On Curriculum and Common Core…

I received an email on March 11 from the founder of the newly formed Education Freedom Coalition asking if Knowledge Quest has already aligned, or plans to align, our materials with the Common Core Standards. The email was forceful in tone and the writer deliberately stated that any reply I gave would be shared on Facebook and on a new website that was created for this purpose – identifying homeschool curriculum publishers that have aligned or not aligned with the standards.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to speak my own mind, rather than having it shared “for me” by a 3rd party. In this case, I was not given the choice… any response I made for our company would be shared. It felt like I was being backed into a corner with only one way out – say what they (the coalition) wanted me to say. The funny thing is… even though I agree (in content, not in tone) with their stance on the issue, I didn’t like the approach or the ramifications:

a. Reply that KQ is not aligned and will never align – appease a crowd, but put KQ at risk if standards become mandatory in the future (they are not required of private schools and homeschools at this time, thank goodness!) We would either have to 1. align and go back on our word; or 2. go out of business.

b. Reply that KQ is aligned (most homeschool curriculum publishers meet and exceed standards because the standards aren’t that high and are quite vague) – risk becoming boycotted by the very customers it loves to serve. We love what we do and we love those we serve. It is an absolute joy to serve the homeschooling community!

c. Not reply – be listed as a “nonresponsive” company that is indifferent to the concerns of customers. We want to be anything but unresponsive and indifferent, especially when it comes to important matters of government control over education.

I like the whole messy situation even less now that I have replied to the email!

I stated that we would rather not be “listed” on a 3rd party site, but answer parents individually as they have questions. This reply was taken to assume (strong emphasis on the word assume, because apparently, by this coalition, one is guilty before proven innocent) that Knowledge Quest would prefer to ride the fence, stay politically neutral, and reply differently to parents depending on what they would like to hear.

Really? Both our integrity and our honesty have been brought into question, just because we said we would rather not be “listed” on a 3rd party site. Oh my, what have we come to?

We are happy to talk with anyone about this who has concerns. Standards implemented by the government affect educational freedom, especially standards mandated from the federal level. However, these Common Core Standards do not apply to private or homeschools currently. Knowledge Quest’s materials are not being forced to align to any standards at this time, which means that we will do what we have always done – provide the best resources available for history and geography regardless of what the public schools are doing. Frankly, we aren’t that interested in what the public schools are doing. We are excited about the materials that curriculum providers have made available for homeschooling families!

There was another set of standards for social studies in place before Common Core. They were perhaps even more generalized, but share these traits in common with Common Core – vague and therefore hard to implement.

We have no reason to update any of our materials at this time to align with standards that aren’t required for homeschool families. And we will continue to love the companies we love, whether they align to these standards or not. We choose our curricula based on the quality, worldview and method of the materials produced, not by a list.

The cornering, accusing and pigeonholing of curriculum providers need to stop. Homeschool curriculum providers should not be on trial over this issue. They are not the ones implementing the standards. The federal government is issuing the standards that the states choose to adopt (45 states have!). We can be thankful for the educational freedom that we currently have and the large variety of curricula that we have to choose from at this time. Let’s join together in prayer that it continues! It may change down the road the more the federal government continues to reach into areas it has no jurisdiction over. Let’s get out of the courtroom and back to the couch for a great read-aloud. Or, if you would rather stay in the courtroom, find the right one. This isn’t it.

The issue at hand is not whether a specific curriculum aligns or doesn’t align with Common Core Standards; the issue is the overstepping of the Federal Government into the arena of education, which should be handled at the state and local level.

Read Part 2 here.

Question: Um, now what do you think?

Be Sociable, Share!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 at 12:14 pm and is filed under Geography, History, Home Business, Homeschooling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.osterbind Angela Dawn Osterbind

    Good for you! I dislike people who badger me for an opinion when I either do not have one formed or are disinclined to share it. Stand your ground. We love your curriculum and appreciate how hard you work for the homeschooling community. I haven’t been paying much attention to the Common Core Standards because I assumed they didn’t apply to me. Maybe I’ll look into it more now in an effort to be better informed about how to keep it OUT of my home. Our Common Core Standards come from the Bible and the direction the Holy Spirit gives us for our children. Praying for you today.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Thank you, Angela. I appreciate your comment and your prayers. This issue should unify us, not divide us. Our standards too come from the Word of God. We thank God daily for the freedom to teach our children as we see fit and how the Lord directs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      It will be easier to keep it OUT of your home if companies are willing to make a firm statement about whether or not they are aligning their materials to the CCS. You have over 270 publishers to choose from. I personally think it’s great that someone has taken the time to contact all 270 of those publishers to find out where they stand, and I think it’s disappointing that some see this as “badgering.”

  • http://www.benandme.com/ Marcy @ Ben and Me

    Excellent. I completely agree, Terri. This fight should not be with homeschool companies. It is a fight for the freedom of homeschool parents to educate their children however they see fit. We must get the magnifying glass off of publishers and onto the government or we will all lose the freedoms we love.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Thank you, Marcy, for stating that so well. That is exactly right! And thanks for sharing too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      And in order to educate our children in the way we see fit, we need to be able to make informed decisions regarding the curriculum we purchase. Why is it wrong to want to know whether curriculum publishers are choosing to placate the government by going along with their standards? If we aren’t happy with what the government is doing, why wouldn’t we look purposely for publishing companies who are also willing to stand against the government, and willing to say so?!

      • dschwarz4948

        Give Terri a break, she is just as human as you.If this issue does not concern Knowledge Quest (and she has stated that as yet it does not) give her the courtesy of being allowed stay out of the argument. It is nice of those companies who want to help us find info all in one place but definitely not required and Terri should not be misaligned just because she would rather not go there right now. The products here are amazing and were here before common core. If they happen to line up it does not change what your children would have learned. Make your curriculum choice on what is in the contents compared with what you want your children to know

    • http://www.facebook.com/jodi.ferris Jodi Ferris

      How do we get the magnifying glass off publisher and onto the government in this instance, when so many curriculum providers are doing exactly what the government is saying to do? Fight the government only to lose because all the curriculum is changed to their standards anyway?

      I’m open to hearing practical suggestions on how to fight the common core standards with the government, and how publishers aligning will not have an effect on those efforts. (I’m sure that comes across snarky because of the natural glitches of the internet, but I’m being sincere – if you (or anyone) has a suggestion on how to fight this and negate the effects of publishers aligning their curriculum without actually dealing with the publishers, I would be very interested!)

      • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.swalwell.3 Stephanie Swalwell

        My suggestion would be by continuing to choose curriculum that lines with our own standards. My children will always learn intelligent design and microevolution. I will throw out a science curriculum that teaches macroevolution as fact. People who think like me pretty much insure that Apologia will always have customers. My math curriculum lines up (actually FAR exceeds) CCS – and I don’t care, because it’s good for math to be at least a little standardized. I do not CARE if my geography curriculum lines up, as long as it teaches geography… then again, the common standards might require the study of pagan gods as a tenet in cultural geography… so then I would care, not that they lined up, but that what I consider to be objectionable material is included in what I teach my kids – I think I avoid that by sticking with publishers who share my world view, though.

        • http://www.facebook.com/phillipians48 Marianne Vdk

          Absolutely choose curriculum that lines up with your standards as a family. That is also what I think is the most important.
          I would be interested to know how much pressure there is in the US to align to common core standards and government regulations?

  • Karleen Mauldin

    Again, completely agree! In fact, I would be looking for homeschool curriculum that does NOT adhere to the Common Core Standards!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1259872150 Janna Venard Pyle

      The truth is that most of the curricula that have said anything about CCS have only said where they match up or pointed out that they already meet AND exceed the “standard”. Don’t automatically count out a great curriculum just because they say the words “common core”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

        Janna, that isn’t entirely true. Some curriculums…yes. Others have stated that they CHANGED their curriculum to align. AND it should be up to the parent and companies should be “forthright” when asked.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

        I might add that the group on facebook does not have everyone that is “entirely against” CCS. However, each member wants to make an INFORMED decision that is thought about and prayed about. Having one common place to go and reseach materials has really helped me especially with conventions starting.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1837650569 Tim-Melissa Williamson

    Well said! I joined that group on facebook initially out of curiosity and after a day or so removed myself after reading the comments and tone. Thank you for this honest and gracious response.

    • / Terri Johnson

      You are welcome. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Shhharon Sharon AndCo

    I agree, but have to wonder why you bothered to reply to their email at all? What is the point in engaging abusive people? But that aside – government standards are not even close most homeschoolers’ standards. We CHOOSE your company because of the superior education we can provide using your material. Keep doing what you are doing – it is very good.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Thanks, Sharon! Actually, I replied because I was told that a “no-reply” would still be listed on the site as a “did not respond” and therefore doesn’t care about this issue. As you see, there was bullying involved and no clear way to be left out of the listing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

        Bullying? Um, no. That is a way for you to be categorized because SO many people have asked about your company. Parents WANT TO KNOW! And, I might add that your company is not the only one who has not responded. That gives us the parents a huge eye-opening statement when a company refuses to answer 4 statements. How about posting the “letter” so people can see exactly how it was worded?

        • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

          Here is an exact copy of the letter that was sent to all publishing companies, including Knowledge Quest:

          Hello.

          I am the spokesperson for a group of concerned homeschoolers
          who are writing to all the curriculum companies whose materials we currently use and/or recommend in order to learn each company’s position in regards to the so-called “Common Core Standards” currently being foisted upon public school children across most of the country. Since it has come to our attention this week that at least a few homeschool curriculum companies have decided to alter their materials in order to cater to the CCS, we feel compelled to ask whether or not we can continue to trust the companies whose
          products we have come to value.

          We personally believe that aligning with CCS is a very
          unfortunate and misguided effort, as it severely threatens homeschool freedom and independence. After all, if we had wanted to utilize government-directed “standards,” we’d enroll our kids in the government-run schools, but we homeschool because we want something different. And, beyond that, we find the CCS to be educationally unsound and would not want our children to be subjected to them via the curriculum we use.

          With that in mind, we would ask you to please thoughtfully
          and honestly answer the following questions so that we may make informededucational decisions for our children going forward:

          1. Have you already altered any of your materials
          for the express purpose of aligning with the CCS? If so, which materials? And
          what, specifically, have you changed?

          2. Do you have future plans to alter any of your
          materials in any way in order to align with the CCS? If so, which materials and
          what specific changes are you planning to make? When will you make the changes?

          3. If you have aligned or plan to align with CCS,
          what justification do you use for such a move? And why is that more important
          than helping homeschoolers to retain educational freedom?

          4. If you have not aligned and do not plan to align
          with CCS, how strong is your commitment to remaining independent?

          In fairness, we should also let you know that we will share
          your position with other homeschoolers, as we feel very strongly that we deserve to know how the companies we have come to trust are addressing this crisis of educational freedom. In fact, we are compiling lists to communicate to fellow homeschoolers about companies who:

          – have actively changed (or will be changing)
          materials specifically to align with CCS;

          - have not changed any content but who advertise
          various ways in which their materials (as written) align with CCS;

          - are committed to remaining steadfastly
          independent of the CCS.

          We will provide the lists simply for informational purposes,
          allowing our peers to decide for themselves how to proceed. But we feel it’s imperative that homeschoolers have full disclosure on this issue.

          Thank you for taking time to respond. We appreciate that,
          and we sincerely hope we’ll feel comfortable continuing to use and recommend your
          materials in the future.

          Most sincerely,

          Tina Hollenbeck

          hollenbeckhomelearning@new.rr.com

  • Cindy

    Great job! Thank you for not giving in to being bullied by someone who supposedly is on the side of homeschooling. Agreeing with Marcy. The focus should be on the government and what it’s doing to education in our country in general, not on individual companies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      But, parents have to purchase curriculum from individual companies! We can fight the federal government for the sake of our country and the greater good. But we also have to fight that fight at home! If we support companies who are willingly going along with the government, aren’t we then virtually agreeing with the government? The fight starts at home, and it’s certainly easier to engage in the fight when curriculum companies are willing to make clear statements regarding their stance on this issue!

      • http://cynthiacutright.wordpress.com/ Cynthia C. Cutright

        Parents do not have to purchase the individual curriculum. Many state and local education systems allow home schooling parents to borrow materials being used in their district.

        • Maggie

          A very large number of homeschoolers do so precisely because they are dissatisfied with public school academics. They don’t WANT to use the texts the local school does. I know I don’t.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Exactly. The focus has been misplaced. Thanks for this comment.

  • Debra

    I’m glad you posted this. I think the badgering is ridiculous, and have been really irked at the witch hunt attitude I’ve observed on FB.

    I like your response.

  • http://twitter.com/kristenph Kristen H

    Well said, Terri!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

    I disagree. Many homeschooling parents have chosen to homeschool because they do not want their children subjected to these government standards. Choosing a curriculum can be an overwhelming task. Some parents in certain states need or desire a curriculum that is aligned; others want nothing to do with companies who have chosen to align. Did you know there are over 270 publishing companies that produce homeschooling materials? How is a parent to even begin wading through that many choices? I personally am grateful that someone has taken it upon themselves to gather the information regarding which companies are aligning and which aren’t. I have read a copy of the email that was sent to these companies (including yours) and I didn’t regard it as forceful or badgering. I read it as 4 straight forward questions, to be answered simply, yes or no with a chance for explanation. Yours is the only company who has chosen not to reply. So now, in order to find out your stance, parents are going to have to come searching your website. I would think that for the benefit of your potential customers you would want to make a simple statement regarding your stance on alignment.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Hi Lisa, thanks for commenting. You can read the blog post above to find out whether we are aligned or plan to align.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jodi.ferris Jodi Ferris

        Terri, I was confused about whether you plan to align based on the blog post above.
        (Based on: We have no reason to update any of our materials *at this time* to align with standards…) (emphasis added). Should I take that to mean you do plan to align in the future, or upon some specific event?

        • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.swalwell.3 Stephanie Swalwell

          What I got out of it was the fact that Terri, as a homeschool publisher, will do her best to meet the needs of the homeschool community. As in, were legislation passed that required homeschool curriculum to line up with CCS in order for her homeschooling customers to use it, then she would have to either a. line up or b. quit publishing… but until that’s the case, she’ll continue to strive for excellence in her materials. That pretty much lines up with my experience with this company over all; not terribly ambiguous.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

        Yes, I did read the blog post above. I guess I’m just confused about why you are so against this website establishing a ‘master list’ of the over 270 curriculum publishers and whether or not they are aligned.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.swalwell.3 Stephanie Swalwell

      I feel funny responding to a response, as I am not a party in this other than as a homeschooling parent and thereby a consumer of home school curriculum. Were I to receive a letter informing me that I was expected to reply, and that my reply would be shared, from a company or organization whose very name implied that there is only one right answer – well, I would interpret that as intimidation too. Were I to reply to them that I’m not interested in being featured on their site and then have my honesty and integrity called into question – well, I’d probably get pretty snippy. While I’m surprised to find out that there are only 270 curriculum providers, as a parent I go through Cathy Duffy’s curriculum guide (if any one organization were going to list CCS / non CCS, imo, she would be the one.) I can’t help but think that the reply might have been different were the name of the organization sending it not so incredibly biased – because to push someone to comply with NOT complying with CCS is really no different than the government’s original whim – again – imo. Peer pressure is one of the reasons we home school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

    You seem to be upset over people wanting to know whether or not you align, or don’t align in my opinion. What is wrong with a 3rd party stating your beliefs on CCS? “Homeschool curriculum providers should not be on trial over this issue. ” Well, some homeschool curriculum providers have chosen to adopt the CCS. As a homeschool parent who does not want to use such material aligned with CCS, I want to know up front if there are any plans to align or not align in the future. So stating that homeschool curriculum providers shouldn’t be on “trial” is a completely bogus statement. I also feel that your blog post about the issue is quite rude. You seem to have your followers blindly praising you. “However, these Common Core Standards do not apply to private or homeschools currently.” This is where I believe your head is “in the sand.” A little research would prepare you and make you more informed on CCS and how it can and will impact private schools and homeschools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1259872150 Janna Venard Pyle

    Well said, Terri. This group of “watchdog” people (more like Pit Bulls) are just being nasty for the sake of being nasty. I don’t pay attention to their stupid “list”. The truth is that the best curricula are the best for a reason. If anyone in a company even suggests for a second that their materials MIGHT actually meet or even exceed the “common core” (read “lowest common denominator”) junk then that group wants to black list them. Unfortunately, they are going to find themselves with a very short list of choices for curriculum pretty soon. The truth is that most homeschool publishers so far exceed that stupid “standard” that it shouldn’t much matter. I agree that it isn’t about the publishers, but about a nanny government that needs to get its nose OUT of things that the Constitution doesn’t specifically say they can get into. The WHOLE Department of Education should go away because it is unconstitutional (along with roughly 90% of the other government departments!!).

    • http://www.facebook.com/jodi.ferris Jodi Ferris

      Janna, if that’s how you feel, why would you ever willingly invite the “nanny nose” into your business? I guess I am confused since you seem to agree with both sides of this issue here, and I’d love to understand more.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1259872150 Janna Venard Pyle

        Jody – My point is that practically EVERY homeschool curriculum already so far exceeds the standards that a company saying they meet or exceed those “standards” is simply words. Most of them did not change one single thing about their curriculum. Some added a page or two here and there but as far as I can tell (and I have looked at ALOT of them) NONE of them have made major changes in their curriculum to line up with any standards. Some of them actually market to both homeschool AND private/public schools so they had to make some kind of statement for their non-homeschool customers that they are still ok to use in those settings. Again, since they SO FAR exceed those standards, it isn’t a big deal to me if they say that out loud.

  • ggg101

    Excellent article and thank you to @benandme:disqus for sharing it on Facebook. I don’t think we should completely ignore Common Core, so please find out where your state is in the adoption of CCS, and get involved with Truth in American Education. Stop it where it starts–at the state level and thereby keep your parental rights and homeschooling rights intact.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sonja.west.10 Sonja West

    I had liked the coalitions facebook page. But I saw several rude comments and felt it best to leave it. I did leave a note before leaving the group about their rudeness. Thank you for being a voice of reason in this mess.

  • http://www.facebook.com/catrena.naccarato Catrena Naccarato

    As a homeschooling parent of 3 (with the 4th on the way), my husband and I do not want our children to learn anything close to the CCS. It is our choice and I have redone my entire curriculum this year to use publishers who are not aligned to the standards. If a company chooses to align to the standards, they go in my file of never use again. That simple. If a company chooses not to answer and let us know where they stand (without having to call), then I don’t even look at them. I want to know where a company stands on an issue that I have chosen to not use (CCS) and any company not willing to answer those questions or chooses to align will not be considered in my house to use.

  • Jen

    I think it’s great that you are taking the stand to remain true to your company and values, whether or not they “align” to the core standards. While the point has been made that many homeschool families are opposed to the mandated goverment standards, and that they should have the option of determining whether or not particular publishers have aligned their materials, I don’t really think that it is a service to the homeschool community as a whole. We choose our curriculum for our families based on our personal values, and what we find worthwhile. If one were to dismiss a publisher for the single, simple fact that their materials do meet the core standards, we might be missing out on a fabulous curriculum that could have been just the thing that would make our child fall in love with that subject. Personally, I’d rather review the actual material/curricula available on it’s own merits, rather than by whether or not it meets some standard that may or may not apply to the way I teach my kids.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.rohrbough Lisa Rohrbough

    As a home educating parent, I want to know whether or not the curriculum I am using or going to use is changing to align with the common core standards. I also want to know the worldview that their materials support. Any company which has a problem making this information clear and public is one that I would call into question. It sounds as if the correspondence that you received was direct and honest about the information they wanted and their intent to share it with other home educating families. This honesty should be applauded, not attacked. We are the ones paying for these materials and the decision on curriculum usage is important to us. It is interesting that you chose not to post the original e-mail sent to you so that we could judge the “tone” for ourselves. It is neither “badgering” nor is it making an “accusation” to simply determine whether or not companies are deciding to change in order to align. Your post, however, I do find to be both badgering and accusatory towards the very families whose money you depend upon in order to exist as a company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jodi.ferris Jodi Ferris

    “The badgering and the accusations of curriculum providers need to stop.
    Homeschool curriculum providers should not be on trial over this issue.
    They are not the ones implementing the standards.”

    I don’t know what email you received, nor do I need to. Any email that is harsh is wrong, and not something I would support. I would hope that anyone asking for information that they planned to share publicly would disclose that information up front, but in a respectful way.

    That being said, your statement (quoted above) seems to be the heart of the question many parents are asking, because many homeschool curriculum providers ARE implementing the standards in their curriculum.

    One of the trademarks of the homeschool community that I have always loved is the desire to be (a) informed and (b) share information with each other. The concern, as I’m sure you know, is that the Common Core is a “reaching in” by the government that will take hold and by the time we lose our freedoms it will be too late.

    In my experience, and thereby my opinion, its easier to “fight” to retain freedom than to “fight” to regain them. I am very thankful for the educational freedom we have, and I want to do what I can to keep that freedom, rather than wait until I lose it somewhere down the road when the stakes will be higher.

    I appreciate companies that deals with the public that chose to be transparent about their philosophies. When a company chooses not to, that’s certainly their choice. I’ve been through the public school’s game of “we’re not telling you about the curriculum” and for me, if a company won’t publicly disclose information about their curriculum I wouldn’t even bother asking privately based on that alone.

    Other people are different, and I can appreciate that. Companies may chose this option, and I can respect that. I hope those companies can respect people like me who, while respecting that decision, want to actively support companies that are actively resisting government overreaching.

    • / Terri Johnson

      Hi Jodi,

      I agree with much of what you said, especially…

      In my experience, and thereby my opinion, its easier to “fight” to
      retain freedom than to “fight” to regain them. I am very thankful for
      the educational freedom we have, and I want to do what I can to keep
      that freedom, rather than wait until I lose it somewhere down the road
      when the stakes will be higher.

      Only I think that right now, there is a group who is fighting the wrong target, the very homeschool curriculum suppliers who are trying to keep education free.

      I hope that makes sense. It’s the government that is implementing the standards for the public schools. They are the ones over-reaching their boundaries. Just like health care. Need I say more?

      We’re on the same side. That’s my point.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

        But the point of this group is that not all publishers ARE on the same side. Many of them are ARE purposefully aligning. As a company who is choosing NOT to align, I am surprised that you are so angry with this group that is on your side and is simply trying to gather information in order to help parents choose companies that are NOT aligning—-like yours!

        • Dianna

          What do you see as the “sides”?

          • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

            Personally, I see the “sides” as those who side with aligning with Common Core (or at least don’t see a problem if publishing companies do so) and those who side against aligning with Common Core. Yes, we are homeschoolers. Yes, Common Core is a mandate on public schools. However, some publishers of homeschooling curriculum are choosing to align with Common Core. We as homeschooling parents and purchasers of that curriculum have the right to know the company’s stance on alignment.

  • http://twitter.com/DaBearsHomSkool DaBears Home School

    The better way to have stated it, possibly (w/o knowing the exact content of the contact you received), would be to say that they were creating a site that listed curriculum that was either aligning w/ or not following the common core standards and then ask if you would like to share your company’s stance… I agree w/ not aligning to the common core unless mandated by law. Besides who’s to keep a parent from advancing their child as they learn the info anyhow.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      Here is an exact copy of the letter that was sent to all publishing companies, including Knowledge Quest:

      Hello.

      I am the spokesperson for a group of concerned homeschoolers
      who are writing to all the curriculum companies whose materials we currently
      use and/or recommend in order to learn each company’s position in regards to
      the so-called “Common Core Standards” currently being foisted upon public
      school children across most of the country. Since it has come to our attention
      this week that at least a few homeschool curriculum companies have decided to alter their materials in order to cater to the CCS, we feel compelled to ask whether or not we can continue to trust the companies whose products we have come to value.

      We personally believe that aligning with CCS is a very
      unfortunate and misguided effort, as it severely threatens homeschool freedom
      and independence. After all, if we had wanted to utilize government-directed
      “standards,” we’d enroll our kids in the government-run schools, but we
      homeschool because we want something different. And, beyond that, we find the
      CCS to be educationally unsound and would not want our children to be subjectedto them via the curriculum we use.

      With that in mind, we would ask you to please thoughtfully
      and honestly answer the following questions so that we may make informed
      educational decisions for our children going forward:

      1. Have you already altered any of your materials
      for the express purpose of aligning with the CCS? If so, which materials? And
      what, specifically, have you changed?

      2. Do you have future plans to alter any of your
      materials in any way in order to align with the CCS? If so, which materials and
      what specific changes are you planning to make? When will you make the changes?

      3. If you have aligned or plan to align with CCS,
      what justification do you use for such a move? And why is that more important
      than helping homeschoolers to retain educational freedom?

      4. If you have not aligned and do not plan to align
      with CCS, how strong is your commitment to remaining independent?

      In fairness, we should also let you know that we will share
      your position with other homeschoolers, as we feel very strongly that we
      deserve to know how the companies we have come to trust are addressing this
      crisis of educational freedom. In fact, we are compiling lists to communicate
      to fellow homeschoolers about companies who:

      – have actively changed (or will be changing)
      materials specifically to align with CCS;

      - have not changed any content but who advertise
      various ways in which their materials (as written) align with CCS;

      - are committed to remaining steadfastly
      independent of the CCS.

      We will provide the lists simply for informational purposes,
      allowing our peers to decide for themselves how to proceed. But we feel it’s
      imperative that homeschoolers have full disclosure on this issue.

      Thank you for taking time to respond. We appreciate that,
      and we sincerely hope we’ll feel comfortable continuing to use and recommend your
      materials in the future.

      Most sincerely,

      Tina Hollenbeck

      • / Terri Johnson

        There was more than one email sent from more than one individual. Just FYI, in case you didn’t know.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

          This is the email that was sent from Tina, who created the website with the purpose of establishing a master list. If you have received letters from others that WERE bullying in nature, than I can say that I would better understand your position and your need to write this blog post. However, in fairness to the Educational Freedom Coalition I believe you should have or still should make a clear statement about where the bullying statements came from. Were they from individuals, or were they from the EFC?

          • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

            I totally agree Lisa! This blog settled it for me. No more of my business. Honesty and trust are a huge factor for me. Attacking a group that is trying to gather information so parents can make their OWN decision is uncalled for. I have shared this blog. I want the truth to be known and not hear-say from people who really don’t know the details. I want them to be able to read this for themselves and let them make their own decision as to which provider to go with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tracey.fleger Tracey Fleger

    Your statement of, “apparently, by this coalition, one is guilty before
    proven innocent,” alone is concerning. I know that is not the intention
    of The Education Freedom Coalition. Their email to you sounds like
    they wanted to inform you that your information would be shared. Would
    you rather that they hadn’t said that? Isn’t that illegal?

    Are you sure you just weren’t misreading the original email? No other homeschool curriculum companies have complained about this, that I know of. It’s hard to know someone’s intentions at times just by what they type.

    Homeschoolers are going to these lists with the intentions of finding out who has aligned with these standards or not. Some are making their “shopping lists” for next year. I’m not sure if your response has helped or hurt your company, but it sure has stirred up a hornet’s nest.

    I find it funny that, even though you didn’t want to answer the original email with a straight answer for other homeschoolers to see on Facebook, you didn’t hesitate to claim here that, “We have no reason to update any of our materials at this time to align with standards that aren’t required for homeschool families. And we will
    continue to love the companies we love, whether they align to these
    standards or not.”

    Couldn’t this whole argument have been avoided by simply stating this and perhaps recommending to The Education Freedom Coalition that they check their wording for politically correct politeness or something?

    Aren’t we all on the same team here?

    Just my 2 cents. :o )

    • http://www.facebook.com/karen.mathre Karen Newsom Mathre

      I guess for me this is the part I find the hardest to understand. Why would I choose or not choose the curriculum I plan to use based on whether they have listed how their material fits the list or if they don’t show it. I choose what works for me and frankly I would never, never, never in a million years rely on this kind of “helpful” information to choose what would work for my family.

  • Megan

    I am glad to see that you are not aligning. However, I respectfully submit that you have over-reacted. You could have very well not responded or written a blog post stating that you will not be aligning and provided the link as your response. All of this blame, and what I see as YOUR bullying, is hurting not only your cause, the homeschool cause in general, but also the cause of Christ. I am in the group on facebook, it has been very helpful to know which curriculums are selling out to the government. There has been no rudeness, perhaps some hurt feelings, but that is all. Other publishers are members of the group, and I am sure Terri, you would be welcome to join and make statements for yourself. I hope this can be resolved, and unintentional offenses, forgiven.

  • http://www.facebook.com/miz.carla.hardwick Miz Carla Hardwick

    As a provider of homeschool materials, I am not going to waste my time answering questions about Common Core. Why would I want to do that when there are so many other and better things to do for homeschoolers. It does not apply to us. So why all the bother?

    • http://www.thatoddmom.com/ That Odd Mom

      Ah, but it does apply to us, at least those of us that live in states that require testing. With common core comes a future implementation of new national test. And who’s to say that states that with strict homeschool laws will not choose to implement the standards onto homeschoolers too? At this time it may not specifically apply to us, but has the ability to make a large impact on our children’s educational futures. So I say bother, stand up for your beliefs and fight against a sweeping unconstitutional education model, that is taking hold our nations public education system, before it makes it way to home education.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      I firmly believe there are a LOT of homeschooling parents (and your potential customers) who would strongly disagree with you. More than 1600 in just over a week have joined the Educational Freedom Coalition’s Facebook page because they are highly concerned about whether publishers are choosing to align with the CCS or not. By choosing to ignore this issue, you are effectively burying your head in the sand and you should not be surprised if you lose customers over that choice.

    • Maggie

      Why bother? Because there are curriculum providers that are used by homeschoolers who HAVE changed their products to meet Common Core Standards.

  • Paula F.

    All of this uproar was caused by your knee-jerk reaction to an inquiry
    about products that you sell. If someone is to run a business and deal
    with the public, they have to be able to act professionally and respond
    to all contacts with poise and courtesy. Taking personal offense where
    none was meant and lashing out defensively is not professional. Whining about it to your followers is even less so. Maybe you should hire a someone to handle your pr.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.rohrbough Lisa Rohrbough

      Thank-you Paula! I agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

    Terri, I have posted a copy of the letter that the Educational Freedom Coalition sent out to all of the publishing companies. You responded by saying that there was more than one letter sent by more than one individual. And yet, at the beginning of this blog post you say, “I received an email on March 11 from the founder of the newly formed
    Education Freedom Coalition asking if Knowledge Quest has already
    aligned, or plans to align, our materials with the Common Core
    Standards.” The entire rest of the post, including the statement, “The badgering and the accusations of curriculum providers need to stop,” leads your readers to believe that the “bullying and badgering” has been done by Tina at the Educational Freedom Coalition. I believe that you owe the readers of this post a clear explanation of WHO is doing the “bullying and badgering.” The original letter from Tina simply stated her opinion of the CCSS, asked for your company’s stance, and out of courtesy she informed you that she would be publishing your response. I have seen on her Facebook page that when people ask how they can help, Tina asks members who wish to contact companies to simply encourage those companies to respond to the original email sent by the Educational Freedom Coalition. I truly believe that if there are individuals acting on their own volition who are sending letters that are “bullying and badgering” that Tina would like to be made aware of that fact so that she can encourage her members not to engage in such behavior. Please, clarify whether or not the “bullying and badgering” came from the Educational Freedom Coalition, or whether it came from some other individual.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisaschmidtfisher Lisa Schmidt Fisher

      Still curious about the answer to this question.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Gallegos/100000795351186 Jennifer Gallegos

        I too, am curious about your response to this very valid question, Tina.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.swalwell.3 Stephanie Swalwell

      Lisa,
      Thank you for posting that – now I have enough information to say, for certain, that it is intimated that there is only one right answer.

      I live in Texas. I can teach what I want, when I want, for as many hours a day as I want – as long as I include literacy and government ( I think those are the minimums)… my children are not obligated to turn in any tests or submit any paperwork, nor do I have to ask permission or prove my qualifications to teach my children… but what of the homeschoolers who live in states where their children DO have to take these tests? Are they no longer entitled to academically solid, Christ based curriculum (or not Christ based, as it were), that allows their family to maintain the world view they consider to be essential while also knowing that the curriculum they are using aligns to the standards that will be tested at _____.

      I stand by my original opinion that to be faced with an email that indicates that you either: 1. Comply with the government, 2. Comply with our expectation that you NOT comply with the government, or 3. Waffle because you obviously don’t know how important this is – that we are going to take your reply, categorize you as 1,2,or 3 above, and share that categorization on our facebook page is something that is worth notifying your client base about, if you so choose… just as, I’m sure, The Educational Freedom Coalition felt it appropriate to share with their followers that they considered Knowledge quest to be a waffler.

      Maybe the 1,2,3 categorization was not the original intent – because without the obvious indicator that there is ONLY one right answer- that you will not align, that you do not align, and even if some part of your curriculum DOES align, you will actively not align – then the list sounds useful, to all parents. The combination of the name of the group, the opinion presented, and the pressure to agree however – it’s divisive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hillbillywoman69 Andrea Brandstetter

      My question to Lisa is why you are going out of your way to be a bully. It looks like the “bullying and badgering” is coming from you on the comments and posts. I don’t have a clue what is going on here. I have just been reading the comments. You have inflamed the issue at every opportunity. When it looks like things are calming down on here you spark it back up. Do you happen to work for those people? You seem like the perfect spokesperson for them. I really don’t understand your motivation except to hurt or humiliate someone for disagreeing with you. I believe the post stated as well as possible the intentions. I do not like gov. interference and I would not want to comply to something I’m forced to do as well. Maybe you should show your real purpose in behaving like this.

    • http://www.facebook.com/hillbillywoman69 Andrea Brandstetter

      Could someone please delete this post with my son’s name on it. He happened to be logged into fb when I posted. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lori.r.asbury Lori Reeder Asbury

    I do agree. I home schooled my children for 19 years.

    There may be a curriculum that aligns in some aspects with the Core Curriculum. It could still be useable by tweaking one or two core ideas. That might be a better educational choice for my child than a strictly NO CORE curriculum that is theologically sound but poorly written or unsuitable for a particular child.Rarely were my curriculum selections a “choose one publisher” approach, even for one child; and especially for the whole family. Blindly following the recommendations of ANY group, secular or Christian, is not what our children need. Children need parents who devote themselves to finding and providing what each child needs for a solid Christian education and preparation for life.

  • renee baude

    I am a homeschool parent, educational consultant and I write lesson plans with the CCSS in mind for public and private school. When I look at the CCSS I see how the government is now aligning more closely with how homeschoolers have been teaching for many, many years. I use the curriculum that best serves my kids–it doesn’t matter to me if it aligns to CCSS or not. Why can’t a publisher provide both?

  • http://www.facebook.com/julieanne.miller.9 Julieanne Miller

    I think a lot of homeschooling parents are, unfortunately, a bit ignorant about the various core standards that have been around for many decades. When I began teaching in the public schools in 1990, we had the Common Curriculum Goals (CCG’s), and we had to write the # of the goal that we were teaching next to everything in our lesson plans. It was so time consuming, and such a pain – and this is before computers were around. While the CCG’s may not be exactly like the CCS that everyone is getting freaked out about, the CCG’s were also very vague and difficult to actually prove that students were learning the goals that had been set.

    When the newbie teachers (including me) were becoming familiar with the CCG’s back in 1990, the older teachers just moaned and groaned. “Oh, back to the XYZ standards (I don’t remember what they called them that day) we had in the 40s and the 60s, etc. What goes around comes around.” They told us newbies that these would be “in vogue” for 2-4 years, and then something new would come around and these huge, 6″ three-ring binders would be thrown into the trash.

    Sure enough, they were correct. Something new came around, and the CCG’s were no more.

    While I’m not saying that the CCS are “nothing”, I am saying that people need to do some research and realize that garbage like this has been around for many decades already.

    And people need to give you and all homeschooling curricula companies a break, Terri. I think it is shameful to state to a company that whatever their reply is, it will be broadcast loud and clear for everyone to read. I would have absolutely refused to answer their email, too. I’m right with you. If people have complaints, take them up with the government.

    • Kristina

      You go, sista! :-)

  • Pingback: Homeschooling, The Christian, & The Common Core Standards

  • Sheri

    ….no drama…or overreaction here…
    just grateful that you/your curriculum will stay the same as it always has…
    which is what I have always loved. =)
    Keep doing what you’re doing!

    Blessings, Sheri

    • / Terri Johnson

      Thank you, Sheri!

  • / Terri Johnson

    I have made a few additions to this blog post in an effort to clear up any misunderstandings. I changed a strong word or two as well. If you would like to make any comments on this post, you are welcome to do so, but you may want to read my comment policy under “comments” on the top bar first. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/RElizabethBeck Elizabeth Beck

      And quite a few deletions I see. Wow. Sad, very sad.

      • / Terri Johnson

        You can read my comment policy. I used the guidelines there to decide what comments would stay and which ones weren’t appropriate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.mathre Karen Newsom Mathre

    I haven’t read all the responses. I have no vested interest other than being a homeschooling parent who started in 1992 and will finish in 2020. I pick a curriculum provider for what they offer to my family period. If they include a list of how their material meets up with some “standard list” doesn’t matter to me. I don’t need them so they don’t matter to me. To someone else they might matter. Giving a list doesn’t mean they have changed anything. And even they changed something to “line up” and it still meets my needs great. If it doesn’t I’ll shop elsewhere.
    Because as I sit here looking back over 20 years of homeschooling “threats” come and go but we has homeschoolers of all types and styles have stuck together in what we hold in common are freedom to homeschool.
    I see this type of us vs. them mind set the greatest threat to all of us as homeschoolers. I’m seeing it more and more in local, state, and national levels. If we are so busy pointing fingers at each other then we have already lost what I hope so many of us hold dear the right to choose how we educate our children. PERIOD.

    If I choose to use a “standard list” or use no plan at all is my right as a homeschooler. I’m a big girl and I can research for myself. I view samples. I can read through a website. And boy none of that was around 20 years ago. Again I choose what works for me and mine and the addition or absence of a list isn’t going to be the deciding factor.

    Any maker of any list whether it’s what person to vote for, what soda is best, or what curriculum is providing a list are always set up to promote the agenda of the person preparing the survey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that was truly neutral if it asked for a response from the person or company they were survey. An example I remember from years ago was a story about a survey that asked men “Have you stopped beating your wife” leaving only yes or no as an option. Yes well then you must have beat her in the past. No well you must be beating her now. There is no way to answer without it coming out wrong. No this wasn’t a real survey but it makes the point that how you word a question even something that seems so simple can’t force the responded into a response that they can use to make their point or to cause an issue for those who respond.

    Anyway just some things to keep in mind from a veteran homeschooler who has seen a lot come and go over the years.

  • DebW

    Today I am only getting up to speed on the Common Core and what it could mean for homeschooling. I found that group and several blog posts from various publishers and curriculum providers.

    The statement by you about what you think and/or your plans written in your own words is helpful for parents making decisions–it probably would have been better received and understood in a post of its own. I don’t think you should feel pigeon holed into the other group’s version of your statement, using their words to describe your actions/attitudes, when you have your own voice and platform right here. Nor are we dumb sheep who need to follow blindly another group’s version of a company’s stance. However, thank you for providing an insight into the background of how the “list” is being made, and for where you stand.

    I know for legal reasons and the future of hs’ing the Common Core is concerning. Personally, as a parent, I see them as a minimum standard for a typical learner and don’t worry so much about them. I feel we are answering to God for how we are raising our children and for how we are educating them, and that when we are in line with that, the government standards have been at least met, if not exceeded. And as another commenter stated, state standards change with the wind. It’s sort of amazing in our PC culture they dare even suggest there has to be an achievable “standard”!

    If we Christian homeschoolers are doing what God has called us to do, there is no reason our kids won’t meet the standards. He is where our faith should be lying.

  • Pingback: Terri's Take… » Blog Archive » On Curriculum and Common Core, Part 2

  • http://cynthiacutright.wordpress.com/ Cynthia C. Cutright

    As a home schooling parent I have not been concerned with CCS. My selection of educational materials is based on the quality of the material. In social studies and science I deliberately choose materials from companies that hold a biblical world view that aligns with mine. Absolutely no evolution.

    My boys and I love the material at KQ. We own everything they have published so far because of the quality of the material, their biblical world view, and their alignment with the history material we use. I could care less if they are aligned with CCS or if they plan to in the future unless compliance weakens their compliance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kchara ‘Kristi Gambrel Kerr

    Very very very well said. I agree we need to take the focus off who is aligned, who isn’t aligned, and take the magnifying glass off of the publishers, and put it right back where it belongs… on the government who has no place creating “standards” in the first place. Most homeschool curricula already exceeds CCS anyway. I’m honestly not all that worried about it. I know KQ has quality, wonderful materials. I’m not going to change what works for my kids based on whether a company aligns, partially aligns, or anything else with CCS.

  • Kristina

    I agreee with you wholeheartedly! Gov’t standards will always change (especially in education!!!)…Why change the good work you’re doing when you’d have to change again in a few years just to adapt to whatever they’re touting next?

  • SusanRaber

    Complying with the Common Core means DROPPING your standards, not meeting higher ones. After reading the CCS, I think my Yorkie can meet Common Core Standards. Most homeschool resource providers *could* say that their products meet the CCS, because they exceed those standards, by about a light year. Possibly two.

    It’s amazing how many states signed on to adopt the Common Core before they had even read them. Someone waved federal funds under their nose and they signed on the dotted line. Oy vey.

  • Homeschool Mom

    I’m thankful to hear you don’t currently intend to align! I do agree that we should choose homeschool curriculum that meets our standards, and not based on federal standards. But like I wouldn’t choose to support a company that supports other things I”m against, I won’t choose to support a homeschool company that supports CCSS through aligning their materials. I’m sure most companies available to homeschoolers exceed these standards, but those who choose to support it and not stand against it won’t have my business no matter how great they are. It’s a matter of principal, a way to let them know I’m not okay with them giving into these standards! There are companies that aren’t changing their materials but are supporting and showing correlations, those advertising on their sites “meets CCSS!” like it’s a good thing..it isn’t, I want to see “We exceed the standards and don’t support them!” Not advertising that they meet them to bring in more money from those who have no clue how horrible these things are! And I don’t mean the standards themselves, I mean the government involvement and what they mean for american students. I don’t care how good a program is, if they support CCSS, I don’t support them. Period.

  • Maggie

    You say you don’t wish to be listed on a third party website, but when one markets a product to the public, it is unreasonable to expect that one’s product will not be evaluated, reviewed, and otherwise talked about by third parties.

  • Subscribe for Blog Updates!

  • Subscribe via RSS

  • Blog Categories

  • Recent posts

  • March 2013
    S M T W T F S
    « Feb   Apr »
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Grab My Button


    (copy paste code below)


  • Join the KQ Facebook fan page!

  • Homeschool Speaker’s Bureau

    Speaker's Bureau button small
  • Twitter Posts


  • Blog Design