During the making of Class Dismissed, Common Core was a new initiative that started gaining widespread adoption due to $4.3 billion Race to the Top contest for education grants, and $2.3 billion to promote it from Bill Gates & his foundation. Luckily, we did mention it in the movie, though the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law was a hotter topic at the time.
Common Core is getting the same amount of negative attention that NCLB received from both parents and teachers. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the freedom to customize a child’s education based on the way they learn best. It is no surprise that most homeschool families prefer not to follow Common Core and many try to avoid it.
For homeschoolers who choose to use curriculum in their homeschooling efforts, it is becoming more difficult to avoid curriculum that has been aligned with common core standards. Luckily, Tina Hollenbeck, has taken great efforts to contact curriculum providers to find out whether or not common core has been integrated into the learning materials. We caught up with her and here’s her story:
As a former classroom teacher who has chosen to remain aware of happenings within the institutional school system, I’d heard rumblings about the “common core standards” (CCS) as early as 2010. I knew it was an initiative adopted by almost every state for use in the public/government schools. And as a taxpayer and informed citizen, what I learned about its specifics bothered me a great deal.
But for a couple of years, I considered the issue to be “out there” – a troubling problem for the nation and something I should take into consideration at the ballot box but nothing that would affect me directly. After all, I have always been committed to homeschooling through high school and so, I reasoned, my kids wouldn’t be affected.
However, I received a resounding wake-up call at the beginning of March 2013, when two enormously popular homeschool curriculum providers proudly announced that they’d made changes to accommodate the CCS. I was stunned. The CCS was supposed to be a government school issue; what was it doing in my world? I didn’t use the particular products in question, but I immediately wondered how many other providers would also “go common core.” How could I provide a different, distinctive type of education for my children if all the homeschool resource companies adopted the CCS?
That question launched what would become a full-scale research effort on my part to survey every known provider of homeschool-related material about its plans relative to the CCS. I thought I might need to send as many as 300 queries; after all, I knew homeschoolers had a lot of options.
Fast forward more than two and a half years, and it’s obvious how naïve I was. The free Common Core Project database (http://hsroadmap.org/common-core-project/) lists nearly 2,800 resource providers of various sorts…and experience has taught me that there are undoubtedly quite a few publishers of relevant books and supplements yet to be queried. Clearly, homeschoolers’ curriculum cups overflow!
The Homeschool Resource Roadmap contains a number of other homeschool helps beyond the Common Core Project, including the Subject Area Project, a subscription-based product separating curriculum by subject. I hope my efforts might be a blessing to many.
Tina also mentioned that over the past two years roughly 60% of the resources in the database remain fully independent of common core.
As we see more products being created for those struggling with Common Core, we expect to just as many resources devoted to avoiding the Common Core. Even Khan Academy, largely funded by Bill Gates, was forced to create a spreadsheet to help homeschoolers find non-Common Core lessons.