Penmanship is important!

I belong to old school where we think that grammar (even though my grammar is not up to the par and hence I feel more strongly that it’s important) and penmanship is important and should be one of the priorities in early education.

Technology is evolving at a speed of light and it is wonderful. I love it but I do feel that elementary and middle school students should use it for a limited time during the day and it should not be introduced too early in a child’s life! I am of the opinion that creative writing needs to be done with pencil or pen on a paper at elementary level. Also, I fail to appreciate “texting language” when used anywhere other than texting, such as in an email or a posting on facebook. To me, it seems that the writing loses its soul. Writing a letter using a pen/pencil on a paper has its own charm. Moreover, I fear that slowly we will lose the art of writing. Here’s my own example: I am born and brought up in India and studied how to read and write Hindi for about 12 years in school. I moved to US in 1999 and since then I haven’t used Hindi at all. I haven’t written anything in Hindi and I haven’t read anything in Hindi. Today, I’ll be scared to write even one sentence in Hindi. I have lost it. Here’s my husband’s example: When I met him, his handwriting was more beautiful than mine and I could read whatever he wrote very easily. Since a few years, he either dictates or types his notes. Now, his handwriting is not only worst than mine but I can’t decipher a word he writes. I hope you get the point.

So, I make my son, Kabir, practice handwriting. My friend, Sheila, introduced me to the following website (I love this website!) where you can create worksheets for your kid: ESL Writing Wizard

I have created worksheets for my son and used quotes from Shri Mataji (hoping that he will remember these quotes that might come in handy to him in his life). Here are the links to those worksheets. I hope it’s helpful!

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54892

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54893

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54894

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54895

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54896

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=54897

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56380

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56381

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56382

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56383

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56384

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56385

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56386

http://www.writingwizard.longcountdown.com/wizards/multi_word.php?id=56387

My short experience with Homeschool

When I first heard of homeschool, I completely discarded the idea. I assumed that I need to send my kid to a preschool as soon as possible. Then my husband and I met Roan Johnson and her kids struck us as unique. So, we spoke to her. We loved her reasons for homeschooling. I loved the idea that I can just keep my child home and enjoy him and bond with him by learning together. I had never thought of this before. As soon as I heard this, my heart yearned to enjoy him and soak in the bliss of watching him learn. This idea was so unique, exciting and attractive for me. Although, we did worry that he might suffer in the area of social development. Still we wanted to give it a try as I was lucky because I can be a stay-at-home mom. The best part was that we are not obligated and do not plan to homeschool him for his entire school life. So, there is no pressure at all! We are going to take just one year at a time and see what works for us. My husband was not only supportive but encouraging. So, we gave it a try and it is working for us!

I started with doing preschool activities with him and called it school time. I was having lots of fun with him and he was learning on his own. Both of us used to look forward to the school time. School time became our favorite time of the day and his curiosity to learn got deeper and deeper. There were days when we clashed and it ended in tears. There were days when I was too tired and felt that I need help. Yet, the joy and fun on most of the days outweighed the bad days overwhelmingly. The pride in seeing him learn was too sweet and delicious! So, we just continued with it until he was 4 years old. As far as social development is concerned, we made sure that he attends different classes such as music class, gym class, play-dates and so on. When I first left him alone for a music class as soon as he was about to turn 4, he was so excited that he wanted me to leave him outside the class (of course, I didn’t). Continue reading My short experience with Homeschool

Homeschool curriculum for my 4 year old

We started formal homeschooling this January and we love every minute of it. We don’t find it stressful at all and it’s so much fun. The best part is when we read something and we get an idea for a fun activity. For example, we went to a fair this weekend and Kabir got an idea that he wants to pretend that he is a news reporter and take notes. We had read a story about news reporter for school. It was so much fun. I had no idea that learning can be so much fun. I wish I was taught this way.

I am following Sonlight Homeschool curriculum. I love it and my son loves it too. The following is just right for my son – not too hard and not too easy.

Horizons Maths K – he does 1 chapter (2 pages) each day and I help him when needed.
Language Arts 1 with Readers 1 – we do just 6 spellings each week as I feel that’s enough for him. If he needs to write something that requires more than couple of sentences, I ask him to dictate it to me.
P4/5 Read-Alouds, Science and Social Studies – my husband does Science and Social Studies with him and I do the rest.
Sahaja Meditation – we follow Sahaja Yoga Meditation. So, we have come up with the following lessons for my son.

Monday: Color the Chakra with the right color and note the number of petals and pin it in the appropriate place on the subtle system chart. Then, we do the foot-soak (we put a teaspoon of kitchen salt into a little tub of lukewarm water, enough to soak the feet just above the ankle) while watching a video of Shri Mataji. Recite the appropriate mantra and affirmation for that Chakra.

Tuesday: Color the picture of the deity for that Chakra and pin it in the appropriate place on the subtle system chart. Then, we do the foot-soak while watching a video of Shri Mataji. Recite the appropriate mantra and affirmation for that Chakra.

Wednesday: Read a story about the deity of that Chakra. Then, we do the foot-soak while watching a video of Shri Mataji. Recite the appropriate mantra and affirmation for that Chakra.

Thursday: Sing bhajans. Then, we do the foot-soak while watching a video of Shri Mataji. Recite the appropriate mantra and affirmation for that Chakra.

Friday: Write a small prayer (whatever he wants to pray for) in the journal and draw around it in the journal. Then, we do the foot-soak while watching a video of Shri Mataji. Recite the appropriate mantra and affirmation for that Chakra.
Yoga – we use the Kids’ Yoga Deck to do yoga about 3-4 times a week.
Art & Craft – once a week
Drawing – once a week
Kumon Coloring Book – once a week. I like the way it’s building his coloring skills one step at a time.
Cooking: My son makes dinner every Friday. The menu includes very simple stuff like sandwiches and salads.
He attends a gym class in Wellness center and a music class with Ms. Coutoumanos. We have a book club for kids once a week. In summer, he will join baseball and swimming.

We are done with school work by naptime most days from Monday through Thursday. After that we have loads of free time to play.

3 Year old Preschool Curriculum for my son

My son is being home schooled right now. He is three and a half years old and his curriculum includes the following.

Reading Books: I love Sonlight P3/P4 curriculum as we are reading quality books and also, we do some of the suggested optional activities for each book in the reading list. We read Nursery Rhymes once a week. We participate in a book club once a week.

Activity Books: I have him working on 5-6 types of activity books at a time. I let my son do a page from each in a day. I like Kumon and BrainQuest Activity books. I have following types of activity books that he has been working on: dot-to-dot, mazes, tracing, cutting, folding, coloring, thinking skills, sticker books, and so on. We do these 3 days a week.

Reading Lesson: We are working with “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons“. Teaching my son to read has been a cake-walk because of this book so far. The best part is that he is enjoying it thoroughly. Continue reading 3 Year old Preschool Curriculum for my son