Mumbai Homeschoolers National Park Picnic July 2012

As the monsoon season pours rain over the ever green forests
and hills of the verdant Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivli, we homeschoolers look forward to our annual picnic to the flowing
stream in the midst of the dense forests of the park.

This year we had quite a few newcomers, who have taken the step towards real life education outside the confines of the school. Even though we had planned it in a rather short notice of 5 days, around 24 of us managed to have a wonderful time at the park on the 24th of July, 2012.

Reaching there:

By road, along Western Express Highway is national park gate. By rail, from Borivli station, reach National park gate, buy your tickets. Inside National park gate, if you have your own car, drive right up to the stream on Kanheri caves road. Dr. Mathew’s car and driver were also available to drop our special invitee’s right up to the stream J


Preparation tips:

Things to get:

Change of clothes.

Picnic food items.


Strap shoes.

Magnifying glass

Net for catching specimens


Frog cage


Bucket and mug


Extra clothes


Things not to get:

Plastic bags and plates. National Park is declared a plastic bag free zone.

Timings of the picnic:

1:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Most of us reached the stream by 1:45 pm.


The picnic:

We all gathered upstream, a short walk from the bridge. After changing, it was time to test the waters. There is a good flow of fresh water as it has been raining quite heavily in the past week.

Almost everyone immediately jumped into the water, which though cold, became comfortable in no time for us. Only some of the parents did not venture out into the stream waters to deep.

The kids played with one another, splashing water, catching frogs and small creepy crawlies, and exploring the area in general.

The older kids wandered upstream to explore the forest and wildlife. The younger ones with Supriya had a splashing good time at the mini waterfall Jacuzzi.

They caught a small tailed frog, and also what looks like a centipede.

The small rapids over the rocks were like a natural Jacuzzi, providing a wonderful cold water massage to those who dared to venture into it.

Soon everyone was feeling very hungry, and the mothers had lovingly packed delicious food for all of us. Most of the goodies vanished in no time!

The weather was perfect, thank God, cloudy and cool, with no rain. This allowed us to take quite a few pictures, some of which are also posted on my Facebook page.

All had a wonderful time, playing and also getting to know one another, sharing experiences and the common and uncommon joys of homeschooling.

All too soon it was time to head back.

With joyful hearts we walked back to the road, where monkeys and hot corn awaited us!

After a tasty snack of hot Bhutta with masala [lime and salt], we went back to our homes, with wonderful memories.

See you next time, at another place, another time, for the Mumbai homeschoolers picnic @ some other exciting and beautiful place soon! J





Working Dad’s and guilt

I am a working Dad, and quite proud of it. I never realized that being a working Dad is anything to feel guilty about. I have read a lot of articles about working away from home Mom’s and guilt, and have admired those Mom’s [including mine] who managed to juggle work, long hours of travel, and all the house work.

What about working Dad’s? We spend the majority of our time away from home. Not knowing what is happening at home, with our kids.

Are Dad’s only supposed to be ATM machines, without any relationship with their kids? Popular culture seems to think so. Infact it promotes the so-called successful Dad who makes money and provides all the luxuries of life to his family.

Let me relate what changed in my life over the years which made me start to think differently about Dad’s and their role in the family. The key influence which changed my world view about my life, work and family came from the word of God, the Bible.

Here is an example:

These are the proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes his father glad. But a foolish son brings sorrow to his mother. Riches that are gained by sinning aren’t worth anything. But doing what is right saves you from death. The LORD gives those who do right the food they need. But he lets those who do wrong go hungry.

(Proverbs 10:1-3 NIrV)

Proverbial wisdom says that it is not money that makes Dad glad, but a wise son. My priority should be to raise a wise son, not only for his own sake but for mine too.

It also says that money earned the wrong way will actually damage my home and its peace and joy. So I am to constantly evaluate my work, my business, to see that I am earning honestly.

God places a lot of responsibility on the Dad, especially for his children’s character. It is Dad and not Mom who will be accountable to God.

I love my work as a Physician. I love my family, my kids and want the best for them. As I reevaluated my life in the light of God’s word I realized that I had to walk the talk.

As a Doctor, my work used to take me away from home for over ten hours a day. As I saw my three little children growing up, I made a difficult decision, to let go of the major part of my practice to another Doctor, for the sake of being with my children and my family.

Ever since I cut down on my work by 50% in the last four years, I have seen, heard, played and fought a lot more with my three kids than I ever knew was possible for a Dad. I have made myself free after 4 pm and then I am all theirs [usually].


Being able to be a part of their world is so precious to me as a Dad.

Every moment, every day brings something new…

Being around when my youngest daughter removed the side wheels of her bicycle and cycled for the first time on two wheels.

Being there when she falls, comforting her.

Playing and learning football with my kids and their friends.

Seeing my oldest daughter becoming a teenager.

Seeing her write her stories, news articles, magazines, plays and cartoons.

Being the one to whom they rush when they want to play.

Being the one to whom they call for help with their bath, dinner, prayer and bedtime stories.

Hearing their stories of what happened when they played, about their friends, asking them questions about why they did what they did, giving a different perspective to their view point.

Being a role model to them in the way I live and act with others as Christ would have, with love and humility. This has been a challenge and with the grace of God I am able to change myself and pray that I impart values to them that will make them wise.

This all seems so unbelievable to me as a man. Each moment has given me so much joy, laughter, humor, and new insights into the world around me.

There are days when I get busy with my work, and due to various commitments at times, I cannot be with them in the evenings.

At times like these, I really feel bad.

Missing the part of their life even for a day.

I wonder what is going on as they play, what are they discovering, what new things have they managed to do.


Here are a few thoughts for all you men out there….

I think it is good for Dad’s to feel atleast a little guilty about working away from home. Please spend more time with your kids. They need you more than your money.

It will surely make you a better Father, Husband, and your kids better human beings…who will make you glad in your old age.


Many men will agree that being a father is the most rewarding relationship that they have. Children begin by loving their fathers unconditionally. It is a clean slate. There is nothing the father has to do to earn his child’s love. The difficult part is not losing it. As the child goes out into the world, he will see all kinds of men whom he will look to as models as well. It is crucial that his father stay active in his life and help him make intelligent decisions. A boy without a father will look elsewhere to fill his father’s shoes.

Our fathers carry half of our genetic makeup. Our relationship with our father plays a huge part of who we will become. In many segments of society, people grow up without ever knowing their fathers. This is unfortunate because fathers should play as important a role in raising their children as mothers. A father is the model of a man for his daughter and she will choose a man who is like him. A father is the model for his son as well. Fortunately, there is a trend for fathers to be more active in their children’s lives.


Source: Father Poems – Poems about Fathers, Dads


Father Poem

This poem is about the circle of life, from a daughter to her Dad.

Family Circle

© Melissa G. Nicks

When I am born, you are here
In your eye, I see a tear
Time flies and already I’m two
“Look, daddy, I can tie my shoe!”

Before you know it, I’m five
Every day, you thank God I’m alive
Pretty soon, I turn eight
You tell me I’m never allowed to date

I’m already twelve in my preteen years
Which means you’ll help me with all my new fears
Now fourteen with my permit to drive
Waiting to hit the big one-five

Too early comes sixteen, with my license now
It went by too fast, you just ask how

You want to meet my boyfriend when I’m eighteen
I pray to god that you’re not too mean
The same guy two years later asks for my hand
I’m relieved when you say, that’s just grand

About a year later, you walk me down the aisle
Through all the tears, you bare a smile
Three years later, you’re gonna be a grandfather
You show love and pride for your new granddaughter

Another year down the road
Mom dies, oh the many tears that flowed
You’re not doing so well without her
Less than a year later, you forgot all about her

Alzheimer’s sets in and it scares me so
Not long after, you decide to go
Now I’m regretting not saying goodbye
Every time I think about it, I start to cry

The cycle has begun again
It has started over with little Megan
The other day, she turned two
And said, “Look, daddy, I can tie my shoe!”

Source: Cycle Of Life, Family Circle, Father Poem 

What do you think?





National body for Indian Homeschoolers



It is a time when the whole world is watching India, and especially Home-schoolers.

On the 14th of July, 2012, we will see the launch of our very own Indian Homeschool body, online and in Mumbai.





The much awaited launch of our all India ‘Homeschooling National Body’ is here!

Some of our most experienced Home-schoolers are coming to Mumbai from all over India. They will put their minds together, to launch a ‘Homeschooling Community’ which can represent our concerns and perspective on various forums.

Even though the event is in Mumbai, it will be webcasted live for all of us. So consider it happening wherever you are…Just register yourself for the webinar and be a part of it. 

Through out the day speakers will address various questions and concerns which come our way regularly. A group of experienced panelists will make sure everything is covered.

PLUS: We can ask our own questions. Share our own experiences.

So block your day: 14th of July! 

It’s more important than anything else.

Do, join the event NOW by clicking ‘I am going’ tab. 
You can also invite your friends.

Here is the detailed schedule of the event:

For more information connect:


What is it all about?

Swashikshan is an all India national body that brings together all homeschoolers, unschoolers, and any kind of non-formal learners. It is a dynamic body that will keep growing and changing according to the needs of its members. It is flexible enough to encompass the diversity of Indians in all our variety of cultural heritage, and also the diversity in our ways of being with children.


Talking about the logo, the main visual form of this logo is derived from the helix of the DNA, suggesting uniqueness of individuals and intrinsic qualities of mankind. The form also represents an ‘H’ and its flame like fluidity represents freedom and agility while the embrace represents association, harmony and togetherness. The colour orange used in the logo represents vitality, enthusiasm, creativity and endurance while the grey colour is representative of balance and maturity. The visual form also tries to ensure that it is easy to print and use the logo


The purpose behind formation of Swashikshan

The purpose or objectives behind the formation of Swashikshan are…

1) To form a unified national society to support, represent, protect & empower the rights ,interests & vision of homeschooling parents/guardians (collectively or otherwise) wanting to educate their children in a healthy unrestricted environment by providing conventional / traditional and/or non-traditional methods of learning & actively participate in the process.

2) To achieve recognition in the Indian educational and cultural environment for the open learner & to make it a viable & acceptable option for parents seeking quality education beyond the classroom walls.

3) To enable all open-schooled children to take the age appropriate entrance exams for admissions in colleges in India or abroad.

4) To enable recognition of open-schooled children for the purpose of govt. or non govt. employment

5) To ensure that such children are not discriminated in any way and enjoy all the benefits pertaining to their age/capacity.

6) To enable the integration of different paths of learning— formal,informal & non formal.

7) To enable the linking up with and collaborating with schools and universities like Swaraj .

8) To create & share a resource/ information pool & networking.

9) To guide /counsel parents who wish to know or opt for such an approach for education for their children.