Saturday, December 21, 2013

What's Wrong with Common Core

Here are several links to examples of Common Core Curriculum

These two links address literature.

Common Core Sexualizes American School Children, Crisis Magazine, Mary Jo Anderson, Dec. 17, 2013

Catholic Common Core Removes Books Celebrating Same-Sex Parents from First-Grade Unit Plan
The Cardinal Newman Society, Dec. 18, 2013

I think it would be helpful in the discussion of Common Core to go and view some of the youtube videos of teachers using Common Core or talking to those who have had it imposed on them.

The links below address Common Core Math

Common Core Standards Math Lesson Example
Common Core Math Lesson 4th/5th Grade

In this video
the student had to answer the problem using pictures to solve the problem. In other words, she drew cubes for 1,000s, squares for 100s, sticks for tens, etc. She had to use these symbols for each number and then solve the equation. There were two addends: (Two numbers to add that were in the 1,000s). The student then did "stacking math" -- what we have learned to do when adding two numbers in the past--"stacking" the numbers on top of each other. The students are discouraged from doing "stacking" math. When the student added the 2 numbers using the pictures, it took her over 8 minutes and she had the wrong answer. When the student did the math in the traditional way (stacking math), she had the answer in less than 2 minutes and the answer was correct.

I would strongly encourage you to talk to those who are using it or view the videos, because Common Core math is not what they claim it to be.

Another example, people are "praising" it because it asks the "why." Children in First grade are not at a developmental stage to answer why.

In another classroom situation (the video example from above--
 the children are asked to make up their own problems for an answer. It is absolutely ridiculous. The children have no idea what they are doing. It is like watching the blind leading the blind. If you don't know something, how can you teach something?

In Common Core math, the teachers are instructed that wrong answers are okay.
The teacher in the 4th/5th grade video also says a wrong answer is okay. Parents have reported that an answer is wrong when the student writes the numbers for the answer instead of drawing the picture.

This is a real Common Core math problem. You will need to scroll down to Tito and  Luis are stuffed with pizza. 

Here is another real Common Core math problem. The background information is here.
The actual test is here.

Here is information on one Common Core math text.
Interactive Mathematics Program –key curriculum press
USOE Math book comparison

In this link, a mom expresses her frustration at the "correct" answer actually being wrong.
Here is another Common Core math question that makes no sense.

God Bless,

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are They All Yours!

To all those insensitive remarks people ask about your children, here are the clever remarks.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reasons to Oppose Common Core

Updated Dec. 21, 2013

I put together another post of examples of Common Core Curriculum.

More links to reasons to oppose Common Core. Please check my archives under Common Core, also.

This YouTube Video give a good overview of the topic.
Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education--Tin Ship Productions

Cardinal Newman Society has several articles. Here are a few.
Common-Core-is-Curriculum-Contrary-to-Advocates' Claims
Cardinal Newman Society, November 19, 2013
Green-Bay's Bishop-Ricken-Says-No-to-Common-Core-in-Diocesan-Schools
Cardinal Newman Society, November 21, 2013
English-Professor-Provides-Review-of-Common-Core English Standards
Cardinal Newman Society, November 22, 2013

Ethan Young, a high school senior at Farragut High School in Knox County, Tenn. is speaking at a local school board in early November about the problems with Common Core standards.

Common Core Stanards Math Lesson. For those who want to see the Common Core Standards in action, here is a classroom. The teacher is a wonderful, engaging woman, the kids are delightful, but step back and make note. This IS a curriculum. How are they going to be tested? How does the teacher know if an individual understand the concept taught if the students work in a group? (Name one job in life in which a person is evaluated on group performance?--remember Common Core is supposed to for job readiness in the future?) How old are the children? What should these kids be learning in math at this age? The kids are expressing frustration. The lesson appears to be totally nonsensical.

Rotten to the Core: Obama's War on Academic Standards (Part 1)
Rotten to the Core (Part 2): Readin', Writin' and Deconstructionism
Rotten to the Core (Part 3): Lessons from Texas and the Growing Grassroots Revolt
Rotten to the Core: The Feds Invasive Student Tracking Database

The Heritage Foundation The Heritage Foundation also has numerous sources about the problems with Common Core.

CATO Institute has lots of info on Common Core.

Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D.

Janice Campbell Lots more links posted here.

Dr. Pesta Testifies Against Common Core in Wisconsin on youtube

Here is a specific example of why Common Core is not good.

Here is another example of why Common Core is not good.
Talk show host Viki Mckenna discussed Common Core on Tues. Nov. 5 on the 10:00 and 11:00 hours.

And another curriculum example from Common Core.

Still another example of Common Core curriculum.

Curriculum that is aligned with Common Core.
Educational Freedom Coalition

Read why teachers are opposed to Common Core.

Here is a short video by Karen Schroeder.

Karen Schroeder also writes here.

Another article about her and Common Core.

She is President of
Advocates for Academic Freedom

Andrew Pudewa of the Institute of Excellence in Writing provides testimony against Common Core in OK
Testimony of Andrew Pudewa to Common Core Interim OK

Anthony Esolen and Patrick Reilly on EWTN, "The World Over" with Raymond Arroyo, Nov. 7, 2013
PATRICK REILLY, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, and ANTHONY ESOLEN, professor of English Literature and Development of Western Culture at Providence College, on the recent letter by Catholic professors to the US Bishops urging them against the inclusion of the "Common Core" curriculum in Catholic schools.

The article below states reasons why you should oppose Common Core.

From the above article:

1. This is dataless reform. "Advocates say it's researched, but there is no evidence that centralizing standards will raise achievement," he said. "It's never been field-tested -- it's just a grand experiment in 46 states with nothing behind it."

2. The process of adoption is flawed. "State legislatures had nothing to do with adopting these standards, they came from special interest groups. Think about it," he said. "It's sinister -- adopting education policy by bypassing the legislature."

3. It's unconstitutional. It violates the Tenth Amendment, he claims. Education is not a power of Congress. Communities and states are the only ones that should be involved. "The federal government has no legitimate role in education." Three federal laws would be violated -- if not the letter of the law, certainly the spirit.

4. Content. Debate rages in every state over whether these are the best standards out there. "Look at my website. I have links on content to several outstanding sources on this subject."

5. Data mining, or data privacy. No matter how many reassurances you hear that the problems are being addressed, "there are websites out there that show a love affair with kids' data. My question is always, 'Aren't you curious what student-level data they will want you to provide?'"

6. Cost of implementation. "In Iowa the cost of test assessment now is $3.50 per student. Under Common Core, it will be $22.50 per student. But it doesn't stop there. School districts have to purchase new books, provide teacher training ... and some schools don't have broadband yet." 

A State Rep. expresses 5 Reasons to Oppose Common Core.
Five Reasons to Oppose the Common Core

Great article by Maureen Whitmann.

When writing to your Archbishop or Catholic Superintendent of schools, this article supports your Catholic position against Common Core.
Catholic Scholars Blast Common Core in Letter to U. S. Bishops 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave money to NCEA for Common Core
Cardinal Newman

National PTA received 1 Million dollar Grant from Bill and Melina Gates Foundation.

National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers accepted money from the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, AFT, American Enterprise Institute and many others
Huffington Post

Test Score Plummet after implementation of Common Core Standards

More information here: Reasons why to oppose Common Core in Catholic schools. What is Common Core.
Pittsburgh Catholic Against Common Core

NAC Chair Recommends Episcopal Review of Common Core in Catholic Schools
Found at the Cardinal Newman Society. The NAC Chair is speaking to the Bishops at their annual USCCB meeting.

Stay informed and email, write or call your state representatives and senators, U. S. representatives and senators, Governors, local school boards, teachers, principals, your Catholic Superintendent and Archbishop if they have implemented Common Core or are considering it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Common Core and SAT

I thought this was an appropriate image--Daniel in the lion's den.

Someone from our homeschool group shared this info about Common Core.

Thought it might be interesting to see where pre-college testing is now and where it's heading. Here's a sampling of the June 2013 SAT essay questions. I'd be interested to hear from any students who took the June exam as to how they fared in the essay scoring. Interesting that the last question seems to be almost a survey question about the Common Core philosophy.
The College Board, which owns the SAT exam, is now headed by David Coleman, the so-called "architect of Common Core."  Here's his story and some additional background on the creation and intention of CC:

Essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration

Below are essay prompts from the most recent SAT administration in June 2013.

Prompt 1

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
Our cherished notions of what is equal and what is fair frequently conflict. Democracy presumes that we are all created equal; competition proves we are not, or else every contest would end in a tie. We talk about a level playing field, but it is difficult to make conditions equal for everyone without being unfair to some.
Adapted from Nancy Gibbs, "Cool Running"
Assignment: Is it possible for a society to be fair to everyone? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 2

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
Many colleges now offer courses in which students study television programs, comic books, magazines, advertising, and other aspects of popular culture. Critics complain that schools should not replace serious literature and history courses with such fluff. They claim that courses in popular culture present material that is trivial and inconsequential. But the study of popular culture can be just as important, demanding, and instructive as the study of traditional subjects.
Assignment: Can the study of popular culture be as valuable as the study of traditional literary and historical subjects? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 3

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
Many voters think that integrity and character are the most important qualifications for political office. I disagree. Integrity—the quality of standing up for the same values in every situation—is not a good qualification for getting people to work together. Strongly held morals may make a candidate too inflexible and incapable of negotiation. And if character were really so important, candidates would be judged by their personal relationships rather than by their ability to deal with a community's or a nation's problems.
Adapted from Stanley Fish, "Integrity or Craft: The Leadership Question"
Assignment: Is strong moral character the most important qualification for a leader? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Prompt 4

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.
Thanks to the Internet, people have more access to more information than at any other time in history. People can instantly find information on almost any topic in the time it takes to type a couple of words and click a mouse. But we often know so little about the source of this information, including its reliability and the qualifications of the person who wrote it. If we do not know its source, information is not much good to us.
Assignment: Do people need to know the source of any information before they use it? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Temple Grandin

We enjoyed this moving  story of a girl, then young woman's struggle with autism, based on a real person. It would not be appropriate for young children because they might become confused or upset by some of the images. My one concern is that after seeing this movie parents of autistic children will have unrealistic expectations for their children. I know more than one autistic child who is not even close to being as verbal as she is.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fascinating Article About Children and Self Control: Home school marketplace: Don't Eat That Marshmallow

Don't Eat That Marshmallow! by Ellyn Davis, homes school marketplace, August 19, 2013

In the late 1960s, Walter Mischel, a psychology professor at Columbia University, performed a series of tests on preschoolers referred to as "The Marshmallow Tests."

Mischel "tested" over six hundred 4-year-olds by putting each child in a broom closet-sized room alone with no distractions and only a child-sized table and chair. On the table were a bell and a plastic plate.

Mischel would place a single marshmallow on the plate, and as he did, he made the child an offer: the little boy or girl could either eat one marshmallow right away or could wait while he stepped out for a few minutes, and when he returned he would bring a second marshmallow. But they only got the second marshmallow if they hadn't eaten the first one by the time Mischel re-entered the room. He also told the children that if they rang the bell on the table while he was away, he would come running back and they could eat one marshmallow but would forfeit the second.

Mischel followed these "Marshmallow Kids" for the next 18 years and made some startling discoveries about how our ability to resist a marshmallow as a 4 year old affects us years later.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Reason to Homeschool: Catholic Exchange: A Pulpit for Bullies

Image found on Catholic Exchange

On June 19, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in favor of a high school student named Daniel Glowacki, who had charged that his high school teacher, Jay McDowell, had violated his constitutional right to freedom of speech. He was granted one dollar in compensation. The court’s verdict, in vulgar terms, was that the pig had the right to say what he said.
The facts, according to the court’s judgment, are these.

Read the rest at Catholic Exchange 8/19/2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Importance of Reading Aloud by Emiy Cook

The Importance of Reading Aloud by Emily Cook

I cannot stress enough how important reading aloud to your children is. Educationally speaking, it may be one of the most important things you do for them. Most parents can find the time to read a picture book or two with their infants and toddlers. But once a child learns to read, that snuggly read aloud time usually ends. I think it’s actually more important to continue that read aloud time well into their school years.

But my child is fully capable of reading their own books. Why should I read aloud to him?
There are a number of reasons, but here is what I consider the top 5:

5. Reading aloud creates a family bond, especially if there are other siblings listening as well.
Your children will fondly look back on their memories of listening to you read aloud, giggle over how you did “all the voices,” and fondly recall favorites stories heard at your knee. They’ll play games of pretend based on the stories you read to them, imagining themselves in Narnia, adventuring along the Mississippi with Tom Sawyer, or playing with Pooh Bear and Piglet in the Hundred Acre Wood. Just because a book is considered “children’s” literature, doesn’t mean it’s childish. Many of my favorite books are written for children! A good story is a good story, and you will find that you enjoy many great books just as much (if not more!) than the kids. Some of my favorite memories are of reading aloud to my children. I recently finished reading The Hobbit aloud with my twins, and my oldest daughter kept trying to listen in as she did her school work in the other room. I read it aloud to her a few years ago, and it is still one of her all time favorite stories. I can’t wait until my youngest is old enough so I can help her discover Middle Earth and all of its charms.

4. Reading aloud will help to stimulate their imagination.
When you read aloud, you don’t have to choose books at any particular reading level. So while you daughter is just getting comfortable with easy chapter books, you can read books far above her level to her. You can expose them to fantasy worlds full of talking animals, knights and battles, distant countries… the literary world is open to you! Literature is peopled with characters that your children will want to emulate and filled with places they’ll want to pretend. Poetry will fill their minds with beautiful language and spark their own creativity with words and stories.

3. Literature will expose them to difficult ideas and situations in a safe way.
Life is full of hard truths, and what better way to learn of them than from a beautifully written story read to them by someone they love and trust? Charlotte’s Web shows that sometimes, a beloved friend dies, not from any terrible illness or violent act, but simply because it is a part of life. Literature will also build empathy – they’ll put themselves in the characters place, wondering how they would react in the same situation.

2. Reading aloud to your children can increase their vocabulary.
Again, because you aren’t limited to choosing books within their reading level, you can expose them to a world of beautiful language. This will also help build their thinking skills – rather than interrupt the story to ask about a particular word, they’ll be more apt to use context clues to try and figure it out themselves.

1. If you start when they are very young, reading to your children daily will build their attention span.
A child who’s been read to his whole life will be able to concentrate and pay attention to something for far longer than a child who spends all of his time playing video games or watching television.
But most importantly, reading to your children will give them a love of literature. I mourn for the children who grow up thinking Winnie the Pooh is just a brightly colored cartoon character, who never get to meet Charlotte and Wilbur, Sara Crewe, Charlie Bucket and Tom Sawyer. Reading aloud will give them a respect for the written word, introduce them to the wide world and the great conversation and build their cultural literacy. It will give them a legacy of great literature to pass on to their own children.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CA Gov. Signs Transgender Bathroom Bill

Image from AP

Just another reason to homeschool!

Calif. Governor Signs Transgender Bathroom Bill

by Todd Starnes, August 12, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting Started: Timely Advice, Practical Tips and Helpful Resources: Resource List: Homeschool Connections: Special Needs

Resources for talk given on Getting Started with Special Needs at Homeschool Connections on August 7, 2013. I will be updating periodically.

These resources at the beginning of the list apply to all homeschoolers, but the majority of the resources listed would be good for struggling learners, special needs children, or even children with specific needs.

1) Number one resource we all need to accomplish this huge task before us: Grace. Don't homeschool without it! Prayers, sacraments, and sacramentals are all sources of grace.

2) Find out the legal requirements in your state. Homeschooling requirements vary from state to state. Join your state homeschool organization and/or HSLDA.

3)  mater et magistra magazine is a valuable resource to keep you connected with other Catholic homeschoolers.

4) lists many Catholic homeschool support groups and forums. Some are listed on my blog here, although some may not exist anymore. Homeschool Groups and Forums

5) also lists many Catholic homeschool e-mail loops. You can also do a yahoo search or find groups on Facebook.

6) Catholic Heritage Curricula offers "Mom to Mom" Connections

7) has many reviews of resources.

8) Check out resources in your community, extended family, in the school you are enrolled in (If enrolled), at Catholic homeschool conferences, on the internet and more.

9) A few years ago, I did a talk on technology--especially how it assists special needs kids. If you go to the archives under "Technology" and "New Face of Homeschooling" you will find the info--not all links are listed here: Technology as a Tutor, Technology as a Teaching Tool, Technology as a Source of Information,

10) Vision Therapy

11) Also search under "vendors" in the archives.

10) Check out the library: Our library system that is connected with other libraries has 134 books related to dyslexia, 259 books on ADHD, 202 books on bi-polar.

11)  The Temperament God Gave You by Art and Laraine Bennett

12) Handwriting without Tears

13) Joyce Herzog
Scaredy Cat Reading System, Learning in Spite of Labels, Joyce Herzog's Choosing and Using Curriculum--(especially designed for special needs kids), Timeless Teaching Tips

14) Home Schooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon Hensley
 and many more resources at Almaden Valley Christian 
Sharon also offers consulting services. Her catalog is a great place to start!

15) Mastery Publications

16) Explode the Code

17) All About Spelling

18) All About Reading

19) Large graph paper or turn the paper sideways, color coding, base ten blocks, and other inventive ideas

20) Math-u-see:

21) Diet: Food dyes, food additives, food preservatives, food allergies (wheat, peanuts, corn, soy,       dairy).

22) Callirobics

23) Cathy Duffy Reviews Cathy Duffy

24) Homeschool Reviews

25) History Pockets: History Pockets

26) Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic is now Leaning Ally

27) High Noon Books:

28) Baby Sign Language. We used with our speech delayed nephews, but works well with all children.

29) Audio Books--many sources.

30) How to Teach Your Child to Read and Spell Successfully by Sheldon R. Rappaport

31) Memorize poetry!

32) Touch Math

33) Educational Insights Hot Dots

34) Mathafact--great games for reinforcement.

35) Great explanation of dyslexia: What is dyslexia?

36) Early Childhood Learning Palettes: Math and Reading. This was helpful for a friend's child.
 Learning Wrap-ups

37) Audio Memory:

38)  National Challenged Homeschoolers Association Network

39)  Dianne Craft

40)  Lindamood-Bell

41) Brain Balance Centers, Disconnected Kids: Groundbreaking Brain Balance Program for Children with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and other Neurological Disorders by Dr. Robert Melillo,
and Reconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo

42) Brain,
Brain Gym

43) Learning Rx A friend used this program both for her son who was brain injured and her daughter that was easily distracted.

44)  Red Letter Alphabet Book
Blue Number Counting Book

45)  Catholic Icing Great ideas for those of us who are arts and crafts challenged--in my case the mom and not the kids.

46)  How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop: Understanding Learning Disabilities

47) A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine

48) Educators Publishing Service

49) Think Fun

50) For the child who struggles with academics, find something he is good at!

51)  Straight Talk

52)  Mother of Divine Grace School

53) Brainpop

54) Google the disability of your child and apps. or assistive technology and loads of information comes up.

55) There are yahoo groups for just about every type of learning or physical disability

56) Understanding Autism Through Rapid Prompting Method

57)  Driven to Distraction by Dr. Hallowell

58) Growing at Home, Nourishing Your Special Needs Child, The Home School Court Report May/June 2005

59) This cite assists students with studying skills, including those with learning disabilities.  Study Guides and Strategies

60) Catherine Moran.  She has a wealth of experience and knowledge. She has presented on Homeschool Connections and at numerous IHM Conferences. You can find recordings both places. She also has some booklets as pdf files for purchase, especially The Unique Learner--Homeschooling Children with Learning Disabilities and It's All Academic--Homeschooling for Success, as well as others of interest. You can contact her at

61) Smart but Feeling Dumb by Harold N. Levinson, M.D.

62) Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Aspergers, Tourettes, Bipolar and More! The one stop guide for parents, teachers, and other professionals by Martin L. Kutscher, MD

63) Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward M. Hallowell and Peter S. Jensen

64) The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.

65) Temple Grandin DVD--Based on the true story of a girl with autism who goes on to earn her Masters and PhD

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lots More Common Core

Michelle Malkin has loads of posts on how rotten Common Core is.

Read about it at