Homeschool Assessment – Day Two

Em illustrating the life cycle of a flower

Em illustrating the life cycle of a flower

Today’s assessment flew by compared to yesterday’s 3+ hour marathon. Em was quite excited to be done in just around an hour as we swiftly moved through assessing her progress in History & Geography, Science, Foreign Language, Art, Music, and Health & P.E.

As a reminder, here is the legend that we used: X=Knows It, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning It, R=Not Relevant At This Time, D=Doesn’t Know It, and U=I Don’t Know/UnderstandEmily was very involved in assigning the appropriate letter to each category.

My example of another way to illustrate the life cycle of a flower, Em said she liked her way best!

My example of another way to illustrate the life cycle of a flower, Em said she liked her way best!

Here is what we discussed…

American History

  • Know the basic purpose and content of the United States Constitution and understand the structure and function of the federal government – R
  • The War of 1812 – R
  • Westward expansion: wagon trains, steamboats, the transcontinental railroad, and the impact on the American Indians – R
  • An overview of the Civil War – R
  • Immigration – R
  • Civil rights: women’s suffrage, integration, the rights of workers – R

Notes: I’m guessing you see a trend here. Basically, I want to learn this in our own order in our own time. Right now we are considering covering 2-3 states per week out of the book Our Fifty States, two chapters per week from The History of Us series The First Americans, and 3 sections per week from The Story of the World.

Em illustrated and discussed the life cycle of an animal

Em illustrated and discussed the life cycle of an animal

World History

  • Survey the history of Asia, covering landmark events, culture and religion, and geography. – N
  • Survey the medieval to early Renaissance period. – N

Notes: This has been covered and is continuing to be covered through our intermittent studies of The Story of the World. We have progressed from the first book The Ancient World to the second book in the series The Middle Ages.

Ah, spring, ever hopeful, she has someone filling a swimming pool!

Ah, spring, ever hopeful, she has someone filling a swimming pool!


  • Name and locate the seven continents and four major oceans on a world map and globe. – L
  • Name and locate Canada, the U.S., and Mexico on maps and globes; continue to expand geographical knowledge based on studies in other academic disciplines. – L
  • Make “story maps.” (a map based on a story like the Three Little Pigs) – *FUN!!!!
  • Understand the use of a map key or legend; know the cardinal directions – N
  • Define and locate northern and southern hemispheres, the equator, and the North and South Poles. Introduce concepts of latitude and longitude. – R

Notes: Again I question how much of this is necessary at this moment and time. However, we have the Kid’s Almanac of Geography that will come in handy. We’re discussing 1-3 pages per week from that book. The other book that caught my eye is a combination geography and art book Map Art Lab, that we plan on trying to do at least one exercise per week out of. Stay tuned for those updates!

Summer, when discussing seasonal changes.

Summer, when discussing seasonal changes.

Physical Science

  • A very first introduction to Newtonian physics. Students should investigate objects in motion and learn that force is required to change an object’s speed. – L
  • Sometimes forces are applied by simple machines. Know the basic simple machines (lever, wedge, inclined plane, wheel, screw) and how they work – N
  • Define and explain friction. – X
  • Investigate magnetism. – N
  • Understand that sound is caused by vibration. – X

Notes: Between The Magic Schoolbus video and book series, our membership to Union Station’s Science City, and the LEARN Science and Math Club, we have got most of these topics in the bag. I’m going to review Newtonian physics with Em through real-life examples in the next couple of months.

Look at all those leaves falling in the fall.

Look at all those leaves falling in the fall.

Life Science

  • Understand and be able to describe the varied life cycles of plants and animals – X
  • Understand and be able to describe seasonal changes as they affect plants and animals – X
  • Understand cell theory. – X
  • Continue and expand upon the study of human body systems begun in Grade 1. Review the digestive and excretory systems in greater detail. Structure and function of salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, liver, et cetera – N
  • Be able to identify the five senses and their respective systems. – X

Notes: Once again I have The Magic Schoolbus to thank for much of Em’s knowledge in this area. As for the gaps, we will fill them by working our way through the Children’s Human Body Encyclopedia once per week.

And who could forget winter?

And who could forget winter?

Earth/Space Science

  • Understand and be able to describe the water cycle. – X
  • Continue and expand upon previous studies of weather – X

Notes: Again The Magic Schoolbus has helped with the water cycle explanation. Em used the word evaporates correctly and struggled with the word condensation. I installed the shortcut to The Weather Channel on her desktop so that she can check the temperature on a daily basis. This is typically a topic of conversation in the morning hours in the spring and fall due to the vagaries of our weather patterns. There are also videos she can watch on the site that cover various weather conditions.

Foreign Language

  • Simple words and phrases
  • Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten
  • The names of colors and other everyday expressions

Notes: We have not studied any foreign language this past year. I asked her if she was interested in learning Spanish or sign language, and she immediately requested sign language. So now I will either need to find a sign language class or get a video series. Any suggestions?

Some of the books we will be using in the next few months.

Some of the books we will be using in the next few months.


  • Understand the function of the color wheel; know the rules of color mixing; experiment with tints and shades. – N
  • Be familiar with the elements of line, shape, texture, space, light and shadow – N
  • Identify different kinds of pictures: portraits, still lifes, abstract art and landscapes. – R
  • Continue to experience and discuss a variety of artworks by well-known artists throughout history and examples of arts and crafts from a range of countries and cultures. Know that architecture is the art of designing buildings. – R
  • Experiment with different art media and techniques to produce original artworks. – N

Notes: We need to visit the Nelson-Atkins museum more often. I would like to make it a monthly trip at least. There is so much to see there and there is also another museum or two in the area (can’t think of their names right now) that will also help. The Map Art Lab book will come in handy, as well her exposure to arts and crafts through simply being around me.


  • Know the definitions of scale, staff, and treble clef, know the names of the lines and spaces of the treble clef. – N
  • Identify whole, half, and quarter notes and whole, half and quarter rests – X
  • Experiment with simple musical instruments – X
  • Listen and respond to varied selections by famous composers – X
  • Know the names of the instrument families of the orchestra and their individual members. – X

Notes: A huge thanks to Harmony Project KC for their amazing, FREE program for children living in Northeast Kansas City. I cannot say enough good things about them! Em is thriving in this class, learning and participating in choir, music instruction and experiencing a huge range of instruments. She has been teaching me about music. We feel so lucky to have this program available to us!

Health & P.E.

  • Be familiar with the elements of good nutrition and the structure of the food pyramid – N
  • Physical abilities (detailed exhaustively) for second graders – X
  • Participate in athletic indoor and outdoor activities – X

Notes: She will continue to learn good nutrition by helping out in the kitchen and with meal preparation. She is also quite active and excited over the purchase of a new bike. She’s in great shape and is a healthy weight.

And that concludes the assessment phase of our homeschool/unschool for the year.

At this point, I’ve made suggestions, and she seems to be interested/willing to try most of the suggestions. Now we need to look at our schedule and figure out how to make these different components come together into a little more organized learning, while still keeping it fun and engaging. More on that in the days to come.

Overall, I was quite pleased with Emily’s learning progress. Despite the fact that we do very little organized/intentional learning on a day-to-day basis, Emily is quite obviously learning at a reasonable rate of speed. I would hazard a guess that, in many subjects she is at level if not more advanced than her public school peers. In some areas, she needs to focus more, and my job is to figure out how to encourage that to happen, while maintaining that joy and interest she has in learning.

Learning should be enjoyable…don’t you think?

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