What unschooled children will not know

Looking for a quote, I found something very old, maybe 1993 or 1994, when there were online chats on AOL. Some of the homeschooling moms were AOL volunteers. We were trading our time for free AOL time (at $3 an hour, one to one; kinda goofy, but very useful to unschoolers). These were our "work" names, with the HmSch prefix.

In the quotes below it's me and Deb Cunefare.

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."

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

It can be healing for parents to think back to their own sorrows and then to their own children's freedom from those experiences. Look at what a change you have made in the world by not passing those things on! And how comforting for my own soul that my children could be helpful and funny without being pointed at and laughed at and becoming the butt of a joke.

in February 2011, I posted the quote and commentary above at [a now defunct forum], and there were a couple of comments.

Frank Maier:
One of the best things I've done as a parent is to avoid passing all of my shit down to my sweet children. I'm far from perfect and I'm sure some of it leaked out a bit, but they were mostly spared those experiences. Hooray!
Laura Bowman, referring to "teacher's pet and class clown":
I was both too at different times. I remember being sat right in front of the teacher's desk separated from everyone but in front of them. One day I was doing a caricature of the teacher and everyone was laughing. He kept asking what was so funny but no one would tell him. It didn't teach me anything to be set apart like that, it just drove me on to be even more disruptive!

I remember a teacher singling me out once and making fun of my hair in front of the class. I was always just a little too different for my little country school.

I have a lot of bad memories of school, but also some good ones with friends. I'm really glad my kids wouldn't get some of those jokes either and that they have been able to be themselves their whole lives.

Freedom to do


Being directly with our children, in this moment