I've been going through a similar transition for the past three months with my 9 and 7 year olds. Someone gave me the advice to write down what my kids are doing each day, and over time I would see that they are learning everything they need to in their own time. This has been helpful to me, and in fact, just last week I stopped recording their activities because it had become so clear to me that they really are learning all the time. I don't feel I need it anymore.
We had been doing just an hour or so 4 days a week of basic math, grammar, writing. Now, we're not doing any of that in an organized way - just living life and following our interests
I find that several times a week, I have an irrational impulse to throw some workbooks in front of them, but I resist, realize it's my own conditioning, and then I just observe what my kids are actually doing. Then I come to my senses and realize they are just fine.
I'm also re-reading The Teenage Liberation Handbook revised edition to remind myself about all the wonderful things uschooled teenagers and young adults are doing with their very creative lives. Quite a few of the children quoted or described in the book are 12 years old, and I can hardly believe how quickly my own son will be that age! He'll be 10 in September and is already changing so much. Dropping the little bit of "basics" everyday has freed him up so much that his creativity and joy is soaring even more than it was before.
My daughter - 7, just left her private alternative school 3 months ago today (This is the second year of homeschooling for our son - we let them choose school or homeschool 2 years ago). She is also thriving, and I'm so happy we made this choice.
As far as other people's questions - I don't tell anyone "how" we are homeschooling. Occasionally someone will ask a specific question about how we do math, and I say we measure things, play math oriented games like Monopoly, Life, chess, we do science projects that involve math, etc. I personally don't think it's anyone else's business how we are doing what we're doing. I don't think I need to inform anyone specifically, even family members, that now we are unschooling rather than homeschooling. I just describe what we actually do, rather than get into a philosophical discussion, and this seems to be O.K.
Most schools like to brag about their "hands on curriculum" anyway. Our neighborhood public school even has an artistic little sign planted among the flowers in their "life lab garden" which says "Hands On Curriculum." Our daughter's private school bragged in their advertising about their "Hands On Curriculum." So - now we are doing "Hands On Curriculum" all the time! Only we are doing it better, and more thoroughly than either the "best" public school in our county, and the expensive alternative private school!
Maybe you and I can hold hands through cyber-space and support each other when we feel insecure about our new unschooling adventures