Why Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith Chose Non-Traditional Schooling For Their Kids

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are no strangers to public scrutiny when it comes to their marriage and parenting choices. They’ve been shamed for how they’ve raised their children, Jaden and Willow, but typically let any criticism roll of their backs.

Over the years, the Smiths have addressed questions about their kids’ behavior by stating they support their choices and want them to have freedom.

People watched Willow and Jaden grow up in the public eye, listened to them in interviews, and wondered about the Smiths’ educational philosophies. Both Will and Jada spoke touched on their parenting style in a recent sit-down.

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and kids Trey, Willow, Jaden Smith
Trey, Willow, and Jaden Smith with Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith | Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Environmental Media Association

Will Smith was a guest on ‘Red Table Talk’

On Father’s Day, Smith was host Pinkett Smith’s guest of honor on Red Table Talk and had a seat on her red sofa (a switch from the signature table) for two reasons: to celebrate the occasion and to talk about family.

While discussing his personal journey as a father, Smith talked about the lessons learned through each of his three children, Trey, Jaden, and Willow.

He evolved and learned more about himself and his kids with the birth of each one, and he and Jada admitted there were some mistakes along the way. But they both agreed on the importance of keeping their children close.

Why Jaden and Willow didn’t attend traditional schools

For some fans and other outsiders, it seemed like the Smiths gave their children free rein when it came to education. To a degree, it’s true. But during his Red Table chat with wife Jada, Smith explained that it was important for the family to stay together, especially with two parents who worked in Hollywood.

He said he learned “you can’t father from a distance” and it was one of the reasons Willow and Jaden were home-schooled as young kids. Smith stated, “My kids being with me is of a higher value than sitting in a classroom.”

He expressed that because of the nature of his work and its demands on his time, he made up for that by being present with them, even if they were on set. Jada agreed.

Jaden and Willow both named their parents as role models

Critics can say what they want about the Smith family, but Willow and Jaden are in agreement that their biggest role models are their mom and dad.

They’ve been open about their individual struggles growing up and their conflicts with each parent, but ultimately, they look up to them and appreciate them for encouraging them to be free thinkers and creative.

During a 2016 interview with Pharrell Williams for Interview magazine, Willow said, “What my parents have given to me is not anything that has to do with money or success or anything that society says people should be focusing on—it’s something spiritual that only certain people can grasp and accept. And that’s how I act and move in the world today.”

Jaden echoed that sentiment by adding, “And that’s where me and Willow both pull all of our inspiration from to change the world. It all comes from a concept of affecting the world in a positive way and leaving it better than it was than when we came.”

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