Schools in the United States come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and because of this it becomes hard to hard to compare students from one school against students in another to make sure everyone is on track and learning the correct skills. The Common Core standards were created to help address this issue. The Common Core standards help set clear, definitive goals for all children, making it easy to both measure their progress – overall and against one another – and to ensure children are learning the skills that will help them reach graduation and continue to be successful into their working lives. Local school districts are still able to create their own curriculums, but now there are clear milestones laid out for all students and the standards will match up from school to school.
The Common Core focuses on English language arts – including reading, writing, language, speaking and listening and media and technology – and mathematics. As students begin to experience Common Core standards in their education, you may be wondering how this may affect you. Below are a few tips on how parents can support the standards at home.
- Reading. The Common Core standards say that children should be reading “books worth reading.” While it’s true any reading is good for children, make an effort to introduce them to worthwhile, educational materials. If you’re unsure of what to suggest, try getting suggestions from your child’s teacher or visiting your local library. Librarians are often aware of Common Core standards and work to provide materials that meet the necessary requirements. The standards also say children should be reading more non-fiction as they get older. Find out what your child’s interests are and help them find non-fiction books on those subjects.
- Critical Thinking. Once your child is reading, make sure he or she is really absorbing and understanding the books. Talk to your child about what they’re reading. Make them explain to you the plot, the conflicts, the characters, etc. Ask questions – who the best character is – and have them argue their point using examples from the book.
- Writing. Encourage your child to write often. Challenge your child to write a fun and interesting short story. Take up journaling as a hobby with your children. Write letters to friends, family members, role models, etc. Let your older child start a blog on a subject that interests them. Anything to keep him or her interested and experienced in writing.
- Math. Give your child chances to use math skills in everyday, real-world settings. Have your child calculate distance and time when you take trips in the car. Challenge him or her to use their basic math skills at the grocery store by adding up prices on items and then counting the money to give to the cashier. Let your child figure out what the tip should be the next time you go out to eat.
The Common Core standards are designed to ensure all children learn the necessary skills they will need, providing them with a solid education and better opportunities once they complete their education. Although students spend hours each day in a classroom, you can help continue and support their education at home. With support from both teachers and parents, students have the best chance for success.
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