03.17.2014 0

How Common Core opened one parent’s eyes

By Ann Miller

A version of this article was originally published on Examiner.com.
commoncore

As a mother of four kids who have spent all or at least a good portion of their educational careers in the public schools, the idea of homeschooling was not something that ever crossed my mind. Until Common Core.

In fact, when I’d hear about someone who was homeschooling, I had the typical reaction of recoiling, as if the concept were so foreign that it was like sharing a meal with a space alien. Anyone doing it must be extraordinary, have special talents, or be just plain out of their mind. And, of course, their kids must be weird anti-social freaks.

When I started learning about Common Core upon its implementation in my kids’ schools this school year, I grew increasingly more alarmed the more I learned. As I dug for more information, which led me to related issues surrounding education reform in Maryland and nationally, I began learning about education alternatives as a byproduct of my research.

It didn’t take long for me to see that homeschooling would be a perfect fit for my youngest son in fifth grade who learns a little differently. The one-on-one that homeschooling provides would allow me to completely tailor the education of my son to his needs. There would not be a single lesson that passes him by without comprehension.

This idea did not come without hurdles. I had to get my husband on board, and explain it to my older children so they wouldn’t make negative comments about homeschooling. And then there was my youngest son, who went through about three bouts of crying over the social aspect of public school. By week two, there was no more crying – for either of us.

I am now starting week three of homeschooling, having pulled him out of public school at the start of March, just in time to avoid the MSA’s, as it turned out by happenstance. I figured that pulling him out for the last four months of elementary school was the perfect opportunity for a trial run. If it didn’t work out, he could go back to a private school in the fall when everyone else was starting at a new school.

We are going through Classical Conversations (CC), which is a national program utilizing the classical model of education. There are many options out there, and every child has different needs, so this is not an endorsement of CC. But for us, I couldn’t imagine going any other way. CC is a well-developed program that lays out the curriculum for you, week by week, along with all the texts and materials. All the kids and their parents in the local program have all-day class once per week, where trained parent tutors model the week’s instructional material as an example for the parents.

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