Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How to begin homeschooling in India – 6 Questions to ask yourself

About 10 months ago, we took the decision to homeschool our son. With a cutback on the school transport, excessive and sudden travel plans at our front and eventually, a posting to a small town with meager schooling options, homeschooling was a decision we entered into with trepidation.  But over the months, I’m getting used to being my son’s teacher and we’re finding our own groove to this homeschooling life.

Homeschooling in India - A beginner's guide
While I’m no expert in being a homeschooling parent, I can offer you tried and tested tips to help you make the transition to a homeschooling life, if that’s something you’re thinking about.

Here’s what you should think through, plan for and embrace as you start homeschooling:

Why are you homeschooling or thinking of doing so? 
For me the number one reason was my son, who wanted to be taught at home and secondly, the lack of logistical support in sending him to a school he enjoyed going to. And, now that we’re in a place that doesn’t have schools that teach in a hands-on way, the only option is to homeschool. Your reasons can be similar to or different than mine. But whatever are your reasons, be very clear on these because there will be times along this journey, when you will need your reasons to motivate you to go on.

Are you ready to dedicate a solid chunk of your time to homeschooling? 
In a homeschooling family, at least one parent needs to spend time teaching and doing activities with the child. Leaving the child home with a maid or delegating all the classes to a tutor, won’t really help in creating a nurturing homeschooling environment. It also defeats the purpose of taking the child out of the school system to homeschool.

Will homeschooling make you happy? 
This was the question that I was the most worried about. I realize that if the primary homeschooling parent is unhappy, then that will percolate down to the child and won’t make homeschooling a happy experience for both. What you also need to know is that you may not be happy about being a teacher-parent every single day, but if you can wing it on most days, then that’s a good start.

Are you willing to give homeschooling a try? 
Most parents find the prospect of homeschooling scary and downright difficult. From having the kid at home all day long to taking on the entire responsibility of a child’s educational career to wondering if homeschooling will make their kids less social/employable/amiable, parents worry about lots of things when it comes to deciding whether they want to homeschool or send them to school. If you give homeschooling a shot, you may still have some of these worries, but your willingness to try homeschooling must be more than your worry.

Will homeschooling make your child happy? 
Whether it’s going to school or being homeschooled, kids can take time to adjust to either. But if your child really enjoys going to school and may feel left out or too alone while being homeschooled, then do give it a good thought. My son, on the other hand, did not want to go to school and wanted to be taught at home, so this particular question was easy to answer.

Are you willing to take all the questions and prejudices in your stride? 
I must say that on the whole, with every passing year and more awareness about the homeschool option, there are fewer weird questions being asked. While people might be surprised about your decision to homeschool and might be quicker to judge your child, especially if he takes time to open up to new people, the tolerance for an alternative way of living and educating is increasing on the whole. 

That being said, you still get odd questions and comments when you’re a homeschooling parent. So, being prepared to field such questions/comments and explaining what you do to those who are genuinely curious about the homeschooling life, is definitely a part of the homeschooling journey.

If you’ve figured out the answers to these 6 questions and are ready to take the plunge into this eclectic homeschooling life, then wait for our next post about basics to begin with. (Sign-up for my posts by popping in your email id in the box).

What has been your homeschooling journey been like? Leave a comment below and connect with me via Facebook & Twitter (@ChandanaMilSpo / @4GGorgeousGreen )

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Big Rocks for 2019 - Filling up the jar with what matters

The New Year’s rolled in, and it’s the possibilities that a new beginning is filled with that’s got me scrabbling to chalk out what I’d like to fill my jar with. 

2019 Goals
Goals and plans for 2019

What will be my Big Rocks, Medium Rocks, and Sand this year? I know that if I don’t jot this down, I’ll fill my jar with far too many things and get overwhelmed in the process.

So, here’s my Big Rocks for 2019. Big Rocks are all the things that are on top priority for me, and I will want to carve out a chunk of time for these:

1.      Homeschooling my son. About 10 months ago, we plunged into a homeschool life. What started with the hunt for a detailed curriculum has now eased into a with-the-flow education. We spend our mornings in our makeshift school on the porch overlooking our garden. And this is an essential part of our week.
2.    Writing more. As a health coach and writer, I spend my days doing both – upgrading my wellness know-how, creating workshops, writing and teaching creative writing. But this year, I want to dedicate a chunk of time daily to writing books, blogs, and stories.
3.    Family time. We are like the 3 Bears and enjoy huddling in at home, pottering around in the kitchen garden, baking something and enjoying a good Netflix movie on television. This is the sugar and spice to our daily life, and just as essential or more to our days.
4.    Learning new skills. As a #militaryspouse entrepreneur, I have to constantly evolve and add to my knowledge pool, to do work that I love from the back-of-beyond places that we are posted in. I’m learning about being a self-published author, which involves everything from how to write more books to designing and editing to marketing them using social media platforms.
5.     Exercise. With the hours that I put in the chair, stretching and walking are imperative to factor in. Spending an hour every day exercising also keeps me happy and energetic.
6.    Meditation and Reiki. For a while last year, I was consistent with my meditation and Reiki practice, and the way it helped ground, center and calm me, is wondrous. So, this year, I want to schedule it in and be more consistent about getting to my mat.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019 + My 2018 at a glance

Hello everyone! Happy New Year. May 2019 be joyous, peaceful, prosperous, productive and healthy for all of us.

So, I’ve been away for a while, packing and moving, unpacking again and setting up home in a far-flung part of the country. Amidst all of this, I’ve been figuring out how I can fit in homeschooling, social obligations and my own dreams into the same canvas.

It’s not only been a full two months, but also a full 2018. With so much of traveling and living out of suitcases, not knowing where we would be every month, transitioning to a homeschooling life, and trying to find a place for my goals within the jigsaw puzzle of this, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year.

Here’s looking back at 2018 that’s whizzed and whooshed past like a dervish. At a glance, this is what I was up to:

Began settling into our first big town posting at the beginning of 2018.

Started teaching Creative Writing to children and enjoyed it immensely.

Got into the groove of DIY cleaning and housekeeping (our byebye maid phase), with our trusty spin mop and dishwasher.

Launched www.GorgeousGirlsGoGreen.com, an online resource for women who want to live a healthy life by being gentle to the Earth.

Completed and earned my Women’s Wellness Educator Certification, and taught in-person health workshops.

Continued creating wellness content for my website and workshops.

Launched #TheBrigaethatBuildsBrands series that features #militarywives, who launch #workfromhome careers while moving across the country with their husbands.

Started learning a variety of things – from Reiki Level 2 and Angel Card Reading to nuances of growing one’s small business via social media to learning how to become a #selfpublished author, it’s been about absorbing skills that can help me grow as a professional.

Wrote the first draft of my first full-length #nonfiction book.

Started #homeschooling my son.

Moved to multiple places + got posted yet again to a tiny town.

What has 2018 been like for you?

Leave a comment below + connect with me via Twitter (@ChandanaMilspo / @4GGorgeousGreen) & Instagram (@ChandanaMilSpo / @gorgeousgirlsgogreen)

#2018 #NewYear #yearataglance

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Veteran Air Force wife Doreen Choudhry's successful jewellery brand

Hello everyone! I’m popping back in just to share another interesting interview in the #TheBrigadethatBuildsBrands series. We’ve recently moved to a small town base and between living out of a suitcase, getting ready to move into a house & getting used to new responsibilities, I’m grabbing a moment to hop onto my blog. Today, I’m sharing Doreen Chowfin Choudhry’s story. A veteran Air Force wife & jewellery designer, Mrs. Choudhry tells us about how she started a business at a time when entrepreneurship amongst ladies was almost unheard of in the defence services. I do hope her story spurs many of you to build your own brand & create meaningful work opportunities for yourself that you can cart along with your trunks as you move from one base to another.

 C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

D. As a child of five my father was posted at the JSW (later known as NDA), as the Record Officer, at Clement Town Dehradun. I guess I grew up influenced by the fauj!

Mrs. Choudhry at her wedding

My brothers too joined the Indian Navy and the IAF as pilots, and I got married to an Indian Air Force Pilot at the age of 24. In January we completed 50 years of marriage and that’s how long I’ve been a fauji wife. For the last 35 years or so I have lived in Delhi. 

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

D. It was 1982 an I was attending the annual AFFWA garden party hosted by the Air Chief’s wife, when to my surprise and mild embarrassment, I was handed a tray of pearl strings to show and sell that morning by none other than the hostess herself and of course there was no question of refusing!  Many of the ladies bought strings but wanted matching ear tops etc. This was the beginning of my journey of jewellery designing.

Mrs. Choudhry, 4th from the right, seated & in a check sari

When I was a child I used to have glass beads of different colours and textures and I used to make small necklaces with those. Later on when I got the opportunity at the Ladies Club, my hidden talent got a wake up call. 
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