An Interview with a Radical Unschooling Family

 Today I have the privilege of introducing Dayna Martin. She is a well-known leader in the unschooling community. She has been interviewed in dozens of television and radio pieces about radical unschooling. She speaks nationally and internationally at unschooling conferences.
DaynaMartin

Dayna is a pioneer who has been at the forefront of the conscious parenting and unschooling movement for the past decade. Author of Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun, and her newest book, Sexy Birth, she has been featured on The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Nightline, and Fox News. Dayna is a childbirth educator, Doula and attachment parenting advocate who helps families worldwide as, “The UnNanny.” Dayna promotes shifting from control to connection with children and inspires parents to respect their children through partnership parenting. Dayna lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, U.S.A., and has four truly free children and a wonderful husband who she spends her days with in love, freedom and peace.

Welcome Dayna! 

Can you tell us a little more about unschooling?

Unschooling is both a parenting and an educational philosophy. Most people who homeschool buy a curriculum and do exactly what schools do, only they do it at home. It is the same model and mindset, it just happens to be in a different location. They follow someone else’s plan of what they think kids should know at a certain age. They evaluate, grade, punish and compare their children with others in the same ways that schools do. Unschooling, on the other hand, means living life without school and all of the trappings that go along with it.We do not break life down into subjects; we do not grade or make our kids do workbook pages or busy work. We trust that our kids will learn what they need on their own life path to be happy and in turn, be successful. Unschooling has a foundation of trust in children that is virtually unheard of in our culture, because most of us were never trusted as children ourselves.

This has led to years of undoing for many of us to rekindle our trust for our inner voices and abilities in life. I am seeing everyday that giving my children freedom and trust in every area of their lives serves to keep their inner voices, self love, and creativity in tact and strong. This is one of the greatest gifts that you can give another human being – to trust.

I do not look at myself as my children’s teacher.  I am not standing in front of them pouring knowledge into them as the all-knowing authority.  My job is to give them as much of the world as possible to learn and grow from.  I look at myself as a facilitator of my children’s interests and desires in life. I do not have to know all the answers. I do, however, need to know how to find answers through the resources that the world offers. Through the internet, television, books, video games, day trips, vacations, community resources , andapprenticeships, we offer our children more than traditional schooling could ever provide. Our kids are learning that answers aren’t always black and white.  They are learning about others’ theories and philosophies and drawing their own answers and conclusions to the questions that we all ponder.  In short, we are raising free-thinkers.

Another aspect of Unschooling philosophy is giving my children the basic human right of allowing them the freedom of mind. We do not try to pry into their minds to assess what they know. Children today do not have this basic human right and their minds are constantly prodded. I believe that what my children are learning is their business, and it’s not right or necessary to constantly be trying to evaluate them.

Education is not the goal of unschooling.  Our goal is family connection and pursuing our interests together.  Children do get an education as a side effect of living a rich, full, abundant life together, but education is never the main goal before what really matters. Our home is filled with exciting, fun things to do like music, art, games, and crafts.  Our kitchen cabinets are full of ingredients for cooking and for experiments.  Our library overflows with interesting reading material, informative magazines, and intriguing games and puzzles. Our home certainly doesn’t look like a home in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. Instead of viewing our home as a museum for our things, we view is as a workshop for our interests.

Children are human beings who are living in the now.  Our cultural view is that they should always be preparing for the future, instead of truly living and just being. Constantly preparing kids for the future is like adults having to sit in a classroom against their will all day, everyday, preparing for retirement.  How fulfilling would our lives be if this was forced upon us?

Education is an important part of life, but not before laying the solid, important foundation of trust, connection, and joy of living together and doing things you love as a family.  We choose to put family first.  I cannot imagine needing to ask permission for time with my children or having to live our lives around a school’s agenda. The school’s needs always come before family needs.  This to me is madness, and I choose not to have that be a part of our lives at all.  We live our lives together because we want to be together as a family. Our kids want to be around us, and we want to be around our kids. Our closeness as a family and our personal freedom are our highest priorities.  Nothing comes before that.

The idea of quitting something doesn’t exist in our lives because a child will complete as much as they want of a topic until they are personally satisfied.  When they’ve gained enough knowledge or information that meets their own needs, they move on.  Our children’s work doesn’t have to be finished or completed according to someone else’s standards.  Unschooled kids can go as far as they can understand or desire. This aspect of natural learning is different than in a forced learning situation where children are not only made to finish things, but are also graded on how well they do.  The focus when it comes to learning, is not on content, but on compliance and obedience above all else.

We respect our children on their own paths in what they want to know in life.  Radical unschooling is focused on trust, freedom, and the belief that humans learn best when they are internally motivated.  When children are driven by their own desires they learn what they need to, and it will not be according to someone else’s idea of what is best for them. Learning is pleasurable when it isn’t forced.

We are not all meant to know the same things in life. Kids in school are all being forced to learn the same thing.  Unschooled kids have as much knowledge as any child in school, but it is perfectly catered to who they are as an individual. Their knowledge far exceeds a child in school who has a cookie-cutter experience.  Our kids own their knowledge and what is in their minds is their business, not ours. All I know is that they have a perfectly individualized education.

My children have learned to read, simply by being surrounded by the written word. It is total immersion learning. They ask us how to spell something and we communicate with them. We don’t tell them to go look it up. We help them and become a resource for them. My son, Devin learned to read by playing the online game, World of Warcraft. He was so motivated to play the game and chat with his friends that he picked it up very easily and joyfully. He learned when his mind was ready and when he was internally motivated, because reading was a tool in his life to help him get more of what he wanted.

Reading, writing and math are tools to help us get more of what we want and need in life. These useful tools would be learned easily if we weren’t so convinced that learning them was tedious and difficult, taking years of practice, training and focus. In our lives, these tools have been picked up easily, quickly and naturally.

Our children’s interests and passions are something we respect as an extension of who they are. I do not judge one interest as having more value in their lives over another. I see the learning in all that my kids do. School subjects are what most of us were brainwashed to believe were most important to focus on. I believe that the most important “subject” in my child’s life is whatever they happen to interested in at the moment.

My child’s interest is the nucleus of their learning at any given moment. So much branches off from a passionate interest. Although we don’t live life broken down into subjects, if you were to view it with school goggles you would see that through pursuing an interest we touch on all of the traditional school “subjects”. Learning Science, Math, English, History and Geography are just naturally a side affect of delving into one’s interest thoroughly.  We live life holistically, flowing with passion, and in doing so our children get an education perfectly catered to who they are as individuals, without ever having to force them to do anything that they don’t want to do.

Parents today are doing the best they can with what they know, yet many are feeling empty and wondering why their kids do not like them or want to be around them.  We hear words like rebellion and chalk it up to normalcy, but what if there was nothing to rebel against?  What if we lived the respect for our children that we demand they have for us? What if we could recognize that the punishments model meanness, that through using power to control another person we are teaching them to do the same? It is though loving kindness and understanding that our children learn love and peace and in turn will reflect this back to the world.

Unschooling families do not deal with “rebellion” from their children because we are never the wall standing between them and their desires.  In fact, we see our role as helping our children get what they want in life. We move from power struggles and control to connection and partnership. When we make this shift, we discover the love and deep feelings of joy that we are naturally meant to experience as parents.

Adults interact with children very differently than they interact with adults.  They’re constantly training them: good job, bad job, don’t do that, do this.  This constant control and judgment is an unnatural way to interact with another human being whom you value and love. Children instinctually know this and feel the negative energy of control from the adults around them. Not only that, but living in a role viewing yourself as your child’s trainer, rather than their partner in life, is exhausting and not pleasurable for either parent or child.  It is simply not conducive to a joyful family life.

Mainstream parenting is based in fear-of-the-future living rather than being present, in the Now. There is a huge distinction between the two viewpoints and contrasting ways of living with children.  People do not see training a child as being unkind, but it’s very frustrating for the child to have someone attempting to control their behavior all the time and never valuing or attempting to understand the true needs under their behavior. Children are not adults, and being in a relationship where they are constantly being prepared for them for adulthood is damaging to a child and the parent/child relationship.

Unschooling is a parenting and educational philosophy on the leading-edge of new thought. It is based in instinctual wisdom, yet it is revolutionary. The partnership parenting paradigm is gaining momentum as we are evolving as humans at this point in history. Our culture needs to realize that how we treat our children is the most important responsibility we have to creating world peace.

What inspired you to Unschool your children?

Since birth I have always trusted my children and trusted that what they were communicating to me was their true needs. I never felt that they were trying to manipulate me as society was telling me. I nursed them when they wanted to nurse, slept next to them at night and held them as much as they wanted to be held.

Unschooling was simply an extension of the same trust that I have had for them since birth.

What do you love and your children love the most about Unschooling?

The freedom, connection and joy that living a life of partnership brings to our lives. I love that we can do what we want, when we want it, without having to ask permission from an institution for time with our kids. We are truly free in every sense of the word. With freedom comes the opportunity to pursue our passions and interests together as a family. Nothing bonds a family more than doing what they love all day together.

Do you have any new projects you would like to share with us?

I have recently published my second book, “Sexy Birth.” It shares how I began my journey to living this life. I never planned on Unschooling and in my book I share the beginning of my journey through my own births and being a childbirth educator and Doula. I introduce the concept of partnership parenting which started it all for me. You can pick up, Sexy Birth at Amazon or on my website www.daynamartin.com

What are your top 3 tips to happy parenting?
  • Really listen and connect with your kids. Do not control them all day. Controlling another human being is not a joyful experience. Strive to find win/win situations with them and let go of power struggles.
  • Say “Yes” more often
  • Eat well and take the time to meet your own needs daily. Take yoga, go for walks, read a good book. Value your own needs are much as you do your kids needs.

Thank you, Dayna, for being with us today. If you want to learn more about Unschooling or would like to get in contact Dayna, you can visit her website   www.daynamartin.com,  her family blog www.thesparklingmartins.blogspot.com, or you can find her on Facebook.
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37 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Homeschoolers have options other than unschooling and school-at-home. I found the description of other homeschoolers a bit harsh.

  2. Angel-lena says:

    This is very interesting. While I agree that kids should be allowed to follow their interests in learning I also believe that they need to be raised and educated in a manner that will prepare them to be a part of the world at large….and the world at large has expectations and will never cater to anyone’s whims. I agree that her description of other homeschoolers was a bit harsh and will go a step further to include her description of traditional schools (at least where great teachers are involved). Although I like some of the concepts of unschooling, I don’t think I could ever radically unschool…..but that’s what’s greatest about homeschooling…I don’t have to do it anyone else’s way! :)

  3. Angel-lena says:

    This is very interesting. While I agree that kids should be allowed to follow their interests in learning I also believe that they need to be raised and educated in a manner that will prepare them to be a part of the world at large….and the world at large has expectations and will never cater to anyone’s whims. I agree that her description of other homeschoolers was a bit harsh and will go a step further to include her description of traditional schools (at least where great teachers are involved). Although I like some of the concepts of unschooling, I don’t think I could ever radically unschool…..but that’s what’s greatest about homeschooling…I don’t have to do it anyone else’s way! :)

  4. Totally Disagree says:

    Training a child is loving and respectful. Completely abandoning a child to their own whims is selfish and irresponsible.

  5. Totally Disagree says:

    Training a child is loving and respectful. Completely abandoning a child to their own whims is selfish and irresponsible.

  6. Sofia says:

    I think Dayna is an inspiration, and she put herself and her family out there to show that it’s not just some random theory, it’s a way of life and anybody is free to take some of it and integrate in their own lives. She does not abandon her children to their whims, she nurtures the whims and helps them mature to become something that is meaningful and transforming. I’m tired of watching kids these days being bored with everything, demotivated, completely lost with everything they HAVE to be and uninspired with what they WANT to be. Thank you Dayna, for your precious words.

  7. Sofia says:

    I think Dayna is an inspiration, and she put herself and her family out there to show that it’s not just some random theory, it’s a way of life and anybody is free to take some of it and integrate in their own lives. She does not abandon her children to their whims, she nurtures the whims and helps them mature to become something that is meaningful and transforming. I’m tired of watching kids these days being bored with everything, demotivated, completely lost with everything they HAVE to be and uninspired with what they WANT to be. Thank you Dayna, for your precious words.

  8. Dayna Martin says:

    My children do not need to be “trained” like a dog. Our focus in not on obedience, like the current authoritarian model of parenting promotes. It is on partnership, love and understanding. Punishments are cruel and only teach children that power rules and that to get what you want in life, you force others to do what you want. This type of “training” is the epitome of narcissism where the focus is on the parents needs only.
    We focus on our children’s needs UNDER their behavior. Unschooling is NOT for the lazy parent. We work in partnership to help our children get what they want in life. They love us and love being around us. We treat them with the utmost respect and kindness and in turn, they learn to treat others that way. They are the most amazing, kind, loving and peaceful children and they have never been punished or “trained” – Ever.

    Abandoning a child is abuse. To insinuate that Unschooling has ANYTHING to do with abandonment is incorrect and misleading and only perpetuates the excuse to control and punish children.

    Unschooling, as I share in the interview, is a *very* hands-on role. We are partners with our children and although we respect their choices and honor what they want to do with their time, to say that it is “selfish” on the parents part is false on every level. Forcing a child to “obey” through threat and violence, no matter how subtle – THAT is the epitome of selfish parenting. Forcing obedience is NOT respecting a child and their needs in any way. It is outdated parenting, much in the same way they men were taught to beat their wives to make them obey 100 years ago.

    Parenting, just like respectful marriage, has evolved! Children are more than just beings to force to obey OUR whims selfishly. We are here to share the world with them in partnership, respect, peace and love. Children behave as well as they are treated.

    ~Dayna

  9. Dayna Martin says:

    My children do not need to be “trained” like a dog. Our focus in not on obedience, like the current authoritarian model of parenting promotes. It is on partnership, love and understanding. Punishments are cruel and only teach children that power rules and that to get what you want in life, you force others to do what you want. This type of “training” is the epitome of narcissism where the focus is on the parents needs only.
    We focus on our children’s needs UNDER their behavior. Unschooling is NOT for the lazy parent. We work in partnership to help our children get what they want in life. They love us and love being around us. We treat them with the utmost respect and kindness and in turn, they learn to treat others that way. They are the most amazing, kind, loving and peaceful children and they have never been punished or “trained” – Ever.

    Abandoning a child is abuse. To insinuate that Unschooling has ANYTHING to do with abandonment is incorrect and misleading and only perpetuates the excuse to control and punish children.

    Unschooling, as I share in the interview, is a *very* hands-on role. We are partners with our children and although we respect their choices and honor what they want to do with their time, to say that it is “selfish” on the parents part is false on every level. Forcing a child to “obey” through threat and violence, no matter how subtle – THAT is the epitome of selfish parenting. Forcing obedience is NOT respecting a child and their needs in any way. It is outdated parenting, much in the same way they men were taught to beat their wives to make them obey 100 years ago.

    Parenting, just like respectful marriage, has evolved! Children are more than just beings to force to obey OUR whims selfishly. We are here to share the world with them in partnership, respect, peace and love. Children behave as well as they are treated.

    ~Dayna

  10. Fabulous Dayna, love the message you are bringing to the world. I truly feel that what the world needs is more creative and problem solving think-outside-the-box children who are self motivated… it is already full of smart people who are full of memorized facts and follow orders… what we need now are those free thinkers who revolutionize how we think and take us into the future on ideas that have yet to unfold. The best way I know of to encourage these talented souls to really soar is radical unschooling. I am right there with you and applaud the difference you are making in the world through your devotion to your children. I blog more about how passionately I agree with you Dayna here: http://www.intuitionphysician.com/thoughts-on-health-homeschooling/
    xoxox, Laura

  11. Fabulous Dayna, love the message you are bringing to the world. I truly feel that what the world needs is more creative and problem solving think-outside-the-box children who are self motivated… it is already full of smart people who are full of memorized facts and follow orders… what we need now are those free thinkers who revolutionize how we think and take us into the future on ideas that have yet to unfold. The best way I know of to encourage these talented souls to really soar is radical unschooling. I am right there with you and applaud the difference you are making in the world through your devotion to your children. I blog more about how passionately I agree with you Dayna here: http://www.intuitionphysician.com/thoughts-on-health-homeschooling/
    xoxox, Laura

  12. David Fisher says:

    When a child enters the public school system they are physically small. The power is held by those who have greater physical and mental abilities. This control is lorded over the young student. The student is not allowed to voice their thoughts or concerns. At a time when children should be taught how to use their developing powers of body and mind, they are shunted to follow conscripted rules of acceptable behavior. What follows is a populace who are trained to do as they are ordered, unable to critically think for themselves, and are at the mercy of those who hold power. John Dewey sees a grimmer result:

    If we train our children to take orders, to do things
    simply because they are told to, and fail to give
    them confidence to act and think for themselves,
    we are putting an almost insurmountable obstacle
    in the way of overcoming the present defects of our
    system and of establishing the truth of democratic
    ideals (Dewey, 1915, p. 304).

    The way our schools train students to take these orders without question is through a coercive practice of punishment and reward. Those students who, walk slowly and quietly in line are rewarded with immediate positive verbal praise. Those students who are laughing, jumping, or running to the next activity are immediately chastised. These behaviors are further reinforced with behavior charts, gold star stickers, letters and calls to parents, and report cards. For instance, Sally receives a 1, exceeds standards, in class participation. Billy receives a 3, needs improvement, in class participation. This practice does not teach children to respect their own unique learning process, it teaches to obtain the affection of parent and teacher by following direction. Does Sally learn that participating in class leads to a deeper understanding of the subject, or does she learn how to earn the “gold star?” John Dewey reinforces this reality by stating that:

    The inevitable result is that the child is rewarded
    when his memory is successful, and punished by
    failure and low marks when it is not successful.
    The emphasis shifts from the importance of the
    work that is done to the pupil’s degree of external
    success in doing it. Since no one’s performance is
    perfect, the failures become the obvious and
    emphasized thing. The pupil has to fight constantly
    against the discouragement of never reaching the
    standard he is told he is expected to reach. His
    mistakes are constantly corrected and pointed out.
    Such successes as he achieves are not especially
    inspiring because he does no more than reproduce
    the lesson as it already exists in the book. The
    virtues that the good scholar will cultivate are the
    colorless, negative virtues of obedience, docility,
    and submission. By putting himself in an attitude
    of complete passivity he is more nearly able to give
    back just what he heard from the teacher or read in
    the book (Dewey, 1915, p.296-297).

    David Fisher
    Green Mountain Natural Learning Center

  13. David Fisher says:

    When a child enters the public school system they are physically small. The power is held by those who have greater physical and mental abilities. This control is lorded over the young student. The student is not allowed to voice their thoughts or concerns. At a time when children should be taught how to use their developing powers of body and mind, they are shunted to follow conscripted rules of acceptable behavior. What follows is a populace who are trained to do as they are ordered, unable to critically think for themselves, and are at the mercy of those who hold power. John Dewey sees a grimmer result:

    If we train our children to take orders, to do things
    simply because they are told to, and fail to give
    them confidence to act and think for themselves,
    we are putting an almost insurmountable obstacle
    in the way of overcoming the present defects of our
    system and of establishing the truth of democratic
    ideals (Dewey, 1915, p. 304).

    The way our schools train students to take these orders without question is through a coercive practice of punishment and reward. Those students who, walk slowly and quietly in line are rewarded with immediate positive verbal praise. Those students who are laughing, jumping, or running to the next activity are immediately chastised. These behaviors are further reinforced with behavior charts, gold star stickers, letters and calls to parents, and report cards. For instance, Sally receives a 1, exceeds standards, in class participation. Billy receives a 3, needs improvement, in class participation. This practice does not teach children to respect their own unique learning process, it teaches to obtain the affection of parent and teacher by following direction. Does Sally learn that participating in class leads to a deeper understanding of the subject, or does she learn how to earn the “gold star?” John Dewey reinforces this reality by stating that:

    The inevitable result is that the child is rewarded
    when his memory is successful, and punished by
    failure and low marks when it is not successful.
    The emphasis shifts from the importance of the
    work that is done to the pupil’s degree of external
    success in doing it. Since no one’s performance is
    perfect, the failures become the obvious and
    emphasized thing. The pupil has to fight constantly
    against the discouragement of never reaching the
    standard he is told he is expected to reach. His
    mistakes are constantly corrected and pointed out.
    Such successes as he achieves are not especially
    inspiring because he does no more than reproduce
    the lesson as it already exists in the book. The
    virtues that the good scholar will cultivate are the
    colorless, negative virtues of obedience, docility,
    and submission. By putting himself in an attitude
    of complete passivity he is more nearly able to give
    back just what he heard from the teacher or read in
    the book (Dewey, 1915, p.296-297).

    David Fisher
    Green Mountain Natural Learning Center

  14. Em Roehrman says:

    We are mostly unschoolers. We still have rules. We aren’t Radical. Follow
    Daynas blog for 5 minutes. You’d see she isn’t a lazy or univolved parent. I don’t fully agree with her. But more with her than most.
    We live in the ozarks. In the country. (i say this since we are supposed to be in the heart of america…)And we see the PS bus drive by 5 days a week At 7 AM and 6 PM ALL YEAR LONG. And you don’t see people calling the children’s parent lazy or univolved. My children pity them. In the winter they don’t see the light of day except at recess. :( Don’t misinterpret her written words.
    We have great friends that unschool. And wrote great books on it and training children that are misunderstood by some. Just remember it is very easy to miss the point when things are written.

  15. Em Roehrman says:

    We are mostly unschoolers. We still have rules. We aren’t Radical. Follow
    Daynas blog for 5 minutes. You’d see she isn’t a lazy or univolved parent. I don’t fully agree with her. But more with her than most.
    We live in the ozarks. In the country. (i say this since we are supposed to be in the heart of america…)And we see the PS bus drive by 5 days a week At 7 AM and 6 PM ALL YEAR LONG. And you don’t see people calling the children’s parent lazy or univolved. My children pity them. In the winter they don’t see the light of day except at recess. :( Don’t misinterpret her written words.
    We have great friends that unschool. And wrote great books on it and training children that are misunderstood by some. Just remember it is very easy to miss the point when things are written.

  16. It is our own trauma and pain from our own childhood, especially school experiences, that prevents parents from being able to respond to their children’s needs with joy, love and a “yes”. Unschooling isn’t a parenting philosophy and it wasn’t radical until parents stopped putting first their children’s needs. Nature’s intent is for children of all ages, from toddler to teens, to live and learn by playing, exploring and creating, in freedom. As an unschooling family and author myself, my unschooled 18 year old son and I have spent a great deal of time with Dayna and her family at unschooling conferences and events. The joy of our children, and others whose needs are held as a priority is in such sharp contrast to most of the youth I worked with in the past who are so angry, depressed and disconnected due to the demands of adults who expect obedience and who take away the joy in childhood. Unschooling deepens life, family and social relationships, learning and joy.

  17. It is our own trauma and pain from our own childhood, especially school experiences, that prevents parents from being able to respond to their children’s needs with joy, love and a “yes”. Unschooling isn’t a parenting philosophy and it wasn’t radical until parents stopped putting first their children’s needs. Nature’s intent is for children of all ages, from toddler to teens, to live and learn by playing, exploring and creating, in freedom. As an unschooling family and author myself, my unschooled 18 year old son and I have spent a great deal of time with Dayna and her family at unschooling conferences and events. The joy of our children, and others whose needs are held as a priority is in such sharp contrast to most of the youth I worked with in the past who are so angry, depressed and disconnected due to the demands of adults who expect obedience and who take away the joy in childhood. Unschooling deepens life, family and social relationships, learning and joy.

  18. Lesli Peterson says:

    What is easy is to use “time-out”, to send your kids away to be “educated” by someone else. What’s easy is to coerce your children into behaving in a manner that works best for YOU and ensures you “look” like a “good parent” to the rest of the world. What takes little effort is rewarding and punishing in order to control behavior, and making un-just demands on people who are smaller and less powerful than you.

    What takes real love and devotion is partnering with your child to help them achieve *their* goals, loving them when their goals and decisions don’t always align with yours or your ideals for them. What takes effort is putting your kid’s feelings and thoughts before your own “image” in public. What takes real courage is respecting all people, regardless of their age or size.

    We have young children, but we have always known we would unschool them. And we always will. Some may call it “abandoning them to their own whims” but we call it respecting our children as human beings – and to us, respect is the highest form of love and adoration.

  19. Lesli Peterson says:

    What is easy is to use “time-out”, to send your kids away to be “educated” by someone else. What’s easy is to coerce your children into behaving in a manner that works best for YOU and ensures you “look” like a “good parent” to the rest of the world. What takes little effort is rewarding and punishing in order to control behavior, and making un-just demands on people who are smaller and less powerful than you.

    What takes real love and devotion is partnering with your child to help them achieve *their* goals, loving them when their goals and decisions don’t always align with yours or your ideals for them. What takes effort is putting your kid’s feelings and thoughts before your own “image” in public. What takes real courage is respecting all people, regardless of their age or size.

    We have young children, but we have always known we would unschool them. And we always will. Some may call it “abandoning them to their own whims” but we call it respecting our children as human beings – and to us, respect is the highest form of love and adoration.

  20. Joshua Gomes says:

    I think it is interesting that you label everyone who doesn’t unschool as repressive and angry, lacking joy and peace. I’ve often thought of Dayna Martin and being open minded. Instead, I realize that she is negative, critical, and judgmental. How disappointing.

  21. Joshua Gomes says:

    I think it is interesting that you label everyone who doesn’t unschool as repressive and angry, lacking joy and peace. I’ve often thought of Dayna Martin and being open minded. Instead, I realize that she is negative, critical, and judgmental. How disappointing.

  22. Dayna Martin says:

    “I think it is interesting that you label everyone who doesn’t unschool as repressive and angry, lacking joy and peace”

    You are misquoting me here, as I never said these words, nor have I labeled anyone what you have shared.

    I think it takes a great deal of open-mindedness to walk this path. Some of my articles and interviews can come off strong when I am advocating for children’s rights, but negativity or judgement is never my intention.

    Thank you for the input Joshua. I appreciate you taking the time to comment about your perception.

    ~Dayna

  23. Dayna Martin says:

    “I think it is interesting that you label everyone who doesn’t unschool as repressive and angry, lacking joy and peace”

    You are misquoting me here, as I never said these words, nor have I labeled anyone what you have shared.

    I think it takes a great deal of open-mindedness to walk this path. Some of my articles and interviews can come off strong when I am advocating for children’s rights, but negativity or judgement is never my intention.

    Thank you for the input Joshua. I appreciate you taking the time to comment about your perception.

    ~Dayna

  24. Pam says:

    Thanks, David Fisher. It has been difficult for me to express myself this clearly & without rambling on. Impressive.

  25. Pam says:

    Thanks, David Fisher. It has been difficult for me to express myself this clearly & without rambling on. Impressive.

  26. Vg says:

    Wonderful job, Dayna!

    I always find it odd when people think unschooling is about unparenting and then they find it normal and natural to send children away to be raised, or “adopted” as John Taylor Gatto says, by an institution for the most crucial 12 years of their lives. You are giving up most of your parenting when you do this, this way sounds like the unparenting.

  27. Vg says:

    Wonderful job, Dayna!

    I always find it odd when people think unschooling is about unparenting and then they find it normal and natural to send children away to be raised, or “adopted” as John Taylor Gatto says, by an institution for the most crucial 12 years of their lives. You are giving up most of your parenting when you do this, this way sounds like the unparenting.

  28. Kerri harrington says:

    Great article, Dayna. We are also unschoolers
    and love the freedom that comes with it.
    People should try to understand that unschooling
    Is a viable option that is born out of great love
    and repect for our children. Not only have my kids
    expanded their world on this journey, but so have
    my husband and I. We have so much fun ttogether and do
    n

  29. Kerri harrington says:

    Great article, Dayna. We are also unschoolers
    and love the freedom that comes with it.
    People should try to understand that unschooling
    Is a viable option that is born out of great love
    and repect for our children. Not only have my kids
    expanded their world on this journey, but so have
    my husband and I. We have so much fun ttogether and do
    n

  30. MARC says:

    Hi Laurie , My name is marc I’m from new jersey I believe I found a great reading tool for children ADD or for adults like me I’m looking for some to look at my find and maybe research it thank you marc.lourie@yahoo.com

  31. MARC says:

    Hi Laurie , My name is marc I’m from new jersey I believe I found a great reading tool for children ADD or for adults like me I’m looking for some to look at my find and maybe research it thank you marc.lourie@yahoo.com

  32. sara mcgrath says:

    Every word Dayna wrote was full of love for her kids and for all of our kids. I can’t imagine interpreting otherwise.

  33. sara mcgrath says:

    Every word Dayna wrote was full of love for her kids and for all of our kids. I can’t imagine interpreting otherwise.

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