Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
Self-Directed Education

Self-Directed Education

Join hosts Emma Nicholson and Chris Wells for Episode 37 with Marni Kammersell

In episode 37, Chris and Emma talked with Marni Kammersell, a 2e adult, doctoral student at Bridges Graduate School, and parent of three 2e children in Colorado. We started this episode by discussing our concerns about how overexcitabilities are sometimes interpreted in the gifted community. Parents of gifted and 2e children sometimes discover the OEs and stop there without exploring the types of neurodivergence that may be present in their children. We talked about the reality that it’s possible to have a healthy neurodivergent identity without pathologizing oneself.

Marni shared experiences from her journey as a 2e parent of 2e kids who have never attended formal schooling. She broached the idea that people should get to decide for themselves which words apply to their experiences and which communities they choose to associate with. Emma had freshly read Dąbrowski’s book Psychoneurosis is Not an Illness when we recorded this episode and talked about his pioneering work as a clinician who was neurodiversity-affirming before that term existed. In his work, there is a clear message that being different doesn’t mean you’re defective.

We learned about self-directed education, what that means, and how at its core, it is based on trusting children—and trusting all humans because, ideally, we should all become self-directed learners by the time formal schooling ends. Self-directed education and unschooling are grounded in children’s rights and youth liberation, while traditional education often operates top-down from a power over dynamic rather than power with. Marni also talked about the difference between homeschooling and unschooling. At the end of our discussion, we also discussed self-directed education in adulthood.

The Positive Disintegration Study Group was mentioned more than once in this episode. If you’re interested in joining the group, which meets monthly on Zoom, you can write to Chris at positivedisintegration.pod@gmail.com. The group requires a six-month commitment and a small monthly fee.

Links from this episode

Wandering Brightly (Marni’s website)

Wandering Brightly (Marni’s Substack)

Alliance for Self-Directed Education

Unschooling Every Family (Facebook group)

Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn (Amazon)

Free to Learn by Peter Gray (publisher site)

Emma’s review of Psychoneurosis is Not an Illness (D.C. website)

Connect with us!

Positive Disintegration on Substack

Visit the Dabrowski Center website



The Positive Disintegration YouTube Channel

Adults with Overexcitabilities group on Facebook

Dabrowski Center and Positive Disintegration Podcast Community on Facebook

The Tragic Gift blog by Emma

Email us at positivedisintegration.pod@gmail.com

Please consider supporting the podcast to help fund this work through the Dabrowski Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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Positive Disintegration
Positive Disintegration Podcast
What can be positive about disintegration? Join us for an exploration of positive disintegration through conversation and shared stories. It’s a framework for understanding a variety of intense experiences that often look and feel like mental illness, but which can also be viewed as building blocks for creating an authentic personality.