What a year!

I’m supposed to be writing a list of what we’ve done for Kindergarten, as we’re getting ready for Silas’ evaluation.

For a family that doesn’t really “do” school, I can’t get over how much we have DONE.

So I’m sharing the list here, just to show how much a kid can learn even when you’re not trying too hard. Although I’m making this list specifically for Silas, Petra can do most of these things too, which is what I should say when people ask if I’m homeschooling her for preschool.

I’m boggled by how much we got done, especially since, most days, I hardly feel like I’m managing to get anything done. And this is only what I am able to remember off the top of my head. Imagine how much learning I’ve completely forgotten about!

Silas said the other day, “For homeschoolers, we don’t really stay home much. I think we should be called, ‘Everywhere in the whole wide world schoolers.'”

Library card: an important tool for the homeschooler!
Library card: an important tool for the homeschooler!


  • Checks out 25+ books per week from the library on many subjects.
  • Makes up poems that rhyme and have rhythm.
  • Devises lengthy stories, sometimes with many branches.
  • Can identify alliteration, rhyme, slant rhyme, and syllables.
  • Reads CVC words and some sight words (around 10).
  • Practicing handwriting.
  • Enjoys writing, has to ask about spelling all the time.
  • Plays lots of Madlibs, knows what a noun, verb, and adjective are.


  • Loves to be read to and to listen to audio books. Has listened to many audio books this year, including BeowulfThe Wind in the WillowsAntony and Cleopatra, Old Mother West Wind’s Children, The Iliad, The Blue Fairy Book, and innumerable Hank the Cowdog novels.
  • Read-alouds include Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, The Hobbit, The Indian in the Cupboard.
  • Recognizes the stories of several Shakespearean plays. Saw Midsummer Night’s Dream (American Shakespeare Center) and As You Like It (Pigeon Creek Shakespeare).
  • Unit studies on Robert Frost and William Blake. Memorized most of “The Tyger,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
  • Endless fascination with Greek and Norse mythology.
Can you believe this counts as school?
Can you believe this counts as school?

Foreign Language:

  • Spanish class at homeschool co-op (spring semester). Not sure he learned very much.
  • Chinese play date (weekly, spring semester). Loves it. He’s learning all the very useful Chinese words for things like “dragon” and “mermaid.”
  • Kids Learn Mandarin iPad app. It’s not very good, but he enjoys it.
Looking up the names of the Avengers in Chinese
Looking up the names of the Avengers in Chinese


  • Eclectic, inspired by various books, visits to museums, etc.
  • Lots of study on Revolutionary War history, from about 1760 to 1810.
  • Basics of constitution, Declaration of Independence, establishment of the Library of Congress, Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Listened to audiobooks of the first 40 or so Magic Treehouse stories. Can recount many details.
History study at the Frontier Culture Museum
History study at the Frontier Culture Museum

Social Studies:

  • Geography: Has slept in at least five states and can name the states we had to drive through to get from one to the next.
  • Decent command of US geography.
  • Intense study on culture, mythology, history, food, and customs of China.


  • Deep understanding of animal life cycles (especially chickens, frogs, and butterflies).
  • Can describe where various foods come from and how they get from farm to plate.
  • Cares for animals (goats, chickens, ducks, dog, cat).
  • Understands germs, circulatory system, digestive system.
  • Can describe the water cycle (and built a model of it in a class).
  • Kind of understands genetics.
  • General understanding of earth’s location in space, relationship to sun, moon, other planets, motion through space, etc.
  • Strong understanding of simple machines.


  • Can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions with manipulatives.
  • Can do addition and subtraction with symbols.
  • Recognizes numbers up to 100.
  • Can count objects up to 110 or so.
  • Strong understanding of greater than/less than (necessary for the many board games he loves).
  • Can name all common shapes, both 2-D and 3-D. Knows the difference between those two things.
Learning to do math with symbols
Learning to do math with symbols

Arts and Crafts:

  • Countless, endless. He draws all day.
  • Also…LEGO, embroidery, collage, painting, sculpture.
  • Museums (not just children’s museums), galleries, concerts, dance recitals, puppet shows, plays. He sometimes doesn’t want to go, but always is glad he went.

Religious education:

  • Regularly attends church and Sunday school.
  • Understands concept of monotheism.
  • Memorized the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Can recount many Bible stories, especially from Genesis.
  • Can talk articulately about the ethics of various situations, even if he doesn’t always do what he says one should do…

Physical education:

  • Dance class (fall semester)
  • Swim lessons (spring semester)
  • Lots of outdoor time.
  • PE class at homeschool co-op.
  • Walks at least a mile most days.
  • Lots of hikes in the forest.

Personal life skills:

  • Completely dresses himself now.
  • Washes windows.
  • Folds laundry.
  • Sets table.
  • Cooks a little.
  • Manages money.
Washing windows (as a punishment for licking them, if I recall correctly, but whatever)
Washing windows (as a punishment for licking them, if I recall correctly, but whatever)

Social interaction, not listed above:

  • Weekly homeschool co-op.
  • Weekly funschool (unschool) meet-up.
  • Weekly playdate with life-long friends.
  • Frequent visits to family members and adult friends, with expectation of politeness.
Practicing manners at fancy tea with Miss Linda.
Practicing manners at fancy tea with Miss Linda.

Field trips:

  • Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
  • Explore More Children’s Museum
  • Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • Frontier Culture Museum
  • George Washington National Forest
  • Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
  • Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
  • American Shakespeare Center
  • Whitegrass Skiing
  • Fred Meijer Gardens
  • Countless nature centers, state and national parks, and little galleries.


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