Homeschooling and the National Standards: Kindergarten
In this series of articles we will shred some light on what the National Standards of Education are as of 2011 and what it all means. Check with your local state laws to see what the state requirements are. Common questions asked by new homeschoolers; “What am I required to teach? What should my child know at a specific age and how do I know they are on track with their peers.” This series will help you answer those questions. 

Kindergarten National Standards

These standards, by all means are not what you are required to teach your children as a homeschooling family. They are listed here merely as a guideline for those parents concerned with where their children fall on the scale of their peers on what they are learning. It is normal for children to learn at different paces and have different strengths and weaknesses. Please do not take these standards, as the end all be all. 


Literature and Informational Text

A kindergarten-aged child should be able to ask and answer questions about a story as well as retell the story with prompting and support from a parent or other adult. They should also be able to identify characters, settings, and plots for these stories. A child should be able to ask questions about unknown words in the story, recognize the type of literature (poem, storybook, etc), and be able to name the author and illustrator of the book. The child should also be able to tell what role the author and illustrator plays in telling the story.

With help a child should be able to tell the relationship between the text and illustrations of the story they are reading, and compare and contrast the experiences of characters in stories they are familiar with. These children should also be able to actively engage in reading activities.

Foundational Skills

A kindergarten aged child should be able to show an understanding of the basics of print, by following the words left to right, top to bottom, and page to page. They should also be able to recognize that the spoken word is represented by letters of the alphabet put in a certain order as well as being able to recognize and name the alphabet in both lower and uppercases.

The child should also be able to demonstrate understanding of the spoken word, able to match rhyming words, count, pronounce, blend, and produce syllables. They should also be able to remove and replace individual sounds in a word to create a new word i.e. ball turns into hall. Your child should be able to name the sounds of the consonants and vowels (long and short), and be able to read commonly used words such as, the by sight. A kindergartner should also be able to tell the difference between words by identifying the sounds of the letters that differ, as well as read an emerging reader text with comprehension.


For writing a kindergartener should be able to use writing, dictation, and drawing to tell the topic of a story, the title of the book they are writing about and opinion on the topic of the story, or information that they have read. Students should also be able to tell a string of events using writing, dictation, or drawing. With help from adults’ children this age should be able to draw upon opinions of their peers and strengthen their writing, as well as be able to use multiple resources and work with peers. A kindergartener should be able to participate in group activities such as comparing and contrasting an author’s different work. With help from an adult a child should also be able to find the answer to a question with basic research or from recalling personal experiences.

Speaking and Listening Skills

A kindergartener should be able to participate in conversations about age appropriate topics with both adults and peers as well as in small and large groups. A child should be able to follow the rules agreed upon by people in the conversation (i.e. waiting their turn), and continue a conversation through many exchanges in speakers. The child should be able to confirm or deny comprehension of information read to them aloud or through other media by asking questions concerning key details and asking for help if something is not understood. The child should be capable of describing familiar people, places, things, and events with prompting and support, as well as be able to add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions to provide additional details and should speak audibly while expressing thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Language Standards

Kindergarten aged students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of standard English grammar and usage in both writing and speaking as well as print many upper- and lowercase letters. They should be able to use frequently occurring nouns and verbs properly and form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ to the end of the singular noun. Kindergarteners should be able to understand and use questions words (the five W’s and how) and use prepositions such as to, from, in, out, and other frequently occurring words. They should be able to complete a sentence and expand on a sentence in language activities and show they understand capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. They should be able to capitalize the first word of a sentence and the first letter of a pronoun (name, I) as well as recognize and name end punctuations.

Kindergarteners should be able to write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds, and spell simple words phonetically. The child should be able to determine the meaning of unknown and multiple meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content, as well as identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (knowing that a duck is a bird, and the verb to duck.

With help from adults a kindergartener should be able to explore word relationships in word meanings, sort common objects into categories (color, shape), and demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to antonyms. Children should be able to identify real-life connections between words and their use and distinguish shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (walk, march) by acting out the meanings. Children should also be able to properly use words and phrases learned while being read to, reading, used in conversations, and responding to text.


Counting and Cardinality

Kindergarten aged students should know number names and the sequence they come in. They should be able to count to 100 by ones and tens, as well as count forward from any number given other than starting from one. Children should be able to write the numbers zero to twenty, and represent a number of objects with a written number. Children should be able to count to tell the number of objects, understanding the relationship between numbers and quantities.  When counting objects, they should be able to state the number names in the correct order and understand that the last number represents the number of objects counted.

Children should be able to compare the number of objects being greater than, lesser than, or equal to the number of objects in another group and compare two number between one and ten presented as written numerals.

Operations and Algebraic Thinking

A child should understand that addition is putting things together and adding to and subtraction as taking apart and taking from. The child should be able to add to or take away from a visual display of objects (fingers, toys), solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within ten by using objects or drawings to represent the problem. A child should be able to choose what numbers go together from one to nine to make ten (i.e. four plus six equals ten) as well as fluently add and subtract within five.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

A kindergartener should work with numbers eleven to nineteen into ten ones and another group to understand these numbers are composed of a group of ten and another group of numbers.

Measurement and Data

A child should be able to describe and compare measurable attributes such as length or weight of an object. They should be able to compare and contrast two objects with one attribute in common to see which has more or less of the attribute and explain the difference.  The child should be able to classify objects and count the number of objects in each category.


Children should be able to identify and describe basic shapes and objects in the environment using shapes and the relative position of these objects such as above, below, next to.  The child should be able to compare two and three-dimensional shapes in different sizes and orientations using language to describe their similarities and differences, and model shapes in the world by building them from objects such as clay.

To find out more about your state laws and requirements go to your state directory:
Home Educators Resource Directory and click on 'State Laws'.

Common Core State Standards (2010).
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