Commune Dads is produced by adder Oaks and Keegan Dunn (henceforth referred to in the first person). We are good friends, having moved to Twin Oaks Community at roughly the same time, and our respective children were born six months apart. We frequently found ourselves in engaging conversations about our parenting philosophies, educational practices, and observations about parenting on a commune. Realizing that these conversations were at the very least mildly interesting, and that commune parenting is something most people have no exposure to, we decided to share these conversations with the world.
Each episode features a central topic about which we probe, share anecdotes, and follow tangents. In addition, we discuss parenting issues in the news, share our recommendations for books, games, or activities, discuss listener comments, and are sometimes joined in discussion by our fellow communards.
Who’s this show for, you ask? Just fathers who live on communes? No, of course not. I’m sure we know personally at least half of them, anyway. This show is for anyone interested in parenting, intentional communities and ecovillages, homeschooling, classical education, light banter, existential angst, groovy parenting practices, or nerdiness. So, basically, you. And if it’s not meeting your podcast needs, let us know. Write a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, complaints, topic suggestions, or just to say ‘hi’.
We release a new episode once every two weeks on Fridays. To listen, view the episodes on this site or subscribe via our RSS feed, iTunes, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcast app. We record and edit this show completely on our own time and any listener support goes toward ongoing hosting fees and may one day permit us to count our time spent as our work contribution to our community.
Adder Oaks is the father to his young son Connor and stepfather to Connor’s older brother Ellis. He has been living at Twin Oaks Community since 2010, after a Google search of “do hippie communes still exist?” pointed him to the wide network of intentional community.
Adder is a graduate of Bloomsburg University, where he began his studies training to be high school teacher, but later switched tracks to study pure mathematics. He has used his educational experience to serve on Twin Oaks’s economic planning team, tutor children and adults alike, and impress people with how many digits of pi he knows (okay, okay, memorizing digits is not actually a math skill).
Adder became involved in the communal childcare at Twin Oaks through Unicorn School, the morning daycare program of the community. The children that were toddlers when he started are in the middle elementary grades now, and adder has followed them as they’ve aged, being a key tutor in their educational careers. After becoming a parent in 2016, adder now spends much of his time at overseeing and educating Connor and Ellis.
Keegan Dunn is the father of Saoirse. After an embarrassing attempt at college, he dropped out to pursue his dream of being a scruffy hitchhiking anarchist and, after seven years as a computer programmer and a yearlong stint in a Zen Buddhist monastery, he ended up at Twin Oaks in 2011.
For the first five years of his membership, Keegan managed the dairy program. In 2016 he finally retired and became vegan. Now, other than keeping Saoirse happy, he indexes books and teaches Latin and programming.
Keegan and adder live at Twin Oaks Community in rural Virginia. Founded in 1967, Twin Oaks is the oldest secular income-sharing community in the United States. It has no central leader, rather a system of shared self-governance. Twin Oaks supports itself through cottage industries including Twin Oaks Tofu and Twin Oaks Hammocks, as well as self-sustaining domestic projects, such as the community vegetable garden and dairy. Each member is expected to meet a weekly work quota in some combination of income or domestic areas, including a wide range of jobs such as tofu and hammock production, business management, childcare and education, building and equipment maintenance, house cleaning, meal preparation, and social event planning. Twin Oaks provides its members with all of their material needs, such as food, housing, and healthcare, as well as a personal stipend for discretionary spending. Together, members strive to be a positive force in each other’s lives and an example to the world of cooperative living. For more information, visit www.twinoaks.org.
Childrearing at Twin Oaks is a unique blend of mainstream parenting practices and radical communitarianism. Parents hold the bottom-line authority and responsibility with regard to their children, but Twin Oaks’s commitment to communal childrearing provides a robust structure of support. Most children’s days include time with parents, time at the communal daycare, time with tutors, and time with other childcare workers (called “primaries”).