Monday, September 29, 2014
The Hidden Blessings of the Common Core
It's been a very bumpy ride. Hang on, that's an understatement. It's been a roller coaster. It's been an education in the legislative process and all it's crooked tentacles. It's been testing of my patience both as a tax paying citizen and as a new homeschooling parent. It's been a test financially as I decided to put my successful business on hold to focus on homeschooling. It's been a major test of my patience, and many scared days calling into question my ability, and the same question every new homeschooler asks.."Can I really do this?"
So as much as I'd love to see Common Core, high stakes testing, school ratings, charter schools and all the other garbage I've learned in the last 18 months gone....it has not been without it's blessings and good points.
Like I tell my boys, repeatedly, you can choose to have a good day or a bad day.
I choose, in the face of all the nastiness that has come with this journey (and I do mean nastiness, I'm looking at you LABI and Stand for Children, Senator Appel and many more) to find the joy. Here is what I've found on this journey:
*People are amazing. Both bad amazing and good amazing. But overall, in spite of what you read in the media, most of these parents who are fighting so hard for the simple RIGHTS they are afforded, are good people. They are not raving lunatics from fringe sect groups. They are you and me. Every day Americans. Some are Tea Party, some are liberal, and every group in between. There are parents of every color, race, creed, religion, financial situation, coming to the table now. People who previously had NO clue how the education system worked are reading, learning, going to school board and state meetings. Children are going to their state capitol's to see how this all works! People are standing up, and taking BACK what is rightfully theirs...control over their child's education.
*I've made awesome friends. Some in real life, some online. I've encountered thousands upon thousands of amazing, awesome, strong, brave people who just said, enough is enough.
*I've had some great opportunities. I've had the chance to be on several national news programs because of this, which would've never happened to a plain old mom like me! I wish I hadn't had to be on them, but I don't mind being a voice for those who feel they can't speak up.
*I've had teachers AND parents tell me they need help to speak out. Teachers are scared, y'all. This isn't trivial. Yes, we can say they need to stand up and speak out, but it's really hard when someone feels their job is on the line. These are crazy times we live in, and it's a lot to ask someone to risk food on the table to speak up. I really feel for our teachers, I do. I was one, I feel you.
*I have learned my children are pretty darn awesome. Even when they drive me nuts, I learned I can indeed be with them pretty much 24/7 and the world will not spin off it's axis. I have a wonderful husband who helps out a lot, and in the end I see my children are learning so much and we are becoming stronger. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of days I cry and ask myself, why!? But all that really does is strengthen my resolve to help get our public schools to a better place so that maybe one day they can return. Will they? At this current rate, no. Never. But I still want to help save the future of public education for my grandchildren and beyond!
*I have learned so much myself!! I have learned many things I was NEVER taught in school, particularly history. Things I don't think they taught even when I was in school, and I KNOW they do not teach now. Since my children do not have to stress over tests or "Passing", we can take the time to truly learn a subject, dig in deep and study the basics and cornerstones of a good education.
*I've learned patience. This is a big one for me. My husband says I'm horribly impatient, and I am. Since he is also agonizingly PATIENT, we are fun sometimes! One of our friends says of my husband, "Your patience makes me impatient!" That was my only concern my husband had was my patience level. Well, it's certainly been tested but friends have remarked I'm far more patient than I used to be. I have had to be patient with my children, legislators, new people who discover the Common Core, new homeschooling families, strangers who question our education choices, and myself most of all.
I could probably go on and on, but you get the picture. Life is all about perspective. So while this may be a big, ugly, monster on top of our education system...in the end, I promise it will pass. It will be another set of standards with another set of initials, followed by another set of assessments. Until we truly regain the true meaning of education which is to impart knowledge and light the fire of learning in students....and until we move away from this culture of workforce training and test taking....we won't be rid of this beast. It just won't happen. Maybe your kids are fine in the Common Core. That's great...but not all are, and I refuse to ruin the love of learning for 29 students because 1 in a class gets it.
Sorry, the teacher in me just won't let that fly.
So I will keep going, albeit at a lesser pace this year. Since my children are not in the classrooms anymore, I now focus on the homeschooling aspect of it. Because mark my words homeschoolers....
We are on their list.