This post is going to sound ironic since I posted a while ago about supporting radical unschooling, which I do, but I support it because I support parents’ rights to decide for themselves how to educate their own children. I don’t, however, understand parents that get sucked into cult like thinking and let “experts” determine how they should raise their kids.
Kelly and I watched some of the radical unschooling show that was on ABC the other day. Here’s a link. When we first started watching the show I looked at Kelly and said that’s us! We are very much like some of the parents that were featured on the show. Our kids do not have a lot of rules and we are very relaxed when it comes to parenting and homeschooling. But, the more I watched, the more I realized that we aren’t just like the parents on the show. Some of the things I saw bothered me.
One of the moms featured on the show was Dayna Martin. She is a leader in the radical unschooling movement. I don’t get around the homeschooling circles enough to know who she is, but she has done a series of YouTube videos and has written a book called “Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun.” She also calls herself the “UnNanny” and gets paid to go into people’s homes and do away with all the rules. From what I gather she helps people to make the transition to unschooling. She is basically the opposite of what you see on television. Rather than coming in to be the disciplinarian, she teaches parents to let their kids be kids.
I completely support unschoolers and parents that choose this lifestyle. I am not going to bash Dayna’s choices. What bothered me though was her consulting advice. On the show she was consulting a mom that was new to homeschooling. This is where I got annoyed. Here is the scenario. The mom and Dayna were outside. Her little boy wanted to play on a hammock and the mom initially said no. Dayna explains to her why can’t he play in the hammock? It’s just as easy for us to move over to where he is and everyone will still have their needs met. It’s not that I don’t understand her rationale but why should the mom have to be so accommodating? And why shouldn’t the mom follow her own instincts which were to say no?
Then the mom asked Dayna what she should do if her child wanted to eat an entire bag of cookies. Dayna’s advice was to let her kids have things their way. They then had a conversation about how fears were normal and the mom walked away feeling unsure about things but said, “I don’t know how I feel about it all yet. But that’s why she’s here, right?”
Here is what bugged me. Not the unschooling and not Dayna’s choices. What bothered me was the mom that was being consulted clearly didn’t agree with everything Dayna had to say but yet she seemed to be allowing herself to be brainwashed. I don’t have a problem with radical parenting. I think we are pretty radical parents. But, I do this because I choose to. I parent the way I feel is right. I might listen to what someone has to say. I might read a book someone writes but at the end of the day, I follow my gut. When Dayna advised the mom to just let her kids eat an entire bag full of cookies I wanted to say to the mom, what do you think? Listen to your own instincts mama.