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Early-childhood and elementary school programs reflect a diverse set of commitments about what children ought to learn, and about how they ought to do so.

Some focus on academic preparation and advancement, with extra attention to reading and mathematics. Some emphasize social-emotional development and community values. Others tout their language classes, or their music program, or the opportunities for children to engage in extended projects of their choosing. Some praise structure and discipline; some prize autonomy and play.

A Pew Research Center study released last month found the share of two-parent households in America in which mothers stay at home has dropped to just over one in four, down from nearly half in 1970.

Families with two working parents are better off economically, but trying to juggle life and work is stressful – especially for mothers, who surveys show still bear the burden of child care.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

Every other Thursday night, Parents Helping Parents meets in a room at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center. The meetings consist of mostly adults gathered around a rectangular setup of tables in the middle of the room. People ranging from their mid 20s to their 60s are in attendance. Hugh Benson, a board member for the group, helps organize these twice-monthly meetings.