Adventures in Homeschooling in India

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Did you miss Chandra’s first post Around the World in One Semester? It explains her family’s adventure.

 

Tara has been a good sport about being at the ashram so far, but she got a stomach virus a couple days ago and began to hit her ‘wall.’ The expected, “I want to go home,” declaration came out and she has begun talking non-stop about all the foods she misses: ice cream, Caesar salad, root beer, pasta. She goes into an altered state as she enters into her comical food fantasy-land, making all of us laugh. I knew this homesick phase would hit a couple of weeks in. I’m hoping we move through it and our upcoming adventures help to mediate the longing for the familiar. We are definitely in the most ‘boring’ part of the trip as far as the kids are concerned, so I’m not surprised this is coming up now. We are trying to get as much school work done while stationary.

 

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Tejas has caught a mild fever so he’s cranky now too. His sense of time is more cyclical and he seems less caught up in going home and food fantasies. There is a boy’s elementary school next door to our ashram so each afternoon Scott takes him out to play volleyball with the boys in their parking lot, no net, just a line drawn in the sand. Because Scott played volleyball in high school he gets to show off a bit and now the kids love him.

 

Tejas has taken to playing in the dirt with some toys we bought him in the little market down the street, a metal spoon and plastic water jug. Guruji said that it’s good to let children play in the dirt for if you don’t, they become arrogant and angry. I reflected on that, how the sense of playing on and with the earth gives him a simple joy and opens his imagination. In moments he is lost in his own fantasy world, talking and playing with all sorts of unseen characters.

 

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Homeschooling is up and down, depending on our access to the internet. Our K12 curriculum is largely based on online tests and instructional videos woven into each lesson so when we don’t have internet, which is half of the day, we have to find ways to do the lessons using the books provided. Tara will do reading or math problems and then later go back and take all the online quizzes. She’s catching on to working independently and the online element, when available, does make it more fun for her. So overall, I’m very happy with the curriculum we chose even if it’s not perfectly suited to our situation.

 

Breakfast always consists of some fantastic savory dish like dosas or idli with coconut chutneys, mustard seeds and other spices. Lunch is always steamed rice with mild curried vegetables, and dinner is the highlight of the day: fresh chapattis (flat bread) and more curries for dinner. Because coconut trees grow everywhere here, coconuts are used in almost every dish. The food is intentionally light and simple to facilitate the cleansing process. Overall, the kids have done well with the food, although they miss a lot of their favorite flavors.

 

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