and founder of the arts company Liberated Muse Arts Group. She currently serves as the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Montgomery Community Media (MCM).

Dr. Ali-Coleman is a 2019 Fulbright-Hays scholar who spent five weeks in Colombia, South America  to study issues related to history, culture and society.The specific focus was peacebuilding, reconciliation, and national identity. Special attention was devoted to the African Colombian community and the effects of armed conflict on this community. As a participant, Dr. Ali-Coleman designed a special curriculum for her Introduction to Fine and Performance Arts class at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where she engaged her students in creating a class exhibit showcasing the history, culture and society of Colombia and Latin America in general. Dr. Ali-Coleman also was the 2020 Scholar-in-Residence at Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) where she also served as a teaching artist. She curated and presented her family history and that of four other families through the exhibit Flying Towards Freedom during her time at PGAAMCC. The exhibit ran from January 2020 to March 2020 at the Prince George's County Memorial Library's Oxon Hill Branch in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

A playwright, she has had more than a dozen of her plays presented publicly in venues throughout the country, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Theater Alliance, and Baltimore Theater Project. She was selected as a Theater Alliance Quadrant Playwright in 2019 and continues to serve in that role, working on a commissioned play that will be presented as a film by Theater Alliance in 2021. She is also a singer/songwriter. Her most memorable performance was at the renowned Apollo Theatre in New York where she appeared on the television show, Showtime at the Apollo after winning a monetary award during the venue's weekly Amateur Night showcase. She is a 2015 Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist awardee with music recordings found on major music seller sites.

Dr. Ali-Coleman found homeschooling a natural choice for her family because she has taught as a teaching artist for decades and began teaching college courses in 2011. She has taught Communication studies and Fine and Performing Arts at numerous institutions including Morgan State University, Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Prince George's Community College (PGCC), Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and Montgomery College. While at PGCC, she served as the faculty advisor for student publications and was awarded a 2016 Prince George’s Community College Foundation Impact Grant used to create the Mid-Atlantic Media Arts and Communication Conference which led to her founding the organization Student Media Online. Through Student Media Online, she offers courses for homeschooled students and workshops for parents homeschooling for the first time.

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman received her MA in Mass Communication/Media Studies at Towson University and her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (African-American Studies and Mass Media) with a minor in Writing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She lives in Maryland with her life partner, Ben and their daughter, Khari.