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!

 

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.

 

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.

Field Trips Nov 2014 – May 2015

April 23rd, 2015

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We haven’t been to many field trips recently however we have been extremely busy.   

Avon Lea Assisted Living – We have been twice this school year.  First time, we went for a Readers Theatre Performance of The Lorax.  Then, we went to do an entertainment program that included music, dance and magic show for the residents.

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Pioneer Day at Natchez Trace Visitor Center

Tupelo Recycling Center

Learn About Electricity – Mr. Derek McGill from TVA gave almost two hour class on electricity including a hands-on demonstration.

Here is the link for the field trips we went to during September and October of this school year.

Science Experiments

April 22nd, 2015

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The months of February and March have been spent on following the experiment schedule from the following two guides: Tops Learning Systems GREEN THUMBS: Radishes #38 and Tops Learning Systems GREEN THUMBS: Corn and Beans #39.  We have not only enjoyed it but we learnt a lot.  I definitely recommend it.  I wish I had been taught this way.  Sorry, I didn’t take any photos.  I wish I had!

Also, the kids worked with Amit to prepare for PEAK Science Fair organized by Paula Cox.  Mr. Bob Swanson, Physics Instructor at ICC, was the chief guest at the PEAK Science Fair.

Arjun’s experiment was to find out which part of the hand had most germs left after washing.  We ordered Glo Germ Mini Kit for him.  Arjun had a great time doing the experiment.  I made him write instead of printing.  So, he practiced writing.  He learnt how to make graphs and learnt about scientific method.

Arjun's Experiment on Germs

Arjun’s Experiment on Germs

Kabir created a telegraph circuit.  At first Amit showed him how to do it and then he did it all by himself except when the wires needed to be stripped.  He learnt basic Morse Code and then did an experiment to find out if Morse Code is still useful in the modern world.  To do so, he compared it to modern technology – texting.

He wrote a paper – Morse Code: Is It Still Useful in Modern World.  Megan Ratts gave the idea of writing a paper.  This was just perfect for him because when he wrote it, he fell in love with his experiment all over again.  Heather Tate did the editing part.  He participated in 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.  We are thrilled about it.

This week, we made a periscope.  We followed the directions from the Exploratorium website and kids are having fun with this new toy now.

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