What Are Your Kindergartner and First Graders Doing in School?

Updated on November 08, 2011
A.K. asks from Allen, TX
12 answers

I am curious what the kiddos in school are doing in first grade and kinder these days. I have been homeschooling my almost 5 year old this year and am curious what the kids in conventional school are doing. Are most kindergartners reading? Are they using their fingers to do additional subtraction or doing it in their head? Basically I am looking for what they are learning to do and what is expected to be mastered at this point in the year for both of these grades.

THANKS so much moms!

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answers from Las Vegas on

Kindergarten - Private School (and thank you for asking this)
-27 sight words
-spelling of the 27 sight words (longest words purple, brown, yellow)
-number recognition to 100
-PE (kickball, soccer, & tether ball)
-counting coins
-counting buttons in a glass without pointing (visual only)
-proper handwriting
-proper use of capital letters
-keyboard recognition
-art & poetry
-music, rhythm & movement
-reading (3 - 4 word sentences)
-basic shapes + spheres & cones, etc.
-North America, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean
-letter sounds & rhyming words
-matching number cards to pictures (review???)
-identify missing pieces of matrix
-Religion - saint reports & presentation, bible scripture readings, prayers, genuflecting

Next trimester:
decoding words, fine tuning sentence structure, extending our sentences by using adjectives.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is in a Montessori kindergarten. He is reading - started about 5 months ago. They do not have 'sight' words. He is adding, subtracting and multiplying. Oddly they can square and cube numbers and understand visually what this means. But he still does some addition on his fingers. He is writing 'books' on his own (his spelling is atrocious but if English made sense, most of his words would be correct). He knows the continents, planets and many countries (and can place them on maps - they do puzzles). He knows what kind of clouds there are (I don't), what types of rocks there are (sedimentary, igneous, etc) and a lot about biomes/habitats. I am fairly sure I knew substantially less when I was in kindergarten.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

1st Grade:

Spelling Test basically reviewing KG sight words.
Math - word problems, addition, subtraction.
Vowel Town (all the types of vowel sounds and their uses)
Reading Chapter books but we are advanced in reading
Writing - punctuation, making sure letters are on the lines correctly, correct verbiage is used when describing things. Sentence creation.

They do a lot more than this but these are what I can think of without getting out the information.

I would check the TX state homeshool association and see what they say.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

most KG students read by the beginning of the 2nd semester. A few will lag behind...beginning by the end of the school year.

Manipulatives are used more than fingers for the addition. Subtraction is more for 1st grade.

To be able to accurately compare benchmarks for your children, please contact your school district & ask for their curriculum benchmarks. This should be easily obtained thru the report card format for KG & 1st grade!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son is in kindergarten and they are working on sight words and reading easy sentences with these sight words. They are doing math, but they are not using their fingers to add or subtract. I believe they should have the alphabet mastered and have been working on making sure they know the sound each letter makes. Hope this helps.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Does your state publish guidelines for homeschoolers by grade level? I would think this information is available.

Here is what I found through Google detailing what is to be mastered at each grade level - Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills by grade: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=6148

Beyond that, there is a huge range of abilities in reading and math at this age level. My daughter excelled at math and struggled with reading in K and 1st grade. Her school did an excellent job of challenging her in math AND providing remedial help in reading.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Kindergarten, which my son is in now: (public school)
Letters & its sounds
Math (written or by pictures on a worksheet). My son can do basic math addition and subtraction already. He is 5.
Reading, sight words and learning phonics.
days of the week
dates of the week
counting by 5's and 10's and up to 100. My son in Kinder can count way past 200, in singles and by 5's and 10's.
Stories and its meaning... ie: reading comprehension
Japanese language class
Hawaiian language class
Mandarin language class
Computer class
Just off the top of my head.
They actually do more than that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My 5 year old kindergartner is in a public IB (International Baccalaureate) charter school. They concentrate on themes every 6 weeks and build many lessons around those themes. They also have to choose a project from a list of options centering on the theme or part of it and present it to the class. Parental involvement is supposed to be very limited as a facilitator to help with reading and materials gathering and that's it. So far this year my son's projects have been a life-sized figure of him on a poster board with "Everything About Me" as the theme -likes, hates, desires, body parts, home, address, family, etc. The other one we just did a few weeks ago was about the community, community helpers, etc., and he chose to present a project, poster and report on being a police officer when he grows up, what police officers do, how to become one, their gear, what all their job entails, etc.

On a daily basis:

Reading -they have reading groups, and there are a few who are struggling with reading, but three of the groups are reading and doing very well.

Sight words -lists and lists of them! They also use phonics to learn "sound-it-out" approaches.

Letter, name, word and address writing including contractions, when to capitalize and some other punctuation

Addition and subtraction -and for a few advanced students (I'm proud my son is one of them), they are heading into multiplication, division and logic problems via a special school math website and supplemental sheets sent home by the teacher. All students are learning or have learned to count to 200 and to count by 5s and 10s.

Mandarin Chinese class every day

Science of the body -body parts, organs, skeletal system and parts of the brain and how the brain functions. A group of scientists from Emory University visited their class last week, and they all got to touch a real brain and see a whole brain in a jar. That was a HUGE hit with 20 kindergarten boys (the classes are separated by gender, so I'm sure the girls thought it was pretty cool too).

Environmental and food science -organic garden and farmers who teach classes and the kids go into the garden to help weed, plant and discuss what grows, when and how as well as proper nutrition and (feeding into the body science) -why our bodies only function well on healthy foods. They also discuss ways to help the environment, what's wrong with the environment to begin with and how it got that way.

PE, Music, Art and library once or twice a week depending on which one. The kids do a lot of art projects in regular class and Chinese as well.

They have had a concentration on making sure all of the kids really know the "basics" -complete address, phone number(s), parents' or guardians' full names, what to do in an emergency, etc.

My son plays basketball with an after school team twice a week.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My first grade son is reading at "chapter book" level. He easily reads the Mary Pope Osborne Magic Tree House books. In Kindergarten at this point last year, they were working on "sight words" and starting to read.

In first grade math they do problem solving (word problems), counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, (they learned this in K), they are starting odd and even numbers and counting by 3's. They have learned time telling and money counting (my son knew this stuff already). They are estimating and working with patterns. Example - given a page with a bunch of something pictured on it, they make an estimate then count to see if they were right (they did this also in K), and then given a pattern and have to "finish the pattern". These things are more difficult in 1st grade. They are expected to explain how they got their answer (either with a math equation (1+1=2) or by actually writing out what they did to get there (I added 1 and 1 and got 2). Some of the problems are quite challenging. They use tally marks to add up larger numbers of things.

Good luck with homeschooling!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My kindergartner is still reviewing letters and sounds. They have 50 sight words they should know by the end of the year. The majority cannot read and are not expected to until the beginning of first grade. Math is basically if you have 5 monsters and add 1, how many do you have, with the pictures in front of them. In first grade last year, my daughter progressed from reading very basic things, "see Jane run" to chapter books at the end of the year. Math is very individual, some of the first graders can do the addition and subtraction in their heads, my daughter still uses her fingers in second grade (they teach math very differently now).



answers from Dallas on

My daughter is in Kindergarden. She's writing everyday, phonetically; she's reading, but not everyone in her class reads, they add, subtract, estimate, measure. She does not use her fingers to add or subtract b/c they learn by adding and subtracting specific items (e.g. pumpkins last week!). She's learning spanish and writing and reading (simple things like colors) in spanish.

Hope that helps. I give you a lot of credit - teachers know how kids are doing b/c they have so many passing through their classrooms for a comparison. But when you're homeschooling you have to have some faith in the curriculum! Good luck.

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