Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So What About the Common Core Standards?

There have been many conversations regarding the common core standards proposed by our government.  Is it a good idea?  What is the underlying purpose?  Shouldn’t there be a standard of some sort?  What is the big deal anyway?
I am not sure.  How is that for vague?
Anyway.  As a homeschool mom who has spent time as a traditional classroom teacher, I have mulled this controversy in my mind for awhile now.  Tonight, I even took a closer look at what the established standards are, particularly for fourth grade.  On the surface, it looks harmless.  Maybe it is my cynical mind, but I question anything that the government is proposing as “necessary” for education. 
That said, I do feel there needs to be some level of competency for a child entering college, or even directly into a career.  When push comes to shove, there is a basic minimum that a student should master.  It is a shame that our government has chosen to set the standard.   As a mom of homeschoolers, I feel that the standards set in this common core are sub-par.  I realize that the goal should be to exceed the basic, but I fear that with so much pressure on public school teachers whose students are tested excessively, there is little time or incentive to go over and above. 
I am not ignorant to the inherent differences between a traditional classroom (private or public) and a homeschool environment.  I would expect that a child who has more individual attention, freedom of schedule, and limited interruptions would exceed standards.  I am also aware that not everyone who is homeschooled utilizes those advantages.  My kids included. 
I have the privilege to choose a curriculum for each of my children that focuses of their strengths and weaknesses.  I have a very basic formula.  My objectives are not spelled out.  I do not choose to follow someone else’s standards.  Choosing to follow a model set by the government is far from ideal in my mind. 
I do not think I am naïve in how I think.  These standards seem to be set to produce a one curriculum fits all program.  The problem is that one curriculum does not fit all children.  I do not even do that in my own home.  Maybe it is a financial decision.  Maybe it is a desperate attempt to help our failing schools.  Maybe it is just the government sticking its nose where it should not be. 
These basic common core standards are not doing our children justice from where I sit.  I do have a child in the public school.  I am not seeing even these basics mastered for him.  I realize that I have a large role to play in his education when he comes home.  However, how many families do not have that support?  Yes, I am venting my frustration. 
This is not a subject explained or understood in a short blog entry.  I challenge families to investigate it on their own.  Educating our children is a privilege and responsibility that should not be left to the choices of the government. 

No comments: