The Objectives

This list is taken from my homeschool plan for the year 2010-2011, submitted to the Cambridge Public Schools, and resubmitted when it was refused the first time.  The complete plan has resources and activities listed with each set of objectives, along with when we we will work on these objectives during a typical week.  To see the Fall unit on China, click here.  To see what a typical week looks like, click here. On this page, I present only the objectives, listed under areas of study.

One quick note before we start: This list was taken almost exclusively from a book called The Well Trained Mind, which outlines the basics of “classical” education.  Our day looks very little like the one described in the book or on their website.  But I really like having a list.  And this one seemed particularly thorough.  The list you see here has objectives from kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade because my kids didn’t have meet all of the objectives from kindergarten and because I couldn’t tolerate the idea of different objectives for each boy. The only exception I made was for individual reading.

Individual Reading – Ezra

  1. Understand syllabication.  Count the number of syllables in words and the number of sounds in syllables. Know how to divide V/CV and VC/CV
  2. Know simple VCC, CVCC, and CCVC words.
  3. Know age-appropriate sight-words.  180 words, plus 75 nouns, on the Dolch Word List.  (Includes all words pre-school through 3rd grade.)
  4. Know the common digraphs (th, ch, sh, qu, wh, ph) and blends (bl, br, sp, st, sw, dr, and tr).
  5. Decode all one syllable words.
  6. Identify root words and common inflectional endings: s, es, ed, er, est, and ing.
  7. Identify and use contractions, and convert them to their alternative longer form.
  8. Read and understand grade-level appropriate material.  (book lists from Institute of Reading Development.)
  9. Decode regular two-syllable words.
  10. Know meanings of common abbreviations, including personal titles (Mr., Mrs., Dr.), months and dates, and addresses.
  11. Read aloud with proper expression and intonations.

Individual Reading – Zach:

  1. Understand syllabication.  Count the number of syllables in words and the number of sounds in syllables.
  2. Develop long-word decoding skills.
  3. Develop fluency and comprehension.
  4. Know age-appropriate sight-words.  All 220 words, plus 95 nouns, on the Dolch Word List.  (Includes all words pre-school through 3rd grade.)
  5. Read and understand grade-level appropriate material.  (book lists from Institute of Reading Development)
  6. Know meanings of common abbreviations, including personal titles (Mr., Mrs., Dr.), months and dates, and addresses.
  7. Read aloud with proper expression and intonations.



  1. Be able to write simple words, messages, descriptions, and stories, using basic knowledge of phonics and invented spelling.
  2. Write words and sentences, using proper spacing, capitalization, and punctuation, including periods, commas, question marks, exclamation points, and quotation marks.
  3. Identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
  4. Know spelling of sight words.
  5. Identify synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms.
  6. Write one report, taking the piece through the following stages: generate and organize ideas; write draft; hold teacher and peer conference; revise; edit; publish.
  7. Write one short story, taking the piece through the following stages: generate and organize ideas; write draft; hold teacher and peer conference; revise; edit; publish.
  8. Know and use the correct format for a friendly letter, including date, salutation, body, closing, and signature.
  9. Recognize complete and incomplete sentences; be able to identify subject and predicate.

Copy Work/Handwriting

  1. Know proper methods of holding and positioning writing materials.
  2. Print all upper- and lower-case letters legibly, using proper spacing.
  3. Write words and sentences, using proper spacing, capitalization, and punctuation.


  1. Name the major bones, muscles and organs of the body, as they are related to the different yoga poses.
  2. Learn to breathe completely, using diaphragmatic, or belly, breathing.
  3. Learn 10 different yoga poses and identify when to use them.  For example, identify when a “take 5” breathing pose is needed.



  1. Be able to order pictures in proper sequence for telling a story.
  2. Listen, enjoy, and respond to a variety of age-appropriate fiction and non-fiction books, myths, legends, fables, folktales, and poetry.  Booklist from Institute of Reading Development.
  3. Be able to answer the “five Ws” about material they have heard read aloud.
  4. Summarize short books, both fiction and nonfiction.
  5. Participate in short dramatizations of Chinese folktales and myths.
  6. Know the literary terms plot, setting, characters, setting, hero, and heroine, and identify all in their readings.
  7. Obtain specific information from print materials.
  8. Identify rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, simile, and metaphor in poetry.  Read and recognize limericks.

Social Studies – China Unit

  1. Be familiar with the use of maps and globes, including legends, keys, longitude and latitude lines.
  2. Identify: home city, state, and country; four oceans; North and South Poles, seven continents, China, all countries bordering China.
  3. Know the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west.
  4. Draw simple maps of known areas: Bedroom, Backyard, Valentine Street
  5. Know the uses of a dictionary and encyclopedia.
  6. Survey the history of China, beginning with the first Emperor, covering landmarks, culture, and geography
  7. Survey major Chinese religions:  Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
  8. Create a map of the Silk Road.  Read stories of silk road.
  9. Create a timeline.
  10. Make dumplings and scallion pancakes from scratch.

Social Studies – Early American History:

  1. Study the lives and accomplishments of famous Americans. (Read Lives of the Presidents, Fame, Shame (and what the neighbors thought) and My Fellow Americans: A Family Album.
  2. Know the people and events associate with: Martin Luther King Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving.
  3. Know the meaning of democracy, the duties of the president, and the importance of such national symbols as: the Liberty Bell, the flag, the Statue of Liberty, and the American Eagle.
  4. Be familiar with traditional American folktales, stories, and songs.  (From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs; various books from the Tall Tales series about Paul Bunyon, etc)
  5. Review the arrival of the ancestors of the Native Americans, the establishment of early civilizations, and the customs and lifestyle of native MA tribes.
  6. Review the arrival of Columbus and the early Spanish settlements.
  7. Review English colonization of the New World. (Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World)
  8. Review the American Revolution.
  9. Create a timeline.

Nature Study

  1. Experiment with measurements of length, weight, and capacity.  Compare measures of length (longer than, taller than, shorter than), capacity (more full, less full), and weight (heaver than, lighter than), using a variety of measuring instruments, including rulers, scales, measuring cups and containers.
  2. Compare and order objects by length, volume, and weight, using both nonstandard and standard measures.  Nonstandard measures include such comparisons as “How many Popsicle sticks does it take to reach all the way across the kitchen table?” or “How many pennies weigh the same as one pencil?”  They should use a ruler to measure lengths accurate to the half inch.
  3. Read a thermometer to the degree.  Be able to make simple hotter than/colder than comparisons.
  4. Be able to sort objects into groups according to physical characteristics.  Classify objects by a range of physical properties: light/heavy, float/sink, hot/cold
  5. Experiment with magnets. Classify objects according to whether or not they are attracted by magnets.
  6. Discuss the difference between living and nonliving things.  Know that living things grow and reproduce and require food, water, and air.
  7. Become familiar with beginning botany: what plants require to grow, the basic parts of a plant, the process of photosynthesis, and the difference between deciduous and evergreen plants.
  8. Observe and discuss different kinds of plants and grow a variety of plants, including bamboo.
  9. Become familiar with beginning zoology, with a focus on the habitat, basic needs, and unique qualities of the panda.
  10. Understand the food chain and classify animals by what they eat: carnivore, herbivore, insectivore, and omnivore.
  11. Define and discuss extinction and endangered species.
  12. Understand the dangers of pollution and environmental destruction.
  13. Describe the basic components of the Earth: soil, rocks, water, and air.
  14. Know the three states of matter: solid, liquid, gas.
  15. Know the names and features of the four seasons.
  16. Be familiar with different types of weather.  Observe weather, keep simple weather records, and note changes – both daily and seasonally.


  1. Recognize and write numbers 0 to 1000.  Be able to read and write numbers words to 100.
  2. Order and compare numbers to 1000 using “greater than,” “lesser than,”  and “equals” signs.
  3. Understand the concept of halves, thirds, and fourths.
  4. Recognize and write fractions from 1/10 to 1/2, and identify the numerator and denominator.
  5. Invent and solve simple story problems.
  6. Make and interpret simple pictorial and bar graphs.
  7. Tell time to the minute.
  8. Identify and draw the basic two-dimensional (plane) figures: Square, rectangle, triangle, circle, trapezoid, diamond, hexagon, and octagon.
  9. Identify figures that have lines of symmetry (valentine hearts, equilateral triangles, gingerbread men).
  10. Identify the basic three-dimensional figures: sphere, cube, cone, pyramid, and cylinder.
  11. Recognize and differentiate among horizontal, vertical, parallel, and perpendicular lines.
  12. Be able to identify congruent figures.
  13. Define and measure perimeter and area.
  14. Correctly use position words to describe location: right, left, behind, in front, inside, outside, and so on.  (Use book Which Way, Ben Bunny?)
  15. Create a hundred chart and explore the relationships between the numbers.  What do you do on the chart to add 1 to a number?  To subtract one?  To add 10?
  16. Count to 100 by 1s, 2s (odds and evens), 5s, 10s, and 20s.
  17. Understand place values for 1s, 10s, 100s, and 1000s.
  18. Identify pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollar bills.
  19. Recognize dollar and cent signs; be able to use decimals in writing dollar amounts.
  20. Be able to determine values of given combinations of bills and coins, and to write the amount using either the cent sign or the dollar sign and decimal point.
  21. Be able to add and subtract money and make change.
  22. Read a calendar to identify days, weeks, and months.
  23. Make equivalent equations for the same number (up to 31}.
  24. Use reasoning to support math conclusions and problem solutions.
  25. Find equivalent units of measurement.
  26. Understand zero as a place holder.
  27. Calculate sums and differences for numbers with up to three digits, using regrouping as needed.
  28. Use expanded notation to write numbers through the 1000s.
  29. Understand the concept of evens and odds.
  30. Be able to group objects into sets.  Understand that a set is a group of elements with common properties (of size, shape, color, and so on), and should be able to identify elements in a set that don’t belong.
  31. Know basic addition facts through 20 and corresponding subtraction facts.
  32. Understand the inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.
  33. Understand the commutative property of addition.
  34. Recognize the multiplication sign; the definitions of factor and product.
  35. Know the commutative property of multiplication.
  36. Know the multiplication facts through the five times table.


  1. Know the importance of exercise, cleanliness, good nutrition, and sleep.
  2. Participate in age-appropriate athletic activities: soccer, swimming, badminton, baseball.

House/Car Projects

  1. Build executive functioning skills.
  2. Learn how to perform basic household and car tasks.
  3. Reinforce science and nature study skills.


  1. Experiment with a range of art techniques and media: Chinese brush painting, shadow puppet shows, masks, collage, drawing, sculpture.
  2. Design and perform a shadow puppet show to Peter and the Wolf.
  3. Know the primary colors and how these are mixed to produce secondary colors.


  1. Compare the length of time that it takes to complete various activities.
  2. Build Executive Functioning Skills


  1. Be familiar with such basic elements of music as rhythm, melody, and harmony.  Clap in rhythm.  Sing on pitch.
  2. Listen and respond to a range of different musical selections, both classical and multicultural.
  3. Listen to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  Identify the different instruments.
  4. Know the four families of instruments in the orchestra.
  5. Know the definitions of: scale, staff, and treble clef.  Know the names of the lines and the spaces on the treble clef.
  6. Identify whole, half, and quarter notes and whole, half, and quarter rests.
  7. Participate in instrumental and vocal performances, both individual and solo.
  8. Write and perform an original musical composition.

Bible Study and Family Devotion Time

  1. Give accurate oral accounts of nonfiction works they have heard read aloud using Charlotte Mason’s narration technique.
  2. Be able to answer the who, what, when, where, and why questions about stories they have read or heard read.
  3. Be able to retell stories in proper sequence.
  4. Memorize short poems, songs, and texts.
  5. Address an envelope correctly.