I will update this post as and when required with Arjun’s artwork this academic year. He does art while I read to him or else while we listen to audiobooks. He is taking art courses from Colin Bradley Art.
2020-2021 has been a very different academic year. Due to the pandemic we avoided company as much as possible and this implied no field trips, no in-person classes and no homeschool gathering. Also, we had to relocate from Mississippi to Pennsylvania. MS has been our home for 14 years and so it was a considerable relocation for our family. Amit had to move in February and start work. We stayed back until June because of various reasons. It wasn’t easy on any of us but we still made the best of our situation with the blessings of Shri Mataji. Arjun has completed 5th Grade curriculum and here’s the summary of all that we accomplished.
History / Geography / Read Alouds / Readers
We completed Bookshark Reading with History Curriculum F. We studied the following countries: China, North Korea and South Korea, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, Mongolia, India, Middle East, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. I think 5th grade history was his favorite. He completed Eastern Hemisphere Notebook pages.
For Poems, we studied Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. While studying different countries, Arjun cooked a lot. I can vouch that he is now capable to feed the family completely (as long as someone else in the family takes up the responsibility of cleaning up).
We completed Bookshark Language Arts Curriculum F. Arjun completed following workbooks: Wordly Wise 3000 Book 6, Editor In Chief Level 3, McGraw-Hill Education Vocabulary Second Edition Grades 6-8, Easy Grammar Grade 6, and Daily Grams Grade 6. We completed Grade 7 spelling list from Natural Speller. He worked with Ms. Madeleine Porter on a weekly basis for creative writing. Also, he completed The Process of Writing from CTYOnline and earned grade ‘A’. He updated his blog Children Books Reviews and his podcasts on iTunes with 16 additional posts this academic year.
Arjun completed Saxon Math Homeschool 7/6, TOPS Learning Systems: Probability 08. He completed Khan Academy Grade 6. Also, he completed Life of Fred Intermediate Series: Kidneys, Liver and Mineshaft and Life of Fred: Fractions. He participated and completed weekly MSMS (The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science) Math All Star program that lasted 4 weeks in Spring 2021. He also participated in MathLeague competitions and made it to State levels. He made it to Nationals too but we decided not to participate as we were moving around the date of Nationals.
The Abacus Institute of Mrs. Emily Zhang – Currently working on new version of Pre MathCounts Book 1; Pre-Algebra Book 2; Pre Algebra Book 3 – Finished Pre-Algebra Book 1; Mental Math Grade 8th (Mental Math series is done).
We accomplished following for 5th Grade Science:
- Sonlight Science F Curriculum / BookShark Science F Curriculum
- The Human Body Book For Every Kid by Janice Vancleave
- The 100+ Series Human Body Workbook | Grades 5-8 Science
- Everything You Need to Ace Science In One Big Fat Notebook
- Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy videos by CrashCourse
- Earth and Space Science from CTYOnline – Grade Earned ‘A’
- Physical Science from CTYOnline – Grade Earned ‘A’
- Life Science from CTYOnline – Grade Earned ‘A’
- The Elements Book: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table by DK
- Built Rockets using the Estes Rocket Science Starter Kit
Arjun studied and participated in National Science Bee 2020 and he was one of the semifinalist in the Elementary Category of National Science Bee. He qualified again in Spring 2021 with a score of 98% but unfortunately, I was so busy cleaning, packing and getting ready to move to PA that I completely forgot to register him for Regionals until the deadline was over. I regret it as he was very well prepared and was really looking forward to another round of Science Bee competitions.
Arjun’s science fair project this year was a prototype robotic rover that could detect wildfires. Since this year The University of Mississippi Science and Engineering Lower Fair Region VII was online, he made a video presentation and won first place in Robotics and Intelligent Machines under Class II (grades 4-6). Read more about Robotic Rover project, if you like. Here is the announcement video to recognize participating students.
Arjun completed the course Kidcoder Series: Windows Programming for elementary and middle-school students, Student Textbook, 3rd Edition. This course introduced him to Visual Basic.
Arjun did weekly classes with Homeschool Spanish Academy and completed Level 2A (scored 100%). He is working on Level 2B. The syllabus he covered can be seen in the photo below.
Music / Art
Arjun did following online camps from Nirmal Arts Academy located in Italy: 2-week course of watercolor; 1-week course of Aboriginal Painting; 1-week course of Drama Therapy; 1-week course of Zentangle; 1-week course of Harmonium. Currently, he is signed up for 3 terms (each term is 2 months long) of Flamenco Guitar taught by Miguel Czachowski. He has completed 2nd term and started with the third term.
Piano: Ms. Sandy Coutoumanos taught him online this year. Arjun participated in Level 5 of National Federation of Music Clubs and earned superior rating for Theory, Piano APFS (American Patriotic Folk Song) and Piano Solo. He earned a gold cup for Piano Solo. This year, he participated in the MFMC Junior Piano Convention, in which he got a 99.5 superior rating, earning first place. He participated in MMTA and qualified for finals. MMTA Finals he placed 4th Place.
Arjun’s steel wool painting was chosen for publication in CTY’s Lexophilia: A JHU CTY Literary Journal (page 71). [Lexophilia, Issue #2: Light (Spring 2021)]
In addition to daily morning and evening meditation, Arjun participated in Saturday online meditations for families where he sometimes co-led the meditation along with Kabir on Zoom. Also, he participated in Sunday kids online meditation where he sometime led the meditation and he got the opportunity to connect with his Sahaja brothers and sisters across America.
Arjun has come a long way this academic year. He has matured and shown us that he is responsible and can be completely trusted with certain matters. He has been such a big help taking care of his 81-year old grandfather. He helped me pack almost the entire house, took care of the mail by using FaceTime with Amit, took care of Tara (our dog) completely, unlocking the yard when mowers would come and lock it again when they leave and so much more. I wish to see him become cleaner and less stubborn. In some matters he is exactly like me and in some, he is exactly opposite of me. Hence, we really find ourselves feuding quite a bit. I love his total dedication if he finds inspiration to do something. Currently, his inspiration is leading him to learn Mandarin. It is so stressful and fascinating at the same time to watch him blossom and evolve as a person. He is definitely the hub of this family who makes the entire family move constantly. We love him so much and thank Shri Mataji for making us his parents.
End of School Party
We actually went to restaurant after more than a year due to pandemic. We enjoyed Indian food at a local Indian restaurant, Clove in PA. It’s amazing to say “local Indian restaurant” as we never had this privilege for the last 14 years. Boys were ecstatic. Kabir ordered chicken biryani and Arjun ordered tandoori chicken and butter chicken. We offered a small “Thank-You” puja to Shri Mataji. We invited Yogi Uncle for the end of school party where we bragged on this academic year’s achievements.
This week, Arjun assembled the Estes Rocket Science Starter Kit. This Sunday, we went to a nearby field and he launched the rocket. The kit came with three engines, (A8-3: 275 ft; B6-4: 575 ft; C6-5: 1150 ft) and he launched the first one. He forgot to put in the parachute for the first launch, but the rocket suffered no damage. In the second launch, the parachute worked, but the wind carried it to somebody’s backyard. We recovered it, but for the third launch, we went to Veteran’s Park, which is a much bigger area. In the third launch, the rocket went so high, we could not find it.
Later, Arjun made his own rocket from scratch, and launched on Nov 7, 2020, when the 2020 election results came out. It was made of a paper nose cone, a cardboard body, a straw lug, cardboard fins, and a double A-83 Estes engine.
We are studying Japan after completing North and South Korea as part of Unit 2 of our academic year. We studied Japanese history and geography from the book: Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere by April Lotempio. To understand the culture in more depth we did the following:
We listened to following talks of Shri Mataji:
- 1995-0301 Arrival and Talk, Tokyo, Japan
- 1994-0418 Public Program, Tokyo, Japan
We read following books:
- Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr (Listen to Arjun’s summary of Sadako and her paper cranes)
- The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck (For creative writing section, Arjun added a paragraph to one of the pages in the book. Listen to this page from The Big Wave.)
- The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson (Listen to Arjun’s analysis of a quote from The Master Puppeteer).
- Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun by Rhoda Blumberg
- Born in the Year of Courage by Emily Crofford
Arjun created following haiku titled “Global Warming”:
Hurricanes, fires, whirlwinds rage;
Still slaves of money.
We saw following movies:
- Tuna Girl on Netflix
- Tokyo Trial on Netflix (Arjun watched it intermittently but I enjoyed it.)
Arjun did following Japan inspired artwork:
We ate following food that we bought from Kroger:
We made the following Japanese food:
We have spent our second unit of grade 5 studying North Korea and South Korea. We read Korean History and Geography from the book: Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere by April Lotempio. Arjun created this short movie on Korean War using Scratch programming. There are no talks given by Shri Mataji in Korea and so, we read all the quotes where Shri Mataji has talked about Korea. To understand the culture in more depth we did the following:
We read following book: Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park. Arjun got inspired to make box kite after reading this book. Also, he pretended to be a reporter and wrote a news article based on Kite Fighters.
We watched following movies:
- Last Princess on Amazon Prime
- Crash Landing on You on Netflix (Arjun saw it intermittently but I was hooked to it.) This movie inspired us to try instant noodles.
We made following Korean food: