Beat Common Core: What to Do if Your Child’s Homework Looks Incomprehensible

Parenting.com contributor Teri Cettina could have used the caterpillar to butterfly metaphor. She emphasized the importance of not doing your child’s homework for them in a recent blog.

They have to struggle on their own, or they will never fly

Cettina makes a great point. If we don’t let others struggle, they won’t build strength needed for tomorrow. I still remember my mom telling my five-year-old self not to help that butterfly escape the cocoon. We must treat our children with the same care. We must let them grow within uncertainty and struggle in a safe environment.

But school is turning into a giant rat race. Today, I see concerned parents of children as young as the kindergarten age focused on making sure their child competes. How can we help our children succeed when they get stuck and don’t have the answers? What can we do if the teachers themselves are incompetent?

As so often happens, my answer came from an unexpected place.

I started a hiking Meetup this month and met a parent with some great insight into this question. Meet Douglas Zaldana. He has five children. The first three went to school without Common Core. The last two attended school with Common Core.

Common Core is certainly a term we are all used to hearing. President Trump campaigned against it in the 2016 elections. But what does Common Core actually look like?

Hey dad, I don’t get it either

Well, the homework above meets Common Core standards of learning for second grade students. Parents experience frustration more than ever when teaching their children even these basic concepts.

At least that’s what occurred with Zaldana. He related on the hike somewhere along Eaton Canyon: “I could coach my first three children with their homework, but not even they could help their younger siblings!”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would happily dismantle Common Core. However, the standards represent a series of benchmarks and not an actual curriculum. Which makes it pretty hard to tear apart since states decide whether or not to use Common Core. Not the federal government.

States are taking a wide variety of approaches to following the Common Core standards.

Zaldana taught me that listening to young people and empowering them to find their own solutions are the best courses of action. So if your child’s homework looks incomprehensible, you can do one of two things:

  1. Make a donation to your local school district by writing a check in Common Core notation and remind teachers that you’re not enrolled in class this year.
  2. Find a tutor who knows what your student is going through, can check the work themselves, and can discuss the matter at a decent price. Here is a list of common core tutors available to assist on StudyGate 24/7.

Even before Common Core, learning wasn’t easy. To stay ahead of the curve, make sure your child can at least connect with someone who understands.

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