Common Core is a set of standards in both Math and Language Arts that is used in many of the public schools across the US.

While you may live in a state where the standards have not been adopted “officially” yet, 48 of the states are aligning themselves with Common Core Standards. Perhaps you have a student that travels or lives between two locations throughout the school year.  Common Core makes it easy for that student to transition into a new school in a completely different location.

I first was introduced to Common Core when tutoring a 5th grade student a few years back. He needed help with his math; he was multiplying two digit numbers using what he called partial products. I had tutored homeschooled students math for several years and had never seen this.


A quick internet research will show you exactly how those type of math problems are solved.

You may be thinking – why not just use re-grouping?…Like many of us were taught for decades! Perhaps you have seen this too. In your tutoring session it’s a mistake to teach your student the way you were taught, because that will not be acceptable when your student’s homework is turned in or when they take a test. As a reputable tutor, you must help them learn the way the subject is being taught in the classroom.

A little internet research will help you discover what standards are being taught and at which grade level. There are a multitude of videos and websites that will help ease the way into the Common Core world. It can seem intimidating at first but learning the Common Core Standards and teaching methods is very doable and can be learned as you come across them in your tutoring.


Being adaptable as a tutor is key.

A common weakness of upper middle and high school students is their resistance to doing mental math. They are very quick to pull out a calculator for simple calculations. So along with helping them the “Common Core way” it’s important to stress the memorization of multiplication facts, as well as teach mental strategies to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in their heads, when feasible. Parents appreciate it!

If you tutor homeschoolers, they typically do not need to know Common Core methodology. Tutor your students based on the curricula their parents are using. Both of my children were home educated and I used traditional curricula which resulted in above average college entrance scores.  

The end goal is to teach our students to learn and succeed in their environment!

Helpful websites for Common Core information:

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Understanding the Common Core Curriculum: A Guide for Parents

C Palms – Where Educators Go For Bright Ideas (if you live in Florida)