Fall Curriculum Planning and Goals Assessment

I had these grandiose plans of homeschooling through the summer. I imagined my child, at the tender age of fourteen entering into college full-time, having run through her back-to-back “years” of homeschooling with little or no breaks, driven and curious about everything.

Well, the last part is pretty much true…Emily is driven and curious about everything. But as for homeschooling through the summer? Yeah, well…no.

And honestly that’s perfectly okay.

So with the date updated in Learning Goals for Kindergarten (which I copied from Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School), I began our assessment going into first grade effective mid-August…

As We Enter 1st Grade

Legend: X=knows it, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning it, D=Doesn’t Know, U=Unknown
1-Aug-12 Notes
Language Arts Phonics, Decoding and Word Recognition
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. L
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. L
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. L
Know age appropriate sight words (a, an, could, from, has, her, of, once, thank, the, then, walk, and were) L
Understand syllabication (single syllable, double, triple) – reinforce by one clap, two claps, et cetera. D
Reading Comprehension
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. D
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. N
Know the literary terms plot, setting, characters, hero and heroine, and be able to identify all in their readings. L
Enjoy a wide range of literature read aloud, including fiction and nonfiction books, multicultural folktales and legends, fairy tales, fables and poems X Loves Shel Silverstein
Be able to define and use a books table of contents. L
Print all upper and lower case letters legibly, using proper spacing. L
Write words and sentences, using proper spacing, capitalization and punctuation. L
Be able to identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives. D
Be able to spell simple 3-4 letter words from dictation using phonics skills. Know spelling of first grade-level sight words. D
Be able to identify synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. D
Listening and Speaking Skills
Listen to, restate, and follow two-step directions X
Be able to retell a story in proper sequence N
Participate in short dramatizations: charades, pantomimes, plays L
Memorize and recite short poems and rhymes N Does this with music lyrics right now
Study Skills
Know the uses of a dictionary, encyclopedia, and card catalog L
Be able to put words in alphabetical order according to first letter U
Mathematics Number Theory
Recognize and write the numbers 0 to 100 N Can recite…doesn’t know by sight
Be able to count to 100 by 2s, 5s, and 10s N Got 10s down, working on 5s and 2s
Use tallies for counting D
Identify ordinal positions from first through twelfth L
Compare and order numbers 0 to 100 using the terms greater than, lesser than, and equal to L
Understand place values for 1s, 10s, and 100s D
Identify halves, thirds, and fourths L
Make and interpret simple picture and bar graphs L
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. N
Know basic addition facts through 10 + 10 and corresponding basic subtraction facts. L
Understand the commutative property of addition: that is, numbers can be added in any order. U
Successfully solve simple equations and word problems horizontally and vertically. (i.e. 6+  =8  and 9-6=  ) U
Money and Measurement
Recognize pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters L
Be able to determine the value of a given set of coins up to 25 cents. L
Recognize dollar and cent signs; be able to use decimals in writing money amounts. L
Use calendars to identify days, weeks, and months. L
Be able to tell time to the hour and half hour on a standard clock. Understand the difference between a.m. and p.m. L
Be familiar with the uses of common measuring instruments, such as a scale (weight), ruler (length), and thermometer (temperature). L
Compare and order objects by length, weight, and volume using both standard and non standard measures. L
Identify and draw common two-dimensional shapes: circle, triangle, rectangle and square. X
Identify figures that have lines of symmetry U
Correctly use position words to describe location: right, left, above, below, inside, outside, in front, in back, over, under, and so on. X sometimes gets left and right confused
History & Geography American History: General
Study and compare family life, past and present L
Study the lives and accomplishments of famous Americans: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Susan B. Anthony and more L
Know the people and events associated with famous national holidays. L
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. L
Be familiar with traditional American folktales, stories, and songs. L
Know about the many different professions that enable a community to function. L
American History: Chronological Survey
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 L
The Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations of Central and South America D
The arrival of Columbus in 1492; the Spanish conquistadors and early Spanish settlements. D
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 D
The American Revolution L
The early exploration of the American West, including the stories of Daniel Boone and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. D
World History
Compare and contrast everyday life in different cultures and times. L
Study prehistory to the beginnings of civilization. D
Survey ancient Egypt. D
Survey ancient Greece. D
Survey ancient Rome. D
Survey major world religions. L
Know the uses of maps and globes. L
Know the cardinal directions: north, east, south, and west. Let kids experiment with compasses. L
Be able to identify the world’s major oceans and continents, the equator, the northern and southern hemispheres, and the North and South Poles. L
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. N
Science Physical Science
Understand the basic premise of atomic theory: that is, all things are made of very small particles called atoms. L
Know the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. L
Investigate electricity and magnetism. L
Life Science
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. N
Define and discuss extinction and endangered species. L
Understand the dangers of pollution and environmental destruction, and the benefits of conservation and recycling. N
Know that the human body is made up of several different physiological systems; understand the germ theory of disease. L Asked me today what snot is made up of.
Earth/Space Science
Study basic features of sun, moon, and stars. L
Know the names and characteristics of the planets. L
Understand the composition of the earth. L
Observe and identify weather changes, both daily and seasonal. L
Foreign Language Simple words and phrases L
Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten X
The names of colors and other everyday expressions L
Art Know the primary colors and how these are mixed to produce secondary colors. L
Be familiar with the elements of line, shape, texture, space, light and shadow. L
Be able to identify different kinds of pictures: portraits, still lifes, abstract art, and landscapes. D
Study the works of a selection of well-known artists. L
Experiment with a range of art techniques. L
Music Understand rhythm and melody, pitch (high/low), dynamics (loud/soft), tempo (fast/slow) and timbre (sound quality). L
Memorize and sing simple songs. X
Listen and respond to selections by famous composers. N
Know the four families of instruments in the orchestra: strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. L
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

It is both exciting and challenging to review the goals for the year. Exciting, because I see a lot of progress already. And this is mainly Emily’s curiosity – which honestly, I see as a gauge for what she truly should be learning. If she is asking about it, and interested in it – that’s half the battle and 3/4 of the learning right there. As for challenging, well, there is plenty to introduce and teach.

Ugh…teach…why do I hate that word suddenly? It makes me question what teaching truly is, or perhaps what it should be.

Dictionary.com sez…


[teech] Show IPA verb, taught, teach·ing, noun

verb (used with object)

1.to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in: She teaches mathematics.

2.to impart knowledge or skill to; give instruction to: He teaches a large class.

Eh, it will do.

It looks like this year will be rather eclectic. I doubt I will spend as much on curriculum materials as I did last year. We spent over $300 – and honestly, much of it was wasted. There are more books available at the library on a vast amount of subjects than I would ever have the funds to buy or store.

Flexibility Is Key

I’m recognizing the need to be flexible in my curriculum planning and goals. I have a basic guide (the goals chart listed above) and now we embark on the delicate balance between still allowing for plenty of free play, recognizing Emily’s learning interests, and exploring some of the 1st Grade curriculum goals.

As a friend of ours said recently about their own daughter and plans for homeschool in the fall, “Now that I’ve read about the Finnish model, with no school until age seven, I’m a lot less worried about when she reads.”

I’m noticing how much Emily learns, simply through play. And isn’t that the goal of children this age? They learn through play.

With that in mind, I’ve reminded myself to settle down and watch for cues from Emily. I’ll talk about this more in a later post called “Child-Led Curriculum.” Currently, she has shown quite a bit of initiative in learning about the United States flags and the basics of our American government. I’m curious to see where this goes as the election year unfolds.

The 5-Minute Learning Chunk

I’m hoping to introduce the “5-Minute Learning Chunk” soon. Just a basics review, really. We will set the timer and see how many times we can count to 100 by 2s, 5s, 10s (she got the 10s down pretty well the other day) or 20s.

Simple rote learning activities, in just five minutes a day.

  1. reading sounds, “ch, sp, th” and more
  2. Review counting by fives, tens and 20s
  3. Telling time
  4. Review months, weeks, and year
  5. Personal facts – what is our address and phone number? What is her grandmother’s number or her dad’s cell phone number?
  6. coin recognition and amounts, what combinations equal what?

What are some others we can review? Any ideas?

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