So now the fun part, when you decide you are going to pursue unschooling, but you are feeling anxiety about explaining this to your family. These days, it is easy for both Sarah and I to explain to others what it is and why it makes total sense for us, but when we first decided to try it, not the case. I remember having dinner with my parents and explaining that we would be homeschooling (which was hard enough to get behind when you could feel the tension about the idea). We didn't even really want to get into the dynamic that we had heard about called "unschooling" at this point in time.
These types of conversations went on for quite some time with different family members and friends and slowly the unschooling piece crept out. There was always many of the same questions:
-How will your kids get socialization?
-How will they go to college?
-How are you going to teach them about complex subjects such as Trigonometry, etc.?
**And not to sidestep any of these questions, but it's not the intention of this post to answer those. If anyone would like my thoughts on answers to any of these questions, or any other questions you might have, I'd be glad to address them.
The more we answered these questions, the more our confidence grew in addressing such fears and concerns about what we were doing. Initially, there was definitely a lot of reevaluating going on in our lives as we continued to reassure ourselves that none of these were things to worry about. As time went on, many family members and friends came to the conclusion that we seemed to know what was best for us and our kids and that if it worked for us, then they would support us in our decision. Unfortunately, there are others who take what we do as an affront to their decision to send their kids to public school, and this includes many family members and friends.
As it turns out, this is largely the reason for starting this blog, as well as the reason Sarah has her blog (www.werhumansbeing.com) and her podcast "Humans Being". We felt if we could share our journey and thought process on everything from unschooling specifically, and more specifically radical unschooling or whole life learning, it might make the decision and transition easier for those just getting their feet wet.
The best advice I can give those who are new to unschooling and are having difficulty explaining it or "justifying" it to friends and family is this. Don't ever explain it as though it's something that "works for us". The fact is, it really can work for everyone, but like anything else, it's just a life decision you make. That isn't to say that those that don't do it are somehow doing something wrong, but I never liked the idea that somehow this can only work for certain families. Also, stand tall in your conviction that it does work, and don't ever feel pressure to "show" how well your kids are learning by quizzing them on things they have learned. My wife doesn't quiz me on things I learn every day just from being out in the world, and I don't feel the need to do that to my kids either. I can see what they are learning just by paying attention to them. It's a remarkable thing.