What is Common Core, how will it affect home schoolers and what can I do about it?

There is a lot about Common Core that nobody knows yet, since we are waiting for curricula to be written, standardized tests to be adapted and there have been no test cases to see what the results of the program might be.

Here are some things we do know:

  • There are radical curriculum changes taking place across the board and, for many states, standards are not actually going up; they are going down.
  • Common Core is not state led, even though some states feel like they had a hand in designing it; it is top-down and will remove all local control of and accountability for education.
  • Under Common Core (renamed College or Career Readiness) many students may be encouraged not to go to college. They may be placed on career tracks based on early grade school testing.
  • The SAT and ACT are being rewritten to accompany the Common Core. This means that private and home schools will have to teach their students “to the test” if they are going to do well on college entrance tests–or come up with creative options for getting into or around college.
  • It is very likely that testing and data tracking will be required for all the students in your state, if the state wants to collect federal dollars. Given the options of federal dollars or granting privacy exemptions for private school and home school students, which do you think the state will take?
  • Some of the privately published curricula used by home school families is changing to align with Common Core.

Even when you feel like you know a lot about Common Core, it can be hard to focus on what one person can do to reverse the tide. If you’re in that boat and you feel like you’re sinking, please consider the following links life-preservers. :-)

And then they came for the Home Schoolers

Common Core Facts

What One Person Can Do to Stop Common Core

The Current School Reform Landscape: Christopher H. Tienken

About Kristen Chevrier

Kristen Chevrier is married to Brian Chevrier. They are the parents of five awesome children. Kristen began researching home schooling twenty-two years ago, when her first child was six months old, and fell in love with the idea. Kristen received her MA in English from Brigham Young University. She has taught Freshman English at BYU and has taught Theater, History, English Literature and Composition for private schools and groups of home schooled teens. Most of all she enjoys being with her family. She is very comfortable with home schooling, but blogging is a new adventure.
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18 Responses to What is Common Core, how will it affect home schoolers and what can I do about it?

  1. Molly says:

    Ya know, I find it really ridiculous that they are paying so much money to implement curriculum that hasn’t even been written yet, let alone tested. Why would anyone think that is a good idea? Oh that’s right. Huge money maker for all those curriculum companies.

    Thanks, just had to get that off my chest. :)

    P.S. We currently have to teach/study to the test for the ACT (pre-common core.) Some kids can just test well, but most students who want to improve their score have to study specifically to the test.

    • Kristen Chevrier says:

      Good point about aligning with a non-existent curriculum, Molly.
      We do not teach to the test (ACT) even now. We do study for the test, which is significantly different in my mind. I suspect we will be able to study for the new tests, too. We’ll just have to see what they come up with.

  2. While I haven’t read all the details, what I have read leads me to think the Common Core and the different paths for students is a lot like the CAM and CIM stuff Oregon was trying in the mid to late 90′s and possible early 2000′s, it was a complete disaster and one of the things that led my husband and I to homeschool. I’m glad we are more delight directed and Montessori led in our homeschooling.

  3. Pingback: Common Core Plague Hits Independent Curricula Companies

  4. Terri says:

    I can’t imagine what the fuss is all about. I was homeschooled myself in the 1970′s and have not only been a homeschool mom and teach parent seminars on how to home school, teach various classes to homeschooled kids from preschool to college, and tutor. Common Core is nothing really but a bunch of minimum standards that kids need to meet. Unless you are a slacker in your home schooling, your kids should easily be able to do well on the SAT or ACT based on these standards. They really don’t have to write curriculum for Common Core as it is just so basic and pretty much just standardizing what students need to know. It is common sense standards. The USA lags far behind students (including many third world nations) and this includes American homeschoolers. There is nothing to be afraid of.

    As for funding and states forcing homeschoolers or private schools to meet the standards, home schools and private schools already meet these standards. States would only be required to test public school students to get funding as the funding goes only to public schools. At any rate, most colleges will require these standards for entrance and the ACT and SAT will conform to them so one might as well be sure students meet those standards.

    • Kristen Chevrier says:

      Hi, Terri. If I understand you correctly you are saying that we should not be afraid of Common Core because it is just common sense. Is that accurate? My main objection to CC is that it is federal. I think decisions about standards and curricula should be made by local school boards who are elected directly by parents. With the federal program there is no accountability to individual communities; individual needs of children are not able to be addressed; there is no way for us to amend the standards or the curriculum. There should not be a one-size-fits-all federal curriculum. We are not worried about meeting the standards because we already exceed them in most cases; we are concerned about the content of a federal curriculum and the fact that tests may be based on the curriculum and not on the standards themselves.

  5. Heather Ventura says:

    I have read the Common Core. Several times now. I have my own political and funding issues with CC (which I won’t go in to here), but from a purely educational perspective, I am (mostly) in love with them. I find I am teaching in a concept-focused way already and this is one of reasons we chose homeschooling. We value a true in-depth understanding of concepts before moving on. I like my son to be able to illustrate conceptual understanding in more than one way. I believe a lot of us homeschoolers feel this way, we want our children to learn, not just memorize stuff long enough to pass a test. I feel like the CC promotes true conceptual learning and is trying to move away from short term memorization (don’t get me wrong, it is still public schooling so it will still rely on tests as final qualifiers). Just my two cents.

    • Kristen Chevrier says:

      Thanks for your input, Heather. I think what you’re saying is that it’s not such a big deal if the curricula change to accommodate CC because you feel that the standards are actually good. Is that what you’re saying? I think we all agree with holding our children/schools accountable to learn/teach the important things (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic). But I do not agree with having a federal education program. Education decisions should be made locally, by parents or directly elected representatives of the parents. So, for me, it’s not about having nice sounding standards, but about creating great standards on a local level that address the needs of local children.

  6. Pingback: Stopping Common Core: What You Can Do NOW! » Grassroots in Michigan

  7. Chrissy says:

    I think the point is, it is irrelevant if you like these new standards. Having a federally controlled curriculum is a scary prospect indeed. It is convenient now to say, oh who cares? I like this curriculum. But what happens when it changes, and it will, and it no longer is a common sense curriculum? What happens when the government utilizes its control in the schools to indoctrinate children with whatever agenda it is they see fit? Again, it’s easy to be complacent when you like your government or agree with its current ideologies, so please imagine a government you don’t like, give it this much control over schools and then see how comfortable you are with that scenario, because it will inevitably occur.
    Also, I am darn tired of hearing how the US lags behind other countries. On quantitative tests, we do indeed. However, these tests are more indicators of compliance and how well “group think” has been established. Anyone can be taught to pass an exam, true ingenuity cannot be measured in a quantitative manner, like testing. To illustrate this point, please consider China, who tests above the US, and has a much larger population, comprises less than one percent of the Nobel prize winners, compared to the US, which comprises about 40% of the Nobel prize winners. So obviously testing well on standardized tests doesn’t equate to independent and creative thinking. I know which I value most, and which I’d rather focus on teaching my children.

  8. Crystal Anderson says:

    I am a new mom and I am looking at homeschooling my child when she is school age. I have been reading about this common core. I was wondering being that I am looking at eventually homeschooling, what can I do to say no to the common core?

    • Kristen Chevrier says:

      Hi, Crystal. One of the links at the bottom of this article takes you to a blog post that gives several ideas on what you can do in your state. If that doesn’t help, please ask again and I will put you in touch with the ladies who wrote that blog to get more information. Welcome to motherhood. I’m so glad you’re already planning to home school. I started looking at home schooling when my now 23 year old was six months old. It has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  9. deannajensen says:

    I am against CC for many reasons, but mostly putting the federal Government in control of education is a scary proposition indeed. Homeschoolers should be worried, because if the federal govt. can take away States rights and parents rights through CC, they can also take away homeschoolers rights. It just takes one homeschooler that has neglected to do their job in educating, or worse abuse their children and it will be all over for all of you. The media will not give you a fair shake and the public outcry for “the poor children” of homeschooling families will be on every TV station. You may not see it because a lot of you don’t watch TV, but I don’t think it is a far fetched scenario. Who will you take your grievances to?

  10. Matt Giesler says:

    There is so much wrong with common core it is hard to know where to start. One thing I have not noticed anyone mention here is the level of data mining that comes along with common core. Before anyone gives CC their blessing they need to read ALL of the details about it. It looks good on the surface but at its core it is pure evil. We ALL need to wake up and do what we can to STOP this. This is not a democrat or republican thing either. If we allow this to go through, there will not be homeschoolers at some point in the future. PLEASE don’t discount me as some conspiracy theorist. Do your homework and thoroughly investigate this for yourself.

  11. Beth says:

    Crystal, I’m wondering if you are asking if you can justify an opinion with regard to the common core, since you are choosing to homeschool and your kids won’t even be in the public school. I may have misread your question, but it almost sounds as if you are trying to justify that your opinion should count despite you rejecting the public schools. My answer would be Yes, you do have a right because your taxes are paying for it and your neighborhood and the kids you are surrounded by (and all children) are important to you. The value of your home depends, in part, on the level of the school your property is zoned for so you, indeed, have a right to an opinion on what goes on in the schools. I also agree with the premise that schools should not be controlled at the federal level and I also agree that saying yes to CC now, while you may agree with it’s standards, will mean you are agreeing to say yes to whatever comes from it in the future .. a potentially scary prospect.

  12. Steph says:

    I was wondering about readingeggs, abcmouse, starfall, brainpops and aleks math. While not used as a whole curriculum we use these as suppliments.

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