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.


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:

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.


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)]


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.

Studying Africa

Unit 6 of our homeschool involves studying Africa. We studied history and geography of the region from the book: Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere by April Lotempio.

We watched following talks of Shri Mataji:

  • 1996-1029 Talk to yogis, Cairo, Egypt
  • 1996-1028 Public Program, Cairo, Egypt

We read following books:

  • A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park (Listen to Arjun’s retelling of the story of Salva Dut)
  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove
  • Beat the Story Drum, Pum Pum by Ashley Bryan (Arjun created a picture word story from one of the stories in the book: hen and frog)
  • Nelson Mandela “No Easy Walk to Freedom” by Barry Denenberg
  • Journey to Jo’burg: A South African Story by Beverley Naidoo

Arjun created a travel brochure for Africa: Great African Tours.

Arjun also wrote an African parody of the poem, Ladybird, Ladybird, Fly Away Home: Impala, Impala, Bound Away Home

We watched following African movies to get a sense of African culture:

  • Cook Off on Netflix
  • Meet the In-Laws on Netflix
  • Just in Time on Netflix
  • Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom on Amazon Prime (we forwarded the inappropriate parts)
  • Sarafina on Amazon Prime
  • Invictus on Netflix

We made following food (Arjun cooks mostly all on his own):

Studying Middle East

Unit 5 comprised of studying Middle East. We studied history and geography of the region from the book: Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere by April Lotempio.

We watched only one video of Shri Mataji in Middle East: 1998-0416 Talk to Yogis, Dubai

We studied following books:

  • 52 Days by Camel: My Sahara Adventure by Lawrie Raskin and Debora Pearson
  • Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354 by James Rumford
  • Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover
  • Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
  • Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy (I skip the inappropriate parts while reading). Arjun tried to make predictions before each part in the book.

We watched Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet on Amazon Prime.

We made following food:

Studying Vietnam

Unit 3 of our academic year consists of reading history and geography of Vietnam from the book: Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere by April Lotempio. To understand the culture in more depth we did the following:

We read the following book:

The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam by Quang Nhuong Huynh (Listen to Arjun’s animal story based on this book)

We watched the following movie: One Thousand Good Nights on Netflix.


We tried packaged pho and then we tried making pho from scratch. Pho from scratch was absolutely delicious.

Studying Russia

Unit 3 of our academic year consists of reading history and geography of Russia 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 the following talks of Shri Mataji:

  • 1992-0805 Arrival & Interview, Togliatti, Russia
  • 1995-0919 Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • 1995-1001 Navaratri Puja Talk, Cabella
  • 1993-0802 Shri Mataji, TV Interview, Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • 1994-0917 Arrival & visit to Sahaja school, Togliatti, Russia
  • Shri Mataji in Russia-Ukraine 1993-1994

We read the following book:

  • Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (Listen to Arjun’s essay on Communism inspired by this book)
  • Burying The Sun by Gloria Whelan

We watched the following movie:

  • Animal Farm on Amazon Prime (this was very interesting especially after realizing the symbolism representing communism)
  • Anastasia on DisneyPlus
  • Fiddler on the Roof on Netflix

We made following Russian food: