The "detox" chat transcript was part of "The Unschooling Barrage"
when AOL was the place to be, and web pages were in bud.

In the mid 1990's, there was a set of e-mails new unschoolers could request, and this was the intro:

The Unschooling Information Barrage

The Unschooling Information Barrage is a set of 23 pieces of e-mail that consists primarily of unschooling chat logs, articles, and resources available to anyone seeking knowledge about the unschooling philosophy and method of homeschooling.

To request this free information, please e-mail Monica Molinar at: AkMomOf3.....
(yeah, that's been years, so never mind. 🙂)

Note in June, 2009, when I put this on

Kirby was nine, so this was 1995, or early 1996. I skimmed it as I was editing it today. I kept on learning after that year, for sure, but this isn't *too* embarrassing.

In the transcript, HmSchDodd is the name I was required to use when I was "working" on AOL, and HmSchDAC is DACunefare/Deb Cunefare (also an AOL volunteer in those days). —Sandra

HmSchDodd : Could you all give me your name/nickname if you'd rather be addressed as that than your screenname?

HmSchDodd : I'm Sandra

PMcconn369 : Penny here!!

CherisHome : Cheri

LJDBush : <-----Laura

Mom23kids : Cindy

Mettaphor : I'm Thea, but not good at remembering names

Beck2830 : I'm Anita

MyCamelot : The great and powerful......oh, you were serious 🙂 ...Jeri will be fine! 🙂

In those days there were no graphics for smilies. I added those later, because we used a g or bwg between pointy brackets, but html won't save those. And the original was a word file people would download, single-spaced. So this is an early-21st-century version of a 20th century word file.

TAZTUG : Karen or taz

ChosenOnes : Cheri, also--so call me Chosen.
ChosenOnes : Or, Cherie.

PMcconn369 : LOL JEri!!

HmSchDodd : Jeri of Oz...

HmSch DAC : I will try to remember names, but... I even mess up my kids names, so...

HmSchDodd : Okay, I have a yellow sticky-note with names. I'm in business.
HmSchDodd : Here's my premise for this session: We have voices and ghosts inside us, and conditioning, all of which keep us from homeschooling clearly and joyfully and calmly. We have guilt and fear and "ideas" [BAD ideas] tied up with our thoughts of learning/education, and it just gums up our brains and our hearts. Much of it is so deep we don't even recognize it, and I'm not saying I'm completely cleansed--far from it--but I have found some things I've identified, and I thought it would help if Deborah and I threw some ideas out here you might pick up and use.
Not everything will be applicable to everyone. Deborah--you're up for a minute.

HmSch DAC: School teaches us plenty of things that aren't on the curriculum Most of them negative. When we start to homeschool, we have all kinds of ideas about what we should be doing that get in the way of our learning adventure.

HmSchDodd : Did any of you think of more "truths" to add to Deborah's list from the other day? I thought of "Teachers are always right."

HmSch DAC : Oh yeah.

HmSchDodd : Those are ideas in words. I have some blocks which are non-verbal. The sight of an analog clock at 3:00

Beck2830 : I was just left with a general feeling of not feeling good about myself

HmSchDodd : Margmom is on her way; name: Margaret.

ChosenOnes : How about, "Being smart isn't cool."

HmSchDodd : Well that vague ill-feeling is something we can reproduce at home too if we're not careful 🙂

HmSchDodd : OH yeah! Smart-is-bad, average-is-good.

Ruhi19 : Doing your best also isn't cool.

Mettaphor : "There's something wrong with you if you make a mistake."

HmSchDodd : It's a divide and conquer deal, too. Smart kids sometimes need to decide whether they'll appease teachers or other kids, and whichever they chose leaves them with enemies.

HmSch DAC : Have you noticed how many people ask how to make kids love to learn?
When the real problem is how do you keep from making them hate it?

HmSchDodd : Making them hate learning can happen at home too.

ChosenOnes : If the teacher likes you, other students will often hate you.

HmSch DAC : Yes that was my point, not well expressed. 🙂

Beck2830 : I was a minority student at a 95% jewish school and I was not taught to be as verbal so I missed the smart is not good.
I picked up that I was not smart enough and that's not good

HmSchDodd : Anita, that's a really interesting point which I'll put a couple of minutes into. I had hoped to bring it up tactfully. Cool that you did! 🙂 Jewish kids learn in their families and at Hebrew school by asking questions. Christian kids, meanwhile, are told to be quiet, wait, don't bother adults, don't talk back, never question.

Beck2830 : YES YES YES

HmSchDodd : We get the double whammy, those of us from a long line of "shut-up" Christians. School and home conspire against us. The Jewish kids, meanwhile, have parents and a rabbi who LOVE it when they ask hard questions, and will ask them hard, thought-provoking questions right back.

HmSch DAC : Yes, I always had teachers who said "No question is stupid" but they sure didn't act that way.

HmSchDodd : Same teachers who said, "Actions speak louder than words"!

HmSchDodd : Anyone here grow up Jewish? [there was no response to that question] I have a lot of Jewish friends and those of you who know me will not be surprised to know that I asked them things like "What is the DEAL!?"

MyCamelot : I was taught never to question authority.....and that's a hard thing to overcome.

HmSchDodd : That's the answer I kept getting--they are taught to question authority, to question EVERYTHING, until they have a good understanding in themselves which is not based on other people's approval or opinion. Very opposite the Christian model of childhood. Don't worry," "You'll understand when you're grown," "We'll take care of you," etc.

TAZTUG : military upbringing here same thing "protocol"

MyCamelot : Funny, TAZ, I was just aluding it to the military in my head!

HmSch DAC : "You don't need to know that yet."

HmSchDodd : So that's a side-bar to the school messages. If you want your kids to be thoughtful, observant, and to be able to learn on their own without you, try to lean toward the Jewish home-model rather than the "seen-not-heard" Christian tradition.

HmSch DAC : So the idea is then that no question is out of bounds, and you always try to answer?

HmSchDodd : Remember the story of Jesus as a child, not where he was supposed to be and found with the rabbis?

HmSch DAC : In the temple yes.

MyCamelot : Oh!

HmSchDodd : I try to treat every question with as much gravity as I can (and I laugh later. 🙂)

Beck2830 : I have a knot in my stomach because my 6 yr old was at a pow wow and I felt uncomfortable

HmSchDodd : Why? Why were you uncomfortable, I mean? Where are you?

Beck2830 : because she kept asking??? and I didn't want to feel & yes I knew better

HmSchDodd : Oh! Some of the questions are hard. Sometimes getting a book out while the mom recovers helps 🙂

HmSchDodd : In New Mexico there are enough Indians around that it's not such a shock to see them. There are a couple of books out which exist for the purpose of getting those questions aired at home so they're not asked right in public. One we have is called "Mommy, why is that man's nose so big?" (I think) And it has photos of people with one or another abnormality.
We have a neighbor who is a dwarf, and I was very embarrassed one day when he was at the door, and my kids (who have seen him many times) brought their visitors to look at him. Nothing to do but wait until he's gone and explain calmly that that might embarrass him. I tried to use a little humor, but I didn't try to make them feel they'd committed a crime.

HmSch DAC : Sometimes it's just that your kid keeps asking questions in a group when everyone else is not.

Beck2830 : true

HmSchDodd : Deborah, maybe your kid's smarter. Maybe theirs have been trained not to ask.

Mettaphor : My oldest is like that, DAC

HmSchDodd : Probably the people who can hear wonder the same things.
HmSchDodd : Here are some school-vestiges I have:
HmSchDodd : Saturdays are special!! Big deal, Saturday!
HmSchDodd : (Of course to my kids they aren't.)

MyCamelot : 🙂

HmSchDodd : VACATION!!!!
HmSchDodd : (Vacation from what?)

HmSch DAC : Mondays stink. 🙂
HmSch DAC : Why?

MyCamelot : Snow days!

HmSchDodd : Yeah! They like Mondays fine! 🙂
HmSchDodd : I liked school, so the word "September" to me conjures up new school supplies, a whole bunch of them. and by May every year I was sick of it, so "May" means HOME!!!!

TAZTUG : i still can't resist new crayons and pencils in Sept.

HmSchDodd : My kids only identify months by whose birthday it is or what holiday there is. They have no idea that JULY is more glorious than March. 🙂

ChosenOnes : We like Sat. because my dh is home all day.

LJDBush : Chosen, that's what makes Sat. special for us too.

HmSchDodd : We had "school nights" which meant no nonsense, clean up, go to bed NOW, be quiet. My kids don't. And they don't appreciate the fact that they don't! How rude! 🙂 MyCamelot : Oh sleepovers on school nights!

MyCamelot : I remember that very well.

HmSchDodd : John Holt said that there should be no school trappings put on homeschooling. Lots of people go so far with that that they have educational materials all over the house, not just "in a schoolroom" or "at THE desk" but they forget to also jettison the "school hours" and "school year," the concepts of what days are or are not "school days," and what "grade" kids are in. We really, honestly don't have to keep those things. When I sign up with the state I give them the number they want to see, but with the kids, we "promote" them on their birthdays, not in May or September, and in the past few months we've been moving toward "it doesn't matter what grade, we're just doing all kinds of hard and easy stuff."

MyCamelot : What "level" they're on. A friend said to me the other day, "Don't you think that, if Greg were in public school, he'd be in a gifted program?" I said, "I don't know....and I don't care." She acted like I had spit on her.

HmSch DAC : I like that. My daughter is concerned about grade level, because of course everyone asks "what grade are you in" as if that tells them something important.

ShariY : But my kids have lots of ps friends who talk 'that talk'.....

Margmom : People have even started asking my son about school, and he is a very small almost 5 yo.

LJDBush : As Deborah said--adults everywhere push that grade thing--hard to avoid.

MyCamelot : Yes, Laura, it IS hard to my son knows what "grade" he would be in....even

MyCamelot : though I think it's dumb and unnecessary.

HmSchDodd : I figure it's up to the kids. Sometimes Kirby says "fourth" and sometimes he says I don't go to school so I'm not IN a grade.

Mettaphor : My kids just say "We homeschool." They don't know what grade they'd be in.

ChosenOnes : We just change grades whenever they complete most of their work. Our "school year" doesn't correspond to the public school's.

HmSchDodd : Kirby and Marty got a book at a used bookstore called 101 School Jokes. I tried to talk them out of it. 🙂 They were reading it in the car, and they had to ask me a couple of times about terminology.

HmSch DAC : LOL. Melissa got that one too. She doesn't "get" most of it. 🙂

HmSchDodd : One was "class clown." I explained it, and I felt a sadness inside me for those of us who had BEEN "class clowns" and had been shamed for it. I told them it was kind of a mean thing teachers said to kids who were being funny and making the other kids laugh. Then one mentioned "teacher's pet," Marty asked what it was, and Kirby said, "A kid who helps a lot." br> I said, "Sometimes, but it's a mean thing kids say to and about other kids if the teacher likes them."
Both of those things stirred a little ache in me because I had often been teacher's pet and class clown

TAZTUG : I understand the concept about grades at "home" but what about outside activities that the kids want to be in that require "grade" classification?

ChosenOnes : Amen to that!!!

ShariY : TAZ, I get a lot of that with Scouting.

ChosenOnes : Go by age if that works, or perhaps by maturity, TAZ.

TAZTUG : scouting , Sunday school almost anything that's not h/s sponsored

Beck2830 : It makes me sad to think how adults encourage children sometimes to be more negative than positive and now everyone wants to bemoan losing values in America.

ShariY : I think Sunday Schooling is the worst for that!

HmSchDodd : I think we just have to do what we can. If people are aware, at least, of what "grade" is and is not good for, it takes some pressure off the situation, and the less pressure you have the easier home- schooling will be. When we're unhappy with our kids, it should be about something actual, that will affect their well-being, and not some trumped-up leftover school-stuff in ourselves.

MyCamelot : I agree, Shari

ChosenOnes : We took our boys out of Sunday School and now have our own family class. Much better!

ShariY : If ever there needs to be a time for families to be together, it's at church!

ChosenOnes : Amen!

HmSchDodd : Chosen/Cheri, you're a step ahead if you "promote" when their work is done, and I'm guessing that you're coming to these workshops because you might want to let go of even a little more structure.

ChosenOnes : Maybe, Sandra; though there are a lot of areas where I would disagree with you.
ChosenOnes : Try convincing most pastors and deacon boards of that, Shari!

MyCamelot : 🙂 Women after my own heart...but that could be a whole different chat!

ShariY : We tried, we quit.......

HmSchDodd : Mormons have kids in the church service. They just crank up the volume and let the kids be kids!

MyCamelot : Ain't it the truth, Sandra? I love that...

LJDBush : I find it hard to let go of: "Smart is better; "advanced" is better, etc.

ShariY : But LJD, who sets the standards?

ChosenOnes : Actually, Laura, how do you measure "smart"?

HmSchDodd : I don't care if people disagree with me. I wouldn't want anyone to agree with me blindly, nor disagree blindly.

MyCamelot : I'm here because I know Sandra and Deborah, and I knew this would be great fun, and I'd probably learn something as well. However, I am very proud to say that I don't care how my children measure up against other people's long as they are happy with themselves

PMcconn369 : Our church has children there during the service! Sunday School for everyone follows church services!

HmSchDodd : Nothing personal to me--I just want to present information for people to consider.

ChosenOnes : All of us have our strength and weaknesses.

LJDBush : I know it's silly--but I was "smart" and got a lot of strokes for that.

HmSchDodd : The same things don't work for everyone.

LJDBush : I know it's meaningless, but I still feel proud my kid is a grade ahead in math.

HmSchDodd : Laura, if you can keep that joy to yourself it will probably be better for your kid! 🙂

ShariY : But if you're 'smart', then someone else has to be 'dumb'. That doesn't seem fair.

Ruhi19 : Me too, but she is behind in evens out into a, hopefully, great human being.

ChosenOnes : Again, what is smart?????

TAZTUG : but what if they care? how they measure up to others

HmSch DAC : My husband has had to get past the idea that learning only counts if it's written down.

MyCamelot : Laura....I was "smart" too...and it made me feel good at the time, but ultimately, it didn't gain me anything useful.

HmSchDodd : "Behind" what or who? You guys! Try to stop that! They are exactly where THEY are, and THEY are the ones doing the learning.

LJDBush : If I tell myself how silly and meaningless it is, will the feeling go away after a while?

HmSchDodd : Yes! Laura, it will!

ChosenOnes : If you have set practical goals for what you want your kids to learn before launching out into the world, and they meet those goals, then you have accomplished your purpose.

PMcconn369 : My dh likes to see some written progress also!!

LJDBush : Being labeled smart hindered my learning--I don't want that for my kids.

PMcconn369 : He has to be educated by me sometimes!

MyCamelot : I think it will, Laura. Think about what you gained by feeling "smart" when you were in school. Did it make you any better a person than anyone else?

Beck2830 : LJD no it won't go away but keep it in perspective and try and keep a lid on it for the kids

HmSchDodd : We may feel that way the rest of our lives. I might go to my death with a smile on my lips about my test scores on SAT or LSAT or something, but we don't need to pass that pathology on!

Lakewood6 : Hi, sorry I'm late... is it to late to still "learn" something? 🙂 he's not too up on all the physicality of the writing and some of the spelling and grammar..

MyCamelot : The truth is.....I wasn't all that smart, I just knew how to play the game.

LJDBush : I do try to keep a lid on it. Unfortunately, my dh is worse


Margmom : My husband really can't get over thinking that tests really "show" something.

LJDBush : Yes, Jeri, that was me--test smart--which is why it hindered my actual learning.

Ruhi19 : The dh's don't come here often. They aren't being educated by the boards....WE have to educate them.

MyCamelot : Same here, Laura.

HmSchDodd : The point about what's written probably applies to tests and other aspects as well.

ChosenOnes : Maybe let them take pride in a job well done, but without comparing to others

HmSchDodd: Some states want to see WORKSHEETS!!! Some dads do too, I guess. 🙂

MyCamelot :*sigh* Yes they do, Sandra.

HmSchDodd : Socrates, one of the greatest teachers in history, didn't have worksheets! Rabbis, famous to this day for their successes, don't have worksheets (well, maybe to learn the alphabet...)

ShariY : Jesus didn't use or have worksheets!

HmSchDodd : Even catechism rarely uses worksheets. It's rote memorization. Big difference! 🙂 Socrates used the question/answer/discussion method.

HmSch DAC : Book reports. Everyone wants to see written book reports .

ChosenOnes : Question, Sandra. How do you handle creative writing, then?

HmSchDodd : Same as Buddhist priests use (although some of them throw in a combo calligraphy/meditation). Socrates didn't even write his own stuff down!

HmSch DAC : Wow. I never knew that

LJDBush : But Socrates didn't live in the 90s--don't we need to know how to write?

HmSchDodd : Honestly, Cheri/Chosen, my kids aren't up to writing yet. Others want to take that question?

ChosenOnes : DAC, should I feel guilty because I don't require my boys to do book reports?

HmSchDodd : I can make answers based on what I've seen and read and know from teaching Jr. High English.

HmSch DAC : I don't. I think book reports kill the joy. But we TALK about books a lot.

ChosenOnes: I think they are just busy work.

MyCamelot : son wants to write creatively....because he has a wonderful imagination...

ShariY : Narration is a beginning step in creative writing.

TAZTUG : we do book reports as letters to friends exchanging ideas for the library trips I didn't require written book reports when I taught 9th grade. They sat next to me, handed me the book and told me stories. I asked them questions like "Was it scary?" or "Did it remind you of people you really know?" Not questions which would've been in a regular school question/answer thing.

HmSch DAC : Some people will never write creatively. It doesn't make them stupid.

MyCamelot : He writes it his way, and I have him read it to me (if he wants to) and I always think it's wonderful.....someday the rest of it will clean itself up

ChosenOnes : Neither boy likes to write--neither did my dh when he was in school.

MyCamelot : A really good point, Chosen/Cheri. My husband hates to write may be part of their makeup.

Lakewood6 : All good writers start out with reading good writing.....

HmSch DAC : Let your kids write what they want. Worry about editing it later. Try not to focus on grammar and punctuation and spelling at first. Then, teach them about editing.

HmSchDodd : And by thinking and by creative play, and story-telling, and such things. They all lead up to what writers need. Let them NOT write if they don't want to, too.

Ruhi19 : One of the best things I fell into is that my daughter decided to do a script based on a book she is reading. She is improving her typing, English and spelling all at once.

Margmom : My kid has started writing because he wants to. He writes notes, signs and little stories.

HmSchDodd : Back to Socrates. He knew how to write, but he didn't choose to spend his time writing books about what he thought. He taught people orally and the students wrote down the parts they liked best. We get Socrates digested by others, which is pretty cool.

HmSch DAC : So what we get of Socrates is the parts he said that others thought were important enough to keep?

ChosenOnes : What surprised me was when my 8 yo on his own wrote out how to make a volcano for: one of his friends! Maybe so, Jeri.

Ruhi19 : So writing is for "real" activities such as passing on information, visiting with others...

MyCamelot : See, they can write....they just have to write about what's important to them.

ChosenOnes : I doubt that he would tell me if he wanted to. I didn't know about that till it was done.

HmSchDodd : I think encouraging them to write when they want to and helping them when they need help (I mean helping them all they want, and not saying, "You're too old to need this kind of help," or "You should know how to spell that"--none of the school-shaming) then they will write happily and for a real-life purpose, NOT because they were "assigned" to write.

ChosenOnes : Ah, Jeri, but my 8 yo is too quick to say "I don't know", when I know he does know.

Margmom : He uses invented spellings and "creative" penmanship. I don't correct anything he's written. Sometimes he asks and then I tell him. Anyone he writes to now (me, his dad, grandparents, a few friends) understands how he writes, and is OK with it.

HmSchDodd : We cook for people to eat. If nobody's there there's no reason to cook. What if someone came and gave you a recipe you had NO interest in and said, "Make this. You have two hours."

HmSch DAC : It would probably be inedible. 🙂

CherisHome : My 11 year old refuses to write, but she sent a wonderful two page letter to a pen pal.

HmSchDodd : So Cheri, do you say, "I know you DO know!"?

ChosenOnes : I know--I'll start by having them edit these chats and classes! 🙂

HmSch DAC : How many of us believe we can't write?

ChosenOnes : Sandra, I encourage him to think about it a little while.

MyCamelot : Me

ChosenOnes : If he still can't get it, I help him.

PMcconn369 : me

HmSchDodd : I think you should just tell him the answer.

ShariY : I want to write like Sandra 🙂

HmSchDodd : (thanks) 🙂
HmSchDodd : I think if your kids asks you how to spell "they're" 30 times running you should just spell it each time. If you don't, is it because you don't want "to cheat"? Because you "want him to do his own work"? Maybe he just has a hard time remembering that! So what?

MyCamelot : Funny thing, though....I took a class a few years back about writing for children and I found a lot of the materials when I was unpacking the other day. When I have time, and I WANT to write, I can write really well! :::patting self on back::

ChosenOnes : No. I just want him to learn to think things through and come up with a solution.

HmSch DAC : Pushing them only embarrasses them, and convinces them they are stupid.

LJDBush : Deborah, that was worth the price of admission.

HmSch DAC : 🙂

ChosenOnes : From the Institute of Children's Literature, Jeri? I took that one.

MyCamelot : 🙂 Yes, Cheri, that's the one!

HmSchDodd : CherisHome said, "My 11 year old refuses to write, but she sent a wonderful. letter..."
You mean she refuses to write on command? 🙂

Beck2830 : If they are given the answers do we have to concern ourselves about them becoming mentally lazy?

CherisHome : Exactly!

ChosenOnes : I haven't really had time to write since, Jeri. Makes me sad.

ShariY : Sandra, is there ever a time when you do say, "Look it up?"

CherisHome : I don't push it at all anymore

Ruhi19 : I'm still not convinced. I have taught others to use the computer and sometimes they don't learn it because they know they can ask instead of trying to remember. ????

HmSchDodd : I think he WILL learn that. If I asked my husband where the hammer was and he said, "Now think. If you can't figure it out I'll tell you, but if you think a while I think you can figure it out." I would be furious! I want to treat my children with as much respect as I treat adults. I fail, but it's a goal.

MyCamelot : Same here....but the great thing is that I can know that I have it in me....and no one gave that to me. I did it myself. I think children need to find that too.

Margmom : When mine ask something, they usually need the answer to continue with something interesting they are doing. If I make them think about it because I know they know, they will lose momentum on the original project.

ChosenOnes : If he needs to know it at the moment to continue something interesting, I would tell him.

HmSch DAC : We make assumptions that people are lazy because they don't learn the same way we do.

HmSchDodd : Are you guys becoming mentally lazy because we're throwing information at you? I think it's the exact opposite. Shari, I'll help them look it up. I've told Kirby to look up his own phone numbers, but if he gets frustrated I talk him through it.

Beck2830 : OK good point Sandra

ChosenOnes : Only if we just accept it at face value and don't think it over or analyze it.

Ruhi19 : This is all new info....what about learning

confidence in yourself because you do know.

ChosenOnes : I think that was my point, Ruhi. Also, the kinds of things my son is interested in require that he think them through.

ChosenOnes : Particularly computer programming.

MyCamelot : I admit it....when he asks how to spell something, I'll ask him to try it first, but then I'll tell him if he doesn't get it right. And the next time, if he asks about the same word, I just tell him.....obviously this is a word that stumps him.

ShariY : By asking them to try spelling it first, I 'hear' them thinking. If they miss I ask if that sounds right. Is that ok?

HmSch DAC : Frustration can sometimes be a learning experience yes. But it should be real not faked up.

HmSchDodd : I think the same about writing, research, and even spelling-- "DRILLS"--meaning things faked up by the parents "for the kids' good" are NOT ever going to be as good as real need on the part of the learner.

ChosenOnes : Right, Shari. I've done that.

MyCamelot : Ruhi, I think learning that you can have confidence because you DO know is a very valuable thing....but really, are children going to claim to not know things just to frustrate you?

HmSch DAC : If we don't know then helping them find out or saying you'll have to work on that is real. But withholding information because we think it will be good for them is rude.

HmSchDodd : If you get enough help when you're a beginner that you're confident that the help will be there always you can go on to harder stuff.

ChosenOnes : DAC, Sandra said the other day she makes up frustrations for her kids.

HmSchDodd : I did not!
HmSchDodd : I said my mother-in-law recommended that and I would not.

ChosenOnes : Are you sure? I thought you said you did it. Recommended it.

HmSchDodd : Oh no, I don't think ANYTHING should be put on kids to "train them" to deal with frustration, or writing, or anything.

ChosenOnes : I'll have to reread that part, I guess.

HmSchDodd : To frustrate kids on purpose so they'll be tough for future frustration would be like breaking a finger so they could handle a possible broken arm better.

Ruhi19 : Mine seem to do it not to frustrate but because they are not sure.

Lakewood6 : Does anyone here have a grown "unschooler" that actually learned to spell? I guess what I want are stories about kids who were unschooled and turned out OK.

HmSch DAC : I have a grown dh who went to Jesuit schools and can't spell.

MyCamelot : Sandra, I love this < <HmSchDodd: If you get enough help when you're a beginner that you're confident that the help will be there always you can go on to harder stuff. 🙂 🙂 I think this is true of ANYTHING to do with children. If my children have the confidence that I am there when they need me.....then they will be more confident people and less likely to be totally dependent on me.

Lakewood6 : Good point HmSchDac, but I'd still like personal proof that this will work

HmSch DAC : My oldest I can't claim as an unschooler. He was half tortured in ps and then half unschooled. His spelling was atrocious. It has improved immensely in the last 6 months, because he is corresponding with adults in the field he wants to enter, and doesn't want to look dumb I was ready to say "the kid will never spell." I was wrong. 🙂

HmSchDodd : I often think back to the things I learned in La Leche League, from readings and other moms. If you nurse a child a long time does it make him dependent on the mom? Seems to be the opposite.

MyCamelot : 🙂

HmSchDodd : If you hug a child every time he wants a hug, does it make him want a hug-a-day for life? You WISH!

Lakewood6 : I agree...I'm nursing the most independent 3 year old ever..

MyCamelot : Nursing on demand doesn't create a demanding child......answering questions on asking doesn't make a lazy child.

HmSchDodd : The more they get, the less they need.

ShariY : I think the evil of ps system is having monthly, yearly goals....We need to look at the big picture....Life!

HmSchDodd : I bet it's the same with spelling and looking things up.

Ruhi19 : OK....thanks...I might try it.

ChosenOnes : Momentia rules!!!

HmSch DAC : I think so. I used to look up everything for him. Now he does it all himself, well.

HmSchDodd : Yes about life! You want to aim toward a happy, balanced, confident adult, not "a successful third grader" GAG ME!

HmSch DAC : For 6 months after he got his computer, EVERYTHING that went wrong he came to me. Now he works it out himself.

HmSchDodd : Well try it! Try answering every question calmly for a week or a month and see whether it doesn't make the kid happy, and feel what it makes you feel. I'd bet cash it's making you feel old school-fears and school-guilt. Cheating. Teacher voices will come into your head and say, "You know that." or "I can't do your work for you."

MyCamelot : Well, I was painfully shy.....ex: my mother had to call the doctor to make the appt for me when I found out I was pregnant (I was 21 and married). BUT, she always did what I needed and now, I do almost everything I need to do on my own.

ShariY : My goal is to think if I died, what would I leave them? Passing tests, grades? Or tools to help them in their adult life?

HmSchDodd : Jeri! That's amazing to hear. You're plenty brave now!

MyCamelot : 🙂 Thanks, Sandra!

Lakewood6 : Maybe you already discussed this.. but do you think the same applies to learning to read? They'll just do it?

ShariY : Mine did

HmSch DAC : The school voices conspire in our heads so that we worry if the kid doesn't learn everything right on time he'll be living in our basement when he's 30.

MyCamelot : Read, read, read to them.....and they'll read.

LJDBush : Mine did too.

Mettaphor : Mine are learning to read without being "taught"

HmSchDodd : Mine did, except for the times I made him cry trying to "teach him"--that's points against it. He would have read sooner if I hadn't made him fear to read in front of me. Honest.

HmSchDodd : I will NOT similarly "help" the next two.

MyCamelot : ::::whispering::::: We've all done something we wish we hadn't to our children....I made mine cry over math a LOT of times.

HmSch DAC : Too many people hate reading because of being made to read aloud.

ChosenOnes : How about socialization and peer pressure in regard to school detox?

HmSch DAC : Peer pressure on us? Or the kids? 🙂

HmSchDodd : Don't worry about them. Delete "socialization" from your vocabulary. Give your kids so much love and self-confidence that peer pressure will mean nothing to them. They will be pressure-proof.

ChosenOnes : I don't--and I feel bad for those who worry about their kids' socialization.

LJDBush : Delete "socialization"? YAY! Can I, huh, can I really?

MyCamelot : 🙂

MyCamelot : Freeing, isn't it?

HmSchDodd : Please do!

Margmom : My mom still tells about reading aloud and saying Canna-DEE-an instead of Canadian. It scarred her for life!

HmSchDodd : Mine was YOZEmite 🙂 (Yosemite)

MyCamelot : Mine was disheveled. Dis - Heave - eled

Lakewood6 : And for those of us who could read, wasn't it boring listening to those kids who couldn't?

Beck2830 : Go light on the socialization and there is also less peer pressure problems

ChosenOnes : Both, Sandra. Peer pressure on us to buy this, follow that method, etc.

HmSchDodd : You're raising adults, not children.

ChosenOnes : On the kids to be like all the other "schooled" kids.
ChosenOnes : We do, Anita. We feel our boys are much more mature than others their age.

HmSchDodd : You're keeping them warm and alive and happy until they become adults, because they will, with or without you in the picture.

We have the power to screw them up to the point of life-scarring, or to just give them some room and peace and security to grow well in. We can't very well make them be what they aren't.

ChosenOnes : They interact well with people of all ages, instead of just those in their "group".

HmSchDodd : Chosen/Cheri, you run with a rough crowd!

ChosenOnes : Oh? How so?

HmSchDodd : You could run with us and we'd pressure you NOT to buy stuff, or follow any methods 🙂

ChosenOnes : I was speaking of homeschooling moms in general, not me particularly, though I have felt it sometimes myself. Look at the articles in the hs mags. They can give some people guilt trips.

ShariY : Depends on the magazine!

HmSch DAC : Do you really want your kids to be just like everyone else? Or themselves?

ChosenOnes : Themselves, definitely, unless they are emulating someone else's godly qualities.

HmSch DAC : We can try to fit them in a box, which nobody fits in well. Or we can help them to be the very best THEM they can be. 🙂

ChosenOnes : True, and I'm sure that isn't their intention, but some people might take it wrong.

HmSchDodd : Absolutely depends on the magazine. Myself, I read Growing Without Schooling for a soothing mental massage and reassurance. I read Home School Digest the way some people read Stephen King novels.

HmSch DAC : The perfect smiling homeschool family on the cover of TTH?

HmSchDodd : Which is that one?

TAZTUG : and Heart of Homeschooling

ShariY : That always gets to me Deb!

HmSch DAC : Gathered around the table in the immaculate kitchen, perfectly groomed?

HmSchDodd : How many major magazines are there now?

HmSch DAC : The Teaching Home.

Lakewood6 : GWS makes me uneasy...too many stories about dog sledders not enough about rocket scientists

HmSchDodd : GWS, HEM, TTH...

MyCamelot : PHS

HmSch DAC : Just remember how long it took the Photographer to set up that shot.

CherisHome : Homeschooling Today

HmSchDodd : One story about dog sledders, zero about rocket scientists? Not a scientific sample. 🙂

HmSch DAC : There's another relic.

MyCamelot : 🙂

HmSchDodd : Relic of what?

Mettaphor : Lakewood, my dh is a rocket scientist... not much going on in that field right now

HmSch DAC : If my kid is a rocket scientist, he's a success. Dogsledders are failures.

Lakewood6 : Socrates turning out ok isn't a scientific sample of unschooling working either both ways 🙂

HmSchDodd : Socrates is considered to be a teacher by thousands, though, and that dog-sledder...

Beck2830 : Those perfect kitchens didn't you know the family went on a field trip to the kitchen to clean it

HmSchDodd : Hey, anybody can make their kids matching outfits and go to Sears and get a family photo. Maybe that would make some of you feel better. 🙂

HmSch DAC : I have two siblings who are retraining OUT of the aerospace field. Too unstable right now.

ChosenOnes : Lake, is your point that we need to have a balance?

HmSchDodd : We're about out of time. I was having fun. Bummer. I'm willing to stay a while.

Ruhi19 : What mags do you recommend...there are so many...right now I rely on AOL.

ChosenOnes : PHS

PMcconn369 : HOH


ShariY : HOH!

Margmom : I like GWS and HEM.

HmSchDodd : Me too, Margaret.

Mettaphor : Mothering

MyCamelot : I LOVE HEM

Beck2830 : I only want to read a magazine with a kitchen shot in disarray

HmSchDodd : That's Growing Without Schooling!

HmSchDodd : Hey, Anita--maybe you should do a photo spread for Home Education magazine! "REAL KITCHENS"

Mettaphor : Love it, Sandra

Ruhi19 : PLEASE do the kitchens! It would make me feel so much better.

Beck2830 : Yes I could give you the real look of a homeschooler

Lakewood6 : I'm not saying I don't agree with you guys.... just playing the devils advocate I guess

HmSch DAC : I wish I had time to talk about job satisfaction versus money.

Ruhi19 : Now that we are detoxing, what do you do to teach things like algebra?

HmSchDodd : Games.

Ruhi19 : What games?

HmSchDodd : Algebra textbook all you want to, as long as the kid does the reading and learning and comes for help rather than the parent assigning pages and "checking homework.

Margmom : I just hope my husband doesn't start wanting to impose structure. He thinks I'm a radical.

Mettaphor : I generally wait til my kids ask questions about something, then they are ready to learn

Ruhi19 : OK...can you suggest a good book...the one I got is not appreciated by my kid.

HmSchDodd : No, but you could try the math folders at HEM or Homeschool Connection and see what teens' parents have tried and liked.

Ruhi19 : Marg: Would it help if you printed out the Unschooling folder for him to read?

Margmom : But so far hasn't really put up a fuss. Maybe by the time they are 10 or so he'll be convinced. He understands the unschooling concept... just doesn't quite agree. He's bombarded at work by the "opposition". Works for a public policy/ education policy research firm.

HmSchDodd : Margaret, I think he'll come around on his own. My husband has been really impressed by some of the conversations they've had and he's taken the opportunity to teach them things in a really informal way, but at a deeper level than kids their age are expected to understand, generally (if we go by the school's curriculum and calendar)
HmSchDodd : Margmom, would he read a book or two?

HmSchDodd : Do you have any John Holt?

HmSchDodd : I guess what makes me the most defensive is when people say, "I don't believe unschooling will work." Okay... based on WHAT? I want to say. Based on the fact that you went to school every day for twelve or sixteen years and "cooperated" and you want that to be the only possible way!? The fact that it has and DOES work (maybe not for everybody, but for a LOT of people) is right there for those who want to see it.

Ruhi19 : So what do we say to them to convince them?

Margmom : I ordered Gnys at WRK from Holt Associates. The invented spelling thing is starting to bug my husband.

HmSchDodd : I might not BELIEVE a 747 could fly, but they do. Whether I can explain it or build one doesn't matter. They do fly.

HmSchDodd : Margmom, stop showing him their spelling then!

Margmom : I don't! Shobie writes notes to his father.

HmSchDodd : I have friends with older kids than mine who do remarkable things their parents didn't teach them to do. They figured out how to do it.

HmSchDodd : OH! Then find him a Whole Language book 🙂

HmSchDodd : Or tell Shobie-daddy to explain phonics to him for fun. or to pay him a nickle for every right word.

HmSchDodd : I learned more after I learned to read and started scouring the library than ever before, and I think the sooner kids are brave enough to read whatever interests them, the sooner parents can relax and not have to hold their hands. I also do what schools don't do, in that I'll read things to the kids that would be "later" "when you're older" stuff at school. Schools present material at the reading level of the students. How boring! Why should they have to read everything when they have two perfectly good parents who could read it to them? 🙂

Greek Mythology, Egypt, novels intended for older kids--things they can understand even though the reading level is high--we can just fill them UP with that stuff without regard to whether it's "at their reading level," or rather knowing for certain that it isn't.

At school when they test kids, any one kid will show a huge range of "placement" in math, language, science... the schools rarely do anything about it but maybe put them in a "higher reading class" but the schools are calm about the whole thing. Homeschoolers flip out more than schools do.I don't really know the magic words to get people to be calm and realistic about expectations and results. To proceed without looking into the school-windows-of-their-minds all the time 🙂

CherisHome : All I know is - my kids are happy - not lazy, irresponsibly happy , but healthy and whole people again

HmSchDodd : Who could want more?

CherisHome : Not me!

HmSchDodd : Well, except maybe marching band and chorus...
HmSchDodd : A nice jewelry shop...
HmSchDodd : Darkroom...
HmSchDodd : The good parts of school 🙂
HmSchDodd : Too bad there are all those teachers and other students in the way!

CherisHome : Oh if only my daughter could be prom queen:::::sigh:::::
CherisHome : gag

HmSchDodd : Or a cheerleader!

CherisHome : No offense to any prom queens in the room
CherisHome : or cheerleaders

HmSchDodd : Certainly not me! 🙂

HmSchDodd : I think Margmom and Mettaphor are off fixing lunch.

CherisHome : I was eating mine through class

HmSchDodd : It's not noon here yet.

CherisHome : Love these cyber classrooms

HmSchDodd : That's a lie.

CherisHome : of course

Mettaphor : sorry, got busy with IMs

Margmom : Trying to read Emily a little book while reading your comments.

HmSchDodd : I had breakfast just before I came on here.

HmSchDodd : You guys don't have to talk! I was just goofing around. Shall we bail, or do any of you have any final comments for our audience? (Smile for the rest who will get the log--I'll edit the really boring parts, like this, probably)

HmSchDodd : Did we forget any school-barnacles I should put into e-mail?

That's it, with all the "good-byes" and some of the typos removed, and with some of the dialog rearranged so it's just SORT of confusing instead of totally chopped up.

I would have forgotten this completely if not for RaisinNSun, so Kristin, thanks for bugging me to do what I said I would do, as I've bitten off more than I and my whole family including my dog could chew. Perhaps it will get better. You should all feel free and welcome to bug me to respond when I've said, "I'll check and get back with you," and such like.


Other Chat Transcripts

Deschooling for Parents