The REAL price of Radical Unschool Gurus*UPDATE*
So in the midst of my much exciting vacation! ( moving into our new home that I just love! and ( sshhh.. don’t tell my kids, also shopping for a puppy!) we here on LivingFree have been made aware of yet anotherRadical Unschool “Guru” Dayna Martin scandal. The fact that this has anything to do with Mrs. Martin is actually quite irrelevant to my writing this post, what IS relevant however is the complete and utter lack of respect, knowledge, and love for the families that the guru is professing to “help”, AND the fact that this “come into my home and help me get unschooling… or be a “better parent” thing even exists. We have written extensively on this site about the damage done to families in the Radical Unschooling world, Visit here, here, here and here.
Before you click on the other blog and read this family’s story. Let me say this, what struck more than anything else in the story of this one family who was left with nothing, other than higher bills to pay, and the devastating mess to clean up, is that time and time again the mother FELT IN HER GUT, that something was “off”. And I don’t mean “off” as in the Guru-for-hire is actually struggling with her own demons ( which she is and that is quite clear ) but that the guru, Mrs. Martin wasn’t really interested in helping the family. The mother felt it. Her own daughter felt it. Time and time again they saw flags raised… intuition kept trying to seep through… but the family in so much wanting to believe in this person, chose to ignore their own internal warning.
Please read this blog linked here. I will also like to thank Jennifer Davis Green for coming forward with all this and the mom who shared her experience with self-appointed Unschool “leader” Dayna Martin; Patti Stephens. Many other families have shared the same complaints regarding Mrs. Martin, but not many have been willing to speak publicly for fear of attack by the Martins and their followers.
(the part regarding the UnNanny experience starts after 4th paragraph of blog part 3 )
I will quote here the mother herself as she lists her own struggle with trying to understand how she handed over her intuition and better judgement.
” Even as I sit here and reflect on the events that occurred, the hours of heartache with my children, my family of choice, and the time energy and money we invested, I am still left with these nagging feelings of,
1. Mistrusting myself: Why didn’t I listen to my gut? after all my journey toward unschooling has been about listening to my gut so I know what that feels like?
2. Anger: Why, why, why did I expose my kids to her, especially after I strongly sensed she was not at all here, in Texas, for our family. But rather for her own personal agenda with the Greens. Note: HER agenda, not the Greens!
3. Sadness: Yes sadness. I still even feel sadness and empathy for Dayna, because I know, deep down something is terribly broken and wounded and is being manifested in the world in the most fraudulent way: pretending to help children and families. “
Why do we do this? Is it because we have fallen in love with the well-manicured public perception this guru has put out that we just don’t want to believe otherwise? Is it that our own schooling has left us completely insecure and vulnerable to charlatans?
Whatever the reasons, know this. And I have said this before and I will say it again, TRUST YOURSELF. There is no “fixer”. Our roles as parents is a wonderful but challenging one. It takes so much time, evolution, forgiveness, self-educating, reconsidering, decompressing, introspection… and the thing is… you can’t really do this, if someone is telling you THEY got the answer and it all be better if you live according to THEIR perception of the world. Have you stopped to ask this person… in the privacy of their own home and psychosis, what THEIR perception of the world REALLY is? and asked yourself, whether that’s what you want for your family?
I know there will be those few who will want to jump up in rescue and scream, “I don’t care what you say! Dayna has done so much for our family!” I will say two things, #1, why are you crediting someone else for your personal growth as a parent? and were you abusing your family or being awful before you ever heard of Dayna Martin? and #2, remember the saying, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
So what is the REAL price of Gurus? Your peace? Your Family? The exorbitant fees? Your children being used and feeling confused and betrayed? and while we are pondering that, let me also say this… Gurus don’t become gurus without followers and defenders. Gurus don’t become authorities of anything until WE hand over our own voice. So the question really is, why do we do this to ourselves? and as far as the Radical Unschool community goes, will this be the final guru lesson? or is the need to be led so strong that no matter how many times Radical Unschool parents are kicked, conned, and lied to, they will inevitably keep returning for more? Only time will tell…
8/1/13 Update: Author Sandra Dodd has opened a temporary FB group ( as described in the group) ”for inquiries about the veracity of claims made by Dayna Martin about her experience and credentials, and to share evidence of dishonesty and false claims of various sorts.” Please be sure to visit group ( it’s open to read ) so as to see the evidence and understand the extend of the seriousness of the controversy surrounding Dayna Martin. Below include some but not all, of the examples of dishonesty and plagiarism as they have been discovered through this open inquiry. Please note that this is an ongoing inquiry, so I have listed here things that have been verified. Visit group to learn more. Also, if you have any information that can be helpful to Mrs. Dodd in this inquiry but you are afraid to speak publicly for fear or any other concern, you can email her and ask to remain anonymous. Also, Mrs Dodd is compiling all the information she has gathered and will house it all in a place that is accessible to others looking for answers and the truth. We will direct readers to such destination once it is established.
- Dayna’s plagiarized article here. The original article published months earlier by another author is here
- Another plagiarized article regarding her supposed Raw Food diet here. The original un-credited article written by another author here.
- More evidence of plagiarism here.
- Plagiarized quotes here and here.
- Evidence of harassment, bullying and threats made by Joe Martin to Amazon reviewer for negative review. Here ( for me personally this was the most troubling. If this is not cyber-bullying, I don’t know what is. No one should feel intimidated or scared that they will be harassed and tracked down on FB because they gave an HONEST review of a book that was less than favorable. Forgive me, but that alone would make me question the ethics and character of the author. This is very troubling.)
- Another account of unprofessional-ism and poor ethics with La Leche League in NH. The account is very detailed and speaks for itself. Read here.
These are just some to highlight, there is more in the group. The amount of emails and documentation that Mrs. Dodd is receiving is quite frankly alarming. Ranging from Mrs. Martin soliciting glowing Amazon reviews from people, and her paying them for that review with a copy of her book for free ( so they are writing positive reviews to a book they haven’t read! ( and the added layer is that the people don’t even receive the book), claims of being keynote speaker to events that either did not happen, or she organized and they either fail apart or she was the only person there. Another strange and embellished claim by the Martins is that of Joe Martin having been a speaker at the London Unschool Conference ( another falsehood ) Etc.. etc…
On a personal note, I would hope that your search for the truth outweighs any sense of “like”, “dislike”, or “loyalty” to any person or perceived camp. There’s no time for that and Homeschooling/Unschooling is bigger than any person. However, the more public the person is, the more their fraudulent actions affects us all. When a person gives themselves the unearned title of ”Unschool pioneer”, then not only should that person at least try and live up to it, but even MORE importantly, they should be held accountable by the very community they reap so much benefit from. We pride ourselves in being independent thinkers, so let’s act like it. I also hope that rather than spending so much energy on chasing short-sighted fame, that Dayna and Joe Martin focus on their small children and on living a healthy and authentic life. There is plenty of time to make ourselves celebrities if that’s what we wish, but not at the expense of families or Homeschooling/Unschooling.