My children are pretty awesome. You might have noticed I think that. And I think much of the world notices this awesomeness when it interacts with them―unless, of course, we hit upon one of those not-so-awesome, tired, frustrated, hungry, angry and really annoying moments with which life is peppered, in which the awesomeness is shielded by what in our family we call “bumminess.”
But, generally, they’re pretty awesome. Now, when I rave about the awesomeness and glory that is my children, their learning and our life together, I rarely mention homeschooling or unschooling–just as I rarely dredged up the attachment parenting label in untested or hostile company. I let the act or experience speak for itself, and let the audience draw whatever conclusions they wish.
This is a conscious decision on my part. Not always the intuitive thing I want to do: I totally understand the desire for wanting relatives, nay-sayers, and strangers at the bus stop to walk away from an interaction with my kids thinking “Gosh, they do/know/experience an awful lot of amazing things and are really great kids, BECAUSE they’re homeschooling.” That may or may not happen eventually, but it will NEVER happen as a result of you/me repeatedly and overtly drawing the connection for them. It’s really kind of the same as force-fed learning and children, right?
When we visit with friends or relatives who are emotionally close to us but physically distant―that is, people who don’t see Cinder, Flora and Ender on a regular basis―they will often ask whether Cinder and Flora are the way they were–insert whatever adjective seemed appropriate at the time, brilliant, inquisitive, happy, unself-conscious when hanging out with adults, etc etc–BECAUSE they were homeschooled.
When the question comes at the end of a compliment, I really, really want to holler
“YES! I told you so, I told you so!”
But I don’t. (Because if the question came at the end of a criticism: if Cinder was withdrawn and sullen, if Flora was shy and fragile at that particular moment, is it because they’re unschooled?)
Instead, I give them an appreciative smile and say, “They just are who they are.”
Let them draw conclusions themselves.
I’m kinda’ unschooling them, see?