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8 Ways for Kids to Safely Connect Online with Friends

Yes, we are all trying very hard to make sure our kids get their home schooling done. But we all know these are hard times for kids and they are confused and scared and miss their friends. Below are some ways to connect with friends. Talk to their school or family friends and arrange them to connect safely with friends. As with all internet related tools, we highly recommend being with listening/viewing distance so you know what your kids are up to.

Connect via Video

House Party

https://houseparty.com/

It connects to your contacts and allows you to invite friends. It is basically a video conference call. I think you can see up to 8 people at a time. I have had a couple cocktail/game parties and it was super fun! I felt SO much better after connecting with friends and having some laughs.

Messenger Kids

Linked via the parents’ account, this is a safe option for kids to stay connected with their friends. They can video call each other and there are little games they can play or they can apply filters to their faces etc.

Marco Polo

https://www.marcopolo.me/

Unlike social media, there is no wasted time, no social comparisons and no likes! Connect with the most important people in your life, not the entire world.

Watch Movies Together

Netflix Party

https://www.netflixparty.com/

Scener

https://scener.com/

Online Drawing Games

Below are fun online multiplayer drawing games where you draw and guess words. One player is selected as the artist, he is offered three words to choose from and his task is to draw the selected word. Other players try to guess what the artist is drawing.

Pictionary Online

https://skribbl.io/

Drawasaurous

https://www.drawasaurus.org/

Drawsize

https://www.drawize.com/


Bingo Via Video Calling

We played bingo the other night on zoom with friends. It was hilarious and involved the whole family. One of the kids wrote numbers down on paper and put them in a bowl. We all had a handmade 9 square grid and wrote our numbers in.

Board Game Arena

Join the largest boardgame table in the world. No download necessary – play directly from your web browser. With your friends and thousands of players from the whole world. Free!

https://en.boardgamearena.com/join

Virtual Dinner Party

Everyone prepares the same meal (trying something new would be amazing!) and go online with your friends and have a fun time eating together.

Uno

https://www.letsplayuno.com/

Other Games We Can Play with Friends Via Video

2 truths one lie
Charades
20 questions

 

 

5 Web Series in Hindi for Tweens

Tween is a unique age. You are older but want to learn a lot about life and it’s many facets. The below shows are great for kids learning to speak hindi but want to be entertained so they can stay engaged. With captions, these make a great way to learn Hindi as well, for those reluctant or still struggling to learn to speak conversational Hindi.

Yeh Meri Family – Netflix

Yeh Meri Family is an Indian comedy drama web series series written by Saurabh Khanna and directed by Sameer Saxena for The Viral Fever. The series follows the life of a 12-year-old Harshu Gupta, played by Vishesh Bansal, in Jaipur, Rajasthan in the late 1990s.

Lakhon Mein Ek – Amazon Prime

Aakash just finished high school and is planning to study commerce with his friends in Raipur. His father has different plans for him. He sends Aakash to Genius Infinity, an IIT Coaching institute far away from Raipur. Aakash reaches there to discover it’s a whole different world and he is a complete misfit. People here are far ahead of him in studies. There is no room for fun. Slowly, a friendship forms between him and his roommates Bakri and Chudail. So does a rivalry, between him and Chandrakanth, the topper of the institute. Aakash gradually gets into the groove of the grind and begins to fit in.

Panchayat – Amazon Prime

 

Abhishek Tripathi (Jitendra Kumar) is a freshly graduated young man from Delhi. Unable to find a good job in the city, he is compelled to accept the only offer he has in hand, an unattractive government posting in a small village in Uttar Pradesh. Panchayat is a comedy drama about an individual born and raised in the city, who must deal with the ordeals of life in rural India.

Simple, light hearted story telling makes for a great show with life lessons.

Be warned – One episode (chair one) has the word ” as**@#$#@ ” in it. But it is used to teach an important lesson. So, one can ignore that.


 

Mahabharat – Netflix

 

Two young brothers encounter a singing bird who treats them to a musical reinterpretation of one of India’s most epic ancient tales. Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn and Sunny Deol join an all-star voice cast in this animated reimagining of an Indian classic.

 

 

Operation MBBS – YouTube

 

Operation MBBS. Operation MBBS chronicles the lives of three first year students – Huma, Sakshi and Nishant in one of the best MBBS colleges in the country. Follow their journey as they navigate through friendships, hardships and medical student life.

 

Be warned – The first episode has ONE inappropriate dialogue about ( having s*x during that time of the month) and that’s it. One can forward that really quicky. Few other dialogues have suggested bad words. Not many.

 

Akbar Birbal

Birbal (IPA: [biːrbəl]; born Mahesh Das; 1528–1586), or Raja Birbal, was a Hindu advisor and main commander (mukhya senapati) of army in the court of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. He is mostly known in the Indian subcontinent for the Folk Tales which focus on his wit.

Tweens find this serial’s many lessons and riddles very interesting.

 

Itihaas Ki Thali Se

An amazingly interesting show Itihaas Ki Thali Se on Netflix that teaches about Indian foods historically. It is a great way to teach kids about how the world has collaborated towards every single Indian food with many interesting stories.

Mouthwatering food + History + Fun animation. Win Win ! A definite must watch with your entire family !!

 

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Making Unschooling a Way of Life for My Child

I armed myself with global degrees which gave me the privilege of accumulating  knowledge and exposure over the years. My heart was filled with pride for being able to have achieved what many aspire to do and felt lucky and grateful too.

It should have made me happy and very successful in every aspect of my life, but the result was contrary.

My accolades and degrees surely got me the job and a respectable position in the society and family. It gave me the confidence as a young woman to take on the world and be independent in many aspects, yet something was amiss. The constant churning within me was always seeking for something more.

It was only when my daughter was born the journey of witnessing my inner truth and transformation began. As every parent, I was also concerned and worried about academics and the the school she may join.

However, being an educationist I was aware of the merits and de-merits of the system, and was conscious of it’s impact on children’s growing up years. The two roles pulled me in different directions and led to the search for alternatives within our society; and the best suitable option for us as a family. I discovered novel systems of Waldorf/Homeschooling/Unschooling and started exploring the education world.


I invested my time researching online, talking to people in the community, reading books on such topics and upgraded my understanding on the subject. The term Unschooling baffled me as much as it excited me and I investigated further into the terminology. I started reading profusely about it on the net, joined various Facebook pages of Unschooling/Homeschooling, TED talks, podcasts and many more resources to guide me through. I started finding answers to the dilemmas within me but they also added to the confusion. As parents we are plagued with self-doubt at every step of the journey as we want to give the best to our children.

However, we decided to march along and discussed extensively as a family, living through our fears. We discovered help groups in our vicinity, gained experiences which supported our belief system further.

Now, as an unschooling family we had the freedom to paint our canvas with a riot of colours. But, with freedom comes responsibility and we were very much aware of the same. Rejecting the available academic boards, not sending her to school what were we thinking and what was next?!

Even with the right kind of support there were numerous questions hovering around, not just within us but from the outside. The neighborhood, extended family overwhelmed us with their fears too, which were valid and kept us on our toes. How will we instill discipline if everything revolved around the child, what about her social skills, how will she learn to read/write and the list continues.

Observing our daughter grow and unfold as any other child of her age, helped us settle down with our feelings slowly. It has essentially been a journey through peaks and valleys of reassurances and doubts. During her play dates, the inevitable comparison between children emerged. However, when we saw our daughter know/learn the same concept of colors maybe a month later, our fears resolved.

This is when we realized an important fact of moving forward lay in overcoming our conditioning, and leave the rest to time. Gradually, we have witnessed the immense need from her to learn and know more from her environment. She chooses to read the books at her will and asks us to do the same when she feels, her curating different objects from wooden blocks comes from what she hears/observes in her environment. The varied age group from uncles/aunts, help workers and everyone she comes in contact with forms her source of developing social skills.

Unschooling is a way of life, a space to be! As parents we had to find and create ways to make our daughter’s learning process fun. With the knowledge that a child is born with instincts to learn we guided her journey by providing the essential instruments to learning. We discovered ways for her to acquire life skills without books and an organization.

To give shape to our thoughts I initiated a group of unschoolers (The Tribe) who would meet twice a week and engage in activities which were led by the children themselves. Free play and allowing sensory development through interaction with nature and peers served as a solution to begin with. Travel within the city and beyond gave us wings to fly and connect with families who believed in the same philosophy. We found our larger family in the wider world too.

It is a child centered journey for every family, observing life closely. We believe in developing life long skills and competence to live it through. It does not talk about competing with others but focusing on self accomplishment and confidence. Each family may have their prescribed definition of growth and success and may follow essential steps to accomplish that.

Though, we exist as a minority group across the country, yet it is heartening to see the force grow rapidly. There are several organizations based on principles of democracy, allowing the child to be, make mistakes and learn, follow their passions instead of fitting into a mold for all. Places like Bengaluru, Pune take the lead with initiating such communities with Mumbai and Delhi following suit. In a country like India, which is obsessed with degrees and certificates “An Unschooling Expedition” may appear to be a mirage but a reality for many families like us. We are committed to a holistic growth of our daughter through the journey of Unschooling with the biggest unlearning of letting go of our worries about the future.

As an out of the box approach, it is an effort to savor their innocence for a longer period and see them grow into happy individuals.

 

Ashita Narang Gautam is a mother to a 3 yo unschooler, residing in Mumbai, India. An arts based therapy practitioner and special educator by profession, at the moment a full time unschooling mom. I indulge in writing blogs for the unschooling group, The Tribe(created for my daughter and others). I enjoy reading and listening to podcasts on unschooling/education, going for walks, listening to music and my time in silence-meditaion (whenever possible).


 

 

Why You Should Create a Roadmap for Ivy League Oriented Teens (002)

Create a Roadmap for Ivy League Oriented Teens

Students who plan to attend Ivy League schools likely around know that they have a great deal of work to do and a sometimes difficult road ahead of them. However, you still need to provide these youngsters with a solid map. Failure to do so could mean that they become seriously overwhelmed or that they miss important steps in reaching their goals.

Speak with Advisors

Gaining professional advice specific to your children’s individuals goals is imperative. For example, you could speak with your children’s guidance counselors about the specific schools that they want to attend and how their current portfolio is looking in terms of getting into those schools. You should also look for opportunities to meet with advisors at the universities.

Prepare for Standardized Exams

Know what standardized exams the universities that your children are applying to prioritize. If your children have already taken the exams, you then have an idea of where they starting from in terms of scores. Many districts and local libraries offer classes to help students earn better grades on these exams. You can also purchase books so that your kids can practice more when they are at home.

Choose the Right Classes

Helping your teenagers to navigate what classes to take is an important part of the plan. While you don’t want them to feel overloaded with extremely difficult courses, they also need to demonstrate that they can handle the workload of Ivy League institutions. Enrolling in some courses for college credit or classes designated as advanced placement is certainly wise.  College Prep High School students are trained to think ahead in their education. Think about having them enroll in classes that are directly attached to their intended majors or fields of study.


Bolster the Portfolio

Chances are that virtually all applicants to Ivy League schools are going to have high grades. Good grades aren’t enough by themselves to get your children into these institutions. You also must encourage them to have a balance in their lives. For example, participation in volunteer opportunities and joining clubs or team sports could help to bolster their chances of acceptance into an Ivy League university. You want to encourage your children to stand out from the other applicants.

Your children might feel as though they want to give up at points. Another pivotal role that you will play is encouraging them not to give up. Remind them of the successes that they have had along the road so far in order to help them build motivation to continue on the journey.