Welcome to my blog! This is where I write my thoughts on various issues such as homeschooling, meditation, books I have enjoyed, being a home-maker and so on. If you are interested in a particular topic, then check the section under categories. I hope you will find something here that might interest you. So, sit back and read along.
Kabir was inspired by the book, “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind” by William Kamkwamba. So, he created a windmill for the reading fair. For Science Fair, he took the same project a step further and did an experiment to figure out the effect of blade numbers, blade length and windspeed on the amount of electricity generated by a windmill.
Arjun chose to make his own motor for science fair. He took the initiative to find a YouTube video, make a list of materials needed and explained the process to Amit in detail. We were so impressed that we had to let him do this project. Arjun made the motor with Amit’s help. He did almost 80% of the work on his own including trying to write the explanations that needed to be printed out and glued to his project board. He got the idea of making the motor from the motor that we bought at Hobby Lobby for Kabir’s Windmill project. He impressed us with his understanding. He learnt about the motor from a YouTube video.
Here’s the photo of his motor. Here’s the movie showing his working motor.
This month, we hosted Biography Fair. We met at the library. Even though we had just three families who attended the fair, we made the best of it. Kabir chose to study the Wright Brothers and Arjun chose to study the life of Helen Keller.
In school, we studied about the Wright brothers. Kabir was so inspired that he chose to make a movie on Wright brothers using cardboard cutouts. He worked really hard on writing the script and then making cardboard cutouts. He had to shoot the movie (sometimes several takes) and edit it too. The difficult part for him was that he was given merely 4-5 days to start and complete the project. He worked hard and almost non-stop. He has learnt so much about iMovie with this project. Here’s the link to the movie of The Wright Brothers (10 minutes and 46 seconds long).
Arjun chose to study the life of Helen Keller. We visited Helen Keller’s birthplace in Tuscumbia, AL. Since Arjun has overcome the stage fright, I wanted him to concentrate on speaking clearly. So, we chose to use littlebirdtales.com for his presentation. He had to record several times as he noticed how he gobbles up a syllable or two from few words. Here’s the link to the presentation of Helen Keller (about 9 minutes long).
Boys completed the fact sheets for China and then, updated the graphs. Kabir has no space left in the religion graph and so, he did not update the religion graph. He helped Arjun update his religion graph. However, Kabir did update the population graph.
Arjun’s Religion Graph
Arjun’s Population Graph
Kabir’s Population Graph
They made a 3D model of China with clay. This time boys worked together (at least tried to!). This was so worth it as we learnt a lot by doing this project. The boys did this project by themselves. I helped them only when they got stuck and also, I made sure that they got it right.
Arjun did a presentation on Ancient Chinese Inventions. We read Magic Tree House #14, “The Day of The Dragon-King” and the fact tracker #31, “China: Land of the Emperor’s Great Wall”. The fact tracker really helped us a lot.
Kabir did a PowerPoint presentation on the Abacus. Both boys learn to use Abacus and they love it. If you wish to download the PowerPoint presentation, then here it is: Abacus. Kabir wore the Mandarin hat with braid while presenting.
This morning we met for the presentations. We had only 4 kids that did present. I made spring rolls. Other homeschoolers made egg rolls, fried rice, and rice with tofu and vegetables. Everything was so delicious. It was very interesting that we had the presentation in the library where they have a statue of Guanyin – the Chinese Goddess of Mercy.
After the presentations, we took the kids to the park. I did update the kids’ pretend passports with China sticker. Now, Kabir has 12 country stickers in his passport while Arjun has 6 country stickers.
This is the first time that both my kids participated in a Reading Fair. It was so worth it that I am going to host it again next year. There is so much learning involved in creating story board and getting deep into your favorite book. We had just 8 kids (with youngest being only 3). We had 2 teachers who listened to every kid and gave them a detailed feedback. My kids have been very proud of their feedback and I couldn’t have imagined how precious it is to them.
Kabir chose The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba. I gave this book to Kabir in LA Airport before we were going to take a flight back to Memphis after Christmas. As soon as he started reading it, he was hooked to it and couldn’t stop reading. I expected him to pause when we had taken off as we had a personal TV in the plane. He looks forward to a personal TV in the plane. Even a movie in the plane couldn’t distract him. All 3 of us (Amit, Arjun and me) were watching a movie in the plane while Kabir was hooked to this book. He knew this is his favorite book at the time and his eyes were sparkling. That’s when we decided that he should work on this book for his reading fair. We didn’t realize that nonfiction story board is so much more hard than a fiction but it was worth it as we learned a lot. Amit helped him to make a small windmill that can generate electricity. I think this was his favorite part of the project. I think the most difficult part of the project for him was to draw the windmill on the story board.
Arjun chose Night of the Ninjas – Magic Tree House #5 by Mary Pope Osborne. He loves to make things from the cardboard and wood. So, he made a tree house and he added some handmade books in them and also inscribed it with “M”. He made a Peanut with clay and put him inside a sock and he found a white stone which he believes wholeheartedly that it is a moonstone. Arjun did all the cutting and gluing on this board. He drew a ninja and samurai. At this stage we realized that we don’t really know much about ninjas and samurais and so we ordered the fact tracker and learnt from it. So, he had to go back and fix the description of ninjas and samurais. He did most of the writing on the computer and I had to just fix spelling and other errors.
My kids look forward to monthly challenge. Here are the photos for each challenge.
Collaborative Art Challenge: I made about 120 squares on a canvas (I should have made 100) and I bought a set of 12 acrylic paints. We had 6 kids and we had to meet twice to complete this project. For the first meeting, kids used 12 acrylic paints to paint 12 squares. Then they mixed 2 paints at a time to create a new one. So, they painted 66 squares by mixing 2 paints at a time. They kept a chart of the colors they mixed and they named the new colors sometimes very creatively. They painted the rest of the 42 squares with the colors of their choice – each kid got 7 squares to paint with the color of their choice.
Here’s the chart:
Here’s the canvas with painted squares
When we met the second time, kids used white acrylic marker to write positive emotions/feelings on the canvas. Here’s the finished creation that we gifted to The Avonlea Assisted Living.
5-Minute Movie Challenge: Kids created a movie that could be as short as a minute or as long as 5 minutes on any topic that they want. Here are the links to the movies made by Kabir and Arjun.
Candy Challenge: Kids invented a new candy and designed the packaging or wrapper for their new candy. They had to pay attention to all the information that must go on the packaging.
P-fudge by Arjun
Duckmallow by Kabir
Duckmallow by Kabir
Explosion by John Gannon
Handmade Board Game Challenge: Each kid created a board game on their own. They brought the board game and played with each other. This meeting lasted about 4 hours or so. Kids were laughing and having so much fun that I will not forget this meeting ever!
Harry Potter Game by Flannery and Helena
Victory or Defeat by John Gannon
Math Alogico by Arjun
Readco Jr. by Kabir
Tallest Tower Challenge: Kids worked in teams to create tallest tower possible with spaghetti and gum drops. We used styrofoam for the base.