If you somehow stumbled upon this blog post looking for a deeper understanding of what Common Core is, I am not your gal. I still don’t totally get it. I was told it was the new national content standards and not a curriculum, but it seems like there is curricula attached to these new content standards in some form or another.
Kindergarten and Common Core
When I went to meet the teacher night at the beginning of the year I am pretty sure that Z’s Kindergarten teacher talked about it, but I just remember her saying that they were going to be expecting a lot more this year and they would be packing a lot of information into a short amount of time. I personally was excited to hear that because I wanted Z to be challenged.
I admit that I had some issues at the beginning of the year regarding Z being in Kindergarten instead of 1st grade, but now the school year is almost over and I haven’t regretted the decision to place him public school at all. In fact, I have felt like he has had private school treatment. I won’t go into all the details right now, but one reason I know that they have customized his assignments is because the first week I showed up for the parent orientation night they had these projects hanging in the hall and while all the other children dictated “David’s instructions” Z wrote his out himself.
It’s hard to see because it’s in pencil, but his is the 2nd down on the right column. At the beginning of the year Z was tested on some basic kindergarten skills and he exceeded the year-end goals in every area. Even then, he still has learned so much more than what he went in with! Here I was concerned that he would become stagnant or bored, and it turns out that I had nothing to worry about. When SJ is mainstreamed she will have an IEP which will include some pull-out sessions. So she need special attention as well, but in a completely different way. Needless to say I have a vested interest from both ends of the spectrum, believe me.
As far as Common Core, I have heard a lot of controversy. I don’t even watch the news, but it’s kind of hard to avoid the viral math problems that have been circulating. Z’s school had a seminar for parents to attend and learn more, but it was on a night that I could not come out. Fortunately they had a webinar later which included participation via live messages. I was impressed that the school would facilitate an option like this and I tuned in the entire time and I did ask a few questions. I still don’t understand the ins outs of both view points regarding the political hot button, but it’s boiled down to one thing for me, my children. When I see things like this on the internet I cringe.
Then I read one article after the other of parents choosing to take their kids out of public school because they suddenly started doing poorly. If it was just here or there I wouldn’t think anything of it, but there must be a legitimate cause if it is happening at an alarmingly increased rate across the nation.
But at the end of the day my son is excelling and he has a very loving teacher that makes learning something to get excited about. I don’t know what this means for each and every public school, but I don’t have the energy to fight for the all of the students of the nation today. Although, I am grateful for those that do. I consider myself an involved parent that makes informed decisions to the best of my abilities and I have not seen any evidence of this controversy having a negative impact on my son’s education so far. In fact I saw this homework assignment posted online under the title “Epic Fail- Parents Reveal Insane Common Core Worksheets”
The complaint in this case was that common core homework makes it necessary to keep a supply of brass fasteners on hand. The funny thing is, my son had the exact same worksheet with a brass fastener taped to the front. People are circulating these so-called atrocities that really have more to do with individual teachers, schools, and even students, but not necessarily a reason for a revolt. I am not saying that there is nothing wrong with the system. I have seen red flags myself, but I am completely satisfied with how Z’s school is handling everything at this point and I have been assured that they are using local curricula and teachers are teaching with the same liberties they have had.
With that said, I am prepared to keep tabs on everything, but I am also pleased to announce that we have had a very successful first year. I am grateful that Z is getting started now because by the time he is doing some of those wacky math problems hopefully they will have worked out all of the kinks. Anyway, I know plenty of people that didn’t have their child’s first year go so smoothly so I consider myself very blessed to be in this place at this time. What a relief.