Why we decided to homeschool

Every homeschooling family will have to face this question ‘why are you homeschooling your child?’ And all homeschooling parents will have a different story, and reason to give. Because let’s face it, deciding to homeschool is not an easy decision; it require careful thought, and deliberation to come to conclusion. One of the apprehensions is also how to deal with people, and their reactions, and their judgment, and ignorance/misconceptions on the topic. Well, here’s why I decided to homeschool my daughter (8yrs old) and my son (18 months) in the future too.

Let’s go back to the beginning; since I found out about the concept of homeschooling good 9 or ten years ago, I had totally fallen in love with it. Having gone to school myself, I could see so many possibilities within the homeschooling scenario. Of course, with all desires, comes the logic to research and explore, possibilities of applying it to your own life. It just so happened that an amazing IB school opened up right when my daughter turned 3, but since she was a preemie, I was going to delay her admission till she turned 4yrs old. Fast forward few years in school, and a divorce and an ugly custody battle, which unfortunately affected the daughter emotionally, school just couldn’t cut it.

She was also very behind academically, and needed a lot more help with socialising. So, I decided it was time, she spent more time with me, and her family, and develop closeness to those who love her unconditionally. Stress free and now able to focus on all the remedial she needed, she suddenly had more time, less anxiety and the freedom to be a child.

Her school was fantastic, but not for her. Being visually disabled, she needed more help, and that wasn’t something the school could cater to inclusively in the classroom. And I didn’t want it to come to a point where she needed a shadow teacher, what’s the purpose in going to a school and be in a class full of students, when you’re constantly getting one on one attention and not really mingling with others. Anyway, here are the pointers to the reasons:

  1. To develop her spiritually
  2.  Increase the span of interaction with family for emotional nourishment
  3. Customized academics prog. as per her need and ability
  4. More free time to socialise with people in different scenarios
  5. More time for remedial work (speech therapy, physical therapy, vision rehab etc.)
  6. More time for extracurricular activities

It’s been two months since I officially started homeschooling. And the change in her personality is profound, she’s showing much more interest in her academics and is enjoying the approach to learning. She is also bonding greatly and participating actively as the elder sister in her baby brothers life. He too is emulating her, and has started showing interest in notebooks, etc.

I have to say, I didn’t realise how much homeschooling impacts the family dynamic in a positive way. I suddenly felt like there was so much time to enjoy and interact with my own daughter, I myself didn’t feel the pressure of early mornings, and HW completions and all that stress which takes away from being a mother and instead turned me into a discipline police. Plus the mom guilt of not doing enough, has reduced tremendously. I have found out that homeschooling works very well for our family as a whole. My husband is very supportive, and we discuss topics that we could inculcate within our curriculum, the focus in our household is on the overall development of the children, as education should do that.

We have seen such positive changes in Batool, that we are already mentally ready to homeschool the little one, and I see him grow a personality, as he heads into his terrible twos, and I know, that he would be best nurtured in an environment that is not restrictive, and full of love and affection. In the end, all that children want is love and care from their parents (no matter how old they get).

Ethical education?

I have done my grad through distance education from University of Madras, and right now am enrolled in the masters prog at IGNOU. I hated the experience of the former and just am pushing myself through the masters at IGNOU.

The Indian system of distance education doesn’t satisfy the purpose nor is it as dynamic as it should be. There is no wonder that distance degrees do not hold much value, anyone and everyone can get an admission! I am specifically talking about the field of psychology. People who enter the field end up working to help other people and if their education is going to be sub-mediocre quality, we are going to have sub-mediocre quality people working in the field. Many students I know are pursuing a masters in Psychology with the plans to work with children. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to become a counselor, and sadly we have no quality control whatsoever by the government in this regard.

In the IGNOU masters we have to hand write assignments that will be a min of 50 sheets per subject. The assignments are nothing but a set of questions. I can not understand how that is practical for anyone who is opting for a distance course. Many applicants are not in the flow of writing so much, let’s face it we hardly write with our hands 1000s of words on a daily basis for anything!. They do not accept assignments that are typed. There’s something sad here. India isn’t the only country in the world providing a distance course, universities all over the world are. And they have assignments that are typed, well researched and intellectually igniting. Needless to say, many and I mean many students end up copying their assignments, or paying others to do them. I in-fact even received an sms from someone saying that they have the solved assignments and guides for IGNOU students. Now if that’s going to be the masters holder in the field of Psychology, I would be scared at the level of knowledge of the person.

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We have so many things that need development in our country, but if the education doesn’t improve the future never will. Therapists with such qualifications open their own counseling centers, and once you have a center no one really cares how qualified you truly are!. And this is the truth.

University of Madras has still not issued my degree, provisional certificate etc. I have the TC/Course completion certificate and original marksheets, but that’s about it. I have to constantly write LETTERS to the university, to do what should be in their protocol. Not being in the same city as the university causes great communication disadvantages. Which is why I opted for IGNOU this time around. A full time education, even though was mouth watering for me, didn’t seem like it would be practical, I am at a point in my life where I do not trust Indian education nor the teachers to do a decent job. Going back to college surrounded by youngsters high on life, wouldn’t serve the purpose for me. Intellectually stimulating environment is difficult to find here, even in an intellectual field like psychology.

My assignments are due this month, and so far I only got around to making one answer. And am not interested in submitting assignments that are stupid to begin with.I want to indulge in education, not do it so that I can add it to my name later. I see myself as someone who is so well versed with the subject that I can converse about every aspect of the field; particularly history. May not write exams this year either.Want to be sure of everything.

The sad truth is, there are students out there, eager to learn, but the country isn’t giving them the attention and practical approach needed for them to flourish. And then we complain about brain drain!

What have been your experiences with education in your respective countries/fields?

 

 

ENTJ and career planning

Back in Nov or December when my counseling course at HAP was coming to an end we did a personality assessment. The MBTI is well-known and reliable personality test. I already knew I was an ENTJ as I had already done the test online ages ago, and wasn’t surprised when the result was the same. The only thing was, this one gave clear scores, and I actually am equally an ENTP and I am and ENTJ. However I identify myself more as an ENTJ. I think over the course of the past few years I have become organised and like structure in my life, maybe I didn’t recognize how much I wanted it then, but now it’s definitely clear.

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Haphazard living is great during vacation or when you’re taking a break. I tend to work on an inhuman level till I exhaust myself and then crave a long break, to not just unwind, but get energized for another hectic few months or year. I like it this way; I don’t like slow pace anything. Maybe that has to do with the little bit of hyperactivity that I possess.

This is one of reasons why I do not like having a job. The In-time, Out-time life. I prefer freelancing at my own convenience, working hard on one project then taking a breather. Seldom is it only one project though. I have a couple of things that go on simultaneously, and to that I add the freelance ventures. Storytelling is added to my repertoire and it’s amazing to mingle with students and through a story connect with them, build a relationship, because the stories I tell are interactive in nature, both the listeners and I get to know each other through the process.

Coming back to being Extroverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging, I wasn’t surprised to see Psychologist in the list of careers. Definitely on the right track! I am currently half way through my 1st year of masters, and while I am thinking Counseling Psychology would be the ideal specialization for me, I can’t help revisiting the option of clinical psychology. The issue is just the commitment and work that needs to go into each. The second year is going to be one hectic year. And I am already finding it difficult to discipline myself for the TMAs of year 1. Well, there’s no excuse, everything has to get done. What I have realised though, is that I want to explore teaching. But not haphazard, pre-primary teacher type, but only in my field. Hence, I am going to attempt the UGC NET in July 2017, which is when I will be qualified to do so. The end goal is research in educational psychology. I have a weird relationship with counseling right now, while I have been told that I do possess certain skills to be a great therapist, I don’t believe I am quite there yet, or if I would ever be at that stage of satisfaction. One thing I know for sure is that counseling adults will never be my thing.

I have told myself one thing, that has totally changed my view on careers and motivates me everything I remind myself, that I am young and will be young till 70. After 70 is when thoughts of ‘I should chill and slow down’ should come into my mind. Till then, I need not create hurdles of “age” for myself. So what if I am not the ideal state in my life as I would want? As long as I still want it, things will happen.

The sheep in the herd

One amongst many, all doing their degrees and masters and just the same. While this first sentence may resonate with you on many levels, I am talking about the field of Psychology, mainly counseling.

India doesn’t have quality control in this regard, in Hyderabad alone there’s a school pooping up every month, all wanting a school counselor to complete the over all services of the school. It is mandatory for schools to have a counselor, it is important that the students get that kind of support, not just for remedial help, but for emotional health.

But where do we get ourselves registered? Who should a counselor go to for quality check? We do not have a counseling Association, that can license therapists in the field. Anyone who is interested in psychology is able to and allowed to pursue a full masters degree in the field, but no quality control. Passion, and inner wants drive people into the field, some come into it for money (just like in any other field). You will also find courses in counseling taught by people who may have been in the field but do not hold the qualification to be organising such courses. Who is to stop them? Who asks what their PhD is in? we are merely impressed by the ‘Dr.’ in front of their name and presume they may have attained it in counseling, or child psychology…

I have a belief. Just because you have been in a particular field for xyz years doesn’t make you a professional in it. Yes, it’s partly the fault of the country that we do not have a council to keep track and license our counselors, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.I wish to be recognized for my efforts, I wish to me known because I am valuable everywhere in the world not in one country or city. I believe it is important for us to try to reach that level of [proficiency if we want ourselves to be called a part of a field. Right now counselors have it easy in India, I can speak more about Hyderabad, it’s all about generating good clientele. What the client expects from the therapist, what he gets from the therapist is upto the client to decide, but the client has no clue how to pick a reliable one in the first place, they do not even know what to expect from a counseling session! This is even more dangerous when people deal with children and don’t even know the basic skills of counseling children. The intention may have been good, but many children get scarred for life by poor counseling, they lose hope, and trust in adults all together.

Point being? I rather not be in the field till the field decides to give importance to those who are not just passionate about helping people, but hold the qualification and skills needed for the job. I rather do something else in the field, or try to get recognition in another country. Universal recognition. Quality control, not money making.

 

 

Times running out!

That’s what I have been telling myself since I can remember. Since my marriage actually. 2008. All I could think of was how much I was missing out on what my peers were doing. Well they were studying, working hard on their education. And while I started my graduation in 2010 after Batool was born, I still felt bad that I was behind my peers.

It took me some time to realise that ‘better late than never’ is a good philosophy to adapt. Now while I pursue my masters, many of my friends have stopped at their graduation and are working. Working away, working hard. While many of them may have an ultimate direction, most of them are just caught up in the job circle. Where I wish to not be stuck for the rest of my life.

I have constantly found myself asking “what have you accomplished?” that question haunts me, while I do genuinely keep moving forward, there seems to always get lost, seem to always never be satisfied. I have realised that is because I do not want to do the ordinary. I keep myself busy and involved enough to be able to update my CV every month at-least with some professional development, I am constantly thinking about the next opportunity to do a course, or attend a workshop to broaden my horizon of possibilities. Few minutes ago I came across this article which talks about the true hard-work required during your twenties.

‘Once you become an Actual Rich Person, with a business drowning in opportunities but short on talent and you deal regularly in financial figures that contain more than one comma, you start to see how this works. It’s easy to have a successful business if you can find really smart people who are willing to do really hard work for you, in exchange for a high salary. But all these younger people seem to just want to sit around and network and have cocktails. All the hard workers already run their own company.’

Reading the above lines of the article made me realise that I have been wanting results way faster than it’s humanly possible. I have certain limitations and challenges that are exclusive to me. Life is difficult, and while I am still in my twenties it’s a safe enough zone to focus on hard-work and aim for results maybe in the 30s. I will turn 27 this July. The problem is to find that pause button, the ‘take a deep breath’ zone so that I am able to recharge and get back into the drift of things.

I think part of my understanding has to now be the fact that I can’t resist adding more and more responsibilities, and expectations on myself. It’s just how I am wired. I work very hard, exhaust myself and crave for a break, and then get back into the cycle of madness. But maybe this time the goals have to be clearer. Maybe now a timeline of achievement has to be marked. No matter what, Multi-tasking is a skill I have command over, the more I do, the more time I am able to make for more things, the more I become organised. The more stationery I have an excuse to buy 😉

Somewhere we all live under expectations from ourselves that are beyond our capacity. These could be related to our family responsibilities, work, education, everyday chores etc. The point is to master the art to edit out, be patient and be human in all of it. I guess this is something that will always be a part of my life, maybe I will never find a place in my life where I would be doing only one or two things without craving for more. At this point I believe accepting it as a positive thing is the only way to be happy about it.

Let there be sanity!!

 

 

 

Workshop weekend Part 1 of 2

This weekend has been about workshops. I enjoy attending workshops for several reasons, apart from the information and the main purpose of the workshop you get to network, meet people of the same field, which is inspiring.

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It is also a great way for professional development, and helps especially if a certificate is provided. This is a two part post because I attended two, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. For me it’s all about exposure. I am going to be 27 this year and have the hunger to expose myself to as many things that interest me as I can. It’s amazing what all you can learn, and how your careers goals can get evolved.

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Workshop 1 was on ‘mindulfness’, being a counselor this concept isn’t new to me, but I wanted to know more in detail. The main reason I went for it was; it was for counselors and teachers only. It wasn’t a life coaching type of class, it was about how you as a counselor/teacher can use mindfulness, practice it and positively affect the people you’re working with.

The workshop was organised by the Hyderabad Academy of Psychology and led by Liliana Goldschmidt. I got to understand the history of mindfulness, how it helps, and the various ways in which it can be implemented. Liliana had made us experience it with short breathing focused exercises, so that we understand what mindfulness is about, and the fact truly is that we can only take a client as far as we have gone with practicing it. So the more we do the better. For me it’s extremely important to take time out and think and focus on yourself. Mindfulness helps you unwind, and it’s free!. We also paired up and practiced not just making our partners do the exercise, but explain to them the concept. Even here I believe the more you understand it yourself the better you can explain it to another person.

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The workshop was interactive from the beginning, and ended with feedback, certificate distribution, lunch and interaction with the attendees. Was nice to meet familiar faces, get introduced to new. Meeting familiar faces is a sign that you’re moving about enough in your circle! InshaAllah I hope to broaden my network with many such workshops. Dr.Diana had announced that HAP is planning for ‘continued education’ programs at HAP. It was a Saturday of learning something new, and just those exercises in the workshop were relaxing.

2016 is about priorities

It’s a new year, a chance for us to make new amends, change our point of you, just feel like some mercy is on you. For me this year is about prioritising and being reasonable. As a parent is is especially difficult to put yourself anywhere in the top 10priority list. It is a fact. We always put the needs of everyone else ahead of our own.

This is something that has been engraved in our minds and heart, to the point where we lose our own identity as soon as we give birth. It’s difficult to snap out of this zone. It is hence very important to just make a list of what you want for yourself this year, for your child/family. Where do you want yourself to be in the end of 2016. Bottom line is, if you’re happy, everyone around you will by default be happy.

For me this is the direction, no matter anyone says, all I will focus on is my priorities, and focus all my energies into that. Moving forward is crucial, no matter how many years it would take for you to attain your end goals.

What are your priorities?

 

 

An update in pictures

I have ideas, and think ‘oh I should blog about this!’ and then that mental note remains just that-a mental note.

Days have been flying by, and I have not changed, keep piling up more things to my schedule. It will take me a lot of time to truly make my mind stop rationalising a mad schedule for myself.

Anyway, I was taking pics, and while they may not be super interesting, it will make up a decent enough blog post for you guys. Some thing is better than nothing, isn’t it?

Took quite a few selfies;

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Captured some moments of the daughter enjoying at the play area at school;

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Got her a haircut on Guru Nanak Jayanti holiday on Wed! Oh how this one enjoys them….

Admired her sleeping…..It’s actually therapeutic, I always imagine what she must be dreaming about. When she was little she would smile in her sleep…

 

Admired the greenery at school…I spend so much time in my room with students counseling all day, I didn’t notice the lovely green plants all over the entrance. Had to take pics!

Did some colouring, trying to find things to relax me, getting out of the house is not a ready option. Plus my busy schedule doesn’t allow me to be able to do that. My HAP course ends in a week, I shall be having more time after that!

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I had ordered The Story of Psychology, after being reommendation by Dr.Diana Monteiro (My teacher at HAP), waiting to finish off with the David Sedaris book before I indulge into this.

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On Thursday Mir Imran the scientist visited the school to interact with our students. It was not my working day, and I just wanted to sleep in, had a few things on the agenda (I must admit), I somehow got myself to school and well, was inspired. The preceding day I had a ginormous mood swing, and desperately needed some inspiration. Was glad I attended the session, came to realise something crucial that has given me insight.

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Decorated Batools school binder. Feel like a proud mom! Loved using all the glitter, was so fun!

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Distributed inter-madrasa competition certificates to students on Sunday, below I give one to my daughter!

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Hmm, that’s about it….Probably will post a rambling post soon…..

What have you been upto?

 

I just need quiet

Days of low motivation. Very subjective these things even for me. I may have 10 things to do, but they’re all more or less the same. Actually they are the same. I’ve been studying, running the Sunday school, working at a school, being a mommy, freelance writing/blogging for years now. The type of work hasn’t changed, but motivational levels fluctuate.

I have always tried to figure out what comes in the middle of my motivated zeal, because there are days when the plan is to wait till the daughter falls asleep so I can pursue all my studying and writing. And when she does, for some very embarrassing reason I don’t do anything. I end up wasting time on Youtube, or watching a movie, or just whiling away time on the internet.

But tonight I realized, that it’s because I function in quiet. Uninterrupted concentrated time. And hence I have decided to find myself more quiet time, and scenarios where I can work without being interrupted. Because studying requires concentration and while I have learned for the most part to be able to perform with auditory interference, I still need that solid 2 hours time to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

As mommies we are forced to multi-task, and I have become really good at writing and listening, and typing and listening. I can engage in both activities with ease now. And sometimes I am amazed at how I am able to do that. The coffee helps in that, but when you have a toddler and an exam together, you will learn to manage.

So at-least the mystery is solved, studying can take place only in a peaceful quiet environment, doesn’t matter how exhausted I get I still have the enthusiasm to continue and finish off whatever assignment I have started., it’s because even my mind values peace and quiet. Will hit the library for this, at least on my Thursdays.

Do you have any studying tips mommies?

One year closer to death.

Hehe, I know sounds rather pessimistic when talking about a birthday, but hey! let’s be realistic! hehe

I don’t like celebrating birthdays (read fact #19), because I view them as my title suggests, but I do think it’s a good day to let others in your life know how much you appreciate them. Plus any other time of the year people won’t buy you presents (you shall laugh now)

Since 14th July marked finalisation of the Irans Nuclear agreement, the younger brother made brownie and sent me a pic, half of it was in celebration for my birthday and the rest for Iran. I accepted!

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So what happened on the 15th of July 2015? Well I had to back to back classes at HAP, and an exam in the second class. Was I prepared? Umm…No! I had missed three very crucial classes cos of the Chennai trips in the past two weeks, so I was lagging behind. However the exam went pretty fine and the whole day went in that. I did like the fact that my “new” year started off in a good tone, day 1 of the 27th year of life defined my life. I identify myself as a student for life, so Wednesday was a very good day.

After class I stopped at Archie’s to pick up a birthday card for myself from my daughter and also a mug. She’s too young to pick cards and presents, so I did it. One day she shall haul in a section at a shop count her pocket money and buy me a card or present. I shall patiently wait for that day. That day would definitely be special.

Reached at me paternal aunts place at around 9:30ish, had dinner, made the daughter sign the cards (yes I picked two, cos they were just too good). My younger paternal uncle and aunt had bought a cake, which I cut and the drill happened. Yummy cake, and when I reached home, I saw a present from them too! and it was the sweetest thing ever!

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16th July I threw a dinner for me girl friends. Haiking is my favourite restaurant in Hyderabad. I can eat their noodles, every single day. So it only fit that I treat me friends for a dinner there, and guess who joined? The Batool! The idea was to introduce me friends to each other, since they’re all from different parts of me life, and since I can remember, I always went to Haiking (Himayatnagar), and wanted to host my own dinner for friends at the round table. It was a dream of mine to have 8 friends, whom I could chill with. And it happened, even though 2 of them couldn’t make it. Two chairs empty but the heart is full with love!

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Got a pretty pink bag, I would not have dared to ever buy a pink bag, so it’s good to get presents that push me to try new things, and lovely bag has a long strap, I am into sling bags, plus the size is perfect (not too big not too small). A voucher from shoppers stop also awaits to be used! Thank you guys!

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It was a lovely birthday, felt very loved. Thank you all for the wishes. Eid post coming up next!