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For the Parent in you To know, to understand, to connect


New Year, New Beginnings! A time to reflect on ourselves as parents; a time to take a fresh look at our children. Let us appreciate our children for who they are and enjoy every moment with them. Children, they grow, they change, they move on. Every second spent with them is a moment in eternity, never to return again. Each child is a flower bud waiting to bloom, each with its own unique shape, size and color, filled with its own special fragrance. Nurture them and watch them grow and blossom. Relish every moment and enjoy their radiant beauty. Be thankful for the unique, special gift God has bestowed upon you. With this fresh, positive perspective, parenting becomes more of pleasure and less of stress.

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Education is an important part of nurturing our children. What type of education? Which school? What other options do we have? These are all dilemmas facing every parent, as they search for the best education opportunities for their children. Today more and more parents are choosing homeschooling as an option for various reasons – from nurturing special talents to the unavailability of a good school nearby. Our cover story ‘At Home with Homeschooling’, explores why homeschooling is a good option for some families. Teaching our children to manage their money and understand its value is a vital part of preparing them for the future, to lead financially secure, independent lives. Our special story ’Beyond the Piggy Bank‘, gives you tips on how you can encourage your child to start saving and managing money. This is also the season of stress for a lot of children with exams approaching and new plans for the future. When does this stress turn into depression? What are the signs? How can we support our child? Our article ‘Swing away your teen‘s blues’, explores this important subject, so you can be aware of the early signs and support your child as necessary. Please check out our website You can now subscribe online using net banking or credit/debit cards. And we always look forward to your contributions and feedback. Happy New Year to you and your family!





Nalina Ramalakshmi

Rangashree Srinivas

M R Jayakkar

Nalina Ramalakshmi




Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd.

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(A Ramco Group Associate)




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Parent Circle is published by Nalina Ramalakshmi, Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. All editorial material including editorial comments, opinions and statement of facts appearing in this publication, represent the views of its respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishers. Information carried in Parent Circle is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. The publication of any advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered.

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@ St. George Anglo Indian Hr. Secondary School. (Opp. to Pachaiappan College), Chennai 30 From 5.1.2012 to 17.1.2012. Stall no. 267


LEARNING Helping Children with Homework


MINDSET Mom’s Morning Rush: Managing the Lean Way


FEATURE Creative Movement


TEEN CIRCLE Swing Away your Teen's Blues




ROOTS Harvest Festivals Across India


HEALTH CIRCLE Eye Problems in Children


TECH TALK I am Facebooking You!


LIGHTER VEIN Family Life Exposed


At Home with Homeschooling RESOURCES


Beyond the Piggy Bank


NUTRITION Medicinal Uses of Curry Leaves


BOOK REVIEW Nurture Shock


PARENT CHEF Meditteranean Menu


CHECK IT OUT Good Reads for All Ages


HANDS ON Pulli Kolam

FORUM 4 18

YOUR WORD PARENT EXPRESS God and a Growing Child


DISCUSSION POINT Are Tuitions Necessary?



Parent Circle / January 2012

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Letters to the Editor I was happy to see the theme of the December magazine and the coverage given to the music season. While I have nothing against people celebrating Christmas, I do not know why we have to import an American Christmas. It is quite irritating to look around and see Christmas trees and snow everywhere you turn in Chennai and so incongruous out here. We do not think about the kind of cultural invasion that is happening, when we are just adopting a western way of celebrating this season - more so, because it sells! While right under our nose we have a world-class huge music festival which should actually be setting the city ablaze. Thanks for giving it the importance it deserves. KESANG MENEZES, Chennai

t le a ! c r i nt C month e r a f P after o y op month c r you ep, Get doorst r you

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I noticed Parent Circle in an office, as I was awaiting my turn in an interview. I found that every single topic was analysed and presented in a holistic way. When I was pregnant I used to subscribe to all the parenting magazines, but stopped subsequently. I find that Parent Circle’s approach is quite different and refreshing. Now my daughter is 3 1/2 years old, and the magazine has helped me change some pre-conceived notions on parenting. Each time I read a new article it widens my perspective, gives depth to my knowledge and makes me more confident of myself. PERIYANAYAKI THENARASU, Chennai I went through your current issue, it was very easy to sign up and browse through the magazine where I found many ideas. I must say, that I was a bit puzzled by the two pages you have on Ancient Indian Mathematics. Not easy to understand but I grasped the cultural aspect of the message. NICOLE OSTROWSKY, Université de Nice SophiaAntipolisParc ValroseF-06108 Nice Cedex, France I was very impressed with the ‘From Waste to Art’ article in the December issue of the magazine. Thanks a lot Salma Banu. RAMYA RAM

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Parent Circle / January 2012

cover story

h t i w e m at ho schooling home GHAVAN


rt-time g, whether pa n li o o h sc e m o H preschooler or a h it w , e im -t or full ting , seems a daun d il ch r e ld o n a ol ear-total contr task. Taking n not ’s education is d il ch r u yo r ve o at e made lightly a decision to b re, e moment. He the spur of th e t at sorting th p m e tt a n a is , then nt to arents may wa basic factors p . omeschooling h re fo e b r, e d consi


hy do you want to homeschool your child?

There are as many reasons for homeschooling as there are homeschooling parents. Some choose homeschooling for geographical reasons (isolation, emigration); some have gifted children who may not do well in group schooling; some have children with various mental/physical challenges; a surprisingly large number withdraw their children from school in response to bullying, discrimination and plain old dissatisfaction with the system.

What type of homeschooling are you planning? ‘Homeschooling’ is an umbrella term

10 Parent Circle / January 2012

that covers a plethora of options in breadth and nature. Many parents homeschool up to the first standard; some up to the sixth or eighth; others past the twelfth, as my parents did. The safety net that the Right to Education Act provides, should eliminate most parents’ worries about enrollment possibilities. Curriculum covers a range of methods from traditional instruction to Waldorf, Montessori and Doman methods, from Vedic math to Abacus. Some even enroll their child in a school, and then take partial responsibility for teaching, only sending the child to school for tests and exams, with the administration’s blessing. Finding full and comprehensive answers to these questions may require some

reading/researching/asking around/ googling; so take the time, and do the work. Not only will it make your work easier when you begin, you’ll find yourself more confident of your ground, and more relaxed with your child. However clear you may be on how you would like to homeschool your child, there are some basic pre-requisites for the plan to be a success: A well-educated primary parent (PP): This refers only tangentially to formal education; given the state of education in this country, I would consider it infinitely more important that the PP is extremely well-read, a logical and organized teacher. The

Nirupama Raghavan

pool of knowledge required to teach a young child is extensive, more than what is expected of any one teacher in any primary school. A supportive and enthusiastic secondary parent (SP): Ideally for the emotional stability of the child and the family as a whole, both parents need to be involved in educating the child. The secondary parent, however, may not have as much time to invest in it, and might have to take over more household/logistical support, as is the case with most homeschooling families that I have seen. These roles are completely gender-interchangeable; my father handled half of my primary and a good chunk of my highly arts-oriented secondary education, and I don’t think he is an exception that proves the rule. A consistent and comprehensive syllabus: Whether you choose to adopt a syllabus (IGCSE, CBSE, State board, etc) or integrate multiple syllabuses, do have clear three-year, one-year, and half-year plans; these should be tailored to your child’s gifts, needs and preferences. This prevents the classes devolving into interesting but goalless meandering, which is always a risk when everyone is having fun.

Important external resources: Libraries, TV shows, museums, galleries and the internet are important. They provide you with sources of information, both for your child and for the research that you will need to complete in order to teach. Cable TV and the internet will rapidly become your best friends for video clips, articles, documentaries and research; you can teach music by using YouTube or practice organizational skills together through Farmville. The box is only as idiotic as the priorities of its user. While the basics are universal, homeschooling offers virtually unlimited possibilities for tailoring them to the learning style and preferences of the child. A quick google search or a visit to a bookstore specialising in textbooks will enable you to cross-check the boards that cover the topics you want, and in the style that you prefer.

How to bring about Learning in the child?

Expert Speak Mohana Narayanan, Psychological Counsellor, Aatmika Centre for Counselling Even home schooling has its flipside. A regular school provides an environment where the child learns to give and take, and develops other soft skills which are often missed out in homeschooling. School life also has an organized structure with rules and regulations - this is what makes the child self-disciplined. A child feels safe within this structure. The children need to blend with the present day education system to know its importance. I know of some children who do not know even the importance of a graduation and shun education.

With each topic, list out what your child has to know, what else is connected with it, and what more is available if he is interested. He could just develop a deep interest in a facet of Taxonomy! Don’t be surprised if your child develops obscure and highly specific interests and skills; it’s an advantage - some say a side-effect - of getting to learn the way one likes. You may have to bear in mind that your child may not necessarily be interested in pursuing some - or many - things beyond the basics. Do not push too hard when that is the case; but don’t compromise on them learning what they need to know, either. A most important tip: Branch out from textbooks! The best way to learn is from an expert (who writes from a place of passion and expertise)8 11


Beyond the piggy bank BY KARTHIKEYAN JAWAHAR


e have always been taught how to make more money – study well; take up this course; join this particular institution; train yourself in ‘xyz’ and/or ‘abc’; find a well-paying job; be seen with the ‘right’ people; learn etiquette; take up ‘this’ business; shift jobs after ‘x’ years etc. But has anyone ever taught us how to manage money? Don’t you think if someone had actually taught us how to manage money, we could have done so much better in life and not have gone through so much pain? The more important question is do we want our children to learn about money the ‘painful’ way after they grow up?

Thankfully, we can help our children learn about money the fun way starting from an early age, rather than letting them face money on their own when they are much older.

same day. Her bouquet of weapons included asking, pleading, crying, shouting and rolling on the floor of the shop. As a preschooler, she was very innovative and would never relent until a toy was bought - the value of the toy never mattered.


Today at age 9, Bhavani is a wellbehaved shopper and even teaches her younger brother Avinash (now 4 years) on how to behave when going out. The turnaround happened, because, in order to train her, we started behaving responsibly as parents. We realized that when we went shopping, we were highly impulsive. We bought anything that we found to our liking – ‘our toy’. So as a child, Bhavani saw to it that she got her toy too.

Many parents believe that talking about money with children is a taboo. This is not so. Children can understand money and our financial status several times better than we do. At this juncture, I wish to share my own personal experience with my daughter, Bhavani. When she was 3 years old, she always wanted to buy a toy, whenever we went out. This was at a time, when she already had 2 big cartons of toys, at different stages of functioning. The problem became so acute that one day she wanted us to buy toys twice on the

Childrens’ Savings Account Bank name


The change came about after we started listing things to buy before our shopping trips, or before any outing for that matter, and sticking to that list. Today we have progressed so much that my children want to know our plan

Minimum balance

ICICI 1 day- 18 years Quarterly balance of ` 2500 Young Stars a/c

Withdrawals ` 5000- ` 15,000 per day through the branch

HDFC 0 days- 18 years ` 5000- average monthly balance A maximum of ` 1500 per day Kids Advantage a/c through debit card

City Union Bank 1 day- 17 years ` 250 for cheque book account The children should have the Junior India a/c and ` 100 for non-cheque permission of the parents to book account withdraw cash. No stipulation on the amount withdrawn

IDBI 10 years to ` 1500- average ` 2000/day through Power Kids a/c 18 years quarterly balance the debit card ING Vysya 1 day to ` 2500- Average No stipulated limit Zing Savings a/c 17 years quarterly balance Karur Vysya Upto ` 500 Permitted only through ATM Jumbo Kids 12 years Savings a/c Citibank 1 month - ` 5000 per month It is set by the Junior a/c 18 years guardian/parent

16 Parent Circle / January 2012

Andhra Bank Kiddy Bank

Upto ` 100 18 years

Parent has to come personally and withdraw the amount

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