Why I'm following Common Core for our Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooling is a big undertaking and there are a lot of decision that must be made from your teaching method to your curriculum to extracurriculars to enrichment classes. It’s a lot to think about, contemplate and making big decisions is not something I’m really good at. I’m constantly thinking about things from every angle and contemplating every possible scenario.
But one decision in my homeschooling philosophy was easy, and may be the most shocking thing I’ve ever shared on the blog (even more than my confession that I didn’t care about the Delta breastfeeding scandal):
I’ve chosen to follow to Common Core curriculum for my children’s homeschool education. (Well, technically the LAFS and MAFS which Florida uses that are basically the same thing).
My relationship with Common Core was a rocky one last year. Like most parents. I was frustrated and irritated and angry about the “new” system but upon conversing with my educator friends and doing my own, independent research on the topic, I became much more comfortable with the system. (see my “before” feelings and my “after” feelings about Common Core).
My choice to use it in my homeschooling is for a few reasons, the most important being reintegration.
We are committed to homeschooling our children, for now. But circumstances change and we are very aware of the fact that homeschooling may not be our forever solution. While I am comfortable with the idea of homeschooling until college, if it continues to suit our family, hubby is set on returning to mainstreamed schooling once we find ourselves in a situation that is better suited to our family’s needs.
Because of the possibility of reentering the public school system at some time in the future, I believe it is important to keep our children on the same track their peers will be on. I don’t want them to find themselves with gaps in their education and understanding at the same time they are trying to acclimate to a new situation.
So, back to the “renegade” choice of sticking with Common Core: now that I understand Common Core, I can look at it and know it’s a set of standards. A list of what my children should KNOW and not how they should learn it. The teaching part is still up to me. I can teach the concepts however I want my children to learn them so long as the outcome is the same. So long as they learn the concept.
Part the requirement to homeschool in the state of Florida is maintaining a portfolio of your child’s work. A great teacher friend of mine (who ironically taught high achieving 1st grade last year) developed a set of awesome check sheets of the Florida language arts standards for each grade (which I downloaded off of TeachersPayTeachers, a great resource for all things teaching made by teachers) that is arranged in a series of “I can” statements. I’ve decided to use these standards to organize Honeybun’s portfolio and as a way to make sure I don’t leave any gaps in what I’m teaching her.
The common core standards are a bit confusing sometimes, especially for people who are not familiar with the current education systems. Standards like “Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies” are made easier to teach with an “I can” statement like “I can show understanding of word relationship and nuances in word meanings” because while the first statement is aimed at educators, telling them what to teach, I prefer to base my teaching on what my students are supposed to know and then develop my own way of teaching it. I’ve always been that way: Tell me WHAT to teach, not HOW to teach.