Monday, 16 February 2015

Eicher Academy

So here we are - in our mid forties - engaging on new careers as educationalists!

The Eicher academy used to be a coaching shop.  A low-profile mom-n-pop operation where our two kiddos got their home-work done over and prep for the dreaded exams by Mummy - with Daddy being the go-to man for help with class projects and printing out pictures and general ideas for essays and such like.  The main learning was (supposedly at least) taking place at Asha n Enoch's current school - the Bombay Scottish School at Powai.

Well, coaching days are over - well they continue - but there is a new educational enterprise in town.

Enter master Yohan.  11 years young.  Knows the alphabet in Hindi and English.  And apparently precious little else.

Details are still sketchy on exactly what he did in 'school' - he was enrolled at a govt. school in Juhu.  We have a 'bona fides' certificate for him (which lists his birthdate as 1.1.2003 ... go figure).

But the lad with the charming smile is deeply functionally illiterate.  He can do some sum using his fingers to count.  But that's about it.

I asked him the other day "did your teachers shout at you?"  I was expecting him to say 'yes, all the time, and so I never liked going to school and played in the streets"   But instead he said "no."  And then the heart-breaking reason "they knew I was sick."

There is a lot more to all of this of course.  Yohan talks about what seems like a pavement school where people came in some kind of a bus.  He seems to have been in different places too... so there is a fair amount of murk that may or may not clear up.

But what is crystal-clear to a set of new parents is that their boy needs to get learning and learning fast! 

And that no school in any direction would take our charmer.

So we took a deep breath, and are jumping into home-schooling! 

We are of course good friends with our very own home-schooling-evangelist Dr. SP Mathew - and have had some good discussions over the years as our kids have grown up together.  But it always seemed a luxury that we could not afford.  But now we cannot afford not to.

And so for the sake of Yohan, Sheba and I have just gotten the Std. 1 materials from Griha Shiksha in Pune and on the 12th of Feb, we plunged in!   

Currently Sheba starts the day off with scripture, english and maths - all that between 9 and 11 AM.  And then I come over for the 11.15 - 1 PM slot.  My brief is to help Yohan in a pot-porry of other subjects.  The ones I have tackled so far are science and environmental studies - and in coming days will be venturing into social studies and some IT too...  But in the end - at this point everything is actually one big English lesson for Yohan.

It's all so new - for all of us.  And we are discovering p a t i e n c e - and will need ever greater measures of that precious resource as we plunge ahead.

After lunch the plan is for Yohan to do some artsy-craftsy stuff on his own while I do some 'work from home from 1.30 - 2.45 and then drive him over to the home of a lovely young couple from our church - Rajesh and Shweta Kamble.  Shweta has very kindly offered to help out with Hindi and we hope to have her help 3 days a week from 3-5 PM.  Yohan had his first lesson with her today and loved it (and came back with home-work which he did while Asha and Enoch were poured over their books).

Learning by doing.  It's all happening here at the Eicher academy.  

By the way - we are most interested in having others help out too!

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