Eastern Europe Study

August 25th, 2015

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Kids have been studying about Romania in Eastern Europe.  They chose Romania because they have a Romanian uncle.  Amit’s cousin is married to a Romanian.  Kabir completed the fact sheets about Romania and helped Arjun too!  So, I had loads of free time for myself but I did not learn as much as I usually do when I am involved.  Kids insisted that they don’t want me involved and so, I had to respect their decision.  After completing the fact sheets, they updated the population and religion graph.

As I was missing out a lot, I spearheaded the project of creating clay model of Eastern Europe.  I was back in their circle now and I was feeling good as I finally learned location of all the Eastern European countries.  Arjun labeled countries and seas in his model.  Kabir labeled countries, seas, mountains, rivers and capitals.

As for trying out Romanian food, we made MinciuneleRomanian Sour Soup (Ciorba), and Romanian Mititei.  We enjoyed it all!  Also, we tried Mamaliga but we didn’t care for it.  For the Eastern Europe Party with homeschoolers at the library, we made Minciunele and Romanian Mititei.

Kabir was inspired by his friend, John Gannon Cox.  He wanted to do an interactive presentation just like John Gannon.  Dr. Moore had emailed me a template for Jeopardy about 2 years ago.  So, I knew exactly what to do.  We watched Jeopardy on YouTube, learnt the game and Kabir created the Jeopardy game for Eastern Europe.  He was ready and excited.  He made a t-shirt for the winner of the game (I forgot to take the photo of the t-shirt).  His contestants were John Gannon, Zowie and Paula.  John Gannon and Zowie were on a tie and so, Kabir asked an extra question.  John Gannon won!

Jeopardy Scores

Jeopardy Scores

Arjun was interested in animals and so we created a presentation about the animals of Eastern Europe.  He presented in front of few people and that was great achievement for him.

Animals of Eastern Europe by Arjun

Animals of Eastern Europe by Arjun

Both kids won the flag of Romania in their pretend passport and it has been attested by their grandparents.

Lego Fair 2015

July 20th, 2015

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This year, Lego Fair was hosted by Lee County library.  My kids waited for this event with much excitement.  Kabir made a working battery-operated fan.  He was inspired by the electric lamp made by Gargi Koul for Lego Fair 2014.  He had to use cardboard for fan blades as we couldn’t figure out how to use Legos for fan blades.  He used approximately 350 Lego pieces.


Arjun combined everything that he loves in his Lego.  He made a swimming pool because he loves swimming.  He made picnic tables with people eating chicken because he loves chicken (he loves chicken without curry and so, he calls it dry chicken).  He made bike rack as he loves biking.  He made flower bed because he loves putting seed in the soil (even though he hasn’t managed to grow any).  He used approximately 300 Lego pieces.


Both of them received a small trophy and a certificate!  Here is a local TV, WTVA Lego Fair article and local newspaper, Daily Journal Lego Fair article for the event.

Summary of Arjun’s Pre-K

June 19th, 2015

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Arjun has had a long Pre-K year.  It started in January 2014 and we finished in May 2015.  We took it real slow for him and it was a good strategy as it did pay dividends.  Arjun can read fluently, he can add and subtract.  Surely, he is ready for Kindergarten.  

We started Pre-K with reading one book a week and doing related activities.  You can read in detail about this in the section Preschool Read Alouds.  As time seemed appropriate, we started to follow the curriculum – Sonlight Curriculum Grade P4/5.

Reading and Language Arts: In order to learn to read, we closely followed “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”  Yes, at the end of 100 lessons he was reading fluently.   At the end of 100 lessons, he was ready for Language Arts Grade 1 with Grade 1 Readers.  We completed it in May.  He completed the workbooks Explode the Code 1, 2, 3.  For handwriting, I created worksheets for him where he traces Shri Mataji’s quotes.  He dictated a travel journal about our visit to London and we made a book out of it.

Math: He completed the workbooks for Horizon Math for Kindergarten and Singapore Math Workbook and Textbook 1A.  We will work on Workbook and Textbook 1B during Kindergarten.  On his own initiative, he joined Kabir for Abacus every Sunday.  He loves going to Abacus class with Kabir but doesn’t enjoy homework.  Amit has started to read ‘Life of Fred – Apples’ with Arjun.

Read Aloud/History/Science: I read almost all the books in the curriculum to him.  I think he enjoys hearing to Kabir’s book much more than his own.  He loved it when Kabir taught Science section to him.  He is looking forward to Kindergarten Science as he is excited about the experiments.  He did take part in few of Kabir’s Science Experiments.  He took part in PEAK Science Fair but didn’t present.  He participated in presentation on Poland, Costa Rica (he sang the song “Arroz con Leche” with Kabir), and England.

Extracurricular Activities: Arjun loves piano and he participated in his first recital this May.  He loves swimming and so, he takes lessons from Ms. Barbara Aguirre at the Tupelo Aquatic Center.  He participated in Lego Fair last year and monthly Lego Club too.  He has accompanied us in all the field trips and vacations.  He loves Ms. Vick Farmers’ Arts classes.  He participated in Kids’ Spring Market too.  He participates in bhajan classes with Archana Mayfield via Skype.

His favorite thing to do is dig or use various tools (whatever he can lay his hand on) in our backyard.  I avoid visiting our backyard frequently as I would see something that would get him into lot of trouble with me.  Also, he loves Arts and so, the construction paper and art supplies vanishes like thin air in our house.  He knows very well how to push my buttons but he still finds it hard to go to bed without my hand.  He is not an enthusiastic reader but he loves to copy from books that is beyond his age.  His favorite playmate is Kabir but they fight like typical siblings.  He is the best entertainment in our house.  Without him, every member of this family will be in their own nook doing their own stuff.  Our days fly by getting angry and secretly laughing at all his naughtiness.  We love him!

We celebrated end of the school by inviting Heather Tate and her family.  We ate homemade pizza, pasta salad, homemade sponge cake loaded with fruits and cream, and homemade strawberry ice-cream.

Summary of Kabir’s 3rd Grade

June 19th, 2015

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Kabir has completed third grade!  He has indeed grown and matured this year yet he is still a 8-year old kid at heart.  It is unbelievable that I am still homeschooling him but it seems to be the divine plan.  It has been a very busy third grade for Kabir but very satisfying as we have learnt a lot.  He has delivered every time I have asked him to.  I am honored to be his mother and teacher.  I am sure it is hard for him to be my son because sometimes I ask too much from him.  Hopefully, he understands and one day, he will become a hard-working, honest, productive, content and happy citizen of this world!  Here is the summary of all that we did during this school year.  We followed Sonlight Curriculum Core D.

Math: We completed the workbooks for Horizon Math grade 4.  He has completed ‘Life of Fred’ Elementary Series.  Every Sunday (when we are in town) he has worked on Abacus Maths with the help of a teacher in Oxford.  He worked through Mathological Liar game for grade 4.  Occasionally, he worked with Khan Academy.

Logic: We completed Mind Benders Book 4 and Inference Jones Beginning.  We have partly completed Building Thinking Skill Level 2 (we will complete it this school year).

Language Arts: We followed Sonlight Language Arts D Advanced Readers.  Kabir completed Daily Grams Grade 4, Easy Grammar Grade 3, and Worldly Wise 3000 Book 3.  For Spelling, we covered the 5th grade list from Natural Speller.  Ms. Heather Tate helped Kabir with composition.  She edited every essay, story or book report he wrote this year.  As a result, his writing has improved by leaps and bounds this year.  He is working on a biography of his grandfather (he should be able to complete it during his 4th grade).  He wrote a travel journal on Costa Rica.  Kabir participated in three writing competitions and won none.  Losing is as important as winning and I am proud that he took it very sportingly.  Kabir took SCAT test to become eligible to participate in courses offered by John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.  When he took the test first time, he couldn’t be eligible for Math.  So, he took the test again.  This time, he scored so high that he received an award.  We attended the award ceremony at Rutgers University.  Kabir participated in two online courses offered by John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth: Young Readers’ Series: Mystery Stories and Wild Things.  It was like an online book club that he absolutely loved and enjoyed!

Science: We followed Sonlight Science D.  Our favorite part of Science this year was doing experiments based on Tops Learning Systems GREEN THUMBS: Radishes #38 and Tops Learning Systems GREEN THUMBS: Corn and Beans #39.  We did several experiments such as: making Periscope, water experiments, capillary action experiment, oil exploration experiment, conductor or insulator experiment, measuring time and history of clocks, and cell experiment.  We participated in zoo snooze in Memphis zoo and backyard astronomy.  Kabir participated in two science fairs: Peak Science Fair and MSEF Region 7 Science Fair – Lower Fair at Ole Miss and won the first prize for Class I (grades 1-3) in the category of physics.  He attended Health and PE classes at Healthworks for homeschoolers.

History/Geography: We followed Sonlight History & Geography D.  We enjoyed reading American History this year especially about Native Americans and American Revolution.  To reinforce our study about Native Americans, we visited Chickasaw Nation, participated in Thanksgiving party with homeschoolers, and visited Wampanoag Indians in Plymouth Plantation.  To reinforce our study on American Revolution we spent four days in Boston.  It took us two days to do Freedom Trail, one day in Provincetown and one day in Plymouth.  We wished we had more time in Boston.  We studied three countries in depth and presented it to our homeschool friends: Poland, Costa Rica, and England.  As part of our cultural study, we traveled to Costa Rica, London, and India.  Along with two of his closest friends (Gargi Koul and Architesh Prasad), Kabir studied My Journey by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (one of the Presidents of India) and presented it to us.  These three musketeers studied Gandhi and based on this book, they prepared a documentary on Gandhi.

Read-Aloud: We followed Sonlight Core D curriculum.  Most read-alouds were related to American history.  This made the history come alive for us.  I read aloud about eleven books from the read-aloud section of the curriculum.  Kabir added a few book reports to his book journal blog.  I didn’t make him write a book report for every book we read.  Kabir read to me about nineteen books.  He mostly read to me in the car.  He participated in Readers Theatre performance of “The Lorax” at Avon Lea Assisted Living.

Handwriting: Kabir created a handwritten (cursive) book of quotes of Shri Mataji.

Field Trips: We had many opportunities for field trips.  In fact, I just had to refuse a few due to time constraints.  You can read about our field trips here: Fields Trips Sept – Oct and Field Trips Nov to May.  We spent five days visiting museums in Washington DC.  We took Amtrak to Chicago and we took a short weekend trip to Los Angeles for a meditation seminar.  Kids participated in Kids’ Spring Market where they sold handmade stuff at Oren Dunn Museum.

Extracurricular Activities: Kabir participated in Lego Fair.  He participated in monthly Lego Club at the Lee County library.  After having hosted Lego Club for two years, I have finally given the charge to the library and they are doing a great job.  He has been swimming in the swim team.  He is not that enthusiastic about swimming but he has no choice.  He absolutely loves piano.  He has participated in several music festivals and recitals this school year.  He earned superior rating each time.  He enjoys art classes with Ms. Vicki Farmer.  He learns devotional songs called bhajans from my dear friend, Archana Mayfield via Skype.  He has loved participating in two Pied Piper plays this school year: Robinhood and the Sherwood Hoodies (played a scout), and Disney’s The Aristocats Kids (played Berlioz).

Yes, it has been productive school year.  I feel satisfied with all that we have managed to do.  After all this hard work Kabir has been really enjoying his time off since about couple of weeks.  We shall begin our fourth grade soon.  I want to thank my in-laws for their support.  They make it possible for me to concentrate on school completely when they are in town.  Amit is my anchor and without his support and encouragement it just wasn’t possible.  Kabir is a kid that has been cut out for homeschool.  We did give him the choice of homeschool or traditional school for 4th grade.  He wrote an essay to persuade us to continue homeschool. Thank you to every person that comes in our way because each one of you make it possible for us to smoothly continue our homeschooling journey.  Thank you to the Divine for showing us the path and guiding us during every moment of our journey.

We celebrated end of the school by inviting Heather Tate and her family.  We ate homemade pizza, pasta salad, homemade sponge cake loaded with fruits and cream, and homemade strawberry ice-cream.

American Revolution and Boston

June 19th, 2015

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If possible, after reading about American Revolution, one really needs to visit Boston!  It is going to make you remember all that you read for the rest of your life.

We spent two days walking the Freedom Trail.  We visited museums along the way.  Kids did scavenger hunt at Old South Meeting House and we met Sally Hutchinson, the daughter of Governor Hutchinson (reenacted by a lady) and experienced what was it like during those days.  We took part in the Boston Tea Party by throwing tea down the ship.  Afterwards, we sipped tea and enjoyed scones.  We spent one day at Provincetown, MA.  This is where pilgrims first landed.  We spent one day at Plymouth, MA.  In Plymouth, we did the walking tour, visited the Mayflower II and Plymouth Plantation.  We wished we had more time in Plymouth.  We wished we could have visited Minute Man National Historic Park.  We had such a great time that I am pretty positive that we will do the same and probably more when Arjun reads about American Revolution.