When someone fairly new to the concept of homeschooling asks me how we do it, I tend to give a very philosophical answer - children learn naturally etc.
When I am with homeschoolers who follow a syllabus and schedule, I tend to say we don't follow anything in particular. (Even more so if they are fundamentalists.) If I get into specifics at all it will be about things that don't sound academic. The observations one makes while waiting at the bus stop, etc.
While above are factually correct, the way I respond I sound so utterly relaxed, confident, carefree ... like it is so obvious - how can we not learn? How can any curriculum be more effective than the one that drives us from within?
Now if I am among unschoolers then i am more likely to talk about specific books that we are reading, projects we are doing. And if I am among radical unschoolers I might even mention the workbooks. hee hee.
Just wondering whether others walk as radical as they talk (or vice versa?)
What separates our family from radical unschoolers is a few rules around the house. We only have TV in the morning. We have rules about treats. We have bedtime and brush-teeth time. Etc. So, I simply label us as unschoolers and leave it at that.
I think that if I were to evaluate how well we mesh we that philosophy, I'd say we are doing very well. But my kids are young. It's super easy to unschool kids this age. My struggle is that I would like to be more radical, but I need consensus, not mutiny. So far, I've been able to bend a little and we can negotiate, but for now .....
Nope. I take the more conservative route in conversation with the exception of just a couple close friends. However, I know that I don't fit the unschooler picture. I slide more into the eclectic category. I love the unschool concept, but for us we have some structure and some curriculum. Technically some of the curriculum was completely student driven. We use them as tools for learning rather than something we have to do, etc. I could go on and on. But, in short, I loved your question and wanted to reply.
So, in conversation I rarely use the word "unschool". If it is with someone who doesn't homeschool, I say that there are "lots of resources out there". If I want to toot my own horn, I talk about all our projects/hands on stuff that we do. If someone is thinking about homeschooling, I try to be supportive of them regardless of their path and I open my door to my "scary room"--houses all the good/bad/ugly that we have bought to support our at home learning. If someone suspects that their child is dyslexic, the conversation gets more serious because I understand that battle. Methods/curriculums/research regarding dyslexia can keep me talking for a L O N G time.