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 China

We have spent our first unit of grade 5 studying China. We read Chinese 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:

We read following books:

      • Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin
      • Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
        (Listen to Arjun’s essay on Courage with examples from above two books listed.)
      • Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz (Listen to Arjun’s character sketch of Jean Fritz)
      • The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong
      • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
      • Li Lun Lad of Courage by Carolyn Treffinger
      • The Analects of Confucius at World Book Website (we will continue reading this for the rest of the academic year)
      • Myths and Legends of China at World Book Website
      • Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (we will continue reading this for the rest of the academic year)

      Creative Writing: Arjun wrote a story called “Facing Your Fears” set in China.

      We watched following movies:

      • Painted Faces on Netflix
      • Monkey King on Amazon Prime
      • Monkey King 2 on YouTube Movies
      • Shaolin on YouTube Movies
      • Genius of The Ancient World: Confucius, Episode 3 on Netflix
      • Princess Weiyoung on Netflix
      • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin on Netflix
      • Return to The 36th Chamber on Netflix
      • Disciples of The 36th Chamber on Netflix
      • Guardian Brothers on Netflix
      • Confucius movie on YouTube
      • The Story of Laozi on YouTube

      Arjun created following Chinese themed artwork:

      Arjun has really become good at using chopsticks. Following food was either made by Arjun on his own such as Chinese Almond Cookies, Egg Drop Soup, Chinese Steamed Cake and so on, or we made them together:

      Our friend who is born and brought up in Hongkong made this Hongkong Style Noodles for us. It was absolutely delicious.

      Hongkong Style Noodles

Science Fair 2017

Boys participated in Peak Science Fair and then they presented their projects at Region VII Lower Science Fair at Ole Miss.  For Peak, they needed to create a hands-on stem activity.  So, they studied and created geodesic domes.  We took gumdrops and toothpicks so that each kid can create their own geodesic dome.

Continue reading Science Fair 2017

Spirit of Gandhi

Celebration of 144th birth anniversary in Tupelo!

We have about couple of dozen photographs of Gandhi and a few of his quotes that gives spiritual insight into the legend that is a living inspiration to us all.

Gandhi himself said, “What a great thing it would be if we in our busy lives could restore into ourselves each day for at least a couple of hours and prepare our minds to listen to the voice of the great silence. The divine radio is always singing if we could only make ourselves ready to listen to it, but it is impossible to listen without silence.”

We have a small corner where we helped people who were interested to feel this inner silence. We had several people from different walks of life who came over to the exhibition. A few just sat and watched the Gandhi movie for a while. The most popular part of the exhibition for the kids was the depiction of the salt march near the seashore at Dandi.

Please join us between 10 and 4 at Lee County Library to celebrate a legend tomorrow again!

Expecting to Fly: In Search Of The Spirit

Expecting to FlyExpecting to Fly: In Search Of The Spirit” by Patrick Sheridan is a book that I can never forget and I need to read it at least once again. It was very hard to put this book down. I am filled with awe about how Shri Mataji cleansed, nourished, comforted and guided the author.

Shri Mataji didn’t look at his personality or appearance but looked at his heart as he was a seeker and took him under her protection. She transformed him from a heavy 60s style drug addict who had abandoned his son to a loving family man who gave up all addictions and is leading a respectable, normal, happy life. This book should serve as a warning to anyone who seeks through drugs and/or any black magic. My favorite parts of the book are Patrick’s interactions with Shri Mataji. Also, it was inspiring to learn about the beginnings of Sahaja Yoga in London. There’s so much I learnt from this book that inspires my own spiritual journey. Above all, I love the transparency, that is, I love how the author has bared his life, thoughts and heart out without concern for being judged. I wish I had met the author when I was living in London.