My name is Cara Barlow and I'm mother to Anna (15yo) and Molly (13yo). My husband's name is Jeff Barlow and we live in Southern New Hampshire. Jeff won't be in Albuquerque with us—he's staying home to take care of the animals and house and other commitments.
We've been homeschooling for seven years and unschooling for about five, maybe a little longer. Our move to unschooling was gradual and I don't remember exactly when it happened. I do remember finding and subscribing to the AlwaysLearning and the Unschooling Basics lists when we'd been homeschooling for about a year. I was initially freaked out by AlwaysLearning—I left for a while, then came back.
We started out with our children attending public school. By the time Anna was entering third grade administrators were telling me she had attention issues and probably some learning disabilities. I disagreed, thinking that she was overwhelmed by the school environment (too loud, too smelly), the instruction was confusing and she wasn't developmentally ready to do many of the things expected of her. She was a stressed-out little kid. We took both girls out of school in December 2004 and were unschooling by sometime in 2006.
Today Anna and Molly enjoy World of Warcraft, writing together, Doctor Who, Firefly, Harry Potter, reading, a theater company they're in that does a Shakespeare play each summer, movie-going and hanging out with friends. Anna's an accomplished knitter, works on costumes for a nearby theater, crochets and makes jewelry and pysanky. Molly plays violin, is learning mandolin, and was the "mistress of the drums" for a production of MacBeth last summer. She's also interested in architecture and is pretty expert at creating buildings and artwork on Google SketchUp. There are lots of other things they do, but these are the biggies right now.
I work about 15 hours a week as a reference librarian and spend the rest of my time being an unschooling parent. I help a group of teens run a free community supper twice a month and organize other get-togethers and activities to keep our lives fun and interesting. While we're in Albuquerque we'll also be visiting my sister-in-law, Carla Kay Barlow and her partner, Karen Milling. And if there's time I'm hoping to connect with some of my unschooling FB friends that live in the area. We'll be returning to New Hampshire on January 4.
Here's a picture of Anna and a friend - she was in a production of A Christmas Carol a couple of weeks ago. She's the one with the top hat.
This is a picture of Molly - she has long hair and glasses.
And this is me.