Monday, October 5, 2009

Elevator Speech

After two recent homeschool gatherings, where I somehow couldn't manage to explain unschooling coherently, I realized I need an "elevator speech". This is a concept I first heard about in our former UU church (UUism is another thing that's hard to explain!). If I was riding in an elevator with someone, and they asked me what unschooling was, would I be able to describe it clearly and positively in 50 words or less, before the elevator doors open?

At our last park day, there were two moms brand new to homeschooling. As one of the only unschoolers there, I felt like it was my job to advocate for unschooling, and I failed miserably. I saw the look of confusion on one mom's face as I tried to explain it, and then came the question: "Wait a minute--so you don't make him do anything?? At all? What do you DO all day?" The other mom seemed to be listening intently, and nodding, and then said, "I've heard Calvert is really good." Aaarrgh!

To further muddy the waters, I've come to realize that there's a big difference between people who are just unschooling academics (an oxymoron if ever there was one), and whole-life unschoolers like us. I've been so steeped in the RU (Radical Unschooling, another term for whole-life unschooling) lifestyle the last few months, that I forget that most of the moms I'm talking with in real life have never even heard the term. They're just trying to wrap their minds around not using a curriculum, and here I am babbling on about unconditional parenting and no bedtimes, and god knows what else. Let's edge away slowly from the crazy lady, dear.....

So. My mission for today is to create my "elevator speech" so that when unsuspecting newbies ask me about unschooling, I don't scare them away. Does anybody have a good one I can use?
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