Back to School – What Your Child Will Learn 

 Originally Written: September 1, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

back-to-schoolYour child is going back to school – starting kindergarten or moving onto the next grade. You may be wondering what will be expected of him or her. I have put together this summary of what is waiting for him or her at a certain education level. It may differ a little depending on where you live, but most of it will give you the right idea.

Please add to this, send in your comments and input – that is what this website is all about – sharing!

Back  to School – What Your Child Will Learn:


What Your Child Will Learn in Kindergarten

You could consider Kindergarten being the first stepping stone into education, helping your child become comfortable in school. He will learn to get along with others, follow rules and discover some of the basic skills needed for writing, reading and math.

He will also :

  • Learn to recognize and from uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Match sounds to each alphabet letter
  • Recognizes and use rhyming words
  • Count and write the numbers up to 20
  • Identify, draw, cut and name shapes – squares, circles, triangles, ovals, diamonds and rectangles
  • Group objects by shape, colour, size, texture, etc.,
  • Understand how people in communities work together
  • Use their senses to make basic scientific observations


What Your Child Will Learn in the First Grade

In the first grade, your child will face longer school days and homework assignments – expanding on what he has learned in Kindergarten. He will also have to interact more with teachers and schoolmates. He will have his lunch at school and go to and from school by himself.

He will also:

  • Read at least 100 sight words
  • Print words legibly
  • Write words legibly in manuscript form
  • Recall sequence of events in oral and written stories
  • Locate the main idea and details in stories
  • Capitalize the first word in a sentence and use the period and question mark
  • Recognize singular and plural forms
  • Count to 100 by ones, twos, fives and tens
  • Write numerals to 100
  • Add and subtract up to and from 10
  • Use simple maps and globes
  • Make more detailed observations of the natural world


What Your Child Will Learn in the Second Grade:

Focusing on review and reinforcement of skills learned in first grade with the addition of new skills will be the learning content of second grade. Your child will learn to recognize familiar words quicker, read new words, add and subtract faster, compose more complex sentences and spell many new words. Increasing speed of reading and expanding vocabulary will also be a part of learning in Grade 2.

Your Child will also:

  • Read the 200 most commonly used words
  • Write sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation
  • Apply more complex phonics skills in reading
  • Recognize and use nouns and action verbs in sentences
  • Write legibly in cursive
  • Add and subtract any 2-digit number
  • Identify time to include half-hour and 5 minute intervals
  • Identify the value of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars.
  • Value people from many cultures
  • Develop a simple understanding of life, earth and physical sciences


What Your Child Will Learn in the Third Grade:

Many new and more complex skills are introduced in the third Grade. Your child will learn how to multiply numbers and write paragraphs and can expect regular homework assignments.

He will also:

  • Write sentences with subject/verb agreement
  • Work out the pronounciation and meaning of unfamiliar words
  • Use comprehension skills in reading
  • Identify the plot, setting and main characters of a story
  • Use a dictionary
  • Write paragraphs with topic idea sentences and supporting details
  • Add and subtract any numbers from 100 – 1000
  • Multiply numbers to 9×9 and be able to determine each related division fact
  • Measure using standard and metric units
  • Appreciate local history and national figures
  • Conduct simple scientific investigations


What Your Child Will Learn in the Fourth Grade:

Fourth Grade will introduce dramatic changes for your child. He will be learning to apply reading skills in areas such as social studies, science and health. He will be asked to write reports and handle longer-term assignments. Calculators and computers will also be introduced.

He will also:

  • Divide by one-and two-digit numbers.
  • Use calculators and computers.
  • Add and subtract fractions.
  • Use contextual clues to discover the meaning of words.
  • Understand and use the steps of the writing process from pre-writing to the final draft.
  • Write research reports.
  • Locate information in the library.
  • Use encyclopedias, newspapers, atlases, and magazines as resources.
  • Understand the history and geography of their state.
  • Recognize how science is at work in the world around them, especially through technology.


What Your Child Will Learn in the Fifth Grade:

Increasing the vocabulary, learning fractions and decimals plus having a full respomsibility for homework will be the content of learning in the fifth grade. He will be using assignment notepads and learning good studying and note-taking habits.

He will also:

  • Follow all capitalization rules.
  • Use all punctuation marks appropriately.
  • Appreciate different forms of literature.
  • Increase their vocabularies through the use of synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and analogies.
  • Recognize and use all parts of speech.
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and decimals.
  • Recognize relationships between fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Determine the perimeter of polygons and the area of squares and rectangles.
  • Use basic spelling rules.
  • Understand basic  country history, geography, economics, and government.
  • Use mathematics in the study of science.
  • Understand the major topics of physical, life, and earth sciences in greater depth.


What Your Child Will Learn in the Sixth Grade:

In the sixth grade, the emphasis will be placed on increasing your child’s proficiency in the basic skills. The teachers your child will meet will be subject specialists. Your child will learn rational numbers and how to conduct scientific experiments.

He will also:

  • Identify major chronological events in history, as well as find the areas studied in history on maps and globes.
  • Understand our legacy from ancient and early civilizations.
  • Understand and perform all operations for rational numbers.
  • Write, simplify, and manipulate expressions and equations in all areas of problem solving, including ratios, proportions, geometry, statistics, and probability.
  • Use all stages of the writing process (organizing, drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Write essays, reports, letters, stories, and poems.
  • Set up and conduct simple scientific experiments.
  • Understand the concepts of gravity, motion, energy, chemical compounds, the ecosystem, fossils, heredity, weather, and the classification of matter.
  • Compose reports by using word processing skills.


What Your Child Will Learn in the Seventh Grade:

The learning pace will increase in the seventh grade and your child will be asked to handle more complex assignments and work more independently. The curriculum expands to include such subjects as foreign language, art, music, health, home economics, shop and physical education.

He will also:

  • Write papers that are mechanically correct and more than one page in length.
  • Express himself orally in a clear and organized way.
  • Understand medieval and early modern times in world history
  • Understand angles and symmetry and construct various three-dimensional objects, plane figures, parallel lines, and circles.
  • Handle statistics (mean, median, mode) and determine the probability of events.
  • Solve simple equations containing a variable.
  • Understand in greater depth the concepts of atomic structure, chemical bonds and reactions, genetics, and weather.
  • Conduct scientific experiments using dependent and independent variables.
  • Appreciate art and music and acquire basic skills in these areas.


What Your Child Will Learn in the Eight Grade:

Your child will need to take challenging courses in order to prepare for high school. There will more emphasis on discussions, rather than recall of facts. He will need to make important decisions about behaviour and careers. He will be taking total responsibility for completing assignments both at school and at home. He will be more involved in groups discussions and learn complex literature, algebra and geometry.

He will also:

  • Write essays that describe, persuade, narrate, compare, and contrast.
  • Read increasingly complex literature.
  • Understand the principles of the U.S. Constitution and the structure of American democracy.
  • Identify major chronological events in history
  • Do introductory algebra and a considerable amount of geometry.
  • Understand the concepts of electricity and magnetism, sound, energy in plants and animals, and basic geology and astronomy.
  • Take notes and outline text and speeches.
  • Participate effectively in classroom and group discussions.

I hope this short walk through the expectations in various grades was helpful to you – please add you experiences and your comments – it is always very much appreciated!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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