The Common Core Standards provide parents with a framework of knowledge that children should know at the end of any given grade level in English Language Arts and Math. There are many ways to use this information, and an engaged parent will find the standards very helpful. Here are some ways to use the Standards at home:
- Preview. Read the standards at the beginning of a school year and broadly preview the year with your child.
- Complement. When purchasing books, games, apps, and toys, think about the Standards and the learning that will happen in your child’s classroom. Try to complement that learning by purchasing items that connect to the Standards.
- Compare and Contrast. Ask your child to make comparisons about their learning experiences and content. Is it easier to learn multiplication or division? Do you prefer reading informational texts or Literature. Use the terminology found in the Standards.
- Questions. Use your knowledge of the Standards to ask specific questions about what your child is learning in school.
- Application. Use your knowledge of the Standards to point out how learning at school can be applied to the home. “You are learning multiplication, right? We have six people coming for dinner and I want to give each of them three cookies. How many cookies will I need?” Or, “We are going out to dinner with friends tonight. Remember what you have learning from the Speaking and Listening Standard? Yes, remember to take turns when talking and to follow up on other’s comments.”
- Vocabulary. Create vocabulary lists from the Standards and incorporate the words into daily family life.
- Synthesize. If age- appropriate, show your child how the Standards become increasingly complex at each grade level but rely on previous learning.
- Support. You don’t need the Standards for this, but don’t forget to support your child’s teachers. They are working hard to teach your child while dealing with the demands of many different people and programs. Acknowledge how hard they are working, support their projects, and thank them as much as you can.
No matter your opinion of the Standards and related testing, be positive and supportive of the learning process. Don’t complain about the Standards in front of your children. Instead, point out how learning is important and knowing what you are going to learn next can be very valuable. A positive attitude on the part of the parent goes a long way towards creating a positive attitude in a child.
For a list of the Common Core Standards, go to www.corestandards.org.