The 2013-2014 school year brings changes to Arkansas public schools. All school children in grades K through 12 will have to adhere to the new Common Core Curriculum. You would think that this would not impact homeschoolers because the state of Arkansas is not responsible for the education of homeschooled children. The truth is that the new standards will have a profound impact on homeschool families.
Arkansas homeschoolers at risk
The new Common Core standards are a real threat to homeschoolers. It goes way beyond textbooks and curriculum. Everything is changing to conform to the new standards. Right now, math and reading are the main focus but science and social studies will follow. For a complete breakdown of the Common Core requirements for high school students in Arkansas, see the Examiner article, Homeschool through high school: Common Core and Smart Core requirements.
The GED exam has been revamped to conform to Common Core. No only will students have to pay for the test, but anyone who has not completed all sections of the current test by Dec. 31, 2013, will have to retake the entire exam come 2014. While taking the GED is not a requirement for homeschoolers, if your homeschooled student wishes to go into the military, they will be required to take the GED exam.
The ACT exam and the SAT exam are now aligned with Common Core standards. High school students in Arkansas usually take the ACT, but some will take the PSAT/NMSQT in order to compete for scholarship money. The tests are aligned to the new standards. If Arkansas homeschoolers expect to do well on the College Board exams, they will have to adhere to the new standards.
Dr. Sandra Stotsky is against the new standards. Dr. Stotsky was a member of the Common Core validation committee and she refused to sign off on the language arts standards.
Scholarships that are based on academics, like the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship, will be biased towards those students who are being taught the new Common Core standards.
For homeschooled students in grades three through nine, mandatory testing will change. Right now, homeschoolers can take the state mandated tests at no cost. While this may not change, the content of the tests will change. As the state tests change to conform to the new standards, homeschool parents will be forced to attempt to teach subjects that are not age appropriate.
Common Core standards, as written, asks young students to work in the abstract prior to their physical ability to accomplish those tasks successfully. Dr. Megan Koschnick, a childhood development expert, says the Common Core standards are not developmentally appropriate for young children
Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 16 years and she continues to homeschool her youngest child. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.