This has been the first year in my homeschooling experience when I felt complete contentment and satisfaction that I was doing what is right for us. This year was very, very busy and flew by us. A review of the school year gives me much needed sense of accomplishment. Here is a summary of all that Kabir and I achieved during 2nd Grade of homeschool:
History/Geography: Kabir and I absolutely love this part of the school. We completed Sonlight Curriculum Core C for History/Geography. We thoroughly enjoyed most of the books we are required to read. If a book is faith based, I either don’t buy it or I donate it to the library. I am teaching my kids to appreciate and respect all beliefs and faiths. As a follower of Sahaja Yoga, we belong to all religions and so, I teach my kids about all the religions of the world. I love that this core has world perspective and we learn so much about different parts of the world and their culture. Both kids loved the Geography Songs CD. They have memorized each and every song. Kabir has learnt the location of all the countries in the songs. In our homeschool, the major way of appreciating and learning history and geography is to travel! We did lots of traveling (such as upstate New York; road trip to Gatlinburg and Smoky Mountain; LA to attend family wedding; road trip from LA to San Francisco; India; second road trip from LA to San Diego; and Italy) and in-depth country study (Greece, Egypt and Brazil). We have thoroughly enjoyed studying different countries, including Arjun. Also, Kabir thoroughly enjoyed 1-week history camp at Oren Dunn Museum.
Read Alouds: This is our favorite part of the school alongwith History/Geography. Arjun loves it when we do the reading as he plays with toys or Legos or puzzles while we read. I love reading to Kabir and Arjun and as I read I don’t miss any opportunity to teach “life lessons” to them. Hopefully, these little “life lessons” will come in handy to them when needed as they grow up. We completed Sonlight Curriculum C. Again, if a book is faith based we have either not bought it or donated it to the library. We have accompanied this section of the curriculum with writing book reports for most of the books we read: http://bookjournalbykabir.wordpress.com
For a few books, Kabir wrote 1-line summary, prediction and 2 new words after each chapter we read. Also, we did manage to find movies for a few books we read such as Pippi Longstocking, The Little Riders and so on. Movies make it so much more special. I wish there was a movie for all the books we read. Instead of Sonlight recommended Poem books, we chose our own. We studied William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Shel Silverstein’s Falling Up. We chose William Blake as our first poet because Kabir’s middle name is Blake (named after William Blake). Shel Silverstein’s book was a huge hit between Kabir, Arjun and Me. Oh boy! We did enjoy some of those poems!
Science: We completed Sonlight Curriculum C. This time, we didn’t buy the science experiment kit. Instead we did our own science experiments that were related to what we were reading. We participated in Peak Science Fair. Kabir attended about 10-12 classes at HealthWorks for homeschoolers. Kabir completed all the Snap Circuit projects. Also, both the kids attended one week summer camp at Memphis zoo.
Logic: We completed Building Thinking Skills Level 1, MindWare Logic Links, Mind Benders Book 2, Mind Benders Book 3, Kanoodle (there is just 1 section of Kanoodle that was getting tough for him and so, we left it for later).
Math: We completed Horizon Math Grade 3 Program. In addition, we did a monthly project of $20 Grocery. He tried a bit of cooking as part of this project. Kabir is still passionate about cooking and so, I try to encourage him to cook as often as I feel I can handle it myself. We played math games such as Monopoly (maybe only couple of times as this game lasts for a long time), Mathalogical Liar Grade 3 and Equate. Also, he joined the Stanford University’s program for Gifted and Talented Youth and we completed the Math program MOWA and MOWB from Kindergarten to 4th Grade. Starting this January, he is taking lessons for Abacus Maths in Oxford once a week. His teacher for Abacus Maths told me during our first meeting that I should consider teaching Kabir a different way of solving the math problems, i.e., using Abacus instead of just getting him to do higher and tougher Maths. Knowing that there are more than one way to solve a math problem is worthwhile. This appealed to me a lot!
Language Arts: We completed Sonlight curriculum Grade 4-5 Readers with Language Arts 4-5. We completed Wordly Wise C. Instead of buying MCP Word Study, we completed Daily Grams: Guided Review Aiding Mastery Skill, Grade 3. We have completed just the prepositions and verbs section of Easy Grammar 3 Teacher Edition. So a lot is left but we plan to do that during the next school year. In addition, I created worksheets for him to do once a week from Wren & Martin. Also, he joined the Stanford University’s program for Gifted and Talented Youth Language Arts and Writing program (he completed this entire program from Kindergarten to 6th Grade), and Reading and Writing about Literature (we completed this one as far as 7 year old could go).
There’s a significant number of books that Kabir has to read to me. He read to me mostly in the car. It was really fun! I would ask Arjun to turn on the audiobook and he would pretend to do so. Then Kabir would read to us. It is impressive how carefully Arjun is listening when Kabir reads to us in the car. Couple of times, I was so engrossed in listening to Kabir that I would keep driving forgetting about our destination. It’s a challenge for Kabir as he needs to be louder and clearer when he is reading to me from the backseat of the car. To encourage emphatic reading, we performed a play, “The Wizard of Oz” as part of our Reader’s Theatre. Now, we are working on a really amazing script written by Megan Ratts on American Revolution.
Vocabulary: I created a worksheet for him inspired by the vocabulary worksheet here. He used dictionary to find new words and complete this worksheet. He enjoyed doing this twice a week. He tried using few new words here and there. If interested, you can download the worksheet here: DOWNLOAD VOCABULARY WORKSHEET.
Handwriting/ Copywork: Kabir is comfortable writing in cursive and so, we combined handwriting and copywork. Instead of using the copywork that was prescribed in the curriculum, Kabir took Shri Mataji’s printed speeches and copied Her quotes. Actually, he is creating a handwritten book of quotes of Shri Mataji. I can’t wait to read it all when it’s completed. It might take him a year to do so.
Composition: Kabir was lucky to participate in a 6-week writing workshop for homeschoolers during the fall semester in Amory. Kabir participated in 3 writing contests this school year and won first place at The Young Voices Foundation and second place in the Gumtree Writing Contest.
Social Studies: We created a questionnaire where Kabir asked questions concerning interviewee’s work. Kabir interviewed following 18 people and learnt about various jobs. If you are interested, you can download his community worker questionnaire. We might tweak the questionnaire a bit and continue interviewing more people.
- Cardiologist: Dr. Amit Gupta;
- Babysitter: Mrs. Carrie Ann Barnett;
- Art Museum Director: Ms. Catherine Stafford;
- CFO of the Hospital: Mr. Joe A Reppert;
- Librarian: Mr. William D. Prather;
- Jazzercise Franchisee /Instructor: Mrs. Sherry L Reppert;
- Swim Coach: Ms. Jane A Tonos;
- Dentist: Dr. Edward T Holliday;
- Music Teacher: Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos;
- Hair Stylist: Ms. Joy Michelle Free;
- Cleaning Lady: Mrs. Renee Fowler;
- English Instructor at ICC: Mrs. Heather Tate;
- Art Teacher: Mrs. Vicky Farmer;
- Owner of Stores: Mrs. Nitu Khiantani and Mr. Kumar Khiantani;
- HealthWorks Strategists/ Manager: Ms. Kathy Tucker;
- Baker: Ms. Ursula Garner;
- Speech Language Pathologist: Ms. Janya R Rogers;
- Director of Product Management at Philips Lighting: Mr. Ravi Koul
Extra Curricular Activities: Kabir is continuing with Swim Team. He took part in one swim meet and he enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s so nice to see that he doesn’t get stressed out about his performance at all but enjoys taking part without paying any attention to the result. This is one quality that I have to learn from him.
Kabir ran his first race, Tie-Dye Fun Run! He loved it especially because his dad and his friend, Matthew Ratts were running too.
Also, he took 10 art lessons during the school year from Mrs. Vicki Farmer and weekly piano lessons from Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos. Kabir enjoyed his piano recital so much more this time as his friend, John Gannon Cox came with us to listen to him. Gestures like these make an event so much more special and memorable! Kabir did art and craft projects along with Arjun as part of Arjun’s preschool read aloud activities. Also, we are a part of once-a-month Lego Club. He worked on his doodle book weekly. We tried to play board game and Lego/puzzle weekly. It worked for most of the time except when things got hectic due to travel or workload. He started studying Italian but we haven’t done it very religiously. As part of Photography Club for homeschoolers, Kabir has worked on two assignments so far. His first assignment was to take photos of subjects from A-Z. He took all the A-Z photos in India of subjects that were Indian. His second assignment has been photos that show passage of time. He has created an album where he shows evolution of cars over time. He spent lot of time at Tupelo Automobile museum for this assignment. The only homeschool coop class that we participated during the school year was when Kabir made a wooden birdhouse.
Field Trips: We went to so many museums and field trips during our travels that it’s hard to list. However, this school year, we went for lot of field trips with our homeschool friends too such as
- Ralph’s Doc and Evie Farms – to learn about growing vegetables and fruits
- Bee keeper Robert Hays in Dumas, MS – we learnt about bees and honey
- Cherry Creek Orchard – we learnt about peach, muscadine grapes, apples and chestnuts
- Aviation Expo in Tupelo
- Visited Natchez Trace Visitor Center for a lesson on ‘Animals and Settlers’ and a short hike. Kids were allowed to dress-up too!
- Brown’s Dairy Farm
- Kayaking at Mrs. Paula Cox’s house
- Starting a Friction Fire with a Bow Drill Demo/Class
Overall, this was a very satisfying school year. There are so many happy memories we made this year and I feel so grateful and blessed! I have no doubt in my heart that I want to homeschool my kids at least for one more year. We plan to take one year at a time. It’s just working for us for now! Having said that, there are days when I feel exhausted; there are days when I feel I don’t have a grip on things; there are days when I threaten my kids that I’ve had enough and I’ll register them in public school. But the fun and happy days far outnumber the weeping and scolding days. Sometimes I push him to do better and better too much, and then I realize and back off. My main focus during homeschool years are to instill within my kids that to lead a happy and comfortable life one needs to be hardworking, responsible and enthusiastic. There needs to be a balance between work and play. Also, sometimes we need to do stuff that we don’t enjoy because life doesn’t always offer us choices and we need to make best of all the situations without complaining. There have been times during this school year when Kabir might not be enthused about something but then he know he needs to do it anyhow and eventually he enjoys it. Kabir knows what’s expected of him and he gets it done by the deadline. He loves it that we can study whatever he wants on a given day from the assigned curriculum depending on what he is in mood for. I couldn’t have home schooled if Kabir was not cut out for it! I believe that it was divine plan for me to meet Roan Johnson who introduced me to homeschooling and guides me with planning the curriculum each year. Also, I would like to thank Dr. Jerilou Moore, assistant professor at Ole Miss, who guides me from time to time.
A huge thanks to my parents-in-law because last one month they took over many household tasks so that I can concentrate on Kabir and complete the second grade. We can now enjoy a long summer vacation. So, a huge thanks to them!!!
Lastly, I need to thank Amit. He is my support. His calming presence helps me overcome frustration and exhaustion on difficult days. He emphatically listens and counsels me on all of my plans and ideas. He is a hands-on dad and that really helps. He supports me 110% unconditionally!
Above all, meditation and Sahaja Yoga helps me to keep my priorities right and also, to create a balanced atmosphere at home as far as possible. Whenever we feel overwhelmed, tired or things go wrong we sit down and meditate to bring ourselves in balance.
Thank you for reading this long summary of our 2nd Grade school year for Kabir! It was been a wonderful year indeed!