This winter, we went to a Chinese restaurant in Oxford, MS. At the end of our meal we got fortune cookies. The fortune in Kabir’s cookie was: “You will win big and loose small ones.” We laughed but it stayed in the back of our mind. This fortune came true! This year, Kabir has been blessed with big achievements. This year, he completes his journey of homeschool and embarks on a new journey – Kabir has been accepted at Stanford Online High School. He will start at 7th grade over there. This year, he won 2nd place in National History Bee. This year, he won first place in Regional Science Fair and his project has been nominated for Broadcom Masters. This year, his and Architesh Prasad’s documentary, “An American Right Not Used Enough,” won honorable mention in C-Span’s StudentCam (only ones from MS). This year, he published a children’s book that he loves: Children of the Sun. Indeed, he was blessed with big winnings!
Character Development: The most important aspect of education is character development. For development of character, here are few of the many things we do: listen to talks of Shri Mataji and meditate!!! This is the most important foundation of our homeschool. Amit and I try to be a good example for them. Even when we behave wrong, we try to tell them that it was wrong on our part and apologize. We try to encourage their good behavior and reprimand the bad ones. Whenever we read a book together, I try not to miss any opportunity from pointing out life lessons. We try to learn from the biographies of great people and so we read lot of biographies and watch them too. So we have completed watching episodes of Ramayan, and Mahabharat. We are watching Jhaansi Ki Rani (almost complete) and Mere Sai.
We discourage both boys to say, “I’m not interested…” in any aspect of education. To me, it’s like wanting to shut a few windows in our brain. A well ventilated house keeps most, if not all, windows open rather than just one or two. One may not have an aptitude and one may not be able to master a subject but one should always be interested and enthusiastic in trying to learn (except things that are detrimental to us and the society). So, whenever they tend towards the phrase: “I’m not interested.” I try to find ways to show the importance of being interested. I have learnt that each and every kid is smart and unique. Each one has a different style of learning and so, it’s just a matter of connecting the right style of learning with each student. I will borrow a line from one of the hindi movies I saw recently: there are no bad students but only bad teachers (includes parents and mentors). When a student fails, the reason is the failure of the adults around that student. Also, no one deals with life according to a subject. All aspects of life is inter-disciplinary. So, I have tried to ensure that Kabir has mastered the basic understanding in all subjects and his approach in life is inter-disciplinary in the foundation years, i.e., the first twelve years of Kabir’s life (he will be 12 in October). Now, he can begin to branch out in any direction he wants. If one branch doesn’t work out, he can take a few steps back and branch out in another direction. Hopefully, his foundation is strong and he can build a strong house on it eventually.
Kabir took PSAT 8/9 and his score was 1330 out of 1440 and he will be awarded and recognized by Duke TIP. You can find his name under the heading Mississippi: PSAT 8/9 Honorees.
Art: We started working through the lessons in ARTistic Pursuits Book 1. Kabir and Arjun illustrated their book with help of Mrs. Vicki Farmer “Children of The Sun.” After publishing it, boys have been enjoying doing book readings at various venues. This book has been the highlight of our homeschool this school year! Kabir wrote this article: How to Make Your Own Illustration from Children of the Sun. We visited Prado Museum and the Museo de bellas artes in Spain. Also, last year Kabir made one thousand paper cranes and they are hanging in our house for good luck. This year, Kabir, with help of Arjun, made another 1,008 paper cranes to send to the peace museum in Hiroshima with a peace message! We mailed 1,008 paper cranes!!!
English: Completed Bookshark Level 6 Read Aloud, Readers and Language Arts. Mrs. Heather Tate, English Instructor at Itawamba Community College, graded and discussed all the compositions that were assigned as per the curriculum. Completed Daily Grams Grade 7, Easy Grammar Grade 6, Natural Speller, and Wordly Wise 3000 Book 6. Presented the book Wonder in PEAK homeschool non-competitive Reading Fair. He published an illustrated children’s book: Children of the Sun. He won 3rd place winner at Gumtree Writing Competition. He took PSAT 8/9 and his Evidence Based Reading and Writing Score was 690 out of 720.
Math: Completed SaxonMath Homeschool 8/7 with Prealgebra; completed Algebra 1 with Mrs. Emily Zhang (4 books); completed 7th grade at online Khan Academy; and Life of Fred: Prealgebra 0 with Physics. He took PSAT 8/9 and his Math score was 640 out of 720.
History/ Social Science: Completed Bookshark History Level 6 & Level 7. Completed World History Detective (Grade 6-12); Online Khan Academy – completed the entire world and US history coursework. We visited Amory Regional Museum, fossil hunt at W. M. Browning Cretaceous Fossil Park, and downtown Tupelo History Walking tour as our field trip for the study of history. Our travels include history & culture lessons: Washington DC, India, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany. Mrs. Morgan Ricks, History Instructor at NE Mississippi Community College worked once a week for 2 months to help him prepare for National History Bee.
C-Span’s Student Cam 2018: Alongwith his friend, Architesh Prasad, he made a documentary titled “An American Right Not Used Enough.” These two Tupelo boys won honorable mention in C-Span’s Student Cam 2018. He won a check for $125.
National History Bee: Kabir won 2nd place in the Regionals in Birmingham and at the national level in Atlanta, he won 2nd Place. At the finals, it was a proud moment when they announced Tupelo, MS. Here’s a local newspaper article about the Kabir’s performance in History Bee before Kabir’s performance at National level in 2018: Daily Journal: Tupelo student finds joy in the past
Science: Completed Bookshark Science Level 6. Participated in one-week homeschool academy and 5 2-hour workshops during Homeschool Days at Memphis zoo and 1 day camp at Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. He participated in volcano, sheep heart dissection with Mrs. Brandy Watson and pig heart dissection with Amit.
MSEF Region VII Lower Science Fair at Ole Miss: Kabir won 1st place in the category of Engineering. Also, Kabir’s project, “Which Air Foil Creates the most Lift?” has been nominated for Broadcom Masters. We will find out about the decision in September.
Spanish: Realidades 1 – completed 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a and 3b units. He worked with Mrs. Maria Hernandez. Two weeks of vacation in Spain in June 2018 tested his language skills.
Music: He sometimes participates in weekly bhajan sessions with Mrs. Archana Mayfield. He takes weekly piano classes with Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos. In November, he participated in MMTA (Mississippi Music Teachers Association) concerto competition. He played “Celebration! Brisk and Brilliant” by Lynn Freeman Olson. In February, he earned superior rating for the 4th consecutive year in piano solo, and theory in the festival of National Federation of Music Clubs. Also, he participated in the competition of Mississippi Music Teachers Association and he qualified for State Championship. At the state level, he won 2nd place for Piano solo.
Theatre: In Fall 2017, Kabir took part in the following play: “It’s an Okie Dokie Life!” He was the main character, Joe. In Spring 2018, boys participated in the production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Kabir was the March Hare.
Extra-Curricular Activities: He swims twice a week at Tupelo Aquatic Center as a member of Tupelo Swim Team. We visited dry cleaning and frame shops as part of field trip. He joined us for monthly visits to Avonlea Assisted Living. He participated in 5 challenge get-togethers for homeschoolers.
Kabir, Amit and I have completed this incredible, memorable and beautiful journey of homeschool together. We are very grateful! Now, we are excited to embark on a new journey of an online school where his peers and teachers are from around the world. His teachers have either a masters or a PhD. This school doesn’t rank its students because it believes that each path is unique and cannot be compared. This school works more like a college. This school allows students to create their own path according to his/her ability. So, he cannot graduate early but if he is capable, he is allowed to to take higher level courses. This philosophy is what has attracted us to Stanford Online High School.
I know that each one of us have a purpose in this life. Kabir has a purpose too. We don’t know what that purpose is but I believe, that the Divine is guiding him towards that purpose. When he was a baby, I was prejudiced against homeschool. I confess that I felt homeschool was my compulsion. I was craving for diversity. But slowly and gradually I found out that homeschool and Mississippi is what is the best for us. I believe, this is because this was the best option for laying a strong foundation for what lies ahead for both of my boys. I have always advised my boys that they should always pray to God to guide them to choose the path that is meant for them. That’s the only way to ensure that they will be happy inside and outside. I discourage them to make up their mind as to career choices. I insist that there are many choices and they should keep their mind open and let the Divine lead them to the best option. When the time is right, their inner voice will tell them the right choice. And, they will be able to contribute to the world in whatever capacity they are meant to and hence, fulfill their destiny.