Another great school year is done!!! I just can’t believe that Arjun has completed first grade. Time is flying for us too fast and I so wish I could slow it down a bit. I am so proud of Arjun as he has come such a long way in every aspect. Finally, I find him enjoying reading. He has developed math skills beyond my expectations. He has worked hard to improve his writing skills. I am more than satisfied with his progress. It gives me a great contentment to know that the foundation of our homeschool is the teachings of Shri Mataji. Our travels are based on learning about the world and enhancing our spiritual endeavors. Here’s a summary of all that we accomplished.
He completed the Horizons Math 2 curriculum, Khan Academy Grade 2 curriculum. He attends online classes with Mrs. Emily Zhang where he has completed Abacus grade 4, Mental Math grade 5 and Challenging Word Problem grade 2.
He completed Sonlight Science Core B curriculum. He absolutely loves Usborne Internet-linked books. He completed animal report forms for many of the animals we studied during this academic year. Kabir worked with him to do the required science experiments. He has been working through the Snap Circuit projects. He attended Health and PE classes at HealthWorks. He participated in PEAK Science Fair and in Region VII Lower Science Fair at Ole Miss and won 2nd place in the category of Physics and Astronomy in class I (1st- 3rd grades). He participated in “All About Space” PEAK homeschool event where he researched and presented space stations. For field trips, we visited California Science Center, Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, Audobon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans, backyard astronomy with Mr. Bob Swanson, and Three Rivers Landfill in Pontotoc. He participated in dissection of organs of a dead deer with Mr. Nate, and Owl pellet dissection with Mrs. Brandy Watson. He participated in 5 homeschool classes at Memphis Zoo. Each class was 2-hour long. Topics covered: Tundra, Animal defenses (unique ways animals attack and defend), Properties of Matter (how do temperature, density, volume and buoyancy affect animals) and 2 Dissection Days – earthworm dissection and owl pellet.
He completed Sonlight History/Geography Core B curriculum – Year 1 of 2 World History. He made lap books for the first four ancient civilizations of the world.
He was introduced to Japanese culture and learnt origami with Mrs. Kyoko Okamoto. We visited Hernando DeSoto Encampment in Natchez Trace Parkway, and Oren Dunn Museum. He studied Indian history and did a PowerPoint Presentation on India for the homeschoolers. One of the best way to learn history and geography is travel! This academic year, we traveled to Berlin (Germany), India, Cabella Ligure (Italy), Greece, Vienna and Salzburg (Austria), and Zermatt (Switzerland). In USA, we traveled to Tucson and Grand Canyon in Arizona, Bryce Canyon in Utah, New Orleans, Huntsville, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. We took a road trip to Texas and stopped on the way in many places in Mississippi, Louisiance, Arkansas and Texas. He wrote a travel journal of our trip to Berlin.
He completed Sonlight Core B curriculum for read-alouds. He completed a book review form for each of the books I read aloud to him. We added “Falling Up” by Shel Silverstein to our curriculum. We have finished about three-fourths of the book. We will complete it in 2nd grade. He loves these poems. He is beginning to enjoy books a lot! He has read the entire series of Magic Tree House. He presented Charlotte’s Web in homeschool reading fair.
He completed Grade 3 readers with Language Arts 3 of Sonlight curriculum. He completed Explode the Code 7 and 8, Wordly Wise B and C, Easy Grammar: Daily Guided Teaching & Review for Grade 2 Student Workbook. We have a folder that is called Arjun’s Dictionary and he adds words to this dictionary using this vocabulary form. He has been learning some grammar fundamentals at Khan Academy. In addition, I created worksheets for him from Wren & Martin. He can read and write cursive very comfortably. This year, he developed a keen interest in writing. One of the reasons is that after he has written a draft on paper, he is allowed to type his composition on computer and edit it. Also, he gets to work with Mrs. Heather Tate to edit his work. He absolutely loves working with her. One of the favorite things for him to do is to take a book and copy. He just loves to copy text from any book he fancies. He has always chosen non-fiction so far. This year, he participated in Gum Tree Writing Competition. He wrote a letter to President Obama this academic year and he received a reply that we will treasure for life.
He swims at Tupelo Aquatic Center as a member of Shockwave. He took seven 2-hour art classes with Mrs. Vicki Farmer and five day 3-hour art camp with Mrs. Kit Stafford. He takes weekly piano classes with Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos. He participated in Baptist Keyboard Festival (he played Joy to the World), National Federation of Music Clubs Piano Festival and MMTA. He got a superior rating in each of them. He sometimes participates in weekly bhajan sessions with Mrs. Archana Mayfield. He was a oompah-loompah in the Pied Piper Players production of “Disney’s Willy Wonka Jr.”
Also, he participated in Tupelo Community Theater off-broadway production of “On the Radio.”
We saw the performance of Swan Lake at Tupelo High School.
We went for only 1 career quest due to time constraints. Here’s a summary of some of our field trips. He got first prize in his category at Lego Fair Competition 2016 held by our local library. He made a Lego desk organizer and he used it for a long time before we had to break it.
For the library, he and Kabir created a MS themed Lego creation. They made Elvis guitar, Magnolia – our state flower, Cotton, Mississippi river and Natchez Trace Parkway.
We managed to participate in monthly Lego Club meetings in our local library only a few times this academic year.
Arjun helped Kabir and Cox brothers to create a 45-minute long movie titled: America: The Land of Hope, Opportunity, and Freedom. They interviewed 17 immigrants living in Tupelo, Oxford or Saltillo. We held the movie premiere in the library.
He participated in following 7 challenging activities with the homeschoolers: comic book challenge (he sent his version of comic book to the author of Welcome to Silver Street Farm), cardboard challenge (he made a cardboard theatre), MS photo book challenge (he took photo and wrote about Tupelo Automobile museum, Oren Dunn museum, and Northeast MS Daily Journal), engineering challenge, collaborative art challenge (made a collage with business cards of local businesses; we donated this art to the local library), poetry challenge and sculpting challenge.
Arjun loves outdoors and he spends a lot of time outdoors on his own. Also, he spends a lot of time on his own in his room creating all sorts of stuff. As a result, it creates a lot of cleaning issues for me but I am praying that when he grows up I will look back at this stage and say that it was worth it. I am still trying to teach him to be tidy and pick up his stuff. He is much better than previous years in this respect. He has come out of his shell completely and has become people-friendly (although sometimes I wish to put my hand over his mouth). Overall, I am really happy with his progress in every aspect this academic year. Especially, I am thrilled that he is discovering the joy of reading for pleasure. He makes us scream, love, laugh, and cry – all at the same time. He is the spice in this household. He enriches our lives by leaps and bounds.
I am really thankful to each one of you for inspiring and encouraging me. I am thankful to all those mothers who share their ideas either online or in person. I am thankful to Amit for being a hands-on father to boys. I am thankful to especially my mother-in-law who has moved with us for good and is taking care of most of the household chores so that I can help the boys with schoolwork. I feel lot of contentment and satisfaction with the way this year has unfolded. It seems like a divine plan! Thank you!