Common Core homework is different than the homework I grew up with, but different isn't bad. This new type of homework values grit and creativity, instead of a specific answer.

Over the last few years, my oldest two children have entered into elementary school. The school they attend is public and the curriculum they are taught is based on Common Core State Standards.

As time has passed, my understanding of the Core has grown. Needless to say, I am at a point where I am comfortable with and support Common Core homework. As a parent, this new and often different type of homework is actually starting to grow on me.


What Is The Common Core?

Whether we like it or not, public education in America is a streamlined affair. Educational Standards, a.k.a. "sets of specific curriculum" have been around for a long time. (Your parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents learned specified curriculum in their public schools.)

For decades, states have determined what is taught to our children. The Common Core State Standards are no different. In fact, their premise is simple. The Common Core is a set of standards that individual states can adopt, or not. Once adopted by a state, the Common Core provides a solid base for "what should be taught" and "when."

Common Core Standards have some good aspects. They simplify educational expectations for all children. Allowing them to unite in their similarities while maintaining individuality.


How Does Common Core Homework Differ From Traditional Homework?

Common Core homework is different than the homework of my childhood. It serves a different purpose and takes my children down a different path. It encourages children to focus on the journey rather than the destination.

It applauds creativity and builds perseverance. I like this. In fact, as a parent, it excites me.

I have friends who confuse "different" with "bad." They are uncomfortable with the notion of homework requiring critical thinking, effort, and energy.

But applying creative thinking, effort, and energy into solving math problems allows for logical thinking. Common Core math homework, in particular, focuses on keeping things logical. This is powerful! Logic evens the playing field and allows all children to find success.


The Beauty Of A Common Core Math Problem

Take - for example - the following math problem that my 5th-grader found on her Common Core homework. It asked how she might know that 2½ + 3⅔ > 6. 

Common Core Math Homework

This single problem forced her to think logically. She wasn't required to add the problem to find the answer. Instead, she had to focus on the task at hand. She mentally estimated that 2 1/2 is closer to 3 and that 3 2/3 is closer to 4. She was then able to use common sense to determine that 3 plus 4 is larger than 6. This is a different, new, and dare I say, better perspective for math than what I grew up with.

I like this, I mean really like this.

My daughter had the opportunity, through her Common Core math homework, to think logically and then prove her thoughts.

She had to use grit to focus on the question and common sense to find the solution.

This, my friends, is where Common Core homework earns its worth. It empowers children to honor their abilities by having them explain their thinking. Children who verbalize what they know and then support it with proof become owners of their learning. I want my children to own their learning. Don’t we all?

How Can We Help Our Children With Their Common Core Math Homework?

We can help our children with their Common Core homework by supporting them. I encourage my children to share their thoughts and then listen to what they say. I set an example by acknowledging my mistakes and modeling how I learn from them.

Common Core homework motivates my daughters to be thinkers and doers. As they struggle and succeed they steadily grow. They are becoming creative and confident individuals who will make positive contributions to society.

Through the Common Core, they are learning how to lead rather than follow, and this is a beautiful thing.

About the All-Star Blogger

Paige is the mother of three creative Little Women and enjoys spending time eating chocolate, watching movies, reading for pleasure, creating educational products, and maintaining her blogPaige has a passion for helping students develop a love of reading. She has been a faculty member at Amelia Earhart Elementary for over seven years. She is a CITES Associates member of the BYU-Public School Partnership and a member of Provo School District’s Literacy Committee. She is an award-winning educator who enjoys mentoring interns and student teachers. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest