Even as homeschoolers seek to avoid some of the educational approaches of public schools, some of the companies that profit from selling learning tools to homeschoolers have decided to align their curriculum with the federal government's controversial Common Core State Standards Initiative.
Saxon Math and Math-U-See have both announced in the last month that they would align their curriculum with the Common Core.
Both the math and English Common Core standards have been criticized by experts in those fields for, among other things, lacking rigor and using untested methods. The math standards have been criticized for abandoning Euclidian geometry in favor of an untested experimental approach and not adequately requiring students to understand how to make conversions between fractions, decimals and percents, for instance.
Several homeschoolers complained to Math-U-See on the company's Facebook page.
"Common Core is one reason of many as to why I will not to send my kids to public or private schools and instead have opted to homeschool my children. I have loved Math U See up until this point and am extremely disappointed. If I cannot find used curriculum, I am afraid I will have to find something else," Margaret Gustafson wrote.
"I was going to look into your math curriculum for my son's 1st grade year, but now that you are aligning with common core, I won't even give you one look," Lesli Miller complained.
In response to Miller, Math-U-See wrote, "I'm sorry to hear that. Though we are being transparent about how we align with the requirements in the common core, our sequence and philosophy remain the same. We have not rearranged anything or taken anything away. We added new topics that are valuable for math students and were requested by our homeschool audience. Here is a link that explains exactly what did and didn't change. ... ."
In the link provided, Math-U-See explains that the main reason the company decided to add the Common Core topics was that it believed the topics would be useful for students to learn anyway.
Shane Vander Hart, editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts and communications director for the American Principles Project, helped bring attention to the changes at Saxon and Math-U-See on the Truth in American Education blog, where he provided a link to the Math-U-See Facebook page, where he also left a note. "If I wanted my kids to have curriculum aligned to the Common Core we would have them in public school," he wrote.
Another homeschooling blogger, Kristen Chevrier, wrote a post simply naming which homeschool curriculum companies have announced that they will align with Common Core standards, or have been funded by Common Core proponents, and which have not.