State Standards are a Tool
While I know it may not be the popular homeschool mom thing to say, the state standards can actually be of use to you.
I’m not implying you should drop what you’re doing and follow these “rules.”
However, I do think it’s important to take a look at them, and here’s why:
One day your child will enter the work force with people who have this as their base minimum.
In my opinion, it only makes sense that my children, while under my homeschool teaching, would get this as a minimum as well so they can be even more of a contender for a job one day.
What You May Not Know About State Standards
Here are some helpful tips I came to learn after eleven years teaching in a public school:
- They’re fairly minimal and not overly challenging
- They’re super repetitive from year to year
- At times, they focus on small pieces of information (i.e. nouns). It’s up to the educator to make sure they’re learning how to actually utilize them in real life and not simply memorize what they are.
- They are somewhat difficult to read. Google is your friend here.
- They’re available online
- Looking at earlier and later years will help you get the scope of where the standards are going
- You’re likely doing these in your homeschool anyway
How I Use Them
I print them at the beginning of each school year.
Cross out any that I know my child has mastered.
Highlight any I’ve seen him almost master in one color.
Then, I’ll highlight any I know he hasn’t learned in another color.
Teaching those highlighted areas in organic ways where it’s easy to see real world application, is where we keep kids engaged and learning.
My case for standards is simply for knowing the whole picture of what’s happening in the world of education.
I’d never endorse sticking to these state standards and making them your end-all-be-all.
As a former educator, I saw my students bored out of their mind with them by the 8th grade.
They’d seen the same ole narrative seven times before, and they get it, already (insert teen eye roll). And they did.
What they didn’t get was how to write.
And this is why I take state standards lightly.
As a frame of reference.
If my child can’t form coherent sentences, who cares if he can spot an abstract noun from a mile away?
I wholeheartedly support organic learning where these standards of education happen naturally.
Some of my favorites are Readers and Writer’s Workshop, amazing classes around town, traveling, playing sports, etc.
I want all of those amazing perks for my children and I want to know what’s happening in the school system.
It’s my job to do what my children cannot. I have to take a look at the peripheral vision of education and focus on where we need to learn.
Most importantly, it’s my job to create an exciting learning experience that creates lifelong learners.