Danielle Conger

Pam wrote:
She didn't say it necessarily comes across to her that way - she said
> some of the explanations for starting counting at birth make sense. She
> said that when people DO make spurious or exaggerated claims it makes
> her uncomfortable and since she is aware that it "could" come across to
> people that she is exaggerating, trying to make it sound like she has
> more years of experience as an unschooling parent - to try to impress
> people more, she is extra careful and wary of that so she continues to
> start "counting" from the time the kids don't go to school rather than
> from when they are born.

I was thinking about this issue just this weekend when reading an article on
Toddler Pathologies in the April 19th issue of _New York Magazine_. Here's a
link to the article http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/health/features/n_10180/
, which encapsulates nicely the early pressure placed on parents in the
North East corridor--Washington, DC on through to Boston and probably
elsewhere, though I can't speak to that. The article specifically refers to
NY City's upscale population, but truth is, this pressure trickles down the
socio-economic scale, less-concentrated perhaps, but still very much a
reality for most parents here. The Head-Start programs that are pushing to
all-day pre-K in this area are no exception. An article in the Washington
Post a couple months ago interviewed a Northern Virginia Principal who
wanted to eliminated naps from all-day Pre-K in an effort to keep up with
early academic race. He was quoted as saying something along the lines of
"this isn't baby stuff anymore."

There's the above reason, but there's also a sense of the continuity of
trusting a child to learn and providing a warm, supportive atmosphere that
doesn't stop just because children reach compulsory school age. So often
we'll say to new unschoolers or those thinking about it, "how did your child
learn to walk, to talk, etc.". In that sense most of us do unschool our
children from birth--some just lose that sense of trust and give in to the
anxiety-producing rhetoric of experts.