Surviving The Common Core: Common Core Homeschool Realities. What Every Homeschooler Must Know

We’ve talked a lot about the Common Core since it’s arrival on the educational scene. If you want to know the truth about Common Core and the dangers read this post, and if you want to know what to expect for your child under CCSS, read this article. Though the CCSS may look like all other bandwagon educational reforms (which is desperately needed in our nation!), it’s actually a totally different animal. And the many differing opinions and thoughts may make it hard for you to interpret the results from the CCSS.

What’s clear is that the CCSS are the most far reaching and dangerous of the one-size-fits-all approach to education reform and has already impacted homeschooling families around the nation. 

It’s critical that homeschoolers learn the impact of Common Core State Standards. From standardized testing to higher homeschool regulations to college entrance changes, Common Core homeschool realities will impact your family in the future. That’s why it’s so important, regardless of where you live, that you understand and prepare for the impact of Common Core to secure your children’s future.

4 Ways CCSS Will Impact Homeschoolers

  • State Proficiency or Standardized Exams: One of the biggest common core homeschool effects is state testing. The CCSS puts a strong emphasis on standardized testing and if your state has adopted the CCSS, chances are your state proficiency exams are aligned to the standards. And, because many homeschooling families will be told they are required to take state standardized tests that are now aligned to the CCSS, its important that you review the grade level requirements and know what to expect to best prepare your child. But, families can often opt out for religious or personal reasons. It’s important to know your rights as homeschoolers and to exercise them if you feel the standardized tests are not in your child’s best interests. Find out your state requirements as it relates to homeschooling here.
  • College Entrance Testing Including GED, SAT and ACT: If you have a student in high school you should review the ACT and SAT standards and requirements to fully understand the impact of Common Core. It’s very possible that your child could be at a disadvantage when taking college entrance exams if you do not fully understand how those tests have aligned to the CCSS and how this has changed the skill requirement, format and expectations of the exams. The best way to prepare your student is to practice, practice, practice! Because homeschooled students are often more able to think critically, there’s a good chance that you’re student will be fine. But, it is still wise to take an SAT or ACT Prep course that will help prepare you. Check out this one, an affordable live course offered by Bridgeway Academy each winter!
  • Curriculum Adoption by Top Publishers: In an effort to stay profitable many curriculum publishers beloved by homeschooling families have aligned to CCSS including Saxon, Calvert, Addison Wesley, and Khan Academy. If you’re looking to avoid the CCSS you may need to rethink your curriculum choices. The good news is you can find a detailed list of publishers who have fully aligned or correlated their curriculum to the standards here. The tireless work of one homeschool mom in creating this CCSS curriculum database called The Common Core Project can help you to make an informed decision. The good news is just because you’re homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to use curriculum aligned to the CCSS. We’ve chosen to use versions of popular textbook companies that are not aligned and have specifically departed from some curriculum publishers who have chosen alignment. You have choices. If your homeschool partner is requiring you to use the CCSS, it’s time to find a partner who gives you more freedom.
  • Changing College Admissions Expectations: A Common Core homeschool reality that will have a huge impact on college bound homeschoolers is the change in college admissions expectations. The National Governors Association is instrumental in setting college entrance expectations. And, this group was also at the forefront of crafting Common Core. So, it’s not a longshot to say that the impact of Common Core will include the skills and standards needed to obtain entrance into colleges and universities. Make sure your child is ready and poised to get into the college of their choice by understanding the skills and proficiency required in each subject within the CCSS. The best way to ensure your child has the competitive edge for college entrance is to participate in Dual Enrollment programs. Dual enrollment allows your child to earn college and high school credit at the same time, and says “I was mature and ready for college level work in high school!” What could be more attractive than that?

We must be truly honest about CCSS and say we do not know how far these standards can and will reach into the lives of homeschoolers. The good news is there’s a way to protect your family fully from the CCSS, accreditation. Working with an accredited homeschool institution ensures that your family retains the power over your child’s education and whether or not you want to align to CCSS.