It may be tempting to try to “sell” Unschooling to your family, friends, and that random parent at the park who is convinced you’re permanently screwing up your kids because they aren’t in school.
For distant relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, or anyone else who doesn’t have a close relationship with your family – we encourage you to refrain from engaging. It’s a lot of time & emotional energy that could be positively focused elsewhere. (Visit this page if you’re looking for resources to support partnering with your children’s other parent, a reluctant partner/spouse, or other relative).
Sometimes it helps not to introduce yourself as Unschoolers to those outside your close/supportive circle. Not because you’re hiding anything, but because it does take a willingness to understand. Often people are just making conversation and don’t really want/need all the details.
Here’s some easy phrases I use when I’m at playground/park/moms group/work/church and I don’t feel like going into all the details with someone:
“We’re eclectic and use a variety of resources.”
“Most of their curriculum is computer based.”
People assume a lot from those phrases (usually that you’re doing something very schooly) and then move the conversation to something else. For closer relatives/friends/neighbors we share what the kids are interested in more general terms. (visit Reluctant Partner/Spouse for more ideas on ways to share)
Here are some additional resources that are helpful when confronted with hostile/aggressive questions:
Naysayer pages by Unschooling Mom2Mom
Remember, as your children continue to grow and thrive with your unschooling approach, criticisms will decrease. Time will pass and your own confidence will grow. Don’t be surprised when, down the road, doubting relatives offer you as the example to a parent whose kid is struggling.