It’s never too early to start preparing for the common core standards

The common core standards have been a hot topic of debate lately, but they’re here and difficult. That being said, it’s best that students start preparing at an early age for the new material so they can succeed. We’ve written about this subject before – California Common Core Standards “Other Perspectives and Cultures” – but this article will be focused at children of an early age.


“Comprehend as well as critique”

One of the concepts that the state of California wants students to be able to achieve prior to exiting high school is to “comprehend as well as critique”. They want students to be “open-minded” but also “discerning” about what they read and hear. Being open-minded can mean many things to different people but let’s look at what it means in an academic sense (read about our Orange County private academic tutors).

Open-mindedness in educational endeavors

Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers “unbiased” and “unprejudiced” as synonyms to open-minded. If students are able to look at information without prejudice, they are more likely to be able to form their own opinion based on fact and may be more likely to explore ideas that are unfamiliar to them. Open-mindedness is not so much a skill as simply something one has as part of their thinking process and it can lead to some great benefits later in life. For example, trying an elective class outside of one’s major in college can lead to a well-rounded education and being able to work well with multiple types of people in the workforce can help people develop positive working relationships as well as managerial skills. So how can you help your child become open-minded at an early age?

I recommend: Encouraging open-mindedness usually requires education outside of the classroom. Museums, vacations to other parts of the country (if possible), meeting people from other cultures, and volunteering can help a child or teen be open-minded. However, the Common Core Standards specifically state that they want students to be open-minded when reading and listening.

Reading books is something I mention over and over again, and that’s because it’s so important to education in general. I suggest a visit to the local library (or your preferred online book store) and picking out a few novels that tell stories about other cultures and situations and also that have characters who are your child’s current age. After reading the story, ask your kid what it might have been like to be that person or live during that time period. Many younger children lose interest quickly with longer stories but there are many, fantastic short stories out there as well. For a complete list appropriate to your child’s grade or reading level, ask your local librarian or your kid’s school teacher.


The state of California would also like students to be “discerning” when reading and listening. Now that we are open-minded, we have to sort out relevant and irrelevant information as well as things that we agree or disagree with. So what does it mean to be discerning in education?

The discerning student

Merriam-Webster lists both “insightful” and “perceptive” as synonyms to discerning. A perceptive learner would be able to determine which pieces of information are important as compared to others, this skill will be tremendously helpful when it comes to studying for all of those upcoming exams, choosing a major in college, and even deciding which career might be right for them. Someone who is insightful in the workforce will likely be more successful, be able to manage their time better, and work well with colleagues. People skills are crucial to moving up in today’s working world.

I recommend: Get some more novels, or use the ones you used for the open-mindedness project, and ask your child about the characters’ actions. Were they right or wrong, did they react to another character’s actions, did the character learn anything from the situations in the book? Then ask your child their own, personal opinion about the characters. Did they like the characters or dislike them? Don’t forget the all important question, ‘why’. Asking and answering ‘why’ will help open those working brains to a whole new world of knowledge and understanding.

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