I resort to workbooks sometimes when I get panicky
[Comforting fears] is exactly WHAT the parenting and unschooling tapes [from unschooling conference talks] are for, to help comfort parents FEARS about unschooling and lead to a more peaceful path. [And comforting fears is what I use workbooks for.]
No, the tapes aren't for comforting fears. Perhaps this is a matter of using words differently, and you're right, people do say tapes will help calm fears.
But there are important-to-getting-unschooling differences between what parenting tapes are for and what worksheets are for.
I said worksheets and workbooks and textbooks often get used to comfort parent fears. I used "comforting fears" to describe a state where the fears still exist but are sometimes dormant. If I were afraid of heights it would be comforting to stay on the first floor. But the fear would still be there if I went to a higher floor. So picture that state rather than whatever "comforting fears" conjures up for you.
A lot of the writing the regulars do is to help people eliminate their fears, not comfort them. Eliminating fears can often be a long process for some who are new to unschooling. The false foundations beneath the fears have been growing for 20+ years for most people. It's a rare person who can obliterate those foundations and crumble the fears with just a little bit of reading about unschooling.
As new unschoolers gain more information, as they process it and make sense of it, their fears generally shrink over time. For some people to shrink the fears to nothingness they need lots of reading and doing and observing over years. For other people it will be an "aha" moment where they realize there never was anything to fear in the first place because the "foundations" to those fears had no foundations themselves.
A parent's fear that's comforted by worksheets comes from not trusting that her children can learn what they need from life and not trusting that she can create the proper atmosphere for them. A person new to unschooling who wants unschooling and finds worksheets comfort her fears should not go anywhere near worksheets. They will be road blocks to creating an unschooling atmosphere and understanding unschooling.
Parenting tapes are a step in the process of eliminating fears. They can help people see the falseness to the foundation or pieces of the foundation beneath their fears.