If I'm Homeschooling, Do I Have to Follow Common Core Standards?
In a word… No. Common Core Standards (CCS) are a simply a detailed list of what children should be taught in English, math, social studies, literature, and so on at each grade level. Public schools can only receive federal funding if they adopt Common Core Standards, so it’s adhered to in 42 states for that reason. Private schools and homeschool families, on the other hand, are free to design their own curriculum.
The Curriculum Laws
That said, you need to know your state laws if you’re planning on homeschooling. Currently, there are 12 states that have low regulation requirements and 11 states that do not require any notification for homeschooled learning. That means they are not checking on the curriculum you’ve devised at home.
There are only five states, all in the northeast, that require parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials). The remaining states require parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress, but do not need curriculum approval.
A Push to Homeschool with Common Core
You are free to choose the type of math, English, or history that you want your child to learn and of course, you are free to choose your own methods to teach it. As long as the end results are a student who has fulfilled your city’s high school graduation requirements, it’s all fine. However, there is quite a push to convince homeschooling advocates to adhere to Common Core Standards.
For example, if you live in a state that requires homeschooled kids to take periodic assessment tests, they may very well be CCS standardized tests. That means if you want your children to do well, you just may find yourself “teaching to the test”. Again, it’s so important to learn what your individual state’s homeschooling laws are.
SAT Test Has Been Re-written for Common Core Alignment
Furthermore, Common Core Standards changes in educational expectations has also resulted in the SAT/ACT tests being re-written. If your homeschooler is planning on applying to colleges that require SAT testing for admissions, you will again need to incorporate CCS in your academic curriculum.
So while many states do not enforce CCS for homeschooled children, the reality is that you may end up finding that incorporating those standards in your teaching program is unavoidable.
Are you planning on homeschooling your kids? Will you incorporate Common Core standards in your curriculum?