Thought some of you might be interested in this. My final assignment for this teaching class was over the standards of learning for different states. When I read this, I was thankful we do not utilize the public school system. This is what I had to say:
I had a difficult time choosing which grade level to choose for this assignment, since we plan to homeschool our sons all the way through their highschool graduation. Since Taliesin would "officially" be entering kindergarten this coming "school year," if he were in a public school; I chose to cover the curriculum standards for kindergartners in the state of Kansas. I found it amazing that we have covered most of these areas and much more - in one way or another - by following my sons' interests. I think the only thing we "missed," had we been following the standards, would have been graphs and frequency tables. We do not actually go by "grade levels" or "school years." Our belief is that learning occurs naturally all the time, not just during a school day or school year. I also believe that children learn best at their own pace. For this reason, this has probably been the most difficult assignment for me for this class.
According to the website: http://www.kerc-ks.org/standards.aspx?con_group_id=3, the main emphasis for kindergartners is, no surprise placed upon reading and math. According to the standards, for reading, a kindergarten student should be able to understand phonics and phenomic awareness, speak with proper intonation, and read simple sight words. Kindergartners should also be able to understand stories and answer questions about them. They should also be able to sequence events in the order that they occur. For mathematics, according to the Kansas standards, kindergartners should be able to have a beginning understand of fractions - such as whole, half, a third, a fourth. They should be able to understand positions, such as first, second, last, middle. They should be able to write their numbers forward 0 to 20 and backwards 10 to 0. They should also know how to add and subtract. They should be able to understand early algebra - such as sequencing, and early geometry - such as being able to point out shapes from within a picture and making new shapes from existing shapes. Kindergartners should also have an understanding of graphs and frequency tables. Kindergartners should study science in many forms - science as inquiry (science experiments), physical science (describing science in motion - such as the difference between solids and liquids), life science (biology), earth and space science (astronomy), science and technology (computers and other techology), science in personal and environmental spaces (habitats), and history and nature of science (study of scientists). Unfortunately, for history the scope of learning is much smaller than for the above subjects. Kindergartners are expected to have an understanding of laws, our rights and priveleges in the U.S., how to be a responsible consumer, a basic understanding of geography, and an understanding of patriotic holidays and accomplishments of various groups of people. In my opinion, what is even more unfortunate is that the only subjects that are covered as a part of a standard curriculum in "other areas" are counseling, environmental education, health (including beginnings of sex education), library media (socialization), and physical education. Areas that actually encourage the creativity of young children - such as art, dance, theater, and music are not included. There are no such standards for kindergartners for these subjects in Kansas.
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