This is an account of a seven year old boy and his journey of writing and ultimately publishing a book, sent to me by his mother.
I am sharing here the experience of a family that home schooled their kids in India from 2009 to 2018:
Their oldest child has gained admittance into several extremely selective universities in the US though he has been homeschooled from standard 4 until now (nearly entirely in India; they did just one year in the US).
As you may know, there are as many ways to do home education as there are parenting styles. We fall somewhere in between homeschooling and unschooling. That is, we use eclectic materials in a relaxed manner dependent on the child’s interests, but also have required subjects, though far fewer requirements than most traditional homeschoolers, especially in the lower grades. We encourage lots of free time for personal exploration. Our second grader finishes her required work in about half an hour, and our 5th grader in about two hours. The rest of the day they are free to do their own projects. Our high schoolers, on the other hand, have several hours of work each day, though the type of work is highly dependent on their individual interests.
Or oldest is finishing 12th standard and will be attending Cornell University in New York as an engineering student. He also gained admission to the Engineering programs at University of Michigan and Georgia Institute of Technology, received the highest merit scholarship at University of Maryland College Park Engineering, and received a full-ride (full cost of attendance) scholarship at University of Central Florida – all with a home-made transcript, applying as a homeschooler.
For home educators desiring to send students to the US for university, here are some guidelines:
For US Universities, only what is done in 9th-12th grade will be part of the application for admission (and since you apply during 12th standard, the only completed courses will be those taken in 9th-11th.)
Look up admission requirements at the universities you are interested in to make sure your student is taking the required courses. For example, many universities require 4 years of math, 4 years of English, 3 years of science, 2 years of social studies, 2 years of foreign language, etc. This will vary by university and by desired program of study. Look this up before your child is in 9th so that you can roughly plan out their high school years (9th-12th). Because you are homeschooling, you can be creative – for example, instead of 10th grade English, you can do 20th Century Literature and Composition or A Survey of Dystopian Fiction, or whatever your child is interested in. A science class could be a year long study of black holes, if that was what fascinated your child that year (the course description should explain how this was done at a high school level.)
Along with a transcript, you should provide course descriptions for each course, describing what textbooks or other resources were used. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s helpful, especially if your student has taken advantage of home education to study and do some unique things!
Standardized tests are especially important for homeschoolers seeking admission to US universities. Here in India you can sit for: SAT or ACT (you need one of these, not both – you can take practice tests and see which one you do better in), SAT subject tests, and AP (Advanced Placement) tests in various subjects. College Board (collegeboard.org) is where you sign up for SAT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests. ACT (act.org) is a separate organization. Most universities require either the SAT or ACT, and many require 2-3 SAT subject tests, especially if you are a homeschooler. No university requires AP tests, but they are great for showing college-level learning.
Competitions may be another way of proving what your child has accomplished; they are great if you have a child who likes them. Olympiads, math competitions, etc. all are great for homeschoolers.
If your child is a US citizen, have him/her sit for the PSAT. You can call around to International schools in your area to see where it is being given. If your child does very well on the PSAT, they can become a National Merit Scholar and get a FULL RIDE (FULL COST OF ATTENDANCE) or FULL TUITION scholarship at many universities. Our son’s full ride scholarship at the University of Central Florida was based on being National Merit. UCF has a wonderful program for National Merit students, as does University of Alabama, University of Kentucky, and many others.
There are many on-line high school courses that are asynchronous, so that the time difference is not an issue. Our students have taken several classes through PA Homeschoolers as well as WriteAtHome, which offers online English classes. There are MANY providers of asynchronous online classes that students can take from India.
If you have any questions do drop in a line and I will get back to you!
Jeremy was only 19 years when he fell off a running train on the 26th of November 2017. He succumbed to his injuries at Cooper hospital in Mumbai.
It was a shock to his parents and to all of us who knew him and the family. The pain was agonizing, the questions unending.
It was like being thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible. Gillian cried out to God, praying that if it is His will let Jeremy be raised from the dead. We all wept. Friends and family poured into their home that dark night to comfort them, shocked themselves. The people from their local church enveloped them with love and comfort.
But something unexpected started taking place almost within minutes of Gillian receiving the news at home. She started saying, “Lord if it is your will, I accept it. ” She started praising God at that most difficult moment.
Even Max who was at the Hospital, once he overcame the initial shock, was able to reach out and comfort his shocked friends who were gathered there.
What we witnessed was the triumph of the Living HOPE Jesus Christ, over death, the fleshing out of the victory Jesus won for you and me on the cross, defeating sin and death forever, once and for all, for we know that after Jesus died, he did not remain in the grave for long but came back to life on the third day, a fact of history that sceptics try their best to deny unsuccessfully to this very day.
Max and Gillian have experienced this victory by believing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. They were able to live it out.
At the darkest moment of their lives, this light within them shone through.
This was real faith, this was Christianity at its most powerful moment.. They were able to sing and praise God because they made a choice in their hearts to believe in the promises of God. They knew for sure that Jeremy now was, not in a better place, but in the best place possible, as Gillian kept saying in the days following.
Death was defeated that day and we were witness to it. This was when we started to understand what was meant by the eternal verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The way Max, Gillian and even Gabrielle, his 11-year-old sister, conducted themselves during the days following the death of Jeremy was I think the greatest testimony to the resurrection power of Christ. Many people have been touched including atheists witnessing this. One said, if this is what faith is, I want to experience this. At the funeral where over a thousand gathered, everyone was comforted by how the parents behaved. It was almost as if the parents were drawing from an unending well, springs of living water and hope and joy just bubbled out of them.
Jeremy’s blogs have inspired many.
Jeremy’s friends who worked with him at 40 Parables, a company in Bangalore, gave powerful testimony to his life and how he was so different in many ways, his maturity and his wisdom. He used to think out of the box. [He was homeschooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]
They said that he could handle any curved ball thrown at him, any difficult problem, and turn it into another opportunity for their company.
Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity for them to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.
All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. He knows you personally and his greatest desire is to bless you. Would you like to deepen your relationship with this God?
I had to do something drastic to connect back to my teenage son. Guess what?
He is in the tenth grade now and for the past few months I have been watching him spend hours…well not studying as in from his textbooks, but watching you tube videos or playing mine craft.
So this week finally I had to step in to help him achieve his own goals for this academic, to clear the tenth grade. Remember, a family is there to help support one another!
The first step was to get him to explain to me and understand what he wanted to actually get done.
For that I asked him to make a timetable for the week. He wrote that and we put it up on a big sheet in his room.
Then I gave him three days to see what he was actually able to do on his own. The wifi and internet remained on during this time.
What I observed was that he was simply unable to control the amount of time he spent on the net either on you tube or his mobile or on the desktop or laptop playing games.
So after three days I had to sit with him and make him understand in very simple terms what was happening.
Such is the power of these activities that the child is unable to recognize and tries to justify by saying that he has finished his assigned duties.
So we had to go for the complete solution. Just unplug the modem and keep it away in a secure place, and take the smart phone from him.
This has worked wonders!
We have our son back again!
Do share your experiences with your teenage kids 🙂
Over the last few years there has been a growing awareness of the existence of alternatives to Institutional schools as a way to educate children.
This has resulted in those who chose such alternatives years ago now coming together to hold meetings to explain what these alternatives are, especially homeschooling.
Yesterday Mumbai homeschoolers organised a Homeschooling Info Meet [HIM Nov 2017]. The response was beyond expectations, so much so that the initial venue had to be changed at the last minute.
It sounds paradoxical to hold a homeschooling meet in a school 🙂 but since the Principal of RCIS [Rustomjee Cambridge International School] Dahisar has graciously offered her place, a big thank you to Tanya Valecha madam and her team, and I believe it is a recognition by those in mainstream education that true education is collaborative.
For those who are interested, please click this link to a Google Drive folder with audio recordings from HIM Nov 2017.
This HIM Nov 2017 was a huge success and these are the highlights of the same:
Over 250 adults and kids participated.
The venue was the ground floor open hall of Rustomjee School
We had 6 to 8 experienced Homeschooler/unschooler families who gave 10 to 20 minute talks on their life, experiences, and the various ways in which you can do alternative education.
Swashikshan the all India homeschoolers body was also explained.
Different ways to integrate back to the mainstream in case the child or parent desires to were also presented.
The pros and cos of both systems were discussed along with practical tips in the lively Q & A session.
Tea and biscuits were served, courtesy the School. We charge a nominal fee of 50 Rs per adult and 20 Rs per child for this HIM Nov 217.
If anyone is interested in attending or organising future HIMs please contact us or Swashikshan.
As a citizen of Mumbai and a medical doctor, I am very concerned about the quality of air we breathe. The Hindustan Times reported today that the city continued to have poor air for the second day in a row.The pollutant-measuring indicator air quality index (AQI) fell from 224 on Monday morning to 220 by the evening, both falling under the ‘poor’ category. There was no change in minimum temperatures from Sunday, which was 4.5 degrees Celsius below normal.
The System for Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) predicted an AQI of 220 for Tuesday as well. An AQI between 101 and 200 falls under the ‘moderate’ category, while that between 201 and 300 is ‘poor’ and beyond 301 falls into the ‘very poor’ category.
The Santacruz weather station, representative of Mumbai, recorded the night temperature at 16.4 degrees Celsius, similar to Monday and November 11, which has been the lowest November night temperature since 2012. The night temperature at Colaba, representative of south Mumbai was recorded at 22 degrees Celsius, a degree Celsius below normal.
Officials from the weather bureau said the current wind pattern over the city has led to cool temperatures and a decline in air quality. “From late Saturday night onwards, cool winds from the north-western parts of the country has led to a cooling effect,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department. “As a result, due to the process of inversion, cool temperatures have allowed pollutant particles to settle close to the surface. We expect these conditions to continue till Wednesday.”
Meanwhile, day temperatures were more than 2 degrees Celsius above normal as Colaba and Santacruz, both recorded 35.6 degrees Celsius as the maximum temperature. “During the day, the winds are not strong and this has allowed temperatures to rise. However, cool winds during the night are leading to a fall in temperatures,” said Shubhangi Bhute, director, Regional Meteorological Centre, IMD. “The gap between day and night temperatures can lead to health issues such as cough, cold and fever,” Bhute added.
On Monday, Malad was the most polluted location with an AQI of 307 (very poor), followed by Navi Mumbai at 303 (very poor). While majority of the locations in Mumbai recorded ‘poor’ air quality, Borivli had the cleanest air with an AQI of 132 (moderate).
As part of a citizens Forum called the New Link Road Residents Forum, http://www.newlinkroad.wordpress.com we have been pro active to ensure that Borivali and its near by areas are free from man made sources of pollution. We wish that more readers would be encouraged to take steps to combat this menace.