I typed up a great intro and then had to rescue Brennan’s stickers from Annie and apparently I shook the phone enough that it jumped back and back and back with updates. What a mess.
I’m ranting today because I keep seeing posts blasting Common Core – and I feel like people completely miss the point when they waste time blasting the standards. Today it was a “new math” rant.
Let me encourage you to dig deep and see what the actual trouble is when you find yourself in a position that makes you want to rant about Common Core or Schools These Days. We’re wasting energy and time that we need to devote to guiding the kids in our lives when we rant like that.
Honestly, “common core” is not new math. It’s a list of standards that tell us what kids should know, in what order, and along what schedule, if they learn at an even pace across 13 years of schooling.
It’s a list. it’s a list. It’s a LIST.
It’s a list that is so list-ish that when I looked through the math standards, I could see they lined up fine with Singapore math, which is what is used in Math in Focus (our formal instruction curriculum), and Khan Academy (although KA’s whole point is that you learn at your own pace, they do have a map that shows how their lessons line up with the standards and how those lessons/standards interact with each other). I stopped caring about it being A Thing, because whatevs – the list is a list and yay for lists. We use the aforementioned resources at our house because turns out Singapore math is how I had to teach myself math (and had lots of exasperated math teachers) because I struggled so much with “normal” “old way” “common sense” math.
But that’s not my point. Common core is a list of math topics.
THE REAL PROBLEM HERE is that there is a series of disconnects/ball-drops – the biggest seems to be between consulting The Standard while facilitating true learning for each individual.
AT THIS POINT, there is not anywhere to point the finger and be satisfied with placing blame there. We have got to say “Something is wrong.” and we have got to work together big-time to help each other and everyone around us.
Here is where we are: Lots and lots and lots of people simply don’t understand the ins and outs of math, even when they are capable of solving many types of math problems. Lots and lots and lots of people are mad about what goes on at school – no matter what goes on at school. Lots and lots and lots of people would rather be angry about how awful “this [not] new math” is than to print off the confounded list and see where the trouble starts, so that we can address the trouble spots and keep moving forward.
I’ve got it that it’s not as easy as printing the list and checking off the lines – I’ve got four kids and I have a vague idea of where they “should be” versus where they are, because my top priorities within the relationship dynamic at our house just don’t include marking off development checklists.
BUT. It’s important to me to know what my kids are learning. It’s important to me to encourage their strengths and guide development in their weaknesses. I have to spend solid time with them to be able to do that.
Rant energy has fizzled, and now I’m feeling determined.
HELP ME not waste the time and energy I’ve poured into this blog post. Sometimes I read about education topics and I just want to crawl in a hole and stay there forever. But I know God has a plan for us – one that doesn’t leave us ignorant or incapable of learning – and that even if we can’t totally fix what’s broken in The System (or even closer to or at home), we can make beautiful steps toward redemption.
Learning and growing are worth the work. Does it seem like maybe it’s not? Then let’s work together.
I actively enjoy making plans (especially plans I don’t have to follow) and I LOVE to evaluate plans (especially when it’s not a thing where somebody is considered at fault for not sticking with the plan). Do you need help making a make-learning-happen game plan? Are you stuck somewhere? Does this bring up an issue you want to discuss? Then let’s talk about it! You can use the comment section here or message me directly.