End of School Year…Sort Of

Here in Kansas City, Missouri –  today was the first day of summer break for thousands of students.

But not for the Princess…oh no.

Instead, she had her typical array of workbook pages and worked on them intermittently over the course of the day as she accompanied me to two cleanings and errands.

She did this without complaint – although she did fall asleep in the van while working on one of her workbook pages. In the end, she still was able to play with friends for hours, something that is at the top of her daily list of preferred activities.

I’ve been looking over the Goals for First Grade, as they are listed in Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year By Year. And despite our nearly six month break from formal homeschooling before, during and after our move into the big city, I’m pleased with her progress.

In the last few weeks the Princess has gone from printing almost exclusively upper-case to confidently writing lowercase letters. And writing them well.

This series of videos helped me to interest her in how to write the letters correctly. She was fascinated by the descriptions of sky, fence, ground and water. It startles me a bit how easy this was to accomplish, yet here we are with most lowercase letters now firmly in her grasp.


I listen to her as she writes…”From up in the sky, down to the ground, up to the fence and around to the ground. That makes a ‘b’.” It’s rather cute.

She has rarely complained, which is quite nice, a big change. It seems that I am being taken seriously…and that the Princess has decided that she would far prefer to have more time to play then spend her days stuck at a school desk.

I have gone through the Learning Goals and here is where we stand for the “end” of first grade…

Legend: X=knows it, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning it, D=Doesn’t Know, U=Unknown W=Waiting on this
Language Arts Phonics, Decoding and Word Recognition 1-May-13 Notes
Kids should know the sounds of all the consonants and both long and short vowel sounds. They should also know the common digraphs – double-letter combinations that represent single sounds, such as th, ch, sh, qu, and why – and common consonant blends,such as bl and br, sp, st, and sw, and dr and tr. They should be familiar with these to substitute initial consonant sounds to create rhyming “word families,” such as dog, fog, log, hog, bog. N
Expand on ability to decode 1-syllable words. Kids should be able to “sound out” 1-syllable words, converting individual letters to phonemes and blending these into recognizable words. X
Be able to identify root words and to identify common inflectional endings: s, es, ed, er, est, and ing. Kids should be able to read not only the word look, for example, but looks, looked, and looking. X
Know age appropriate sight words (a, an, could, from, has, her, of, once, thank, the, then, walk, and were) N
Understand syllabication (single syllable, double, triple) – reinforce by one clap, two claps, et cetera. ??
Reading Comprehension 1-May-13 Notes
Be able to read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. By the end of 1st grade, kids should be able to read aloud reasonably fluently, in a manner that approximates natural speech. N
Be able to answer who, what, when, where, and why questions – the “five Ws” – about material they have read. Give accurate oral accounts of fiction and nonfiction works that they have read themselves or heard read aloud. X
Know the literary terms plot, setting, characters, hero and heroine, and be able to identify all in their readings. X
Enjoy a wide range of literature read aloud, including fiction and nonfiction books, multicultural folktales and legends, fairy tales, fables and poems X
Be able to define and use a books table of contents. X
Writing 1-May-13 Notes
Print all upper and lower case letters legibly, using proper spacing. N
Write words and sentences, using proper spacing, capitalization and punctuation. L
Be able to identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives. L
Be able to spell simple 3-4 letter words from dictation using phonics skills. Know spelling of first grade-level sight words. N
Be able to identify synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. D
  Listening and Speaking Skills 1-May-13 Notes
Listen to, restate, and follow two-step directions X
Be able to retell a story in proper sequence X
Participate in short dramatizations: charades, pantomimes, plays X
Memorize and recite short poems and rhymes X Does this with music lyrics right now
Study Skills 1-May-13 Notes
Know the uses of a dictionary, encyclopedia, and card catalog L
Be able to put words in alphabetical order according to first letter L
Mathematics Number Theory 1-May-13
Recognize and write the numbers 0 to 100 X
Be able to count to 100 by 2s, 5s, and 10s X
Use tallies for counting L
Identify ordinal positions from first through twelfth X
Compare and order numbers 0 to 100 using the terms greater than, lesser than, and equal to X
Understand place values for 1s, 10s, and 100s L
Identify halves, thirds, and fourths L Knows halves
Make and interpret simple picture and bar graphs L
Operations 1-May-13 Notes
Experiment with the addition and subtraction of whole numbers through 20 using manipulatives and number lines L
Know the definitions of sum and difference and the names and use of the + (plus) and – (minus) signs. X Knows the signs
Know basic addition facts through 10 + 10 and corresponding basic subtraction facts. N
Understand the commutative property of addition: that is, numbers can be added in any order. X “Mom, 3+4 is the same as 4+3. They both equal 7!”
Successfully solve simple equations and word problems horizontally and vertically. (i.e. 6+  =8  and 9-6=  ) X
Money and Measurement 1-May-13 Notes
Recognize pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters X
Be able to determine the value of a given set of coins up to 25 cents. X
Recognize dollar and cent signs; be able to use decimals in writing money amounts. X
Use calendars to identify days, weeks, and months. X
Be able to tell time to the hour and half hour on a standard clock. Understand the difference between a.m. and p.m. X Just need to reinforce am and pm
Be familiar with the uses of common measuring instruments, such as a scale (weight), ruler (length), and thermometer (temperature). X
Compare and order objects by length, weight, and volume using both standard and non standard measures. X
Geometry 1-May-13 Notes
Identify and draw common two-dimensional shapes: circle, triangle, rectangle and square. X
Identify figures that have lines of symmetry X
Correctly use position words to describe location: right, left, above, below, inside, outside, in front, in back, over, under, and so on. X
History & Geography American History: General 1-May-13 Notes
Study and compare family life, past and present W
Study the lives and accomplishments of famous Americans: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Susan B. Anthony and more W studied Susan B Anthony and George Washington
Know the people and events associated with famous national holidays. N
Know the meaning of democracy, the duties of the president of the U.S., and the importance of such national symbols as the flag, the Liberty Bell, the American eagle, and the Statue of Liberty. N
Be familiar with traditional American folktales, stories, and songs. X
Know about the many different professions that enable a community to function. X
American History: Chronological Survey 1-May-13 Notes
The arrival of the ancestors of the American Indians and the establishment of early civilizations. Kids should study the lifestyles, customs, and legends of representative American Indian tribes X
The Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations of Central and South America W
The arrival of Columbus in 1492; the Spanish conquistadors and early Spanish settlements. W
English colonization in the New World, including the stories of the “lost colony” of Roanoke, the settlement of Jamestown, the arrival of African slaves and the establishment of the first southern plantations, and the Pilgrims and Puritans in Massachusetts W
The American Revolution W
The early exploration of the American West, including the stories of Daniel Boone and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. N
World History 1-May-13 Notes
Compare and contrast everyday life in different cultures and times. X
Study prehistory to the beginnings of civilization. N
Survey ancient Egypt. N
Survey ancient Greece. N
Survey ancient Rome. N
Survey major world religions. W
Geography 1-May-13 Notes
Know the uses of maps and globes. X
Know the cardinal directions: north, east, south, and west. Let kids experiment with compasses. X
Be able to identify the world’s major oceans and continents, the equator, the northern and southern hemispheres, and the North and South Poles. N
First-graders should know their town or city, state, and country, and be able to locate the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a world map. X
Science Physical Science 1-May-13 Notes
Understand the basic premise of atomic theory: that is, all things are made of very small particles called atoms. X
Know the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. X
Investigate electricity and magnetism. X Max Axiom-magnetism, sound, forces in motion
Life Science 1-May-13 Notes
Know that different animals have different habitats. X
Understand the food chain. X
Know that plants, require soil, water, air, sunlight, and nutrients to grow. X
Survey animal taxonomy. X
Define and discuss extinction and endangered species. X
Understand the dangers of pollution and environmental destruction, and the benefits of conservation and recycling. X
Know that the human body is made up of several different physiological systems; understand the germ theory of disease. X
Earth/Space Science 1-May-13 Notes
Study basic features of sun, moon, and stars. X
Know the names and characteristics of the planets. X
Understand the composition of the earth. X
Observe and identify weather changes, both daily and seasonal. X
1-May-13 Notes
Foreign Language Simple words and phrases X
Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten X
The names of colors and other everyday expressions X
1-May-13 Notes
Art Know the primary colors and how these are mixed to produce secondary colors. X
Be familiar with the elements of line, shape, texture, space, light and shadow. X
Be able to identify different kinds of pictures: portraits, still lifes, abstract art, and landscapes. X
Study the works of a selection of well-known artists. X
Experiment with a range of art techniques. X
1-May-13 Notes
Music Understand rhythm and melody, pitch (high/low), dynamics (loud/soft), tempo (fast/slow) and timbre (sound quality). X
Memorize and sing simple songs. X
Listen and respond to selections by famous composers. X
Know the four families of instruments in the orchestra: strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. X
1-May-13 Notes
Health & P.E. Kids should understand the importance of good nutrition, adequate sleep, cleanliness, tooth care, and regular exercise. X
First-graders should be able to skip, run (without falling over), and throw and catch beanbags and balls. X
Participate in athletic indoor and outdoor activities. X

I’ve added a new category to the legent – W – for Waiting on This. Mainly this has been a decision I have made on waiting to teach a great deal of history until the age of reason – which should hit around age 7-8. Since I plan on teaching the unvarnished truth, which includes how bad we have been here in the U.S., just like any other country in the world, I want her to be able to be a little more mature before I begin. So…the age of reason.

Here are my list of “to-do’s” over the summer…

  • Plot – the events that make up a story
  • Setting – moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place
  • Characters – the different people or animals in a story
  • Hero/Heroine – the central figure to the story (can be more than one)
  • Synonym – words with the same or similar meanings
  • Antonym – word pairs whose meanings are opposite
  • Homonym – a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings
  • Nouns – a person, place or thing (Emily, house, bowl)
  • Verbs – a word that conveys action (run, talk, play)
  • Adjectives – a word that describes another (the white deer, she is a good girl)
  •  Dictionary – a collection of words in alphabetical order that has definitions, tips on pronunciation, and more
  • Encyclopedia – a summary of information from all branches of knowledge
  • Teach Emily about tallies and how to use them for counting.
  • Review one-half, one-third, and one-quarter
  • Review sum and difference
  • Present addition and subtraction problems – horizontally and vertically
  • Review adding up coins up to 25 cents
  • Print out monthly calendar so Emily can see it each morning
  • Review dollar and cent signs, teach her how decimals help to represent cents.
  • Review telling time via worksheets for hour AND half hour
  • Review scale (weight), ruler (length), and thermometer (temperature).
  • Symmetrical versus asymmetrical
  • American flag review – the Liberty Bell – the American eagle – the Statue of Liberty
  •  Include discussions about people and their careers – how it all works together to make a community function (utility workers, wait staff, fire/police, doctors, store owners, and more)
  • Daniel Boone
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Pre-history, beginnings of civilization
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Rome
  • Review World Map – maybe we should go somewhere new once a week

That’s a big list. I hope we will get a lot of it done this summer, but I’m not going to sweat it if we don’t get every little thing ticked off of the list. Seeing what just two weeks of dedicated homeschooling has done has convinced me that she can easily “catch up” to grade level, or surpass it, in just a few hours of dedicated study.


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