Summary of Arjun’s 5th Grade

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).

Language Arts

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.

Mathematics

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).

Science

We accomplished following for 5th Grade Science:

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.

Computer Technology

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.

Spanish

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 participated in Doodle for Google competition

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)]

Meditation

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.

Conclusion

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.

Studying Japan

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: 

Arjun created following haiku titled “Global Warming”:
Carbon increases,
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:

Studying North Korea and South Korea

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:

 

Summary of Arjun’s 4th Grade

2019-2020 academic year has been difficult for various reasons but academically Arjun has shined and blossomed. He has fulfilled all my expectations academically despite of being sick for majority of this year. Arjun had a “get it done” attitude this year. This is good but I hope he will try to enjoy it too and sometimes take time to go deeper. I think he enjoys learning the subjects he is interested but his interests keep varying so much that it’s best to let him be at this phase of his life.  As far as behavior is concerned, he has become so much neater than before. There was a phase when he had become perfect in this arena but he has started lagging again. Hopefully, he will pick up the slack once again. His anger and rebellious tendency is so much under control. So, even though he has to improve a lot but I am so happy and pleased that he has made a serious effort to make his personality more pleasant. For this, I am proud of him beyond words. Here’s the summary of all he accomplished this year.

Arjun has been accepted to Duke Tip program.

Mathematics:
SaxonMath Homeschool 6/5
Life of Fred series – Completed Elementary Series (till Jelly Beans)
Mathological Liar Grade 5 & 6
Khan Academy Grade 5
The Abacus Institute of Mrs. Emily Zhang – Currently working on Pre Mathcount Book 1; Mental Math Grade 8 Book 2; National Standardized Test Grade 5
Cryptography: Math and Codes via CTYOnline – Earned A+ (100%). For final project, he created a movie – The History of Cryptography (17:11 minutes long).

Logic:
Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural – completed
Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal – completed until page 168; will complete this book in grade 5

Science:
Bookshark Science Level E
TOPS: Electricity 32
TOPS: Magnetism 33
Janice VanCleave’s Oceans for Every Kid
Snap Circuit – completed 230 projects out of 692 projects.
Healthworks Homeschool Health & PE – 1 semester of bi-monthly classes.
Science Bee – Arjun took the online exam for Science Bee. He got 79 and this score qualified him for Regional Science Bee Competition. We were registered to attend it in Memphis but due to COVID-19, the even got canceled.
Memphis Zoo Homeschool Programs – 3 homeschool classes in Memphis Zoo which includes dissection of frog.

Frog Dissection

Household Chemistry Class via CTYOnline – This course was not graded but he received excellent evaluation. He created a video as part of his Household Chemistry final project.

2 meetings of Stem Challenges with homeschoolers

Science Fair Project – Arjun studied particulate matter in air in various environments: simulated forest fire, neighborhood front yard, ambulance bay, wood carving workshop, Ballard Park (city park), neighborhood backyard, and Tupelo crosstown. His question: which environment generates the maximum particulate emission. For this experiment, he created his own monitor to calculate the particulate matter in air. He didn’t get to present it at Regional Fair due to COVID-19 lockdown.

Language Arts:
Bookshark Language Arts Level E
Daily Grams Grade 5
Easy Grammar Grade 5
Editor in Chief Level 2
Wordly Wise 3000 Book 5
Vocabulary Cartoons: Word Power Made Easy
Natural Speller – completed grade 5 list
Dictation from Lives of The Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought) – just 4 biographies left that we will complete in grade 5
Mrs Heather Tate continued to edit and guide all the compositions written by Arjun this academic year. He learnt typing using the typist program in Mac. This helps him as he can now type faster.

Currently, he is doing CTY Online Grammar Fundamentals course.

History/Geography:
Bookshark Curriculum Level E
American History II Lap book Kit

US Elections Lap book Kit

Biography – we couldn’t participate in biography fair due to COVID-19. Arjun chose to study one of the great warriors of Indian history whose life taught the real meaning of patriotism – Maharan Pratap. For this, we watched the entire TV serial of “Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap.” He created a PowerPoint Presentation on Maharan Pratap. Biography is one of the ways that I feel can teach us life lessons. So far, we have watched following Hindi TV serials that will teach culture and life lessons: Ramayan, Mahabharat, Buddha, Jhansi Ki Raani, Maharana Pratap, The Gospel of Luke, The Gospel of Mathew, The Gospel of John, Nanak Shah Fakir, The Message: The Story of Islam, and episodes about Navaratri in Vighnaharta Ganesh. Currently, we are watching the 10 forms of Mahakali in Vighnaharta Ganesh. I don’t know if Arjun gets much out of these serials as he’s so young but hopefully, Kabir does. I know I have learnt a lot about history, geography, religion and culture by watching these serials.
Geography Fair – We participated in 1 geography fair this academic year where Arjun studied and presented Galapagos Island.

Literature:
Bookshark Curriculum Read Aloud and Readers Level E – we had bought a few audiobooks when Kabir did this curriculum. So, Arjun had the advantage of listening to audiobooks for many books this academic year. If we could find a movie based on the books we read, then we did watch them.
A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa
Poems of Kabir translated by Rabindranath Tagore
Arjun added to Children Books Reviews blog and a Children Books Reviews podcast of all the book reviews he wrote this academic year.

Spanish:
Arjun did weekly classes with Homeschool Spanish Academy and completed Level 1 (scored 100%). The syllabus he covered can be seen in the photo below.

Theatre:
Arjun participated in 1 play this academic year: Candy Coated Christmas Carols. He was one of the shepherds.

Cooking:
Arjun participated in 2 local cooking classes. He cooked and baked a lot this academic year. All these dishes he made on his own and were absolutely delicious.

Volunteering:
Arjun volunteered to help at Avonlea Assisted Living only 3 times this academic year. We couldn’t go more frequently this year due to sickness, travel and Covid-19 circumstances.

Art:
Arjun took 12 art classes each semester at Party in the Art Room. During COVID-19 situation, the classes were held online. The best art classes he has taken so far is from Udemy.com. He completed following courses: Drawing Birds: The Essential Guide, The Ultimate Animal Drawing Course: Beginner to Advanced, Drawing Animals: From Anatomy to Rendering. These art courses at Udemy.com are exactly what brought happiness to his soul.

Piano:
Arjun took weekly classes with Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos and completed level 4. During COVID-19 situation, the classes were held online.
National Federation of Music Clubs – Earned superior for Piano American Patriotic Folk Song, Earned superior (5th Consecutive Year) in Piano Solo Primary III; Earned superior (4th Consecutive Year) in Musicianship Theory IV. We had online piano recital.

 

Swimming:
Arjun managed to attend very few swimming classes – only for 1 semester. This summer, he is learning tennis.

Dog Training:
We got a dog and named her Tara. She is a silken windhound. Arjun had to study a lot about how to take care of dogs and train her in basic obedience. He is the main person who takes care of Tara totally. Also, he did online scent work classes for Tara: Online Beginning Scent Work and Online Beginning Odor Class. He did novice trick training class at Use Your Nose Dog Training Online and Tara earned Trick Dog – Novice title from AKC. Currently, he is doing Rally course.

Travel:
In Summer 2019, we took Alaskan cruise to Alaska and Arjun had such a good time. On ship, he went on his own to eat his breakfast and lunch and attended talks on Alaskan sea animals, geography and history – all alone. He learnt so much during this trip. We went to San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Peru, and took an American road trip to Yellow Stone National Park, Big Horn, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wounded Knee, and Austin. In October, Arjun and I traveled to India. That’s all the traveling we did this academic year. This academic year was a little tough as there was sickness in our family every few months but it all ended at a good note in the end. So, we didn’t get to travel as much or go to field trips as much.

Conclusion:
This academic year, we have felt the divine hand of Shri Mataji on us. As I mentioned before that this academic year has been difficult but it has been blissful too in so many ways. All difficulties did get resolved. We have had memorable family times together at home. I am so happy that Tara joined our family! Tara has made Arjun so responsible and mature. Kabir gets out of his room and away from his computer. Amit is like a young boy playing with Tara. Yes, she is a blessing to our family. My mother-in-law survived open heart surgery. My father-in-law is 80 and doing well. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. So, thank you, Shri Mataji!!!!

End of School Celebration

To celebrate end of school, we did a Thank-You puja to Shri Mataji for a wonderful academic year. Then Kabir did a presentation of all Arjun’s journey this academic year. Next two days, we had online celebration of Kabir’s end of school. So the party continued for three days. The menu for the three days of celebration included: dahi-bhaat (yogurt-rice), salad, potato-kale-leek gratin, homemade mozzarella pizza, dumplings, garlic paneer, chicken kabob, parmesan cauliflower, banana bread pudding, and Italian wedding cookies.

Cooking 2020

Arjun started 2020 with a zest for cooking. He cooked everything on his own and we really enjoyed the food and the calories!!! Here’s the photo journal of all the yummy food he cooked (we forgot to take photos for some as we were too impatient to eat.)