As a teacher, I have seen many educational trends come and go. A joke among teachers is that the one thing you can count on is that the current teaching trend will soon change. Teachers just take new teaching trends in stride, knowing that they will be around for several years until the next big change comes along.
So, should homeschoolers care about the Common Core State Standards?
First, it is good to make sure that parents know that the Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum. Common Core is a list of educational standards, which are statements of expectation of what knowledge and skills a student should gain in each grade level. A curriculum is the detailed plan of HOW to teach a student the standards, which is decided by school districts and teachers.
Why would homeschoolers want to use Common Core State Standards – even if they don’t agree with some of the standards themselves? Let’s explore the answers.
1) Homeschoolers can look at the Common Core State Standards as simply a free resource to get ideas about what to teach their child at each grade level.
2) By using Common Core as a reference, homeschoolers can have a better understanding of what their children could learn in each grade level. This can be especially important if your child is competing with public school students for scholarships and college admissions, or if your child participates in local educational fairs – like spelling bees or art contests.
3) As with any resource used for teaching, parents can pick and choose which concepts in the resource they teach and which they skip. Just because a parent uses Common Core as one resource, it doesn’t mean that every single expectation has to be taught or met.
4) If homeschoolers have a concern about a particular standard, they can either skip the standard that concerns them or teach their children why they have concerns about the particular standard.
While I personally have some concerns about Common Core, I also see that it does have value to homeschoolers as a free list of things to consider teaching your child. It doesn’t require you to check off every standard. It is just one reference to use as you see fit for your child.
It is also noteworthy that the 7 states that choose not to follow the Common Core State Standards each have their own state standards. I also use my local state standards as a reference on a weekly basis to guide what I am teaching my children, and add other sources to build our curriculum as well.
Personally, I use Evan-Moor as my primary publisher for resources. Evan-Moor offers a wealth of lessons in their TeacherFileBox lesson library. It saves time by enabling me to search for ready-made activities by skill and subject. You can also search TeacherFileBox by Common Core or state standard in various subjects. Click here to learn more about TeacherFileBox.
Evan-Moor has new titles for math, reading, and writing. Check out these quality resources, including:
- Daily Math Practice: Common Core Edition
- Reading Literary Text
- Reading Paired Text
- Reading Informational Text
- Text-Based Writing
So, should homeschool families care about Common Core? Well, homeschoolers, you have the right to choose, and I know you will choose wisely for your family.
Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website http://www.thrivehomeschooling.com.