My Family on ABC’s Hit Show, “Wife Swap”

Our family -- ready for the big swap!

Our family — ready for the big swap!

In October of 2012, my family took part in the experience of being on ABC’s, Wife Swap. Millions of people tuned in to see our family swap lives with a “strict disciplinarian.”

We saw the episode the night before it aired on ABC with our friends who were visiting from Bermuda and Australia. We were happy with the finished episode. It was very emotional to watch. There were moments of silence, tears and laughter. I will never forget watching it for the first time. We worked hard for many months going through the many steps of the process of being on such a production. It was an incredible learning experience for each one of us. We made new friends, lived other’s lives and grew as people being part of a reality show. It was reality and it was intense and we would do it all again, knowing how positive an impact it has on society as a whole.

It was a totally life-changing experience for our whole family and we all learned so much.

Saying goodbye before heading to San Diego to meet my Swap family.

Saying goodbye before heading to San Diego to meet my Swap family.

Part of the awesome Wife Swap crew here at our house. They filmed over Halloween and some of the crew at both locations dressed up. It was such a fun day of filming!

Part of the awesome Wife Swap crew here at our house. They filmed over Halloween and some of the crew at both locations dressed up. It was such a fun day of filming!

Ivy and Devin fire twirling for the Wife Swap Crew.

Ivy and Devin fire twirling for the Wife Swap Crew.

The New Rules Ceremony at our house. It was probably the lowest point of the experience for my family.

The New Rules Ceremony at our house. It was probably the lowest point of the experience for my family.

My Swap Kids, Jory and Najia.

My Swap Kids, Jory and Najia.

Here I am with part of MY crew out in San Diego.

Here I am with part of MY crew out in San Diego.

The Sparkling Martins.

The Sparkling Martins.

We have received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails about our appearance on the show!!
The positive support and comments were overwhelming and so much more than we ever thought we would get.
Our episode is the most viewed of this new Primetime season.

We are grateful for the opportunity and thank ABC Network and the entire Wife Swap Crew for being respectful, honest and kind working with our family.

Here is a pic from some friends in Australia who got together to watch Wife Swap and what Anna Foley said, “…and here we all are reeeeeally getting into it – all ages!! Kids were coming in and out during the viewing, to check it out too. I think we all felt so close to your family while watching this. We truly felt the emotional extremes Dayna Martin, watching this Wife Swap U.S. show. Plenty of ooohs and ahhhs, startled reactions and sighs…the whole range. What an experience! “

A viewing Down Under.

Thanks for your love and support – all of you!


Here is the FULL EPISODE!




  1. Natalie Kellington says


    I watched your episode of Wife Swap with a few of my unschooled children. We were happy to see your family use the experience as a learning adventure. Thank you for doing the show and allowing others to see an inside view of a healthy, loving, unschooling family. You showed people that equality, respect, freedom, and love are very important. I am sad that so many parents don’t know that.


  2. Dayna – I just watched this episode.

    I love you and your family.

    Thank you for shining and being the sparkling martins.

    You have changed my life.



  3. wow dana im in tears i felt so sorry for thoes outher kids we are kind of unschooling but still a bit controled due to my insecuritys(im working on it)and it was my big fear when the outher mum asked your daughter to spell only on the dish washer but then i saw what a visious parana the outher mum was the moment she got home ,you could just see her fumes to hear that outhers also know of her miss treatment and the instant reaction of that pictures not staying there and how the boy imediatley cowared and eyes droped when his mum got back to the usual drill ,so as much as im scared of how my unschooled kids will turn out becouse of some issues at my house i would be ashamed if my kids ever were scared of me or expressing them selves in a safe and considerate manner im so sad im almost not happy about the small vegan change to the drill sargents life my love to you all keep up the great example.

  4. Katerina says

    Hi Dayna
    it was very interesting for me to watch the program.
    I hope even though Cindey will probably never admit it she will realize her mistakes and try and bond with her kids more.

  5. Looks like an incredible experience! Wow! 🙂

  6. Unschooling in the woods says

    It was great to see how happy the other family became when Dayna was living with them. I was sad to see that the other mom went back to her old rules. Poor kids having to live with that crazy mom. I hope that the other mom realizes soon of her mistakes and stop her crazy rules and acting like a sargeant.

    Anyway Dayna you look great. You have a beautiful and happy family.

    Watching your Youtube videos my friends and I went from homeschooling to unschooling. Slowly becoming a radical unschooling moms. Unschoolers rock!

    Thank you Dayna! Please do a conference in the Washington DC/ Maryland area.

  7. Hi Dayna, I really enjoyed the episode of Wife Swap with your family. I actually stumbled upon it a few months after learning about your blog and being introduced to Radical Unschooling. I hadn’t seen that show in years. Like other commenters, I was saddened by watching the other family’s kids (and husband) be demoralized by their matriarch.

    One thing did catch me by surprise though, and maybe you’ll comment on this in later blog entries. I didn’t understand why your husband wouldn’t keep all of the rules, specifically on letting the kids go to school, and going to bed. It came across (on TV) as disrespectful. Obviously they don’t show everything that actually goes on in each house, and he had to put up with more than I might be able to take, but I was just curious.

    I can’t imagine being in their shoes and I you all are incredibly brave for going through this experience. I believe you have made a great positive impact for the cause of Radical Unschooling. Keep it Up!

  8. Dayna—I’d love to know what life is now like for your swap kids, Jory and Naja. Has their mom lightened up a little? I felt very sorry for those children, and I was so glad they got to see, through your examples, that life can be different from what they experience with their mother.

  9. Christan says


    This was so wonderful to watch. My favorite moment is when your son spoke up for you when the other mom was trying to slander your name. My family is so similar to yours. We also practice a mostly raw vegan lifestyle, have a vitamix, the same mini van, unschooling, etc. It was awesome to see another family living the way we do. I didn’t think your house was messy AT ALL. I did not see any mess whenever the other mom was obsessing over how dirty everything supposedly was. I look forward to reading your book! xoxo

  10. Hi Dayna
    I just watched the wife swap and I am so grateful you did it. I do not believe radical unschooling would work for our family but I was so glad to see the dichotomy. When Children are loved and respected they can blossom. In the short week those kids could relax and enjoy life. That little girl was so proud to have her art on the wall. It broke my heart to see the mom comment that it wasn’t staying there. The mom was all about her own anxiety. Everyone lived in fear of her own emotional reactivity. How horribly sad. Thank you for showing us what beauty can look like.

    My best
    Karen from ME

  11. I feel so bad for the other kids, in some ways it would have been better for them to have not experienced that freedom than to have it taken away after they started loving it… But who knows, perhaps in the future you will have inspired those kids for a better way to raise their own families.
    I do have a question tho, It looked in the show like there were different rooms and beds, how many of them still cosleep?

  12. wish i could watch this in canada!

  13. I feel so bad for the kids at the army camp and she looked at the painting and said that’s not staying there, that is so disrespectful to her children xoxo

  14. I think it was a great show, I love all wife swap episodes. I love to see what new ways they adopt. In this episode, neither family adopted any which was VERY sad on both sides. Being a 14 yr old I do see that the kids were disrespectful and could have tried something new. I hope you had a great learning experience, but what about your kids and your husband???? I think the other kids will have more freedom in their own family’s, and your kids, too much freedom. Unschooling is not the way to go when your kids don’t know basics. They will grow up a laughing stock, and it will all root back to their childhood

  15. I loved watching this I wish I could have a life like this but my mom thinks I have to go to school and I cry ever morning I get up to go to school and only my soul sister gets me I wish I was free.

  16. I forget to add that I think it was awesome how your oldest son went on a strike

  17. Wow. I have to say watching that was so disturbing. Her husband and children are slaves to her knee jerk reactions and insane ego. I thought your husband handled himself very well around that mean mother. I’m glad that something so unconventional (by our societies standard) such as unchooling was shown to be such a gently form of parenting. It really makes you think about what’s important in life. Preparing kids for work and bills, with no guarantee of a tomorrow or allowing children and parents freedom to live how they want. Not restricted by someone else’s view of what’s right and wrong. Great job Dana. Much love

  18. Trinity smith says

    How can u get signed up cuz I need that for my mom to see how it fills to be in someone else’s house and follow there rules my parents are up tight ppl help me out

  19. Trinity smith says

    And I’m a lil out of control cuz my dad is divorced and getting married again in September or October and I need some help

  20. Attn: Video is not available.

    The video responds:

    “This video contains content from Disney Enterprises, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”

    This Wife Swap episode has also been removed from the ABC website. Such a shame it is so hard to find.

    I noticed >MeganSo, I have this link to share:

    Beware! The link may be a virus/phishing site!

    I watched the episode on a mobile browser(Apple I-Phone/Safari).

    I had no problems watching the full episode on my phone.

    Yet, when I switched back to my pc, I was attacked by malicious pop-ups, and an attempt to download a file to my computer(from

    Thank you to the Martin family, as well as the Avery-Lamb family.

    A great episode it was, indeed!

  21. I’m sorry that you had such a hard time in school, that you couldn’t see the benefits of it for your children. While you find unschooling a better fit for your lifestyle, remember it’s schooling that brought you to this idea. Quite an oxymoron.

    • Schooling did NOT bring me to the idea of Unschooling. That is completely false. I didn’t learn about Unschooling until I was 26 years old. My children have the freedom to attend school if they ever decided to go. They find the institution oppressive and extremely disrespectful to children, however, so it is unlikely they will ever choose to attend. The only “oxymoron” is that you are assuming that school is the only place that one can learn, from your comment. In fact, I learned NOTHING about parenting, peace, respect, freedom and compassion while there.

  22. kaye herbert says

    Hi dayna!
    When I first saw the episode when it originally aired years ago, I had a toddler son & infant son, but knew I wanted to educate them at home. To be honest, I didn’t care for the dynamics of either family, 2 very different extremes, but thought there were redeeming aspects of each family. As a newbie to the idea of alternative ways of education (anything outside public school really) I initially judged Unschooling as a disservice to the children & not the way I would do it. Now that I have 3 sons total & my oldest is 6, I’ve had time to research, learn from others, try things out & see what works for my children. And although before I thought I was right to almost replicate the school model in the home with hours of workbooks & such, I now couldn’t disagree more! I’m a few years I went from classical education to Charlotte mason to Unschooling. I’m still deschooling myself but I think it’s the path we will walk & I find myself educating everyone I know about Unschooling & how it’s not terrible & neglectful like I used to presume. Anyway, thank you for being brave & helping Unschooling become well known, in a good way. 🙂

  23. kaye herbert says

    On and I meant to say that my boys are big & look 1-2 years older than they are, which doesn’t help family, friends & strangers from grilling them on what they know. Ugh. My 6 year old is very smart but cannot read anything yet & since he looks 8, people are dumbfounded that he can’t read or do math. However he knows more than most adults about ocean life, whole food nutrition & nature study. The rest will come in the right time. Trusting the process!

  24. Alicia Taylor says

    Hello 🙂 this episode was such an intriguing watch on many levels. Thank you and your family for partaking in the experience to provoke some thought.

    We live in such a heavily regulated society I think it challenges many people to question what freedom truly is. If a dictator took over the world and started imposing on our freedom (which our rights are becoming more and more restricted as it is) people would take a stand and fight to be free. There are comments on here about your husbands choice to not follow the rules of the show. This is such a great example of the different ways we can view our freedom of choice. If the rules don’t make sense to us, if they suppress us, devalue or degrade us why should we follow them? It doesn’t matter if it’s a TV show, work or politics. If we aren’t hurting anyone and we are happy why change?

    Secondly, control is such a heavily embedded brain pattern it’s so easy to not notice controlling words or actions. This has definitely given me the opportunity to re evaluate the areas I am still trying to control in my life so I can release and free myself those around me.

    I feel so blessed to be on my journey, walking towards freedom and being able to give this gift to my family also. Your experience has made me feel more grateful for our choice to unschool. It has also made me want to hug my kids extra tight in gratitude that I can offer them the opportunity to discover and be who they truly are. To be free and fabulous, uninhibited by judgement and social expectation xx

  25. I am late to the game…is there another link to watch this episode?
    Would love to see your episode!

    Thank you, Marc

  26. Is there another link to watch this episode? I would love to see it.

    Thank you!

  27. I listened to your book on audible and it led me here. I noticed you said in there that your dream was to appear on your own version of Nanny 911 so congrats on getting what you dreamed of.

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