After learning that some very popular home school curricula have aligned their programs with Common Core, I decided to do some research. I have a list of some of the curriculum companies and their current CCSS status (below).
Please read my post before you look at the list.
Some of the companies who are changing their public school curriculum to align are doing so because they feel that they must provide CCSS aligned, high-quality materials that have Christ as their foundation. Otherwise, textbooks that teach secular philosophy will be all that is available for those in states and schools that are required to adhere to CCSS.
Having curricula that meet (or exceed) Common Core standards is not the same as re-writing to align a program with Common Core. And having elements of Common Core in a program does not necessarily make it bad.
What is most important in choosing any study materials is that you are aware of what your child is learning.
While we are on the topic of curricula: Many people come into home schooling thinking that they must have a completely planned curriculum and follow it exclusively. Not so. You have much more flexibility to address the needs and interests of individual children if you are willing be creative. While there are benefits to having a standard curriculum for the basics, it’s okay to create your own by picking and choosing materials from any source that suits your needs. Don’t get stuck in a box. Be flexible. Embrace your instincts. And actively choose to be your child’s guide.
Here is what I have found, so far:
If your favorite curriculum is not listed here check the link at the bottom of this article and/or check the company website for any mention of Common Core. That will give you an idea of their understanding of and philosophy on CC. Then call them and ask what their plans are for their home school curriculum.
Common Core-Aligned (notations explain what the link does not):
BJU Press (Jennifer from BJU states in the comment thread below that they are not actually aligned but are pointing out where they are aligned. That was not my initial understanding and I have not yet re-verified with the company.)
BYU Independent Study (BYU apparently has two sets of curriculum now, one aligned and one not aligned.)
Math Mammoth (Blue and Green)
MathUSee (Please also see posts in the comment thread about MUS. Their website is heavily pro-CC, but the changes seem to be minor according to MUS and people who use the books and have ordered their new editions.)
Right Start Math (Second edition is aligned as a basic minimum and almost always exceeds these benchmarks; you may purchase their first edition indefinitely and it is not aligned.)
Writing Road to Reading (Spalding)
Acknowledging where they align with CC, but not necessarily changing to align:
Critical Thinking Press (They look at a wide range of standards in drafting materials, but exceed all of them and are not writing to accommodate CC.)
Easy Grammar (Dr. Phillips believes that CC standards are much too low.)
Excellence in Writing (See very long, but very interesting, response from IEW in the comments thread.)
Khan Academy (Khan Academy is funded by some of the same people who fund and promote Common Core, but the videos are pre-CC and not likely to be re-made to align with CC. )
Singapore Math (Singapore is creating a CC line, but retaining their other lines. Please see statement in comment thread from Jeffrey Thomas, President and Co-Founder of Singapore Math.)
Currently Not Aligned with Common Core:
Alpha Omega (Emily Dorr, Lead of Homeschool Sales for Alpha Omega, contacted me recently to let me know that, although my original assessment was accurate, over the past two years, AO has had some policy and staffing changes. As a result of these changes, they never aligned with CC. And they never intend to do so.)
Cornerstone Curriculum (Please see statement from Cornerstone Curriculum in comment thread.)
Foundation for American Christian Education
Hillsdale College Online Courses
Right Start Math (Second edition is aligned as a basic minimum and almost always exceeds these benchmarks; you may purchase their first edition indefinitely and it is not aligned.)
Shurley English (Home school edition is not changing at this time.)
This is not an exhaustive list. I am adding to it as I find more information. Please feel free to give input.
Several others have taken my list and added to it. You can find their work here, here and here. Thanks to those who worked on these lists and to all the others who have helped to add to my little project.
If you are using one of the programs that has aligned with Common Core I encourage you to write to or call the publisher and let them know how you feel about it.
I would think you could add “Life of Fred” to your list of non-aligned.
Thanks Kristen! Great information, and thanks for all the work you do. Get a bee in your bonnet more often 😉
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Great info, Thanks for sharing it! Do you know how Math Mammoth lines up?
Jennifer, it looks like it’s going with CC. Thank you for asking. I have added it to the list.
Tori Ann, I added “Life of Fred.” Thanks for the reminder. I looked at it last night but forgot to put it on the list.
Thanks, Shyra. 🙂 I get them frequently. I’ll try to make them productive.
Math Mammoth is only aligning Blue and Green – the topical series according to theeducationalfreedomcoalition.org
I bought math mammoth last year(summer 2012), to be used this up coming year, had they already aligned? (we haven’t started using it yet)
I wouldn’t think so, Shaina. I would look through it and see what you think. I would also call the company and ask them when they aligned. (Sorry I was slow to respond. We had a wedding.)
Here’s my questions:
1) Who contacted these homeschool curriculum companies?
2) What was the criteria for aligning?
3) Did these companies receive any money for aligning with the common core?
I did contact Math-U-See and asked what they had to change in order to be comply with Common Core and have not heard back! Thanks for this! I need to get different math for next year.
Heather, I wish I knew the answers to those questions. If you find the answers please share.
I’m sorry you did not see our previous responses to your questions on the Math-U-See facebook page. Here is a link that highlights the additions in each level of our book http://www.mathusee.com/parents/ We would love to go through each level with you in detail so you can understand what we added to our curriculum. Call us at 888-854-6284 or email [email protected] so we can answer all of your questions in detail.
I was asking this about all those who have aligned with cc not jus mus. This article implies there were some who were funded to align. Please understand I have spent countless hours researching cc and on principle will not use any curriculum aligned with ccss.
Heather, just to clarify, I don’t have any idea whether anyone has been paid to align with CC. What I meant to point out is that some companies, whether they are aligning or not, have connections with the same people who are funding CC and we would be wise be watching their materials to see if they start to head that direction.
There’s a lot of money behind CC.
What doesn’t make sense to me, in all my research of CC, why homeschool curriculum would align themselves. What would be the motivation? This is just a huge leap of federal power and control of education and homeschoolers and those in the homeschooling world LOVE our freedom. Why even associate with something, that to me, just is opposite of the heart of homeschooling?
And I am speaking of all those who aligned.
I did speak to a math teacher who is well versed in CC and asked him if a traditional math book can be considered “aligned” with CC, but not make too many changes. He said it would be a stretch, but they could say they are “aligned”…then he added, “They just won’t make any money teaching math the traditional way.”
Thanks for your work here!
And I did email on Friday with questions.
I have been a MUS user for 5 years now. I also just received the new “updated” versions of their math books. THE ONLY thing different is there is an extra lesson thrown in called Application and Enrichment. These are now at the end of each “less”. I compared the rest of the curriculum, and nothing else has changed. Besides the new “G” page thrown it at the end of each lesson, their materials continue to remain the same. Not one of the DVD’s were updated. While I’m still researching and trying to decide what I think about the CCS…we are thrilled that we can still use MUS, and it honestly is the same as it always has been. I simply choose not to do the G lessons. Perhaps some of the homeschool companies are trying to align, so that for those homeschoolers who live in states with stricter homeschool laws can still continue to use Christian homeschool materials, as well as align with their state requirements. Not sure if it’s too that point yet, but it could be int he future. For MUS users, please don’t think they have made major changes. The books still contain the MUS lessons that we know and love.
Excellent news, Crystal. Thank you for letting us know.
Thank you, Crystal.
Conversation of MUS being cc was brought to my attention just this past week. We just started using MUS this year.
In the link below, I just read that Math U See answered some folks on their FB page:
I think that it is a case of most of what they were teaching aligned with the common core already and they added some things they didn’t think would hurt or something really bland like that. I hope that helps.
Thank you, Emily. I appreciate the input. On their website they are very detailed about what they are doing and it does sound to me like the impetus for their recent changes was, indeed, Common Core. I feel like they are saying one thing and doing another, but I will call them directly today to clarify.
We also need to contact our current curriculum and ask them to not comply to common core!
Any idea about Christian Light Education?
Carla, I am not seeing any connection. I would guess that a Mennonite group would not cave in to pressure to align with Common Core.
Does aligning with CC mean lowering national and/or state standards? What are the disadvantages of CC curricula?
Thanks for any info,
Hi, Cristina. It depends on the state, and sometimes the subject (Math, English, etc.), whether standards will go up or down. But overall they will go down significantly. Some of the other disadvantages I see are the fact that local school districts and parents have no say whatsoever in the standards and have no ability to change or adjust them to address local or individual needs; that highly personal student information is collected in a federal database; that it will cost tons of money to rewrite all the text books and that the curriculum is politicized. It upsets me to see that private companies are rolling over for this. Their complicity helps eradicate any opportunity for educational choice.
For a lot more information on this, please see: What is Common Core, how will it affect home schoolers and what can I do about it? The links at the end of the article will give you a great, and relatively painless :-), overview of the issues surrounding CC.
Could you please check on Alpha Omega? I looked on their website & found a blog that supported CC but I couldn’t find the author.
It looks like the blog post is on the official school blog. And, odd as it seems for a Christian publishing company, it looks like they are adopting CC standards. Is that how it looks to you? You could call them and see if the blog represents their policy.
From the blog post:
“Though only public school systems in the states that have adopted the initiative are required to align with the Common Core, private and Christian schools can also benefit from adopting the standards. Most importantly, the Common Core puts parents, teachers, and students on the same page, so everyone involved in a child’s education has a clear and identical understanding of the expectations for the student in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math.”
I called Alpha Omega and spoke with the director. She says that all new curriculum is aligned with CC and they are going back and aligning all their curricula with CC. It will not be completed within the next year but they are working hard to align. 🙂
Are you talking about the Alpha Omega public school prodects, Christian School products or homeschool products? There is a difference.
Jennifer, I will double check on that. They did not specify that any type of curriculum would not be modified. I asked about everything. But I will call them back and ask again.
Thank you! I do see now that you updated your list showing that Michael Sas stated that the curriculum exceeds the CC standards.
What do we know about “Easy Grammar”?
I don’t see anything connecting “Easy Grammar” with CC.
Thanks for this great post. Please add Media Angels Curriculum to your list as NOT aligning to the common core — ever. How do I know? I’m the owner and long time homeschool mom since 1986 and still homeschooling three.
Thank you for the tip, Felice. I have posted your company on the non-CC list.
Anyone know about BJU Press?
Anyone know where BJU Press stands on this?
As a publisher well known for maintaining excellent academics, BJU Press continually reviews all educational standards, state and national. To be aware of trends in education is not, of course, to be compliant with them. We believe that for us to live up to what we teach—critical thinking and discernment—we must review and assess standards. Not reviewing standards would hinder us from addressing errors in the standards and serving our customers who want to continue using our textbooks alongside Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or other applicable standards.
BJU Press is not changing any of its materials in order to be compliant with Common Core State Standards nor intentionally doing anything to align with them. Because BJU Press materials are academically excellent, standards tend to match the textbooks, rather than the other way around. We do not receive, and have never received, any federal funding, and we oppose any federal intervention in education.
BJU Press is adamantly opposed to federal direction or involvement in the content or methods of the educational system, whether directly or indirectly (through conditions placed on grants and other financial transfers to the states in exchange for Common Core standards compliance or otherwise). Please be assured that biblical integration and academic excellence continue to be the true core of BJU Press, just as it always has been. We remember daily—and prayerfully—the great accountability under which we labor in supporting Christian education.
What about BJU?
It looks to me like BJU is proud to be aligning with CC.
I’d like to share more about the position of BJU Press. BJU Press materials are not Common Core aligned. BJU Press has not changed any of its materials in order to be CCSS compliant. For the sake of our Christian-school customers, BJU Press has shown where its materials correlate with CCSS—meeting and often exceeding the standards.
As a publisher well-known for maintaining excellent academics, BJU Press continually reviews all educational standards, state and national. To be aware of trends in education is not to be compliant with them. We believe it is responsible scholarship. But if we would refuse to review them, it would diminish our ability not only to address errors in the standards but also to serve those who want to continue to use our superior materials while being required to adhere to CCSS.
Please be assured that biblical integration and academic excellence continue to be the true core of BJU Press, just as it always has been. We remember daily—and prayerfully—the great accountability under which we labor in supporting your children’s education.
Thank you, Jennifer.
Have you considered Kiselev’s Geometry? It’s an Imperial Russian book, but has been revised & adapted. It does not seem to me to be based on the CC though. It’s VERY rigorous, more so than my pre-CC high-school geometry book was, from 1988 or so, back when such books were sensibly written. Here’s the site: http://sumizdat.com/pl.html . Also, the definitions are not very deep, but the Dover ed. of Heath’s Euclid has enough of that for a mathematician, & Hall & Stevens’s Euclid, free on Google Books, has a lot of good problems. The most rigorous Introductory Algebra book I know of is W.W. Rouse Ball’s. None of these have teacher’s guides or keys though. The most rigorous Pre-Calc book I know of is David Cohen’s (with Unit-Circle Trigonometry), but definitely not in the latest edition, which may still be challenging, but is much like any other otherwise; instead I have the 1990 edition. Sorry I can’t recommend anything else (you haven’t mentioned yet), but do you know anything about The Art of Problem-Solving? Has it avoided corruption by the CC?
Thank you, Greta. I don’t see any contact info or much info at all about the policies, but I’m going to assume that is a good thing and that their “no-nonsense” approach means no CC ties, unless I find out otherwise.
K12 apparently aligns with Common Core.
Thank you, Sydney.
From Jeffrey Thomas, President and Co-Founder of Singapore Math, Inc.:
What we are doing primarily, in regard to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, is providing alignment guides on our website, as you may have seen. Although we are in development of a CCSS edition of our core elementary program, most of the work is actually going into new Teacher’s Guides, so that teachers will be able to teach to the assessments that are coming. When the CCSS for mathematics was created, the models included Singapore and Japan, two top performers in international testing. As a result, it is not so much a matter of aligning with CCSS for us, but of pointing out to users where the alignment already exists. Having said that, our program is and will continue to be more rigorous than CCSS. For example, CCSS calls for multiplication tables to be learned in Grade 3, but our program will continue to introduce multiplication in Grade 2.
You may know that our program is widely used by homeschooling families, and we will continue to offer our original adaptation of the Primary Mathematics series, introduced in 2003, indefinitely. Primary Mathematics US Edition is true to the Singapore 3rd Edition, with only cosmetic changes, such as spelling (British to US), addition of Customary weights and measurements (while retaining the metric), and some cultural adaptations in terms of proper names and the like. This is the series that is most popular for our individual customers, including homeschoolers and parents who supplement.
Any further questions are most welcome.
Tapestry of Grace does not align with Common Core.
Thank you, Sheri.
Does anyone know how Accelerated Christian Education http://www.aceministries.com stands with regard to common core?
It doesn’t look like there is any connection there, Teri. If I find out differently, I’ll post my findings.
Do you know anything about My Father’s World? I didn’t see that mentioned anywhere. They suggest Singpore Math (listed above) and Spelling Power (not listed) as supplements. Thanks for letting us know about this!
I don’t see any indication that MFW is aligning with CC. Singapore is creating different lines of materials for different interests, which is great. You can see comments from the founder of Singapore in this thread.
How would I know exactly what Alpha Omega would add/change to compy with Common Core?
I don’t know the program so I’m not sure. You can find a phone number on their website. It did sound as though they were working hard to change the whole thing to align with CC.
Remember that Alpha Omega offers many different home schooling options. Without talking to them yet, I am positive they are not going to be able to change everything, whether or not they desire to change it. Weaver, for example, aligns itself with the Bible, not a secular measurement. I am positive that program can’t be changed. The Life Packs could be easily changed. Switched on Schoolhouse is an electronic version of Life Packs, so the same goes. Alpha Omega also offers Horizons and Monarch. They may change all those besides Weaver, but I don’t see how changing Weaver is even possible.
These, however, are just my thoughts.
I come to this discussion with two perspectives…one as a homeschool dad and one as a public school teacher (with certification in math among others).
First of all, to the MUS situation. They address the issue here (http://www.mathusee.com/parents/whats-new-2013/math-u-see-and-the-common-core/) and clearly indicate that, while they did add some things to their curriculum after viewing the CCSS, they don’t go out of their way to order them the same way. They also mention that, because they also sell to school customers, ensuring that all topics are covered will help both those customers and homeschoolers in states that require testing to be successful on the test without teaching to the test.
You mentioned in your original post that the first list was aligned or receiving funding but commented later that none of them, that you know of, are specifically receiving funding. Perhaps removing that part of the header would provide clarification without scaring parents unduly.
Now, as a public school teacher, I can vouch for nearly all of your points that you mentioned in the other post (linked from one of the comments above). Yes, some states were led to believe that they were helping when it was totally top-down. Yes, the ACT and SAT will adapt to align with CCSS. I have not heard about a requirement for accountability of all students (including private and homeschoolers) to receive funding and would love to see a link to information that if you have it. However, whether the standards are up or down would depend on the state. I know that here in Missouri, the math standards are a step up. The ACT and SAT are always going to be aligned to some standard. In fact, the CCSS may make it better for homeschoolers in that regard because those tests certainly couldn’t be aligned to the curriculums of all 50 states simultaneously. This gives a common line that they can match up to. “studying for the test” versus “teaching to the test” is a line so fine that it pretty much disappears in practicality. I don’t see it as bad that curriculums are consulting the CCSS in making their revisions. While it may seem nice to isolate ourselves from the world at times, the fact still remains that our homeschooled children will still be competing with those from public and private schools in the global and national marketplaces.
Perhaps this should have gone on the other post rather than this one but I also wanted to clear up the MUS issue.
This does appear to be an unfunded mandate in many states as the costs for new curriculum and training is not there. My son said that he had a discussion a couple months ago that called it unconstitutional on the national level. Like many, my preference would be to see the US Education Department done away with. However, it’s not unconstitutional for the Federal Government to tie Federal dollars to implementing programs (i.e. primary enforcement seat belt laws, etc). It may still be unconstitutional for some states though because of the necessary funding as mentioned above.
Thanks for your post and positive comments.
Allen, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I do not know that any companies are receiving funding specifically to align themselves with CC. I do know that some companies are receiving funding from proponents of CC, which concerns me and makes me want to screen their materials carefully.
Your point about competing in the marketplaces is well-taken, but I believe that most home school students come out on the top of the heap academically, so they will not have a problem there. What may be a problem is the standardized testing. We will have to wait and see on that.
As I said in my post, having elements in your program that match up with CC is not damning. Pointing out where you cover CC standards without rewriting your curriculum to match them is not damning, but it may be pandering. Rewriting your curriculum to match the standards is a step down for most home school curricula and it is pandering. I think consumers deserve to know what they are supporting. I want them to have the information so that they can make educated decisions (pun intended :-)).
Thanks again for your comments.
I am a retired homeschool mother of three adult, completely homeschooled adults. (I’m retired because I graduated all of them.)
I have written a history curriculum for elementary students called Honour of Kings Ancient and American History. It is historically solid and Biblically solid. We plan to write the next four books in the series over the next four years.
We’ve also written a high school Spanish curriculum. Book 1 is done and Books 2 and 3 are on their way.
I can tell you that we will NEVER align with the Common Core standards. We are adamantly opposed to them in any form. If you would consider adding Honour of Kings to your list, we’d appreciate it.
We also have a FB page where we put out FREE info for our followers: https://www.facebook.com/HonourOfKings
Honour of Kings
Wonderful, Ellen. Thank you for sharing. I will put your curriculum on my list.
I just spoke with Dr. Phillips from “Easy Grammar.” She is a very nice lady and said that her curriculum has always exceeded the CC standards. She is not rewriting anything or rearranging anything. She thinks CC standards are too low. She is happy to answer questions. I think I might just try her program. 🙂
Just wanted to say that we have used Easy Grammar for 6 years, and absolutely love it! My children have an excellent grasp of grammar. In fact, my daughter was recently told by her online writing teacher that she had fewer edits to make than most students. Glad to hear that EG is not caving in to the pressure!
Have you seen anything about Shurley English? We love the program and would hate to see it dumbed down.
I just called Shurley English. The home school edition is not changing at this time. There is a new public/private school edition for 2013 that aligns with CC.
I didn’t see this until I asked. This is great to hear. We just recently started using it, and love it!!
What about My Fathers World
Bradley, I don’t see any connections between MFW and CC.
Math-U-See is NOT aligning with Common Core Standards. I just called them. Their stuff already does align with it. They are NOT changing anything to align. They have added some enrichment pages to the new teacher’s manuals, but everything else is the same.
That is not how it appears on the website. The website makes it look like they are rewriting their books, in order to accommodate CC.
The difference is that they are rewriting. Those listed under my second category are not rewriting, they just have graphs showing how they already align with CC.
I’m trying to tell my husband about this, but he is kind of adamant about not changing from MUS. I’m thinking change would be good for other reasons aside from CCS.
Emily, from what I am hearing MUS has not changed much. I think the changes consist of a couple of pages at the end of each book. Probably not a huge deal. One of my big beefs about CCSS is the political indoctrination that is combined with curriculum. If you are using MUS you probably won’t see that aspect. And, your children will progress at their own speed either way, so they will not be held back by grade levels. If you have other reasons for changing, then look at the other programs, otherwise, I wouldn’t be too worried. I do think it is good to support companies that are not gaining from the CCSS standards changeover, but I also see why some companies think they must align in order to have control over the text included in the material (the content of story problems, for example). Let me know if you would like more clarification on what I just said.
I have contacted all the companies whose materials I currently use and/or recommend and will keep a running list of responses to share with you. If you don’t mind, I’d also like to share your post in a Facebook group I’m creating to track this issue and to link it on my own blog as I make a running list. I am encouraging all my homeschool friends to contact the companies with which they work, and hopefully we can get a thorough list. While there are some companies we can probably presume won’t align, I don’t think we should take any chances – and I don’t think we should just assume they aren’t aligned if the website doesn’t explicitly say it. I think we need to contact them directly and ask directly. Only then will we know for sure.
Along that line, you can add Queen Homeschool Supplies (http://www.queenhomeschool.com) to your list of those are not and will not align. They wrote back to my query right away, saying, “We do not plan at any time to change our materials for Christian homeschooling families to fit into the mold of any government or secular mandate. We have been asked countless times to write a secular version of our books, and we have declined each time, as it is our conviction that the Lord brought us to where we are today, and our desire is to honor Him alone in all we do.”
Kristen – Can you list which companies above (in any category) you have actually received responses from? In other words, I want to make sure to include in our FB group only those we definitely know fit in one group or another. I feel the best way to do that is to contact each company personally instead of just relying on website information (since some companies – whether aligned or not – might not include the info on their sites in a clear way). Thanks.
I just received an email response from Saxon, which says: “Saxon Publishers has no plan nor intention to change or align its homeschool texts to Common Core.”
This contradicts what is stated above. Perhaps they are aligning what they sell to public schools, but this statement is quite unambiguous.
Actually, it doesn’t contradict where they are on my list. I have them listed as pointing out where they align.
I too have learned that Saxon will not change their homeschool curriculum.
This is my response from IEW:
While we agree that homeschoolers should be wary of shifts in content by their favorite curriculum companies to meet a certain benchmark, please don’t assume that those who are Common Core aligned are necessarily bad. Some materials, like ours, meet or exceed those standards and have done so long before the standards were even written. So yes, IEW is Common Core aligned. No, we did not make changes to our materials to become so. And, yes, In order to allow full-time schools continued access to our materials, we mention we that we are indeed Common Core aligned. http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/schools/writingstandards
A post on IEW’s Facebook page on 3/10/13 by our director, Andrew Pudewa further elaborates:
If anyone takes the time to actually read the Common Core standards for writing, they will realize that most of it is vague and non-specific, lacking concrete tasks and competences that will actually help develop basic skills.
Truly, a first grade writing standard should be something like this: “Student can copy short paragraphs of 3-5 sentences from poetry, scripture, or literature with accurate punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and formatting, with legible penmanship.”
That might actually be a beneficial goal for 6-yr olds. But what do we find? Non-specific jargon like this:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
Whoever wrote this has spent very little time nose-to-nose with first graders. But the strange thing is that the Grade 1 standards don’t really sound much different from the Grade 4 standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1a Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1b Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1c Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1d Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
Fortunately, we know that students who do IEW Structure and Style for a few years (whenever they start) come out qualitatively and quantitatively ahead of their peers at any grade level.
We are not playing the game that schools are forced to play “teach to the test”… but we do have a method that works, and if we re-word what we do to more closely fit the fuzzy vernacular of the Common Core initiative, homeschooling parents shouldn’t for one second think that it means that we have changed what we do. We are just helping these desperate schools realize that our approach will indeed help them achieve their basic goals for competency in composition. We are trying to help the seemingly blind to see a slight bit of light.
So homeschoolers: IEW isn’t either for or against the Common Core. In the big picture, it’s probably irrelevant.
We are for helping all children learn to write and speak the English language more eloquently, and if we are to serve the hardworking school teachers in their efforts to nurture basic skills in their students, we may have to accommodate the verbiage that the schools are required to adopt. But it doesn’t change anything about who we are and what we do.
And, a follow up response by Andrew explains further:
Why “standards”—whoever creates them—will never work in today’s schools (with one exception).
Once upon a time, being in Fifth Grade meant something. It meant that you had acquired the knowledge and skills to be learned in Fourth Grade. If you didn’t “pass” Fourth Grade you would continue to study and practice until you did. That was a standard—something which must be attained; common sense dictated that it wouldn’t be wise to go on to Fifth Grade without achieving the Fourth Grade standard.
Then, with the demise of the one-room schoolhouse and the expansion of the central school and grade-segregated classrooms, the end of real standards began. Thus, to not “pass” Fourth Grade meant to be “held back”, separated from your peer group, stigmatized, and thought stupid. And the psychologists who ruled modern education quickly deemed that it would be better for students to go on to the next grade—without the knowledge and skills that would enable them to succeed—than to suffer the psychological trauma of being “held back.” With this thinking, students would be moved up in grade whether or not they had met the standard of the previous grade. Thus, the standard became meaningless.
As this became entrenched in the schools, the whole concept of “grade level” gradually came to mean nothing but “approximate age.” Students advanced to the next grade level not by mastering specific knowledge and skills but merely by merit of being a year older. This, of course, caused a decline in competency and ultimately resulted in functionally illiterate high school graduates with diplomas—something that never would have been possible under the previously honest system of grades and standards. (By the way, if you’ve never seen an 8th grade exam from a hundred years ago, you must! Could you pass this test? http://www.bullittcountyhistory.com/bchistory/schoolexam1912.html
Predictably, this decline resulted in a clamor for…guess what? Revised standards!
Schools, districts, and states formed committees of experts to decide what all fourth grade students should be able to do in reading and writing and arithmetic, and commanded the teachers to see to it that no child would fail to meet these universal standards. But the “grade is determined by age and not ability” system precluded success. No person, committee, or government can dictate that every ten year old child be able to read or write or calculate at certain level any more that they could dictate that every ten year old be a certain height, or have specific eye color, or enjoy eating carrots. Children are different and learn at different speeds just like they grow at different speeds.
Consequently, the schools failed to ensure that all students met the standards, and so the standards had to be rewritten (a bit lower). Again the schools failed and standards rewritten. Then, after a couple decades, some brilliant observers noted that student abilities had declined—probably because of low standards. Ha! So the standards were revised again (a bit higher), but the inevitable continued. Some—or many—children will not meet the standards, but what can be done if grade is still determined by age and not ability? It’s a deeply dysfunctional system, and will continue to be a self-perpetuating downward spiral because it is based on a fundamentally dishonest idea—that age and ability must be connected.
There is really only one way to significantly improve institutional education, and that would be to eliminate grade levels, which could probably only happen with a return to mixed-age classrooms and standards which really mean something. Very few people would be willing to try this, but there is one team of innovative educators in Alaska who have done just that—in a public school district! They have actually eliminated grade levels and restored standards—ten achievement levels in each of nine content areas. Students only progress to the next level when they demonstrate proficiency at their current level. This is not only good common sense, the Chugach School District is getting superb results and beginning to teach other schools and districts how to implement real a standards-based assessment model. Details about their system can be found here:
No amount of verbiage, government pressure, teacher training, extra funding, or good intentions will make the new “Common Core” standards any more effective than any other “standards” effort. While there may be many well-intentioned people working on this idea, it’s fundamentally flawed. The only hope for improved student learning is to eliminate the idea of “grade” levels as we know it, acknowledge that students learn at different speeds, decentralize schools and encourage mixed-age classrooms, even “cottage” or neighborhood schools, and put some teeth in the meaning of the word “standards.”
Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
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Wow. Very interesting and educational. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Wow. Thank you for this response. So well put. That’s all I can say.
I want you to know that Cornerstone Curriculum will NOT comply with the Obama Core Curriculum Standards — this means Making Math Meaningful, Science: The Search, The Grand Story: History of the World for the Christian Family, Staring Points, and World Views of the Western World will NOT comply.
David and Shirley Quine
Thank you! I have added you to the “non-aligned” list.
I spoke with Ashley, Education Specialist, at Critical Thinking Press. She said they are NOT aligning with CC. She had copy of the CCSS next to her and said that they were no where near high enough for their liking. They pull different standards from a broad range of sources, including many different countries. From that they create a baseline and are always above that line.
Kristen: WriteShop products have been developed to meet the high standards of homeschoolers. We have no intention of revising our curricula to align with CCS.
Kim Kautzer and Debbie Oldar
Thank you, Kim.
I want to add that JacKris Publishing has no intention of aligning with CC. This includes all of our programs…Growing With Grammar, Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary, Winning With Writing, and Digging Into Diagramming.
telephone (317) 919-3624
Thank you, Tamy. I will add you to the list of non-aligned.
Thank you for posting this. I heard about this today, and I was starting to panic, as we use Abeka. I know I am her mother, but my 4 year old is already reading through phonics, writing cursive, & doing simple addition and she is not set to start the K5 (accredited) program until August. My co-workers are amazed as most of their kids aren’t learning this until 3rd grade or not at all. I read about your site on The New American article that was just written. I had contacted Abeka and the 2 people I chatted with (online) had no idea, so I still had not received a call back. I was thinking one of two things. 1) they were in a panic that they had to respond to a question about it, or 2) they don’t use it, and hence, did not know what to tell me. It seems it was option 2. Thank God.
I was just looking at Handwriting Without Tears and noticed they have a new book with common core standards. Just thought I would let you know.
I have used Saxon (homeschool version) sense Kinder and I have one in 54 & one in Book 2. Is all Saxon math aligned with ccs or just the ps books?
My understanding is that their public school books are fully aligned. I have them listed under “acknowledging where they align, but not necessarily changing to align” because they have said that their home school materials will not be aligned. Personally, I am not particularly comfortable with supporting companies who stand to make money from the implementation of CC. On the other hand, I can see that these companies are probably trying to do some damage control, so they assimilate in order to survive. I’m not sure that is what I would do, but I understand their motivation for doing it.
Daphne, Saxon is just acknowledging where they align, but home school books will not be rewritten to align.
I spoke with someone a few months ago over at eagle forum and they said that due to the “new math” they would not use any saxon math past 2004…don’t know if that has something to do with the ccc or not??
I suspect it would have something to do with CCSS. Saxon did announce a couple of months ago that they were aligning, but in talking with them after that announcement (and after there was a lot of discussion about them online) it seemed that they were really just pointing out where they are aligned, rather than actually aligning. Their standards exceed CCSS. My suggestion would be to either find a program that is clearly not aligned or to carefully examine Saxon yourself before you have your children use it.
We use Shurley Grammar. Does anyone know if they are ccs aligned?
We use Horizon Math…do you know if they are making changes to align with CCS?
Thank you for asking. The Horizons Math home school program will not be aligning. I spoke with Michael Sas of the home school division and he said they will not change their home school materials. They believe they already exceed CC standards. But they will be “working with” public and private schools. I am waiting for more information on what that means.
Thank you Kristen! I am happy to hear they will not be aligning. We have used Horizon from the beginning and it works so well for my daughter and she is far exceeding grade level with the curriculum. I will be interested to hear more as you learn about what “working with” means!
The Educational Freedom Coalition asked me if they could use my list and expand on it. They’ve been working hard. Here is a link to what they have done. (Thanks for the link, Trena.) –Kristen Chevrier
The Educational Freedom Coalition (TEFC) exists for homeschool parents who seek to maintain educational freedom from the so-called “common core standards” (CCS) being implemented across the country.
We provide information about the nature of and dangers inherent in the CCS and other ill-advised attempts to “standardize” our children. We also offer encouragement and inspiration for those who understand that each child is a unique individual worthy of something much better than a government-directed, cookie-cutter education.
And we house a fully-researched Educational Resource Database that identifies which homeschool-related companies and products have explicitly chosen to align with the CCS, which have some sort of coincidental connection, and which have pledged to remain independent.
Though we personally eschew the CCS, we don’t seek to pass judgment on entities that have aligned in one way or another. Rather, our purpose for providing the lists is to offer factual full disclosure that will empower homeschool parents as they exercise their God-ordained responsibility to make educational decisions for their children.
Join our Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theeducationalfreedomcoalition/
What about Timberdoodle? They posted something today promoting their “New Core Curriculum”. Is this just their name for a package deal or is it related to the public school’s “Core Curriculum”?
Timberdoodle is an online store, right? So they may be offering a new core curriculum. I would re-read the post and then call them if you have questions. I doubt it is the Common Core.
Has anyone heard about the Well Tained Mind curriculum published by Peacehill press? I would assume they exceed standards, but the website doesn’t mention anything about CC.
If the website doesn’t mention it, you could try calling them or check to see if they are on the list linked at the bottom of this post (on the word “here”). I have found that most companies that are aligning say so on their websites. But there may be an odd one that does not.
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Colleen at Catholic Parents Online sent me to your good article, and now I realize that I have also been here through Tina’s website. I am so glad to see what you have done here. This is a real wake up call for all of us, especially when we see the power that aligned testing will have for further education or future employment opportunities.
Much of this is the same as the plan that has grown through the last forty or more years having changed names while using the same tactics as OBE and Mastery Learning. At first, when I saw Tina’s site I was alarmed; but as I read more I realized that this is more of the same with more money, tactics, and technology. Colleen published an article a year ago on this from a different perspective:
I think that this is an important point in your article: “Having curricula that meet (or exceed) Common Core standards is not the same as re-writing to align a program with Common Core. And having elements of Common Core in a program does not necessarily make it bad.”
If you would like, you can add A-Z-Worksheets to your list of NOT aligned companies. Our worksheets, flash cards, and videos are created precisely with the idea of offering practice of the basics that are missing in so many of today’s trendy curriculum. As with Singapore’s and IEW’s notes we would only ever point out where our resources fill in where the CCS are deficient, which we have not found necessary yet. We will not ever promote socialist content or fluffy “method”!
It’s good to see Felice’s note here! And Tina Hollenbeck, too. I’d first seen this blog post from her website. I really appreciate your starting this Kristen and I have referred to Tina’s lists several times this week as well. I’ve shared Tina’s site and will be sharing yours, too.
Thank you for what you are doing Kristen, Tina and all,
Saxon Homeschool Math is not aligned but they do provide a deprecate text book that if used in conjunction it will bring the math up to CC standards. There is a Facebook group called the Education Freedom Coalution and they have a pretty complete list of all curriculums aligned, not aligned, and coincidentally aligned, including statements from many.
Hi, Leah. I’m certain that Saxon Math already exceeded CC standards. They didn’t need to be brought up to CC standards. Tina Hollenbeck of the Educational Freedom Coalition used my list to start hers. 🙂 She and her team are doing a great job of continuing the list. I appreciate their work.
If you read BYU Independant Study they offer BOTH CC and the original. They do this for people whose children may want to go on to college and need those CC standards for testing as well as those who wish to maintain the purity of good ole” fashioned learning.
“Our new series of high school English courses retains all the learning activities and objectives found in the original courses,… These courses meet most state standards as well as the new standards from the Common Core State Standards Initiative. To learn more about the Common Core English Language Arts standards, ”
“Our math courses will now be delivered in two models: a traditional model and an integrated model”
BYU is a private school so I doubt they would be changing their whole program to CC. But I will be calling them Monday to make sure.
I did point out that some companies are aligning some of their products so that those who are required to use CCSS aligned materials will have options. But, the standards themselves are inferior. My purpose is to let the parents know who is aligned so that they can make informed decisions. If BYU is now offering alternatives for people who don’t want to use CCSS, that is something new. I’ll look into it. Thanks.
BYU Independant Studies in NOT CC. They have added CC courses for those who feel they need to take them to take the tests to go to college. They still offer traditional classes. Please make a note of that. Thanks
“Our new series of high school English courses retains all the learning activities and objectives found in the original courses, These courses meet most state standards as well as the new standards from the Common Core State Standards Initiative.”
“Our math courses will now be delivered in two models: a traditional model (still called ALG 051, 053, 055, 057; GEOM 041, 043) and an integrated model (called MATH 051, 052, 053, 054, with 055 and 056 to come). The integrated model teaches the same concepts, just in a different sequence. Both sequences are logical and both are equally effective; the only difference is the sequence and that different states require different sequences.”
You may be interested in these links from the Freedom Coalition:
Thanks, Melissa! I’ll put them in my post. Tina has Time 4 Learning aligned, but Gretchen (in this comment thread, just above your comment, I think) said they say they are not aligned. Do you know what’s up with that?
What o you know about Five in a Row? I am assuming they might sticking to what they have always done.
I would assume that Five-in-a-Row would stay as is. I have not asked them, though.
I just spoke with Time 4 Learning today and they said since not all states have adopted it, their developers have not yet aligned. I was on the Educational Freedom Coalition website and she has it that Time 4 Learning is aligning. So, I wonder if she got a different response. Just FYI, Liberty Online Academy uses AOP/Ignitia, which is aligned with cc, but are developing their own curriculum for next year. Which had me wondering if they did not want to align with CC.
I will send this to Tina Hollenbeck and ask her. Thank you, Gretchen.
Do you have an update on time 4 learning? Have they switched yet? do you have any recommendations for a good non common core online site especially for math? Thank you for this site even 3 years later it’s been a help!
Thank you for all the work you have done to put this list together. I just wanted to share this email I got yesterday from “Easy Peasy- All in One Homeschool”.
“I got an email this morning alerting me that, “In another facebook group there are a few women in there who keep bashing EP because the resources are supposedly “aligning” with common core.”
I’m absolutely against the Common Core. It’s something I’ve only recently learned about. I’m assuming those women are saying this because there are resources on the site that are aligned to the Common Core, specifically the Georgia Virtual Learning site. It is linked to optionally for foreign language and math. I added notes on those pages alerting people to the fact. Other options are given.
Just please know that I am against these standards. I do link to a billion sites, as you know. I know that some of them are aligned to those standards, but I am familiar with the content on the specific pages I linked to for specific purposes. Two plus two still equals four even if it’s on a school website aligned to the CC.
My own children use Easy Peasy and I want them learning TRUTH. I will be starting to work on high school this summer and I will be vary aware of of all this as I decide on content. If I do use sites that are aligned to the CC, I will either only use appropriate material, or maybe I’ll find some to use in order to point out the propaganda to the students. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to put together the high school courses, but just know that as I do I’m aware of the issues and thinking about them.
So hopefully I’m clear. If you hear “bashing” of EP, please share the truth. And if you ever come across content that I use in EP that you think is questionable, please contact me. We have lots of eyes and ears that can work together.”
Thank you, Jennifer. Can you give me a link to their website? I’m seeing a lot of links that may or may not be to the program she is referring to. Thank you.
Sure. Here’s the link to her website; http://allinonehomeschool.com/
It’s a little confusing at first, but if you click around on the right sidebar she explains how it works. 🙂
Does anyone know about Calvert?
Just need a little clarification on Explode the Code. You have it listed as Acknowledging but not changing, but on the TEFC website it is listed as Explicitly Aligned. I have used this program for years and like it, but would prefer to not use something that has changed for the CC.
Apparently, Tina (TEFC) didn’t talk to the company:
Companies marked with a (-) failed to respond directly to our query so we had to take our information from their websites. However, we were careful to be sure each company made a clear statement there.
The only statement I can see on their website is the CC aligned “sticker,” but lots of companies say they are aligned only because their standards are higher than the CCSS standards. It has been a long time since I checked with them, but if I remember correctly I used to have them on the aligned list and I moved them. I will call them tomorrow and double-check.
Thank you so much. I was happy to see that most of what we already use is not changing for the CC. Anything that changes we won’t be using any more. I’m fine with things that already go above and beyond the CC, but I have no desire to support a company that is changing for a corrupt system.
I didn’t see connections academy listed, but they announced that they will align with Common Core. So, both free homeschool curriculum sites will be common core aligned. Sad. 🙁
Is this what you’re talking about, Rena?
I was informed that Saxon would not be aligning their homeschool curriculum. I also have been told that several of the companies that are aligning are doing so because they have contracts with public school systems or a good bit of their business comes from the public schools and if they do not align then they lose contracts and or business. So I guess in a way it does come back to money.
Calvert IS aligned. In fact, they use Houghton Mifflin which my son used in public school prior to us pulling him out! They also use public school math.
The links that say here here and here don’t work
They’re working for me right now. I’m sorry I didn’t respond to this five years ago. I hope it all worked out for you.
Well written! And thank you for the links to those not aligned with CC. This is really helpful and I will share :)) thanks!!
HomeSchool Rock Star!
I didn’t take the time to search through all the comments, but found the k12.com link broken.
The new link is
I am using Abeka and the Abeka website said its curriculum exceed common core. However, the posting here said it is not align with common core. So, may I ask what does it mean? Will my child encounter difficult time to adjust to common core later?