Curriculum comes and goes, as does research telling us how to better educate our kids. As a mom of kids in public school, I come to expect the ebb and flow of change. New technologies and advances make learning more fun in some respects. But the implementation of the Common Core’s “high quality academic expectations” has brought with it a radical change, almost as drastic as ITA. Our kids went from learning by remembering facts, to learning why there are facts? A math problem was solved and either correct or incorrect. Now, we seek the most reasonable answer! WHAT?! Simple equations that could be worked out in the margins of the worksheet page are turned into problems that require 10 minutes of steps and a whole page of tables to work out. Confidence is falling and frustration is mounting. Critical thinking is, well, critical in many professions. My fear is that not all kids are wired to be surgeons and engineers, or even nurses and teachers. We need a generation that is not calculator dependant by 6th grade! Who will make change? Who will cater food according to a recipe, being able to double it without a calculator, and without caring why, just knowing you need to based on the number of people who want food! A reasonable guess isn’t going to cut it when a carpenter needs specific measurements to come together to form a building. OK, I may be getting a little melodramatic, but you get the point, especially if your kids are in public school.
But just as I learned to read by a ludicrous method imposed by a government with and invented by “scholars” with the next big thing mentality, this too shall pass. I will not expect all A’s out of my kids. After all, the common core curriculum is what is being graded right now anyway. How effective it is and how well the teachers are portraying it is being played out for now. I have accepted that we do not all fit in this cookie cutter society even though our schools think we do. My kids will end up fine and most likely at the same academic level regardless of the curriculum or crazy concepts used. If this system stifles their learning, it cannot snuff out their creativity and their core. And it will be ok if they are C students who do not attend college.
It will be amazing if they grow up to be kind, God fearing, Jesus loving citizens who love and help their neighbor.
So, for now I pray for a tame tongue and peaceful thoughts regarding the educational system and for patience with and compassion for my kids.. They, after all are the ones getting the brunt of all this. So, while our evenings have become more frustrating and stressful, I cannot just be ticked and stomp my feet. I have to decide to encourage my children to do their best, even if it is not the status quo. I need to daily remind them that their performance is not as important as their character and that change does not have to be scary. You can dislike it, but don’t fear it. Life is too short for any one thing to take over the mood of a household. I will savor every minute of the 5 hours they have for family time every evening and align our priorities accordingly. I also pray for the teachers who must implement these new teaching concepts.
God, please be with our children every day as they navigate this scary world. Help them to be strong because their identity is in you, Jesus. You are the potter and we are the clay. Your Holy Spirit is our common core. Amen.