Today I found myself running around two counties looking for homeopathic remedies(and finding none that I needed in-stock- 'Tis the season!) for my youngest, and still not home(with another hour or more to go) an hour past lunch time. I mentally argued with myself over the pro's and cons of going to a STORE, getting everyone out(sick baby included) and getting more healthful food, or going through a drive-thru. Encouraged by the screams of my sick baby behind me, the drive-thru won. As I pulled up to the window to pay and get my order, the woman at the window smiled and said hello. She noticed my five-year-old in the second row and asked, "Shouldn't he be in school?" I love that question. I always want to throw my arms out with dramatic flair and sing out flamboyantly, "We are HOMESCHOOLED! THE WORLD IS OUR CLASSROOM!" But I do not. I think it might scare people and confirm their suspicions about those weird homeschoolers. I just smiled and said, "I am a teacher, so I am homeschooling my kids." Her eyes immediately widened and said, "Teacher? You're a teacher? Oh, can I ask you a question?" I smiled again and nodded. "What do you think of these new standards in the school? These Common Core things?"
Ooh Lordy, it was like she had asked me if I'd ever consider cloth diapers! So much to say, but where to begin? Without hesitation I responded that I thought they were terrible, awful, no-good garbage that were destroying our the public education system, and snuffing out almost any chance a child has at learning to love learning. She disappeared from the window for several seconds, then hurried back with my bag. As she handed it to me, her eyes filled with tears and she said, "Thank you. Thank you for saying that. I didn't graduate school- you might have guessed that since I work here(quite the contrary, my husband and I BOTH worked fast food for several years and we're both secondarily-educated. You do what you need to pay the bills!), but I hate that stupid Common Core. Before this started, my daughter LOVED school. This year, she hates it. HATES IT! She's failing now. When I ask the teachers about the work, why she can't do it the way she used to, they say it's 'the new standard. The Common Core way.' Well I HATE IT! I want my girl to love school like she used to. I want her to do better than I did, but there ain't no way she's going to with this Common Core crap. I can see it killing her spirit every day and it kills me. KILLS ME. So thank you. If an educated woman like you, a teacher, knows it's bad stuff, then I know I'm not wrong in my gut." She wiped the tears from her face with her open hand, smiled, wished me a good day, then closed the window as she began taking the lunch order of the car behind me with her head set. It was all I could do not to cry FOR her. This is the future of our nation. This is happening NOW.