Each school year for us has been little different spontaneously. It seems that each school year has a different theme for us and is unique. We have learnt so much this academic year and it has been so eventful: making a 45-minute documentary on immigrant residents of our area, publishing a book, winning science fair for a project that is dear to our heart, being #12 finalist at National History Bee, and above all – our travels. Again, I am grateful for this opportunity. I love what we are doing even though there are days when I feel very overwhelmed or I second-guess myself. This year, we used Bookshark – secular sister company of Sonlight – instead of Sonlight. Here’s the summary of Kabir’s 5th grade.
My boys participate in meditation meetings held weekly in our town. They meditate at home everyday. Then have weekly bhajan (devotional songs) sessions with my friend, Archana Mayfield over Skype. This school year, my boys have focused on taking turns in leading the meditations at home. Each of them have a prayer book where they write a prayer whenever they feel the need. Sometimes, they may write down 3 – 5 points that they have learnt from talks of Shri Mataji on a particular day. We have started watching the series of Ramayana together.
Kabir completed Saxon Math 7/6 curriculum, and 6th grade Math at Khan Academy. He completed Mathalogical Liar Game Grade 6. He has completed the Abacus course (goes till 8th grade Abacus), TCAP and National Standardized Test with Mrs. Emily Zhang. He is now focusing on Mental Math and Pre-Algebra during his online classes with Mrs. Emily Zhang. He has completed “Cryptography: Math and Codes” from CTY Online. He completed the Life of Fred 2-Book Set: Fractions, Decimals and Percents.
He has completed Building Thinking Skills Level 2.
We completed Bookshark Read-Alouds Level 5 curriculum. Again, we got the audiobooks for few books listed in the curriculum from either the library or the Audibles.com. The theme of this school year was Eastern Hemisphere and so, we couldn’t find many audiobooks or movies. Hence, we enjoyed reading them together. He did update his book journal blog with a few book reviews or reports. This school year, Kabir tried to combine his language arts assignments with the book reports. For example, if the assignment was to create a travel brochure, he chose one of the books such as “52 Days by Camel” to create a travel brochure based on the travels of Lawrie Raskin. If you have time and an interest, I encourage you to check out his work that he has posted at his book journal blog. Another highlight of this academic year was Kabir making one thousand paper cranes after reading “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”
For Reading Fair, Kabir chose “The Apothecary” by Maile Meloy. He loved it so much that he made a comic out of it. He mailed a letter and the comic he had created to the author. I hope she got it.
We completed Bookshark Language Arts Level 5 curriculum, Daily Grams Grade 6, Easy Grammar Grade 5 and Wordly Wise 3000 Book 5. For spelling, we completed the 7th grade list from Natural Speller. For handwriting, Kabir completed Cursive Writing Practice: Joke and Riddles. Ms. Heather Tate edited all his compositions. Heather is such a blessing for my boys. For one of his assignments he wrote a persuasive letter addressed to residents of our subdivision encouraging them to recycle. This letter was distributed in the subdivision’s monthly newsletter. We didn’t receive any response :(. He completed two courses called “The Process of Writing” and “Young Readers’ Series: The Right Stuff- Nonfiction” from CTY online. He participated in both Duke TIP Writing contest and Gum Tree Writing contest. We used the services of the publishing company of Amazon.com (free to any author who wants to publish) to publish “Tantrum Fantrum” and so, he got the experience of book reading as an author at Lawhon Elementary, Barnes & Noble, All Saints Storytime for pre-schoolers and at Amit’s work place – Cath Lab at our local hospital. He enjoyed book reading thoroughly.
We completed Sonlight F/Bookshark Level 5 Science curriculum. Since the main focus this school year was human body, Kabir studied most of the science section of the curriculum with Amit. He participated in bi-monthly Health and PE classes for Homeschoolers at Healthworks. He completed 175 out of 300 snap circuits projects. 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 Amit, Frog dissection 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 – shark and drum fish dissection.
He participated in Peak Science Fair, Peak “All About Space” presentations and MSEF Region 7 Science Fair – Lower Fair at Ole Miss. At the Regional, he won first place in the category of Behavioral and Social Science and also, won the best project award for 4th – 6th grade category. I am thrilled with the topic of his project: “Will a Simple Relaxation Technique Promoting Mental Silence Have a Positive Impact on Stress Level of School Children.” For “All About Space” presentation, he wrote a long poem about the solar family.
History / Geography
We completed the History/Geography section of Bookshark Level 5 curriculum. We studied Eastern Hemisphere this school year. He was introduced to Japanese culture and learnt origami with Mrs. Kyoko Okamoto.
This school year, he studied Indian History and participated in a group project where he contributed to a blog about Indian History. Also, he created a short documentary from our trip to India for presentation of India. He helped at representing India in the Celebration of Cultures event at Oren Dunn museum. We visited Hernando de Soto Encampment at Natchez Trace Parkway and Oren Dunn Museum as part of our field trip.
Also, he was one of the creators of the 45-minute documentary 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.
The highlight for studying history and geography was our travels (International Travels: Berlin in Germany; Athens, Corinth, Nafplio, Delphi, Mycenae, Olympia, and Meteora in Greece; Chandigarh, Amritsar, and Dharamshala in India; Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, Cabella Ligure in Italy, Zermatt in Switzerland. US Travels: Road Trip to Texas, Tucson and Grand Canyon in Arizona, Bryce Canyon in Utah, New Orleans, Huntsville, Los Angeles, and Atlanta) and National History Bee (#12 in the country).
Whenever and wherever we traveled, he planned our daily activity with help of Amit and Rick Steve’s guidebooks. He read the guidebook and taught us the history. The sight that I will hold dear in my heart forever was Kabir being our guide with help of Rick Steve’s guidebook in all the museums and sites that we visited.
Kabir learns piano from Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos. He participated in Piano Master Class with Mark Valenti at Blue Mountain College. Mark Valenti is a concert pianist from Chicago. He participated in Baptist Keyboard Festival (he played Amazing Grace), National Federation of Music Clubs Piano Festival, MMTA. He got superior rating in each of these events. He was awarded gold cups for getting superior rating for 3 consecutive years during National Federation of Music Clubs Piano Festival in Music Theory, Piano Solo and Concerto. During our trip to Vienna and Salzburg, we learnt a lot about Mozart. Also, we attended a Mozart concert in Vienna, which was our first experience of opera. He is intrigued with the concept of opera. He did a presentation on Mozart for our end of school party. He completed “Mastering the Fundamentals of Music” course from CTY Online.
We saw the performance of Swan Lake at Tupelo High School and The Shakespeare Mix-up performance by Pied Piper Players. He was Charlie 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.”
He took seven 2-hour art classes with Mrs. Vicki Farmer and five day 3-hour art camp with Mrs. Kit Stafford.
He participated in following 7 challenging activities with the homeschoolers: comic book challenge (he made a comic based on the book “The Apothecary”), cardboard challenge (he made a cardboard ship), MS photo book challenge (he took photo and wrote about Tupelo Aquatic Center, Tupelo Buffalo Park, and Ballard Park), 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.
For the library, he and Arjun 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. He got first prize in his category at Lego Fair Competition 2016 held by our local library.
I am thankful to Amit and my in-laws for being the support that they are because we couldn’t have done this alone. This academic year, Kabir has been accepted to Davidson’s young scholar program. He is a hard-working, sincere, and organized kid. He has delivered on everything that I ask of him. He has completed all CTYOnline classes independently without any input or help from us and in a timely manner. He is slowly learning the qualities of discipline, honesty, and time-management. He is an independent learner and his interests are varied. As a result, he will be able to take inter-disciplinary approach to whatever he does in life (hopefully). At the same time, I make sure that he prays daily, eats healthy when at home, exercises moderately (swimming, biking, skating, etc.), plays and sleeps 8-10 hours each night. I wish he wouldn’t jump around or fidget so much but then he wouldn’t be a child. I am trying to work on his table manners. I am trying to teach him that it’s ok to do nothing once in a while but that’s very hard for him. Arjun has the capacity to just sit, do nothing and yet enjoy but Kabir will drive us mad and ultimately we will let him be with his books. That’s just his personality and I completely understand. I am really thankful and grateful for being Kabir and Arjun’s mother. I couldn’t have had a better full-time profession for myself. It’s probably one of the most hard-working job with the greatest self-satisfaction for me!!!