Not So Standard

Posted on June 25, 2014 1:41 pm under General
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Most days, I enjoy homeschooling. Miss Muffin does much of her learning through independent reading and activities. When I do need to give a verbal explanation, she is quick to grasp and apply the concepts that she has learned. I like correcting papers and reading her thoughts. What don’t I like? It’s something called Common Core.

When I first heard about Common Core standards, I thought it was a great idea. We are a mobile society and moving is an integral part of many children’s school years. It’s hard enough to adjust to a new school and make new friends. If students had a standard curriculum nationwide, a six grader in Maine could move to California without repeating or missing portions of their curriculum. From a homeschooling standpoint, it would provide a roadmap to insure that my granddaughter was keeping pace with her peers in brick and mortar schools.

I still think that’s a good idea, but unfortunately, it is not Common Core. Those standards explain what a child should learn to do; comprehend what they have read, for example. It doesn’t tell you what they are reading or how increased comprehension will be accomplished. Neither will they reveal if a seventh grader should be studying American or Asian history. For that type of information, you have to search for the curriculum standards for your state. Worse yet, the state standards keep shifting. So when we followed standards and studied U.S. History last year, this year’s standards say we should have been studying ancient history. So we’ll be trying to cover that along with this year’s materials. Who knows what next year will bring?

Perhaps professional teachers find this less confusing, but everything I’ve heard says differently. This is an area where clear national standards would benefit so many.

If misery loves company, teachers can hang out with accountants. I recently read about an accountant in Charlotte NC, who took the first portion of her exam in Pennsylvania, before an unexpected move to North Carolina, where she took the remaining three exams. While this is perfectly permissible and she passed all of her exams, she is still fighting to receive her CPA. There’s an eighteen month window to take all four exams, but the starting date is slightly different for the two states. While she completed in a timely manner by Pennsylvania standards, North Carolina says she finished a few days late. Good grief! Why not skip the red tape and grant the CPA? Use some of that manpower and money on better things. A national standard curriculum, perhaps?

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