Australian Unschooling Conference

I just returned from Australia where I was the keynote speaker at the Australian Unschooling Conference. It was an amazing event with many families who attended last year’s event to share in the connection with other Unschoolers again. There was also many new families attending who were new to the concept of Radical Unschooling. I worked with families one on one between my speaking sessions late into the evenings of the conference. There was an ongoing theme among these families, and that was the idea of life without limits was a very fearful idea to them.

Most of these families still had rules, limits and boundaries surrounding bedtimes, foods and media. These were all fear-driven limits and almost all of these families came from a Waldorf education and parenting philosophy to Unschooling. Waldorf philosophy seems to be a pathway for many Unschoolers. It is often the first step in this direction of natural learning and freedom that so many are drawn to.

Although Waldorf is aesthetically beautiful with the promotion of natural toys and reconnecting with nature, much of the philosophy is very fear-based in it’s stance surrounding media, commercialism and control. Forced learning, no matter what the curriculum is still forced learning. Living in true freedom and respect of my children means that they are free to choose what to learn, when and how. An Unschooling parents’ role as a child’s learning facilitator is very different than the role of a teacher, no matter what philosophical ideals they are coming from. Waldorf is no different than a mainstream learning perspective in the premise of authority and feeling as though it knows what is best, promotes a curriculum and ideals that the child may or may not want to be part of.

I love certain aspects of Waldorf philosophy! We even have a business dedicated to making Waldorf-inspired toys where my husband makes everything by hand. I think you can take what works from other philosophies that your family loves, while respecting your child’s individual choices. Giving your child as big of a world as possible to choose from is an integral part of living the Unschooling life! Keeping your child in a box of your ideals is not.

Unschooling means you put your child’s needs and desires before all agenda – no matter how natural the approach, or how beautiful it seems on the outside. Unschooling is a joy-based philosophical perspective which is based is the philosophy of complete partnership with the child. The authoritarian paradigm is old-school and outdated. A leading-edge approach to parenting and learning is all about the child having true choice. Choice can include or encompass any philosophy, but it is that of the child with the parents full support of the individual child’s path.

Radical Unschooling is a healing path for so many. Shifting from fear to trust is a big step for many parents coming to this life. It can be scary to let go of dogma and propaganda against media and consumerism and commercialism and trust your child’s choices. It can feel like jumping off a cliff when you first begin. In taking that leap of trust and putting their child’s choices before agenda, parenting becomes joyful and they become connected with their child in a way that they never before experienced.

We are going back to Australia in 2012 for the third Unschooling event in Australia. Next year, we are calling the event “Shift”. It will be an incredible experience dedicated to helping parents shift their ideas about birth, parenting, Unschooling, health, success and abundance. Look for a Shift event near you or email me to bring Shift to your town! Jump off that cliff and feel the freedom, joy and connection that you so desperately want with your child. It takes some undoing to being to understand a new, respectful and loving perspective of honoring your children’s choices without judgement, but you can do it! It only takes a desire to shift to living in a partnership paradigm with those you love and embracing a new consciousness.




  1. Great post Dayna, and we just loved hearing and meeting you in Airlie Beach (and Kai loved your hut on Halloween! lol!)….My husband is still talking about how inspiring you are – and he’s usually not easily impressed by anything much unschooly! lol!.

    I agree with your ideas on Waldorf totally…and have also found since returning to Australia that Steiner/Waldorf philosophy seems to be a real hinderance to those trying to come to grips with radical unschooling, especially in terms of media/screen time, etc – I find this much more here than I did when we lived in the USA.

    We also take what we like from Steiner – we have a nature table – although I can’t say it’s always full of natural products – before we left for Airlie we had halloween table with a plastic pumpkin from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! lol!

    We’ll see you next year in Sydney for sure!
    Jo, Brett and Kai

    • Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your comment. I really enjoyed connecting with you Brett and Kai at the conference in Australia. It was a life changing event for so many. I agree that there is so much for parents to undo when it comes to control and fear when coming to this life. I love helping parents shift from control to connection in regards to media, foods and bedtimes.

      We too have a nature table, but also respect whatever our children want to add to it. Right now we have a winter table, because they are all so excited for Christmas. We have pine cones, seashells, birch bark and a few random toys – Orion’s contribution. We can take what we like from every philosophy the world offers and leave what doesn’t work for us. This is the beauty of Radical Unschooling! There are no limits, no boundaries and only expansion and growth.

      I look forward to seeing you next year as the Unschooling Conference expands to include many other areas of life such as, Birth, Unschooling, Unjobbing, Success and Abundance! I look forward to seeing your beautiful family at Shift Australia in 2012!


      • Hi Dayna,
        We weren’t able to make it to QLD this year for the conference. Could you please tell us where the Shift conference will be held in Australia next year and a rough date so we can be prepared.

        I’ve been hearing so many great things about this years conference.


        • Hi Gerardine, The Shift Experience will be help on Sept 14th-18th near Sydney in 2012.

          *Shift* is a unique, multi-sensory family experience. From entertainment, music, movement, delicious foods, powerful talks and life-changing experiences it will support you on your Unschooling journey in a whole new way!
          Part conference – part festival – part global community support system… it is undefinable yet clearly defined.

          Shift will be taking place near Sydney, Australia on Sept 14th-18th, 2012!! We can’t wait to see our friends from our first two events, the Australian Unschooling Conference and make many new ones. Our intention is to bring people together for an amazing global event where we share about the Shift in consciousness surrounding Birth, Unschooling, Parenting, Health, and Unjobbing! We will be offering inspiring entertainment, have powerful speakers and incredible family experiences! We will share all the details as they unfold.

          The website is being created and will be live next month. I look forward to meeting you!

  2. Yep yep yep and more I agree!

  3. Hi Dayna
    Thanks for your comment which really means something to me.
    We are currently with the Waldorf system but my husband and I are in transition of wanting to unschool. We keep wanting to wait for the ‘right’ time. Your post has got me thinking maybe the right time is now. I’ve been told my child is not class 1 ready and will struggle this year, he is too much in his head.
    He is a very busy boy and is always asking questions but I always only tell how much information I think he can handle and really limit T.V. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Your post really told me something my heart has been shouting at me for over 6 months.
    I really wanted to go to the conference in Cairns but we were torn between two places and chose the other one.
    I am so glad you are coming to Sydney in september. Can’t wait to tell my husband when he gets home. We live in Adelaide so its a much closer adventure for us.
    Thanks so much for your inspiring wisdom. You make so much sense to me.
    warmest regards

  4. Maree Eichmann says

    Hi I am new to the ideas of unschooling but want to explore it further and involve my partner in it too. is there a website for the 2012 conference yet? how do I keep up to date with it all? I think it would be excellent for our whole family to attend, we have 3 children 6, 3 and 1 with our 6yr old being diagnosed with ASD. Thankyou.

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