From Homeschool to Full Scholarship US College University

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).  

Here goes:

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:

 

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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!  
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

 

 

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Block chain and Medicine

As a Medical Doctor I ask myself what are some potential uses of blockchains in healthcare?

Okay, so for those who must be wondering,

What is a blockchain?

home

In general a blockchain is defined as a distributed system which records and stores transaction records.

Blockchain more specifically is defined as “…a shared, immutable record of peer-to-peer transactions built from linked transaction blocks and stored in a digital ledger.”

Blockchain is also similar to a database which stores information, however the main difference is that the data is located in a network of personal computers called nodes where there is no central entity such as a government or bank controlling the data.

How can blockchain be used in healthcare?

  • Drug Traceability where each transaction between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and patients can be tracked to verify and secure drug product information important for tackling issues such as counterfeit drugs.
  • Improvement and authentication of health records and protocols on record sharing.
  • Smart contracts where certain rule-based methods are created for patient data access. Here, permissions can be granted to selected health organisations.
  • Clinical trials where altering or modifying data from clinical trials fraudulently can be eradicated.
  • Precision medicine where patients, researchers and providers can collaborate to develop individualised care.
  • Genomics research via access to genetic data secured on blockchain
  • Electronic health records (EHRs) 
  • Nationwide interoperability
blockchain2

The future of Total Person Care

As a medical Doctor who is also interested in Total person care and treating each individual as equal and worthy of dignity and respect, blockchain technology gives me the technological possibility of actually implementing my values in practice.

I look forward to more developments in the field of Blockchain in healthcare. God bless.

How old is your hearing?

If you ever wondered how old your body really is, here is a great way to find out.

As you know the ear is a marvelous bio engineering marvel. As your age advances changes occur in the hearing parameters.

The rate at which our bodies age is a matter of intense interest to all, and we do many things to try to stay young!Figure3-copy

If you really want to know how your body has aged relative to your actual age, here is a simple way to test for sure how old your ears are, which will roughly indicate how old your physical body is. Do test and share!

High-Tech_Hearing_Aids_hero

 

Click here to know how old your ears really are!

 

Evolving controversy

Evolution theory. It has been a subject close to my heart for many years. Why is it controversial now?

For starters, recently [first week of Jan 2018] in India Union minister Satya Pal Singh , who is the minister of state for human resource development had stoked a controversy saying that our ancestors have nowhere mentioned that they saw an ape turning into a man, thereby casting doubts on Darwin’s evolution theory.

In January 2018, he stuck to his claim that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of man is “not scientific” and called for an international debate on the issue to decide if it merits a place in school textbooks.

Blaming the media for fuelling a controversy over his statement, Singh said the issue calls for debate and not controversy. “In the last 100 years, many evidences have come out against the theory, in favour hardly anybody. It is not my statement. So many world scientists have said it,” Singh, the former Mumbai Police Commissioner, said.

I felt this is  good time to try to clear the murky atmosphere of Evolution.

What do I mean by evolution? It may be totally different from what you understand, so let me explain by defining it as I understand.

Evolution is a change in the characteristics of a living being over generations. 

Sounds simple, right?

The problem starts when people start assuming or rather over estimating the degree of change that this simple process can bring about.

For example, let us look at the dog.

Dog breeds

If you call this evolution, fine. I would agree. Dogs have been selectively bred by intelligent human beings to give them desired characteristics over hundreds of years.

But look at this picture

animalsEvolution

Creative Imagination

The above picture is what I call stretching your imagination 🙂

It is okay to think that dogs can evolve, but to think a dog can evolve into a cat? It just shows how ignorant these people are about the complexities of life and especially about genetics.

Let me explain in simple terms:

There are millions of species of living beings on earth [and the numbers are fast declining every day]

Each species is unique and cannot breed or produce viable offspring when mated with another, no matter how similar looking.

I believe that an intelligent being, popularly called God, created species and defined them some time in the past.

He also gave the creatures he created the ability to adapt and survive in this physical world that we inhabit. This is again a testimony to his wisdom, his ability to see beyond time and space, into the future, where he knew that we humans would be altering the world due to our greed and mindless consumption.

This ability to adapt and survive is being stretched beyond its designed parameters and hence we see species getting extinct these days.

However many species do adapt and survive, some better than others. For example pests like flies, cockroaches and mosquitoes seem to thrive in these conditions.

But there is a limit to how much a species can adapt or change, and that is written in its DNA by the one who made it in the first place.

The problem with us humans is that we like to think we are gods. That we can decide what is true. That we can simply issue a statement and it will change the facts:

For example, the United States National Academy of Sciences states:

Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.

— National Academy of Sciences, Science, Evolution, and Creationism[24]

The confusion caused by the definition of Evolution adds to this. If you go by the simple definition that I gave earlier of dogs, it is nothing but adaptation. If you try to go by the definition proposed by some over-imaginative “scientists”, it would mean something like the Creative Imagination picture I posted.

That, dear reader, is what mainly causes the controversy. The degree of change considered possible by this process of ‘Evolution’.

And of course among other things the refusal to consider that there even exists a loving and intelligent being who could have created you and me and the entire universe.

The God who created you and me so wonderfully, has also given you free will to choose absolutely anything. You can decide what or whom to believe. Ultimately it is a matter of the heart.

I do not want to give you enough scientific reasons to make you realize the fallacies of the 2nd picture, but I want to plant a seed of a desire to find out for yourself what is true. Because in that way the faith you find would be truly yours.

 

 

 

 

 

A tribute to Jeremy Fernand

Max and Gillian went through a parent’s worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

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 for ever, once and for all, for we know that after Jesus died, he did not remain in the grace for long but came back to life on the third day, a fact of history that his enemies tried their best to deny.

Max and Gillian have experienced this 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 home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle and turn 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?

A tribute to Jeremy and his family

Max and Gillian went through a parents worst nightmare, the death of their child Jeremy Fernand.

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 for ever, once and for all .

Max and Gillian have experienced this 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 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 home schooled by his parents as they believed that was the best way to impart their faith and life to him]

They said that any problem, any curved ball thrown at him he could handle.

Here we saw that the greatest curved ball Satan could throw at a parent became another opportunity to display the glory of the risen Jesus Christ to the world.

All praise to our God who lives and loves us with passion. God bless you.