What about exams or tests?

One of the most common questions we encounter as parents of three homeschooled kids is: What about exams?

Let us start with the basics: An examination, commonly known as exam, is a test to see how good somebody is at something.

If that ‘somebody’ is your child and he or she happens to attend school, the only way the teacher and you as a parent can find out how much your child has understood is by giving him a formal test.

A test or examination is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge or rarely skill.

A test may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer, or in a confined area that requires a test taker to physically perform a set of skills. Tests vary in style, rigor and requirements. For example, in a closed book test, a test taker is often required to rely upon memory to respond to specific items whereas in an open book test, a test taker may use one or more supplementary tools such as a reference book or calculator when responding to an item. A test may be administered formally or informally.

An example of an informal test would be a reading test administered by a parent to a child.

An example of a formal test would be a final examination administered by a teacher in a classroom.


Figure 1 A formal test in process

So what people really want to know is what about formal tests for homeschooled children?

The beauty of homeschooling is that the parents, being the teachers of the child, know exactly what their children are learning and have understood at any point in time, by giving them informal tests all the time. So for them there is really no need to do any formal testing at all! Who else needs to know how much their child has understood? Who cares for their child more than they themselves, the parents? We as parents often go beyond testing too, to find out the heart of the child, something that cannot be measured by any test.

So my simple answer to people who ask me this question is: ofcourse we as parents test them regularly and informally. There is absolutely no need to do formal testing, with all its associated tensions for the child, parent and teacher as the case may be. As the homeschooled child grows older, he or she can take formal tests as deemed fit by the parents, if they wish to prepare him or her for entry into colleges.

There are different options for homeschooled children to take formal exams at different levels, like the Macmillan International Assessment for Indian Students, The NIOS and the IGCSE etc. You will find out more details of these on my other blogs. Relax and have a nice relaxed exam-free day J

 

 

 

My answer to the Jihadist and Moral Police

By Jihadist or Moral Police I mean people who wish to see society behave in a morally righteous or legally ‘correct’ manner and are willing to do anything, even take up arms, to achieve their ends.

This is what is called Moral Fanaticism.

We see it ever increasing in this world today.

Figure 1 Common scenes across the world today

Is there an answer to such Moral Fanatics?

Yes indeed!

The moral fanatic imagines that his moral purity will prove a match for the power of evil.

But like a bull he goes for the red rag instead of the man holding the red rag. He grows weary and succumbs; he becomes entangled with non-essentials, and falls into the trap set by the superior ingenuity of his adversary, the prince of this world, the father of lies, who is much more cleverer than any human being who relies on his own intelligence or even worse, philosophy or belief system.

Figure 2 Moral Police

These are the words of none other than Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged in 1945 for his part in an assassination attempt on Hitler in his Letters and Papers from Prison begun in 1942. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bonhoeffer.html

The opening essay is titled After Ten Years. Here Bonhoeffer identifies with the evil of the times, and especially the war. He speaks of the unreasonable situations which reasonable people must face.

He warns against those who are deceived by evil that is disguised as good, and he cries out against misguided moral fanatics and the slaves of tradition and rules.

In viewing the horrors of war, Bonhoeffer reminds us that what we despise in others is never entirely absent from ourselves.

This warning against contempt for humanity is very important in light of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Jean Paul Sartre, and Albert Camus, whose contempt for the war turned into disillusion with humanity. This is a striking contrast between several witnesses to the war who came to very different conclusions.

Bonhoeffer’s conclusions were the direct result of a personal relationship with Christ. The conclusions of Hemingway, Sartre, and Camus were the pessimistic observations of those without a final hope.

“God’s truth judges created things out of love, and Satan’s truth judges them out of envy and hatred.”

The peacemakers abhor the violence that is so often used to solve problems.

This point would be of special significance for Bonhoeffer, who was writing on the eve of World War II. The peacemakers maintain fellowship where others would find a reason to break off a relationship. These individuals always see another option.

So what is the difference between morality and true righteousness?

This picture will give you an idea.

Figure 3 The difference between Morality or Self-righteousness from True Righteousness

The one who thinks of himself as righteous has a partial understanding of true life and joy in the Spirit.

Here is a link you might find useful. http://thedomesticfringe.com/morality-vs-righteousness/

morality says…

Do what is right.

Righteousness says…

Be right with God.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

morality says…

Live by the Golden Rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Righteousness says…

Love your neighbor as yourself.

And the second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. ~ Matthew 22:39

God bless you with true righteousness today. J

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

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MUMBAI: A clause in the rules governing the flexible National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) exams, which says that candidates are not allowed to ask for extra answer sheets, has now been challenged in court.


Jeremy Fernand, a Class 10 student,[whose parents are part of Swashikshan, the All India body of Homeschoolers], couldn’t complete his Math paper in the October exam session, didn’t know he wasn’t entitled to an extra sheet till he asked for one, because no announcement was made at the exam centre, he claims.

When his father Max subsequently wrote to the authorities, they were told the rules didn’t contain a provision for supplementary sheets.

Fernand has now moved the Bombay high court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), praying that the rule be amended so students can use more than one answer sheet.

He has alternatively prayed that the rule be better publicized through the hall ticket and admission form well in advance so that students are prepared for it during the exam. “We are not saying that the rule is right or wrong, we are only asking that candidates be made more aware about it,” said Fernand. “Students shouldn’t find out the rule after it’s too late.”

The petition came up in the court on Friday, when a division bench of Justice SJ Vazifdar and justice BP Colabawalla said it should be heard as a writ petition. It is likely to come up before a different bench soon.

More than 20,000 students across the state appear for the NIOS exams every year.

The NIOS is an alternative system that allows greater flexibility as compared to mainstream schools.


The petition has pointed out that other boards allow the use of extra sheets and that the rule is arbitrary. “While the purpose of the NIOS is to foster the needs of the children in promoting educational programmes, such arbitrary rules are only counterproductive to the objectives of the NIOS,” it said.

  • 20 Jan 2014
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Bhavya Dore bhavya.dore@hindustantimes.com

Schools, Obesity, Activism and Education

Obesity on the rise in developing world: Report


The number of obese and overweight people in the developing world nearly quadrupled to almost a billion between 1980 and 2008, a thinktank report said on Friday. There are now far more obese or overweight adults in the developing world than in richer countries, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said.
The London-based institute said more than a third of all adults around the world — 1.46 billion people — were obese or overweight. Between 1980 and 2008, the numbers of people affected in the developing world rose from 250 million to 904 million. In the developed world, the figure rose from 321 million to 557 million.
“The growing rates of overweight and obesity in developing countries are alarming,” said ODI research fellow Steve Wiggins, who co-authored the Future Diets report. [Times of India 4th January 2014]

In a recent survey cum intervention program conducted by Dr. Mathew, he was surprised to find that one third of sixth grade students were obese in a well-known school in Borivali that had an attached playground! One can only imagine the plight of schools without playgrounds.

Most schools do not have their own playgrounds

As you must have read in the newspapers recently, this is a shocking statistic. Please read http://drspmathew.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/75-schools-dont-have-playgrounds/ to know more.

One possible solution is Homeschooling. In Homeschooling parents are the role models and teachers of their children, for values as well as learning. Parents teach children how to learn, so that together they can go on this journey of learning and discovering. Education has moved out of the classroom into the real world, are you prepared for the future?


Most open spaces in Mumbai have been encroached illegally robbing citizens of playgrounds and recreational grounds

This is another problem that we citizens in cities have been facing. Citizen activism is seen as the key here. http://newlinkroad.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/open-spaces-in-mumbai/

City neighborhoods barely have open spaces for relaxation and enjoyment of the outdoors. The result has taken a toll on our quality of life. The recent success of the AAP has shown the power that ordinary people can exert if they focus and persevere to be a change in their God-given area.

So parents and friends, what are you waiting for? Take charge of your life, the education of your children, and the life of your neighborhood. There is never a better time than now.

75% schools don’t have playgrounds

’75% schools in India don’t have playgrounds’ reports Hindustan Times in their 4th January 2014 paper.

WHILE PRIVATE UNAIDED SCHOOLS CAN AFFORD TO RENT OR BUY GROUNDS OR SPORTS CLUBS, STUDENTS IN AIDED SCHOOLS OFTEN HAVE TO PLAY ON POORLY MAINTAINED CIVIC GROUNDS. AND RTE RULES ARE APPLICABLE ONLY TO AIDED SCHOOLS!

This means that many aided schools, which have to comply with Right To Education Act conditions, are not providing any means of physical exercise for their students.


The resulting epidemic of obesity and other lifestyle diseases in the younger generation in urban India can only get worse, given the fact that the majority of children still attend traditional class room model schools.

Unless the Government actively promotes alternative education and homeschooling, such lifestyle diseases are bound to increase in the coming years.

MUMBAI: In space starved city such as Mumbai, few students have the opportunity to play on the school playgrounds. According to figures from the education department, nearly 75% of schools in the city do not have playgrounds, despite it being one of the mandatory infra-structure norms stipulated in the Right to Education Act.

Deprived of playgrounds on their premises, schools are forced to either rent or purchase playgrounds. However schools complained that there is no government support for schools trying to acquire playgrounds.

“We do not have a playground in the school but we have a big ground next to the school. But for the past few years, they have stopped students from using this ground,” said Chandrakanta Pathak, principal, Hindi Vidya Bhavan, Marine Lines.

Some private unaided schools such as the Podar Education Network group of schools in Santacruz have bought playgrounds close to the school.

“Since we do not have a ground inside the school premises, we had to buy another ground close to the school. Our school buses ferry the students to and from the ground,” said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar School.

While private unaided schools can afford to rent or purchase good quality grounds or sports clubs, students studying in aided schools often have to play on poorly maintained civic grounds, said academicians. “Aided schools always lose out on good quality sports as they do not have the funds to rent playgrounds. The government should provide them grants for this purpose,” said Arundhati Chavan, president of the Parents Teachers Association, United Forum.

Pineapples and Poison

Pineapples are grown in Kerala on land used for rubber plantation by a group of people who usually rent out these lands from the owners. They plant the pineapple plants in between the rubber trees, use fertilizers and pesticides to ensure a big harvest of pineapples which will flower at the same time to enable bulk transportation and better profits.



I met a few rubber estate owners who had given their lands to such pineapple growers.

What they told me was rather disturbing.

They said that when they visited their rubber estates they could not endure the smell of chemicals there. They themselves were shocked at the amount of pesticides and chemicals these people use to ensure a big harvest of pineapples of large sizes. They never eat the pineapples grown on their land, they said. They prefer to take the small pineapples which they find growing in the wild.

After one harvest, the fields have to be cleared for the next planting.

Since labour is expensive, these pineapple growers use highly toxic chemicals to kill the remaining plants! They have also been using banned and notorious teratogenic and mutagenic chemicals which they have stockpiled in secret godowns and use in secret.

Wayanad is a fertile highland of blessed greenery in Kerala state. It is noted for its healthy environment of less atmospheric pollution compared to other parts of the state. Most of the people in Wayanad depend on agriculture for their living.

However, recently, in connection with the efforts of the banana-growing farmers to realize enhanced productivity, the unscientific and increased use of harmful pesticides is noted in the district. This trend, as expected, certainly resulted in the boosted production and profound profit, but according to recent surveys, this also resulted in the tragic increase in the number of cancer patients in the district. Among the pesticides used for the purpose, carbofuran, popularly known as Furudan in the market is the major one. http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/13244



So, when you see those juicy big pineapples, take care. Find out more about their origins. For your sake and for the environment’s.