I work in education so I hear a lot about Common Core. I currently work with the Registrar, and while I don’t teach yet, I recently received my teacher certification for PreK-4th grade.
When I help parents register their students for school, the first question I get is “Do you follow Common Core here?” This is usually followed by “I hate Common Core! My kids shouldn’t have 4 hours worth of homework per night!!!”
As a school employee and a father, I 100% agree with you. No kid should have 4 hours of homework per night; especially when you have 2 or 3 kids in school. That makes for a combined total of 12 hours worth of homework we as parents have to help with. For teachers, 4 hours of homework per kids, means grading that much homework 24 times.
Now, I have heard all the research and I have had classes and all that jazz on Common Core. I work in Pennsylvania, where PA has adopted Common Core but integrated it within their own Pennsylvania State Standards. My kids go to school in Maryland, and Maryland has 100% adopted Common Core.
From here on out, I am speaking as a parent.
I couldn’t be happier that my kids are learning Common Core Standards. The district my children are in, took the time to educate their teachers on what Common Core is all about. The district has also sent home an abundance of information to help parents understand CC as well. This was an important step that I feel a lot of districts left out. I have heard of many states implementing CC without training their teachers, or informing the parents.
I will admit, my kids have harder math problems, my kids have to read a lot more, my kids do have to do things differently. There have certainly been nights when I have struggled to get my kids through their homework. They fought me the entire way through. There are nights they have outright refused to do the homework because it was “too hard.” I’m not going to lie, there are nights that I have to stare at a problem or two to understand it before I can help my kids with it.
When I talk to other parents I hear them complain and gripe about “Why can’t they teach math like they used to?” or “We weren’t taught like this and we all turned out fine.”
I’m just saying, when I hear “Aint nuttin wrong with the way I learnt math in school!” the case for CC is proven.
That is when I have to laugh. Give an adult today a new gadget and see how long it takes them to figure it out. Seriously, people can’t even figure out how to set the clock on their microwave. Now put the same gadget in a kid’s hands and see how fast they can maneuver through it.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED!! And we need our education to change too. Our kids are faced with entirely different challenges than we ever encountered as kids. Our kids’ brains work entirely different than ours did too. Our parenting styles have changed too. When we fight against the way our children are being taught in school, then we fight progress and we fight change. We also hinder our kids’ future.
You may not agree with the fact that your children are learning basic algebra in 3rd grade, but imagine how proud you will be when your child masters those functions and skills. That in turn, allows them to take AP or Honor classes in high school. They are better prepared for college and for their future. You may not agree with the testing that students have to go through.
I know that when my kids come home with that “A” on their test, their excitement by far makes the struggle worth it. Sometimes it is hard to see the value in something when the results are said to be seen in the future. But there are immediate wins and benefits that can be seen.
For example: The other night while baking, our 1 Cup measuring cup was already used. But my daughter recognized that we could fill the 1/3 Cup three times and it would equal 1 Cup.
When I was a kid, I don’t remember baking going that smoothly. I remember my mom being more like “That one, put the milk in that one, twice. No! that one over there. There!! Oh, forget it, let me do it. You can lick the spoon when I’m done.”
(Although I may have intentionally done it wrong just so I could lick the spoon with less work).
Additionally my kids have a daily view of where they stand. My kids both know what level they read at, and they know what level in math they are at. They are able to see their strengths and weaknesses at a glance. This is a huge convenience to me as a parent. I know when they need help, and I can help them choose quality books from the library that will be on their level and help them learn and go to the next level.
The fact still remains, we live in a generation where technology does so much for us, that our kids need to be challenged more. We live in a society that promotes throwing something away and buying a cheap replacement, rather than taking the time to figure out how something works, and fixing it.
This quote floating around the internet kind of sums it up perfectly:
“It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, bring it home, use it, throw it out, ship it to a landfill is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you are done with it.”
This is why our kids need to be challenged and why I don’t see CC as a threat to my children. My children may struggle through their homework on occasion. But when they recognize their successes I know that it gets them excited for whats to come. We have seen little victories in our home, we are blessed with children who persevere and have come out on top of their class. I understand all kids learn differently, both my kids in school have opposite learning styles.
I think that is where parents make the mistake and blame CC. All children learn differently, that is why CC has so many different approaches. But just because they learn differently, doesn’t mean they need to learn different things.
My son learned his ABC’s by singing them and pointing to letters. My daughter did better by putting an ABC puzzle together. But they both learned their ABCs. That is what CC is all about. It takes different approaches to teach the same concepts.
Yes, the concepts are more advanced, but these advancements give our kids the advantage when it comes time for college and career readiness. As a parent, I won’t fight against that. Anything that gives my kids a leg up when it comes to succeeding in college and the workplace I am all for.