Kindergarten Goals – A Quick Review and Assessment

Driving is great thinking time. As I head from one activity, cleaning or errand to another, I tend to come up with a long list of blog posts, research I need to do, and more errands to run. It never ends!

However, I was thinking about the Kindergarten goals out of Rebecca Rupp’s Home Learning Year by Year.

I can’t help it…I have been of two minds about homeschooling and I see this continuing for a while. One part of me says, She will learn, on her own, and I just need to back off and let the process happen.

And I have seen this happen. I have seen Emily’s abilities and knowledge grow. I’ve seen her intentionally seek learning opportunities, ask questions, and go further than I expected, often taking me by surprise the things that she knows or says. Like the other day when she told me she was going to show me a semi-circle. She proceeded to cut one out of a piece of paper. It was quite clearly a semi-circle.

The other part of my mind says, I have to at least have some kind of plan. I can’t just let her loose and hope for the best. I need some kind of checks and balances.

And that is where the tables and graphs and charting of progress come in. If nothing else than to do a quick progress check and give myself some ideas for how to encourage progress in certain areas.

So I went back to the Home Learning Year by Year and created an Excel spreadsheet that listed the goals, along with a legend:

Legend: X=knows it, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning it, D=Doesn’t Know, U=Unknown

Obsess much, Christine?

Shut up, you!

Then I went through the list of goals for Kindergarten and updated it against her abilities at the beginning of the year…

Legend: X=knows it, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning it, D=Doesn’t Know, U=Unknown
1-Sep 1-Dec
Language Arts Reading
Know the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet, both in and out of sequence L N
Know the letter sounds (by letter sound, and by sight of the letter) N X
Know that letters are linked together to form words and words into sentences X X
Be able to blend sequences and form words (bat, fat, mat, sat, etc) N X
Understand syllabication (single syllable, double, triple) – reinforce by one clap, two claps, et cetera. D D
Know simple words (ant, art, milk, frog, etc) L N
Recognize own name in print X X
Know age appropriate sight words (a, and, I, the, is, it, we and said) L L
Reading Comprehension
Be able to order pictures in proper sequence for telling a story N X
List and respond to age-appropriate texts including fiction, nonfiction, myths, legends, fables, folktales and poetry X X
Know the definitions of title, author, and illustrator D L
Know the proper methods of holding and positioning writing materials N X
Be able to print all the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lowercase L N
Be able to write simple words, including use of ‘invented’ spelling L X
Listening and Speaking Skills
Follow simple oral one and two-step directions X X
Invent and tell fantasy stories or recount stories about real-life happenings X X
Memorize and recite short poems and rhymes N X
Mathematics Patterns and Classification
Be able to group objects into sets X X
Identify and continue simple repeating patterns N X
Numbers and Number Theory
Be able to count from 1-31, also backwards from 10 to 1; by 2s to 10; and by 5s and 10s to 50 D L
Be able to count the number of items in a set and write that number down L X
Identify ordinal positions from first to fifth (position in sequence) D L
Give a number, be able to identify one more or one less D L
Understand the concept of one half D U
Be able to add and subtract numbers from 1 to 10 D L
Know the meaning of + and – signs D X
Invent and solve simple story problems (6 large horses,  wizard turned two of the horses into mice, how many horses were left) U U
 Make and interpret simple pictorial graphs (what kind of pets do you have? How many cats, etc) U U
Money and Measurement
Identify pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills; recognize dollar and cent signs D L
Experiment with measurements of length, weight and capacity L L
Know what a thermometer is and what it measures; be able to make simple hotter than/colder than comparisons U U
Compare lengths of time that it takes to complete various activities (eating breakfast, taking a bath) D L
Tell time to the hour L N
Know the days of the week in order; recognize names of the months of the year D L
Identify right and left hands; be able to use terms of position and orientation such as closed/open, over/under, in front/in back, above/below, and so on. X X
Recognize and identify basic 2-dimensional figures: square, rectangle, triangle and circle X X
History & Geography American History
American Indian culture (traditional lifestyles, religion, legends and Indian life today) D L
Early exploration and settlement (explorers of the Americas) D L
The Revolutionary War (significance of 4th of July, people of the Revolutionary period) D D
Famous Americans (current president, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln & Teddy Roosevelt) D D
National symbols (US flag symbols, Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem, Statue of Liberty, & White House) L L
World History
Learn about families and family life in different times and places around the world D L
Be familiar with the use of maps and globes (U.S., home state, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, & North and South poles). Should also know their own address and telephone number. D L
Draw simple maps of known areas (bedrooms, rooms in their house, yards & neighborhoods) L L
Know names and locations of the seven continents of the world D D
Science Physical Science
Be able to sort objects into groups according to physical characteristics (light/heavy, float/sink, hot/cold) X X
Experiment with magnets (classify objects according to whether or not they are attracted by magnets) N X
Experiment with light and shadow (what causes shadow, identify objects by the shapes of their shadows) X X
Life Science
Be able to discuss differences between living and nonliving things (living requires food, water & air) N X
Become familiar with plants: beginning botany (what do plants need to grow, basic parts of plants, process of photosynthesis, difference between deciduous and evergreen) L L
Become familiar with animals: beginning zoology (basic needs of animals, different types of animal babies & need for parental care) L N
The human body: know the five senses and their associated body parts D L
Earth/Space Science
Be able to describe the basic composition of the earth (soil, rocks, water and air) X X
Know the names and features of the four seasons U U
Be familiar with different types of weather (keep weather records, understand concept of temperature, use of thermometers, terms like rain, thunderstorms, snow and blizzards and the sun) X X
Foreign Language Simple words and phrases L N
Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten L N
The names of colors and other everyday expressions D L
Art Be able to name and describe colors, shapes, and lines and to identify these in works of art (also texture and pattern) X X
Observe and discuss famous works of art by a variety of artists from a range of historical periods D L
Experiment with a range of art techniques and media (drawing, painting, simple sculpture – fiber arts, collages, printmaking, mosaics, pottery and mobiles) L L
Music Be familiar with such basic elements of music as rhythm, melody and harmony D L
Listen and respond to a range of different musical selections, both classical and multicultural X X
Recognize instruments by sight and sound D L
Health & P.E. Know the importance of exercise, cleanliness, good nutrition and sleep L L
Participate in age-appropriate athletic activities L L


Honestly? Some of these I look at and think, so what if she knows them or not. The world will not end if she can’t tell a tuba from a trombone, as long as she isn’t so far under the rock that she thinks a guitar is a piano.

And I question how important knowing syllabication is…

What I like most about this regular goal-check process is that I can take a moment to assess her progress, SEE she is making progress, and honestly assess where I may need to be filling in the gaps or finding educational resources.

Keep in mind that, according to the age cutoffs, she wouldn’t even be starting school here in Missouri for another nine months. It is reassuring to see all of this and know we are headed in the right direction. I also plan to formally/informally school year-round. This means that once we have 90% of the goals for Kindergarten down, I will proceed to set my sights on 1st grade goals and begin working on them as Emily shows interest and need.



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3 Responses to Kindergarten Goals – A Quick Review and Assessment

  1. Vicki Davis says:

    Hi Christine!
    I wanted you to know that I look forward to reading your blog each day. There are a lot of wonderful blogs out there that tell about what to do and how to do it when homeschooling, but yours is different. I really appreciate how you delve into education and learning theories. I am a college instructor as well as a homeschool mother, so I am deeply interested in those topics. My state seems to have a lot stricter recordkeeping and testing requirements than yours (or perhaps it only seems that way as your daughter isn’t technically kindergarten age yet). I also struggle with whether I am teaching the necessary topics and whether my children are achieving the expected level of competency. I have been using my state’s standards as a guideline. I love your list and assessment scale. I think I may adopt that myself. What has been bothering me is that the list of topics is so disjointed and unrelated, with no clear or logical progression. My youngest daughter is autistic and has learning difficulties. The lack of pattern in her learning makes the concepts simply come and go, since they have nothing to relate (or ‘attach’) to. Plus, sometimes I feel the lists are quite lofty. My second daughter could handle them just fine (she is quite bright, just like your daughter!), but it seems like too many topics and too difficult of topics at times, for children that need to focus on really learning and remembering the basics. What are your thoughts about the expected standards?
    Sorry this is so long. 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Hi Vicki!

      Thanks so much for commenting, I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog!

      I am very lucky to live in the state of Missouri, where they pretty much have a hands off approach. As long as we don’t ever put our children in school, we never even have to report that we are homeschooling – much less submit to testing or state standards – which is probably as hands off as you can get!

      What I found as I was going through the ‘expected goals’ was nothing less than a growing delight. I realized that we have been touching on these things naturally, without any direction or intent on my side of things. And that struck me as absolutely monumental. I would best describe our learning style (and it is BOTH of us learning) as unschooling. Emily asks me a lot of questions, and often I answer them with a description that progresses to something else (the Yertle the Turtle post, for example). The trail of learning that we take is winding, and often disjointed, with no clear path or purpose other than curiosity and discovery. And yet, this…WORKS. Which leaves me even more mystified by learning and the education process than ever.

      I personally avoid the guidelines as much as possible. I keep them in the back of my mind and focus instead on being open to the curiosity, being willing to stop whatever I am doing and focus on the learning path, and occasionally I go and check and see how we are doing by checking those guidelines. Then I address ‘learning gaps’ by choosing learning destinations – perhaps a science museum, homeschool p.e., encourage writing letters or stories (thank you cards, a letter to her older sister, a story all her own, or journaling – dictated, then signed by her) or enroll her in acting classes, or visit a historical monument – these things get the ball rolling and the questions flowing and we just go off on jaunts from there.

      So…an equally long post back and I hope that helps a little. It sounds like you and I struggle with the same thing – balancing guidelines with letting learning naturally progress. It can be hard, because we are raised with one method and are trying a new and very different one. Best of luck and happy homeschooling!


  2. Christine says:

    Oh, and Missouri does require us to keep a log of how many hours of education we have accumulated starting in the school year a child turns seven years of age. I believe it is 1000 hours per school year, 600 in core subjects and 400 in electives. This log just needs to be available in case authorities want to double-check and see that the parents are truly schooling their children, we don’t have to send it in to anyone un-solicited.