Finally, the haters come

I’m pleased to announce the first really mean comment on this blog.

Here it is, from the surely not-real email address:

Poor, poor kids. I don’t see how your husband approved of this — and, by the look of it, he makes no appearance whatsoever in this discussion or others.

You may have to eventually admit to your kids that you did this because you could not afford the expensive prep school you dreamed of for them when you first became a mother — this is your way of pushing that out and coming up with a “new” and “better” way, which only time will tell what will happen.

This sort of comment is old news on my big blog. For example, here are 700 comments about how I’m ruining the moral fabric of society.

I feel comforted to have someone slamming me for my homeschooling decisions, (and I’m pretty sure there’s a swipe at my decision to live on a farm too). I feel comforted because now I think the conversation can get real. Now nothing is sacred and we don’t have to tiptoe around the idea that we might be ruining our kids’ lives.

I have found that most of the people who hate me are insane, but sometimes, there are good reasons to tell me I’m a jerk. (Here’s one.) I learn the most when people are free to call me out for being a terrible person.

And I think the homeschooling community in general will benefit when everyone is free to take pot shots at each other. It’s a better learning environment because it is more honest.


35 replies
  1. Zellie
    Zellie says:

    I knew I would homeschool the minute I heard the word and never thought it might ruin my child’s life. I don’t have the faith in school that most have. A lot of others worried about it though. I figured if I wasn’t doing worse than the schools, it would be ok.

    My friend was skeptical of homeschooling and provided the best private education possible. She would never have homeschooled because she couldn’t provide the rigorous challenge that her kids got.

    They’ve all turned out bright and well-adjusted. My friend thinks parenting, not school, is the determining factor. I do hold that most of homeschooling is about parenting.

    I wouldn’t tell people they should homeschool because there are too many variables. The people who say they could never do it couldn’t. If a person is confident enough to think he can homeschool he’s probably right and I would support it.

    If you want to talk honestly about issues, be specific. We tend to look at the overall experience when we look back, but the day to day issues are different for each child.

  2. Jayson Pifer
    Jayson Pifer says:

    I don’t think that anything written in passive voice qualifies as really mean. It’s not very good anonymous trolling even. He is supposed to use a red herring or straw man approach and then progress forward with Godwinism.

  3. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    The mean comment cited above is a personal attack.
    The ending of your referenced post is “I don’t want to debate about whether the hard thing is the right thing when it so obviously is. I want to talk about how it’s so hard to do what’s right all the time.” Why debate or give any credence to this anonymous commenter? Surely you can find some other comments that are more noteworthy, dignified, and less goading that will promote an honest discussion. The right thing is to ignore or delete these type of comments.
    I agree with Zellie – “If you want to talk honestly about issues, be specific.” and I’ll add be nice and bring something to the table.
    I doubt this jerk will show up for any meaningful discussion here. The reason being is that he/she is incapable.

  4. Pamela
    Pamela says:

    IDK about anyone else, but I see a LOT of potshots being taken online in and at the homeschool community. Like any other group, there are enormously well-qualified, hateful people ready to pass judgement. There’s plenty of real out there.

    I’m with Mark. That was a personal attack, not a productive invitation to discourse. I think the last thing we need to fritter away precious time on is a war of words with a lackluster troll who was just handed a big ol’ spotlight. That just feeds the unproductive talk.


    P.S. I wholeheartedly agree with Zellie on this: “I wouldn’t tell people they should homeschool because there are too many variables. The people who say they could never do it couldn’t. If a person is confident enough to think he can homeschool he’s probably right and I would support it. “

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Look, all the research says that child-directed learning is much better than test-based learning. So if a kid’s school can’t do child-directed learning then the kid should be at home.

      Of course this does not depend on the parent. Its similar to saying all the research shows babies should have a single, constant caregiver for the first year. This research does not depend on the parent.

      Parenting is really hard for everyone. But every parents are capable of being the first year primary caregiver and most parents are capable of doing child- directed education at home.

      Its so arrogant to say that kids need a good learning environment and only some parents are capable of giving that. And all the rest should just forget it.

      I mean parents have varying abilities to financially support their kids, but we dont tell people with lower earning potential to just forget it.

      Therefore, I have no problem saying all parents should homeschool.

      • Zellie
        Zellie says:

        Studies on homeschoolers are based on a self-selecting population. I’d like to see results of random populations told to keep their kids home and let them do whatever they’re led to.

        I was so sorry for the kids featured in “Waiting for Superman” whose hopes rested on a lottery for a better school. They should homeschool.

        But it may not be enough to have “summer vacation” all year round. Each family has its own culture that impacts learning. You have to know that child-led learning exists. Then you have to apprehend what it means and have the courage to defy society.

      • Pamela
        Pamela says:

        Penelope: But you’re assuming the reasons they “cannot” are only based on abilities or willingness. Yet there are some folks for whom the financial obligations or other responsibilities–example: caregiving for an elderly or disabled person–really do preclude it.

        Do I wish that all people WOULD homeschool? Yes, provided that they are indeed capable of doing a decent job. (There’s always those extreme bizarro cases where abuse is present in the home, so I won’t give a mass over-generalized “yes.”) But that’s not the same as saying that all people “should.”

        There are lots of decent people afterschooling and doing other good things for their children. I won’t be so arrogant as to insist that my way is the only right path, even if there are some things about public school that I’d really like to change. (Ex. over-reliance on crappy textbooks.)

        Although we figured that we’d send our child to public school, we’ve actually homeschooled since birth. I’ve noticed that around the time that parents make the decision to homeschool, there’s a period of strident insistence that it’s the “only path.” On the other side of that often comes the realization that, no, it’s not always a perfect situation either.

        I’m at that point. And that’s how I read Zellie’s comment–not as a “put down” but as a practical acknowledgement of reality.

        Big difference there.

        • Pamela
          Pamela says:

          Oh, and I will say that the use of “should” in relation to homeschooling sounds a lot me like evangelizing.

          I’m a “secular homeschooler” for many reasons–one of them is that I like to look at research and make good decisions tailored to my family’s specific needs/strengths/abilities. I’m happy to share what I discover–and I do so online and privately, but I”m not going to force it all down with a “should.”

          That would be inauthentic to me.

          Besides, there’s plenty of the evangelizing stuff out there, especially in the faith-based homeschooling community. That’s why more open blogs like this one appeal to me so much. It’s nice to parse through things with an attitude of “you’re free to disagree with me” intact. =)

    • Karen
      Karen says:


      I am absolutely convinced that the people who are most vocal in their criticisms of homeschoolers are those who know that it is the right thing to do for their kids but who don’t want to do it. There are scores of parents out there who thank the Lord that their kids are somewhere else all day. They may love them dearly, but they do not want to spend all day, every day with them.

      My best friend has 3 kids under 6 and she works full-time, even though she doesn’t have to, because actually doing the work of raising them drives her nuts so she’d rather go to work and pay someone else to do it for her. Naturally, she is very defensive about her choices because she can’t admit, even to herself, that this is true. She takes my choice to homeschool as a direct criticism of the way she parents her kids, and her reaction to what I am doing has begun to seriously affect our friendship.

      • Pamela
        Pamela says:

        Without going into detail, Karen, I understand that situation exactly.

        There will be a great deal of growing pains as homeschooling becomes more mainstream. These clashes are inevitable, I think. Upon reflection, I also think there will need to be a mix of approaches, from strident to more diplomatic, to reach the broadest spectrum of people. Some folks will only respond to being bopped on the head or through an argument online. Others will move on the continuum of acceptance through more subtle and nuanced engagement.

        I think as long as we don’t veer into gross-overgeneralizations and hyperbole, then the growing pains can be managed.

  5. Angela
    Angela says:

    I feel an immense amount of pity for that person. She/He/It must have a truly horrible life to be able to write that way, and God help her/his/its children. The judgements that are made are out of ignorance and usually stem from a person feeling challenged for the choices that they’ve made in their life.

    I can’t help myself….got to break this comment into pieces….very telling about the mentality of this individual:
    1. “Poor, poor kids.” I’ve yet to read anything in your blog that would infer that your children are suffering. I have noted on many posts of your suffering, and you’ve even referred to comments that would indicate your husband has as well. Everyone suffers on some level.Nothing about the kids. This is an assumption that is ill-founded and clearly NOT one from an informed individual.
    2. “I don’t see how your husband approved of this…” This one scares me. Either this is a mother that has been brainwashed into thinking that her actions need “prior approval” from a man to be justifiable or a father who is dominating/dominated by his wife and is too afraid to confront their own reality, so they confront yours. It would seem that this specific statement comes fro Not only are you, the mother, taking care of the needs of your children in a very direct, hands-on and meaningful way, but you are also providing for your family financially. Many marriages divide the responsibilities of child-raising and income generating between the two…both making decisions independently to ensure the security of all. You’re juggling both! And unless I’m very ill-informed, or unless you have a major commercial farm, the last time I checked, the financial gains from farming are very low.
    3. “and, by the look of it, he makes no appearance whatsoever in this discussion or others.” Obviously this person does not follow your blog regularly. And if your husband wanted to directly contribute to/respond to your blog, I’m sure he is fully capable of typing. And further, I can see you setting up the blog and promoting it for him!
    4. “You may have to eventually admit to your kids that you did this because you could not afford the expensive prep school you dreamed of for them when you first became a mother” Seriously?? I mean, seriously????? I can’t even justify this one with a remark. I sincerely hope that you either giggled like a fool or hung your head and said a prayer for this person’s mental stability after reading this line. THIS is the exact type of mentality that has caused many of the detrimental issues that face families and countries each and every day. Sad. Just said.
    5. “this is your way of pushing that out and coming up with a “new” and “better” way, which only time will tell what will happen.” Let’s play devil’s advocate here and pretend that Penelope Trunk wants to send her children to an expensive prep school from the moment her uterus started to contract. a) While you have not mentioned your specific financial position, it does not take a forensic accountant to figure out an estimated net worth for the Penelope Trunk Brand. You could have sent them anywhere in this country or abroad. b) The status quo has failed our children for years. The U.S. Department of Education acknowledges this fact. The greatest educational minds of our time acknowledge this fact. AND this appears to be just about the ONLY thing our Congress can agree on!! So Penelope, please, please, please, please PLEASE come up with a “new and better way.” I and many others would be proud to send our children to the Penelope Trunk School for Children.

    And in case “” is reading this comment, please take a look at what is making you react in such a critical and judgmental way. Even if you were 100% correct, (which is impossible) if you were a truly kind and compassionate person who says things like “poor, poor kids,” then you would be part of a solution. You would give thoughtful, insightful responses to the blog posts and would offer more than an indictment of a woman who has literally survived and overcome more tragedy, more challenges and more despair than most of us will ever have to endure.

    Penelope, you’re not a terrible person. You are a gift that keeps on giving. Hate is an ignorant boomerang. Let the others hate, and let’s use this forum as a forum for hope, faith, support and change.

  6. Moni
    Moni says:

    Looveee iittt!!!! Your post and the irony that this idiot spends his/her valuable time reading it yet feels that taking pot shots is the best use of their time. They are probably sending their kids to public school and have to justify their lack of effort in their kids lives by attacking all your enviable and commendable decisions. You are a member of a noble and honorable parenthood. Welcome. It is our kind of which we need more and more!!!!

  7. redrock
    redrock says:

    I don’t think the comment is particularly mean. One-sided yes, but not seriously mean. Isn’t it equally mean to bash all parents who don’t homeschool, and disagree that homeschooling and child directed learning is the one and only way to go? By the way, research is by no means that obviously pointing in this direction.

    • Zellie
      Zellie says:

      I took most of the comment with a thick skin too. The mean part was pitying the children for having to be with their mother. That’s mean.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes, you could say that me telling people thay should homeschool is the same as the commenter calling me a loser. That’s why I love the comment. Because I want to be in a discussion about homeschooling where we decide about what works and what doesnt. I dont want to pad my discussion with caveats and backpeddling about how everyone’s different. We are not all that different, especially when it comes to universal human conditions like parenting and learning.

      I think the world is a better place when people take a stand. People so often avoid putting forth strong opinions about serious topics because they are scared of being wrong or being criticized. But opinons are the drivers of truly serious discussion.


      • redrock
        redrock says:

        you don’t need to state all the time that people are different. Just accept that they are, and indeed learning is highly individual. Is that not the reason you support home schooling so you can do individualized learning? And now you state people are not that different in learning and parenting? so what?
        And it is backpedaling. Not peddling, peddling is selling wares at a market.

  8. redrock
    redrock says:

    well, sure, you can always take a stand. And have every right to do so. But there is a difference between taking a stand, and offering an opinion and holding it firm, and steamrolling people who disagree. And this part of the blog started as a blog on finding a way, it has now changed into “there is the one and only way – and now lets only discuss what is on this one and only way”.

    People are complicated, there is a reason school is a good way for many, there is also truth in the fact that homeschooling is for good for many. It might be easier to discuss great approaches to homeschooling without bashing and shaming those who do not do it.

  9. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I think maybe I am confused. My understanding is that if you believe unschooling is the best way for children to learn, then there really is no alternative. It is not just the absence of testing, it is 100% child-directed learning. Kids can do math problems all day, or play video games all day…it is up to them, and you just trust that their natural curiosity will translate into knowledge acquisition and a love of learning. If that is true, then I don’t see the problem with saying “my way is the only way.” But I don’t homeschool or unschool and am fairly new to this concept, so maybe there is more gray to this than I am aware of.

  10. Mark K
    Mark K says:

    If you want to deeply hurt someone, and probably trigger a robust backlash, just give them a reason to believe that they are damaging their kids.

    So often the discussion of schooling choices amounts to the exchange of trojan horses between the two parties that truly think they are trying to have an adult tolerant discussion. The person sending their kids to school is doing what they have been socialized to consider normal and healthy and loving. How can they discuss the topic with one of us without giving out an implicit judgement that we are the abnormal weirdo? How can you tell them about the benefits of unschooling without discussing the detrimental effects of ordinary schooling, and in so doing, give them a message that they are neglecting their children, in some sense ruining them?

    It is very difficult, and in fact not always possible, to prevent the slide into ugliness when those trojan horses are opened up and people feel the emotions that come out. It’s a practice like meditation to maintain respect for people’s decisions in their own lives, it takes years of work to get good at it and you’ll probably never reach perfection. Holding in mind that for you, the facts are the facts, but for the other person, it is their life and the kids are their children, and you have to let people judge for themselves – this is still a challenge for me all the time. I remind myself that it is society that tolerates my deviation, not the other way around – no matter how it may feel to me.

    Maybe this is why there is so much disagreement on the simplest, yet most important, things in a parent’s life: birthing, circumcision, co-sleeping, vaccines, discipline, for a long time breastfeeding was controversial – remember that? These topics stay mired in what amounts to superstition for so long because it is like religion to people. It’s deeply personal and mostly irrational. Nothing is more irrational than using rationality to decide things that we evolved emotions to handle so expertly. The means at our disposal to communicate emotionally with others are quite limited when we’re so used to communicating logically and rationally.

    We have a standard cultural norm. If you are sensitive enough to feel that there is something better than that norm, and courageous enough to do something about it, then you are off in the wilderness with the rest of us. I wish we could talk to each other more, it would help our society a lot.

  11. Mariana
    Mariana says:

    This is just about confronting the brutal facts. Research says child-directed learning is better for children. Most people can’t get that at available schools. There is the option of homeschooling, but something gets in the way – financial obligations, taking care of jparents, egotistical reasons, whatever, it doesn’t matter. If you are not doing it you just have to accept that you are not giving your child the best education. And that is ok too. Everybody gets mad at PT because when she states “you should homeschool” it feels like she is imposing guilt – oh gosh, another obligation, another thing on my “I am not doing” list. But you do not need to waste time feeling guilty. You just need to accept that you are not giving the best education. You are providing a “B” education. In the great scheme of life it doesn’t matter that much. Your kids will be able to enjoy their brief time on this planet with a B…

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      Someone who believes in the value of child-directed learning using a grading scale to describe a “test-taking” education model (i.e., providing a “B” education) cracks me up.

      • Mariana
        Mariana says:

        Hey, that’s an interesting question, is child centered education free from grading, free from testing? I think evaluation per se is not the problem, what is troublesome is bad, subjective evaluation. And there was an article in NYT saying tests were more effective for information retention.
        Guys, what do you think?

        • Cathy
          Cathy says:

          Some testing is outright harmful. Some testing is helpful and aids learning. It all depends on the test-maker, the test-taker, the motivation and implementation and a bunch of other -ations, probably, as well…

          I kept my kids out of the standardized testing game all through our unschooling. We (the kids and I) knew better than a test could ever show how much and how well the kids were reading, how much information was comprehended and remembered, how much story was enjoyed or not, internalized or not, grokked or not. We knew that the kids were using some computation, fractions, and higher mathematics in their lives – and using these things well – but we also knew that they were not remotely interested in all the paper-and-pencil math that was practiced in classrooms. I presume that the kids would have scored dreadfully on the math portion of a test – but so what? The numbers-stuff they actually used was going swimmingly, and that’s what I cared about.

          In other words, how would taking a standardized test help my kids? It wouldn’t. We knew how they were doing, and we didn’t need to know how they “stacked up” against other kids.

          On the other hand, it makes sense to use tests in some areas of life. I think, for example, that both the written rules-of-the-road driver’s test and the behind-the-wheel driver’s test are useful to society. I bet there are lots of great combinations of written and hands-on tests for surgeons and pilots and scuba divers and many other fields.

          Grades and points and other forms of artificial feedback and evaluation are largely useless. My kids learned sports – and the feedback was that they scored or won in those sports. My kids learned dance – and the feedback was solo parts or inclusion in performances. My kids created visual art – and got feedback from trying to sell it or from viewers who spontaneously commented on it – and read books – and needed no feedback, although we often had great discussions about the stories or ideas.

          My kids would sometimes ask me to “test them” on something they were learning. For example, one kid got it into her head that she wanted to learn a bunch of stuff about the first 26 or so elements. She made herself flash cards and walked around memorizing all this stuff. Then she wanted me to create some tests to see how well she remembered the stuff. Her flashcards were self-testers, too, of course.

          My kids also took fun (dumb?) tests in teen magazines and made their own fun (dumb?) tests for friends and family and each other.

          One of my kids had a teacher who used tests in a great way. He was teaching a voluntary class on snakes in a fun summer-science program. The first day of class, he passed out a written test and asked the kids to take it. He called it a pre-test, to see what they already knew about snakes. After all the kids finished the test, he had them grade themselves while he went over the answers. After he’d discussed all the answers, the teacher asked the kids for self reporting: “How many of you got fewer than 3 questions wrong? How about from 3 to 8 wrong answers? From 9 to 12? My daughter was the only one who put up her hand on that last one – so she got the “worst score” in the class (maybe…if the others didn’t fudge how many they REALLY missed – remember, the tests were self-checked and the scores were self-reported).

          At that point, the teacher awarded my daughter a beautiful full, yard-long snakeskin. He said to her, “You won! Because you will learn the most in this class.” The other kids (my daughter later reported) were astonished and displeased that she got such a cool award and kind of a compliment for getting what they were thinking of as the “worst” score on the test.

          But the really interesting thing about this test, to me, was that the teacher asked the kids to go home and give the test to at least one older person – such as a parent. He didn’t give the kids the correct answers, just a blank copy of the test. So my daughter came home, VERY excited about her snake skin, holding the blank test. She gave me the test (I put all my answers on a separate piece of paper), and when I was done, she gave me the feedback – and she remembered all the right answers and all the explanations for WHY they were the right answers. She had learned sooooo much just from that one test!

          When her dad (who was Mr. Biology Teacher) came home from work, he got worried about why his unschooled daughter got the WORST SCORE on the test – clearly, he said, we were doing something wrong – but when he took the test, he didn’t do any better than her. And once again, she explained all the answers that he had muffed, and he could see how much she’d learned (and he learned a thing or two or nine, as well!)

          • Mark W.
            Mark W. says:

            Cathy, your reply made me think about tests. Specifically, tests that are given as open book tests and the tests where you can bring your own custom made, one page (std. size paper) “cheat cheat”. The above test “styles” don’t emphasize memorizing the material but rather how the material is implemented in the “real” world. Taking it one step farther, test someone after giving them an online course (with a clear understanding of all learning goals and objectives stated at the beginning of the course) with all online course material and Internet access available. To your point, I think the value of tests is demonstrating to yourself what you don’t know rather than what you do.

          • Mariana
            Mariana says:

            Thank you Cathy, very enlightening comment! I loved the snake class part. I was thinking theoretically about the usefulness of tests, and you gave a real life example that illustrated how to approach them. As a child I liked taking tests so I was looking for a more productive way to use them.

    • redrock
      redrock says:

      the point is that your “brutal fact” is by no means as clearcut as you believe (actually I don’t mind if you believe this it is the believe that everybody who does things differently is wrong which bugs me). It is a clearcut decision for you because you are convinced, it is indeed as another commenter said before more “grey”. No research in education (and even in physics for that matter) is ever entirely clearcut, there are ambiguities, conditions of the experiment/observation and so on. Observing on a personal level that your child is happy in a certain setup does not mean all kids are. I read somewhere (so this one is also anecdotal) about the age when un-schooled kids start to read, and some of them do not feel the curiosity to do so, and still will not read at the age of 10 or 13. This would defy the concept of self-directed learning where internet and whatever resources are always mentioned – they do require reading skills. Did not un-schooling then backfire?

      And with respect to making people ashamed that they are not doing something: if you come on very strong claiming a one and only truth people will become defensive. Even if they think this is not the right path for them. This is a very normal human reaction especially if one talks about education and parenting where there are very often no clearcut black and whites.

      • Mariana
        Mariana says:

        But indeed, what is clearcut research? It is a)old research, tested and re-tested again and again; b)well-funded research, i.e., a lot of people with money were convinced to spend their dollars. We, as parents, must make a decision now, not when that great research is available. Ok, maybe we should “confront the brutal knowledgeable facts”, but that sounds awful!
        I have to concede my comment was aimed at the folks who are convinced child centered education is the best option but are giving excuses not to do it. Worse, they are giving excuses why other people won’t do it. Yes, everybody takes personally when someone says “you should…”. I do it too, man, I hate going to the dentist and hear “You should floss. Like, everyday”. I know it is the best option for my teeth, and everyday I skip it equals loosing them sooner. But hey, I embrace that, and take responsibility for it.
        You could blame PT for one sin: saying that we are ruining kids lives. It is more like wasting A LOT of their time…

      • Cathy
        Cathy says:

        Redrock seems to think that unschooling has “backfired” if the kids don’t read by a certain age and that late readers defy the concept of self-directed learning.

        There are some kids who don’t walk as early as mine. Mine walked at age 9 months–all three of them. Is it awful it another kid doesn’t walk until age 12 months, or 15 months? No, I defy anyone to tell the difference between early walkers and late walkers when the kids are running around at age 8 and walking around at age 20.

        Some research shows it is BETTER to read late rather than early. There is no problem if kids learn to read at age 11 rather than 6, or even at age 13 rather than 9–as long as they are getting stuff some other way. For example, I read a lot to my kids. I read during the day and every night at bedtime. I read to them, sometimes, even when they were older – even when they were independent readers – for several reasons: as we drove through deserts or very familiar routes on family vacations, I would read good books aloud, and all of us would have fun with discussing “our book” – my husband included; I read to one daughter while she did the curls, push-ups and stretches she needed for her dancing, because she absorbs more through hearing than through reading and because her life revolves around dance; sometimes I would read while they cooked a huge meal, and then someone else would read while I cleaned up; it’s fun to be reading a book together.

        My kids were late readers. One read at 8, one at 10, and one at 12. They were read to, traveled, went to museums, made art, danced, learned a ton. Being a late reader didn’t harm them, wasn’t an indication that self-directed learning doesn’t work, wasn’t a backfiring or a problem.

        A cute anecdote about another kid who unschooled: her mom loved reading aloud to her but worried a bit that she wasn’t yet reading independently (like a lot of kids naturally do at 4, 5, 6). Her kid was 7 or 8 , and she LOVED books and LOVED the library–she just didn’t read herself. One day she told her mom, “I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a librarian!” Her mom thought “Aha! This is what I have been waiting for – her own internal motivation for learning to read.” The girl was going on about how much she loves the library and the special nooks and the storytime place and all the books. When the girl wound down, her mom said casually, “That’s great. You know, you’ll need to learn to read to be a librarian.” The girl looked thoughtful for a moment, then shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay, never mind. I’ll be something else.”

        (Of course, the little girl could soon read on her own, has earned several college degrees including studying abroad, and is not a librarian.)

        • Penelope Trunk
          Penelope Trunk says:

          I feel compelled to chime in here about walking.

          Most kids who walk very early do not crawl. Not crawling is a huge red flag for being on the autistic spectrum. Parents should force their kids to crawl before walking.

          I learned this the hard way – by being told after my autistic spectrum kid walked at nine months, before he crawled.


          • Cathy
            Cathy says:

            I’ve heard something like that (kids need to crawl before they walk), too, Penelope. But my kids all crawled a lot for a few months. They also did that crawl-to-something, pull-up-on-that-something, and walk-while-holding-on (is it called “cruising”? I can’t remember) for a few weeks before stepping out into true walking.

            I don’t know why they were all early walkers. But they all were early to talk, too, and they all gave up naps by age 2, which is young. They were all three late to “sleep through the night” and the two oldest were somewhat late to potty train. Late readers. No autism.

            The kids are SO varied in their interests and passions now, it’s hard to believe they were so similar in their developmental timetables as babies. I felt like they had a parenting handbook hidden away somewhere and were hell bent on doing the minimum of sleep and the maximum of getting around.

  12. Nowgirl
    Nowgirl says:

    Penelope, would you do a post here on the research that convinced you? With links? When you say “all the research” I’d like to have a sense of what that means.

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