Making Sense of the Common Core Standards

February 5, 2014

“Homework needs to be in line with the Common Core.”

“We have to make sure your child is up to the Common Core standards .”

“I want a tutor that will help my child with the Common Core.”

The Common Core refers to the new national education standards set to prepare children for college and beyond. If you have a child in school, you may or may not have heard that term being thrown around, no matter the type of school your child attends. There are advocates and opponents on either side of the fence regarding the Common Core, along with some teachers and administrators.

No matter where you stand on the matter, it’s freaking confusing.

Here are two questions some parents posed about the Common Core that I would like to address:

1. What’s newest thing about the standards that I should take away?

The biggest new thing about the standards is the they have been upgraded to include higher learning.  I am all for upping standards, but it has to keep in line with how a child’s mind develops, and everyone’s mind does not develop the same. It tends to cater to the middle learners who just need clarification on subject matters.

Tip: Be an advocate for your learner. If you feel like there are huge gaps in their learning or not being challenged enough, Say So! And ask for a tailor planned for your child from your teacher or from an early learning educator like myself.

2. There seems to be a huge focus on testing with the Common Core. If that is true, how can I help my creative child get over testing woes?

Let me start by saying that testing has always been in education. Sadly, the focus on testing in the classroom is seemingly higher now, as children are prepped more in the classroom than in the past. The reason for this is that teachers’ jobs are now on the line and are being tied directly to their students’ test scores. The number one thing that you should address with your child is to reassure them that the test is just a number and not who they are.  Encourage them to ask questions in class, or ask for work that can help them become a better learner, that can include practice worksheets on a particular skill. Finally, create a home environment that fosters who they are as a person.

Tip: Make sure that you child has a creative outlet at home. So when they get home they don’t feel overwhelmed with work all the time.  You can use it as homework breaks or as a transition from school to home. Some ideas are a sketchbook, dance break, painting, storytelling/songwriting, building robots.

I would love to hear from you: What questions or concerns do you have about the Common Core for you and your family?

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