Radical Unschooling – ABC News Nightline Video

This following Nightline video shows the challenge of bringing the radical unschooling philosophy to the mainstream culture. The “news spin” of the video, which tends to portray unschooling as “laissez-faire,” or neglectful, does not accurately represent radical unschooling. In sum, the video shows that there is a long way to go in demonstrating that Radical Unschooling is a wonderful, rich, joyful, family-centered way of living. The benefit of news pieces like this is that it gets people talking and thinking about a different way of living, parenting, and interacting with our children.

Let us know your thoughts.



  1. Hi Dayna 🙂

    We met at the 1st Australian Unschooling Conference last year. I’ve just watched your Dr Phil interview, and this one (ABC news) – you’re up against a tough audience! I agree with you when you wrote: “The benefit of news pieces like this is that it gets people talking and thinking about a different way of living, parenting, and interacting with our children.”

    My son Satria will start school next year (in a small Independent Community school in Byron Bay), while we radical unschool when he is at home (i.e natural learning without limits). Haha… is that a contradiction or what?! So far there hasn’t been any negative consequences that I can see… it will be interesting to see how he goes next year (he will be 5).

    Thank you for your contribution – I really enjoy reading your website and blogs, and it is a great support to me in wanting to unschool my son even though I was schooled at an all girls private school for 12 years – lots of unlearning for me!

    Love to you and your family,


  2. I love this because they may think they are making unschooling look “wrong” or weird, but they end up looking bad (especially that reporter), because of the comments you made (about the “Great Works” especially…who DOES remember those details other than English majors?) Their editing was very much geared toward their agenda as well…I can tell a lot was cut out, and their goal was to make this a “worrisome” thing for the public. Dayna, I think what you’re doing is wonderful, and I plan on following your work. Although unschooling is a bit hard for me to grasp completely, I am going to try to embrace it and see what happens. I have very young children, so it’ll be easy for now. Thanks for what you & your family are doing. Your kids are so unique and sweet…I believe they are wonderful examples of the unschooled life.

  3. Dumbest thing I ever did see. Check back with these out of control brats in 10 years and lets see where they are.

    • Please do check back! I know it is hard not to be swayed by the media to see this life as they portrayed it with their set agenda. I DO invite you to continue researching Unschooling to learn more about it.

      Thanks for your comment and for visiting my website.

      ~Peace & Love, Dayna

      • it is easy for one to send their child out the door, on a yellow bus, to be caged for about 8 hours of the day while the parents do *whatever*.

        To make a MINDFUL and Conscience decision to be *present* with our children, to Partner with them, to be involved in all their dreams and desires and wants. To nurture them and provide them with *TIME*, lots of TIME~ is what Unschooling is about.
        To not put in neat little compartments of :this is learning, this is not.
        …….. to not segregate LIFE from learning. To HELP them achieve their goals.
        To come alongside them as they try new things and soar to new heights……… to share in their joys and sorrows and the gamut of raw emotions….. yes…… that is an involved parent indeed. THAT is an Unschooling parent. THAT is a hands on parent.
        People like dr. phil and the mainstream/lamestream media want to make themselves *feel* better by villifying us who have chosen mindfullness over obedience and conforming, our being *present* with our children over letting institutions babysit the majority of their child’s growing years.
        How grateful I am to of had the pleasure of being my childrens friend and confident all their growing years. Trusting them and encouraging them.
        Trust begets TRUST.
        I love your loving and kind response to Randy, Dayna.
        Hate cannot drive out hate… ONLY LOVE can DO that.
        They fear what they do not understand. 🙁
        They worry so much what their child will be in the future, they forget… they *ARE *right now.
        A precious child IS Fully Human, and Fully to be Respected. Right here, Right now.

        ~ from an Unschooling Mom of 5 children 30 years old down to 10.
        ps…. my adult children and my younger children ARE my best friends. 🙂

  4. I admire your strength to walk into the wind and stand strong. The media bias is laughable. You are truly a warrior for peace in the home and therefore the world. I’m happy for your children! It’s also nice to know that those if us who echo this lifestyle are not alone.

  5. Oh my… The female host has completely bought into everything she has been told at school, hasn’t she? I think she’s too busy trying to be an “accomplished” and “respectable” adult to see that what you’re saying makes perfect sense. Keep up the good work, Dayna 🙂

  6. Anne-Marie V says

    Wow… I Admire you! They really tried to make it all look wrong…
    But I believe this is the right way to do it. This is something I don’t know a lot about, but I started thinking about unschooling a while ago. I don’t have kids yet but I think a lot about how I am gonna raise them and how school feels so bad to me… It wasn’t thaaat bad for me, but it wasn’t fun also, and I so didn’t care about history!! You’re right, I don’t remember anything about that…
    Public schools value things that aren’t of values for anyone.

    Thank you for trying to change the world!

  7. I’m an advocate for Life Learning and Democratic schooling and parenting. I feel there is a lot of negative spin around ”unschooling” and maybe the advocates (me included! 🙂 ) of this lifestyle could try to portray it in a less ”extreme” way, for the sake of the receptiveness of the audience who is not yet accustomed to thinking this way about life. I’ve personally felt that ”unschooling” is more of a negative term and that “Life Learning” opens it up a little better. People like to play up the ”my kids do whatever they want” and it almost has rebellious undertones to the mainstream thinker that would seem to some, geared towards getting a rise out of people who don’t understand this lifestyle. I know that is not the intention here, nor of a lot of families that promote this lifestyle, but it could be seen this way at times based on how this lifestyle gets presented. I find that the ways i’ve thought up with to present what we do to learn and live on a daily basis, as life learners actually gain a more positive and curious response instead of a shocked response, although there are still questions, they seem more receptive in the way I emphasize what we DO instead of what we don’t do for the sake of getting rid of that ”yucky” school stuff and i try to explain things in terms that ease the main streamer’s concerns. I try to keep them from getting all worked up in their mind about what this is all about, because as you know, they can do that a lot lol since the purpose of sharing is to bring more of this to the world, it would help to try and put things in a way that would make people less likely to build a wall about the subject. I know it can be easier said than done but I’d suggest thinking up and using a dialog that would make it very difficult for them to spin negatively. I know the media are masters of deception, but I think with placing even more emphasis on what you/ the kids do know and do in an way that translates to the ”subjects” that people are comfortable with, or instead of just saying ”well do you really need to know that” which i feel is kind of a limiting remark and can give nay-sayers about this lifestyle powerful ammo against you in their arguments especially for an interview when in a national spotlight. Maybe emphasize more interest based ways of learning those things especially to a child who has an interest that would be strong in that subject and how that would work, you know, really give them NOTHING they can use against you… Not trying to be to critical at all! And definitely not suggesting compromising the integrity of who you/family really are just to please people – i hope people can see the difference in that of what i’m saying here, as our intention in sharing this lifestyle with the world is trying to build bridges, not walls in the way the main stream thinker receives the information. Just wanting to share some ideas that could help this movement have the good reputation that it deserves 🙂 With that said, I feel for the most part you do a good job with this as some of your deeper explanations of peaceful parenting have made it easier for us to apply these principles with our kids and I wanted to thank you for that 🙂 and thank you also for all the hard work you pour into your blog and vlog I really enjoy what you share here!

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