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Unschooling on Wife Swap

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Did anyone see Dayna Martin on Wife Swap?

 

I thought it was a great episode, and unschooling (and Dayna) came off as far more "normal" than the other mother.  She was just an angry, miserable woman!  Overall, I thought it was a pretty good depiction of unschooling.  Not perfect, but pretty good.  

 

And wow, I love her house!   :)

post #2 of 12

I didn't see it. I keep forgetting to check to see if it might be available online somewhere. I'd love to see it! 

post #3 of 12

ABC had it on their website; I don't know if it's still there.  The episode was not nearly as cringe-worthy as I expected it to be.  The editing definitely favored Dayna.  Either she never expresses herself poorly or in a way that could be misconstrued, or the production staff was super annoyed at the other lady's total lack of cooperation.  I don't like Wife Swap, in general, because they are so darn good at making all the women look unreasonable and either controlling or flaky, and unschoolers are such popular whipping boys.  It was almost like their hearts just weren't in it at all.  Of course the commentary following was the usual horror show.

post #4 of 12

I begrudgingly watched it online (yesterday, so it should still be on abc.com). My very negative mother suggested I watch it, partly to dissuade me from unschooling. Strangely I was pleasantly surprised. As mentioned, Dayna did an excellent job counseling the other family and while my mother disagreed, I thought Dayna's husband and kids were great. The real disappointment was that we never learned much about the lives and interests of the Martin kids, but the show's intent was to demonstrate their "weirdness" and so focus was placed on lack of reading skills, getting a piercing, swearing and over-use of technology...every mainstream parent's nightmare. winky.gif  Honestly, the unschooled kids seemed a lot more interesting than the other kids who were practically scared to breathe. So sad. And yes, the Martin house is VERY COOL!
 

post #5 of 12

We watched it and we loved it. The whole Martin family are so inspiring to us! On their fb page, whole life unschooling, Joe explained that he did take the kids to a Sudbury school for a hour or two and that Tiffany (the 11yo) was reading quite a bit there. I was really sad to hear Cindy's negative mindset about the whole situation right from the very beginning...

post #6 of 12
OK, just watched it... Poor kids! Too bad Dayna's daughter isn't fully reading, yet. We all know it's fine and that reading single words out of context is harder than ones in a sentence. But other people are just not going to get past an 11 yo not reading fluently.

And how sad that the other mom came home and told her daughter that her framed artwork wasn't going to stay there. And chastised her son because he must have told his friends she was so strict. It was ironic that she was the one who couldn't control her language when earlier in the show she was shocked that Dayna's son said "damn." It was funny that the show ended with "She bought a blender," as the only thing she got out of the experience.
post #7 of 12

Can't believe you all convinced me to watch this show ....  Anyway it was fun and I agree that the editing favoured Dayna but maybe she really was that impressive. To be frank, she is not exactly on the top of my list of unschooling / life-learning advocates but I see that when she is not talking about the unschooling but actually practicing its values, she really is quite inspiring. 

 

One could say, however, that because the other kids were raised with such discipline, it was easy for anyone to come and interact with them - like a well kept office or kitchen where anyone can work.   At the same time it reflects on Dayna that she has the inner resources to connect with a family so different from her own.

 

In the end it seemed like CIndy's family gained something from Dayna's  - even Cindy (who learned how to make smoothies), but not vice-versa.   

 

Then of course there is the unspoken issue of race.  How the following look to you: 

 

- kids playing outside at 1 am

- 11 year old not reading

- hair on the food in the fridge

 

will be different depending on race.  

 

So although we can all be shocked and horrified by Cindy's anger and inability to contemplate a freer lifestyle for her family, we should also be angry at the social inequality that makes some people freer to imagine freedom than others. 


Edited by rumi - 4/24/13 at 1:29pm
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumi View Post

Then of course there is the unspoken issue of race.  How the following look to you: 

 

- kids playing outside at 1 am

- 11 year old not reading

- hair on the food in the fridge

 

will be different depending on race. 

 

So although we can all be shocked and horrified by Cindy's anger and inability to contemplate a freer lifestyle for her family, we should also be angry at the social inequality that makes some people freer to imagine freedom than others. 

 

Yes to the above.  For this and other reasons, I did not like watching it.  I cringed a lot when Dayna spoke. So much unacknowledged social privilege there. 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

OK, just watched it... Poor kids! Too bad Dayna's daughter isn't fully reading, yet. We all know it's fine and that reading single words out of context is harder than ones in a sentence. But other people are just not going to get past an 11 yo not reading fluently.

And how sad that the other mom came home and told her daughter that her framed artwork wasn't going to stay there. And chastised her son because he must have told his friends she was so strict. 

 

OH man, that artwork scene at the end practically had me in tears.  That poor little girl.

 

I don't exactly understand the issue of race as it pertains to this.  Any kid outside playing at midnight is going to be looked at askew, any child not reading at 11 is going to be looked at askew.

 

The one thing I found interesting is that the strict mother made a big fuss about the lack of cleanliness in the house but I don't remember the camera honing in on anything dirty.  It seems like if the state of the house was a valid issue then the camera would have made a point to show the audience how gross it is.  All they found was a hair in the fridge, which is gross but can happen to anyone.

post #10 of 12

Let me be blunt.

 

A black kid playing outside at 1 am is not going be "looked at askew."  

Four black kids outside all at once?    Not going to be "looked at askew."

Could easily be questioned, arrested, or worse. 

 

Are you familiar with the phrase "driving while black?"  That is because black people drive.

If we haven't heard the phrase "hanging out at 1 am while black" it is because there are other names for that. 

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey View Post

I don't exactly understand the issue of race as it pertains to this.  Any kid outside playing at midnight is going to be looked at askew, any child not reading at 11 is going to be looked at askew.

A teenage black male has to worry much more about being viewed as a dangerous criminal for behaving the same way as a white teenager. The mother raising him may feel he needs to be spic and span, speaking politely, and not hanging out at the mall in a group because she knows he will be judged on an entirely different level and could be the victim of racial profiling.

 

When you are doing something controversial, like unschooling, being in the racial majority does lend some security to the whole experiment. 

post #12 of 12
In Cindy, I saw a mother who, however ill-equipped, was trying to protect her children. I saw someone who hoped, through her strict parenting, to give her children access to the American dream -- an access denied to so many black kids. No teenage pregnancy, no arrests, no falling with a bad crowd etc. Keep your kids close, on a short lease. Make sure they are respectful and responsible at all times. Whatever you do, make sure they dress clean. You just never know how the world -- their teachers, cops, friends' parents -- will see them.

Yeah, if I had black teenagers (in a public school no less) you bet the leash would be tighter and I would be terrified of them making a fatal mistake.

The reality is, it is easy for Dayna to sit there and try to teach this woman how to "love" her children. But the playing field is not level. Hell, it is not even the same field. I bet Cindy came a long way from her background. I bet she has traveled far. Here is hoping her kids will travel even farther with their children and their children farther with theirs.
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