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Published October 03, 2013, 09:15 PM

Parents replace children Thursday at Carl Ben Eielson

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you're a parent, you've asked your children what they learned in school. A common response: A shrug of the shoulders, nothing, or a blank stare.

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you're a parent, you've asked your children what they learned in school. A common response: A shrug of the shoulders, nothing, or a blank stare.

Troy Mattern- Carl Ben Eielson Middle School Teacher: "We're done in about 10 minutes, so let's get the room done so we can get down to the team center."

It's a slightly cool, average fall Thursday at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School in Fargo.

6th graders are taking the same classes you remember, learning lessons from their regular teachers; no substitutes today. Everything is typical.

Mattern: "Students, maybe you can find a parent to work with. That would be great."

Well, almost….

Daisy Eck- 6th Grade Parent: "I don't know if I'm smarter than a 6th grader."

These parents are not volunteers. They're literally filling in as their student for the day.

If the child has math class, the parents were reading measurements.

And if the child had orchestra and the parent doesn't play that particular instrument? As a sixth grader would say, "tough noogies."

Michelle Ellis- 6th Grade Parent: "I can't hold a tune. It's a good thing I don't have to sing."

Brad Larson- Carl Ben Eielson Middle School Principal: "It's been, by far, the best thing that we can do for parents to better understand what Carl Ben Eielson is all about, and what the middle school concept is all about.”

And, of course, it also helps for the parents to see how Middle School has changed…

"You'll have to help me."

... since they roamed the hallways of a school.

Eck: "Well, they have laptops. We never had laptops.”

Brian Durben- 6th Grade Parent: "Teachers are a little different; not quite as strict, I don't think, anymore."

And how, in all reality, students' lackluster response at the end of the day might just mean they're tired from learning too much.

Mattern: “And the new student did a good job today.”

Mattern: "Now, let's rotate.”

Principal Larson has been running the event for nearly 20 years.

The school does not monitor what the "real" students do with their free day, but Larson says many of the students passed the time volunteering or going to work with another parent.

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