208: Whole Parents – With Dayna Martin


A long-overdue conversation with Dayna Martin, author of Radical Unschooling:

-Dayna discusses her family's recent appearance on the ABC reality show, Wife Swap
-How do you prepare children for public scrutiny
-The Life Rocks Conference
-Outreach and advocacy in different situations
-Tragic misconceptions about the role of a parent
-Nonviolent Communication

Look Closer:
The Martins On Wife Swap (Full Episode) - http://abc.go.com/watch/wife-swap/SH5539547/VDKA0_lgk9v6h5/avery-lamb--martin

Dayna's Site - http://daynamartin.com/

Martin Family Blog - http://thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com/

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  1. After listening to this podcast I was prompted to watch that episode of wife swap. For the average person, who has little knowledge of unschooling or homeschooling, I believe this show would turn them away from these alternative approaches. Overall, Dayna’s family was much happier and I think people will appreciate the lovingness and openness — it’s far better than the rigid nature of the other family. However, not being able to read at age 11 is absolutely unacceptable. And, although I know it’s not true, the impression was given that the only learning they did was on the internet in a completely unstructured way. Those children are obviously happy given their current lifestyle, but if they don’t learn proper reading and communication skills, they are likely to struggle later in life. This is not an endorsement of public schools, or schools in general, but I think some sort of structure is probably important. Dayna said she felt the experience was good and that the episode was not misleading in any way. So after watching it I was pretty shocked. Her daughter is 11 years old and couldn’t read the words “cycle” or “only” on the washing machine. I foresee those children having a very difficult time when it’s time to go out on their own. I could be wrong.

    • Dear J, If it helps alleviate any of your fears, I raised my daughter the same way. At 11 she couldn’t read, and at 12 it all just fell into place….no ‘teaching’ involved. I trusted the process would work. In the school system, you HAVE to learn to read and write early as that is how the information is presented. In natural life, different people would come to reading at different ages. It is like the brain suddenly cracks the code without you having to think too hard about it….and if you are happy and enjoying life doing what you want to do, it WILL happen. My daughter didn’t go to primary school at all then wanted to go to high school. We found a small, democratically run school and she is thriving….excellent reports every term, never having had a single ‘lesson’ beforehand….was just happy and connected, doing what she loved in life. It is scary when you have been led to believe one particular way all your life. But I trusted and we are all reaping the rewards.

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