Monday, 24 February 2014

New website

Its been a while I know and I have no excuses. Life just kind of takes over and things don't get done. Writing on my blog has been one of the things that I have not made a priority mainly because along with everything else I've been helping R with her new website. With Roshni's Rambles up and running I've left all the writing to R just recently.
It's great to see R writing with enthusiasm about her favourite subjects. It's all very basic stuff but its a start.She is writing about her life in Goa, her Animal Welfare work, her aquaponics project and more. If you would like to check out the website the address is Go ahead and subscribe to receive weekly updates. As for me, I must get my writing head on and check in a bit more often. Smacked knuckles for mom, thumbs up for daughter!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Celebrating one year of no school!

One year ago we took the plunge!

Visit to discover Indian blogs Its difficult to believe that it has been a whole year since we pulled  R out of school ! The time has flown by. 
So much has happened in this time. Many of the changes are subtle and have happened below the surface so are felt only by ourselves. Many changes though, are obvious and are pointed out by friends and family all the time.

Ive had times when Ive doubted what we are doing and Ive had times where Ive felt overwhelming reassurance that it is the right thing to do.
Making a decision which goes against the norm is always difficult but when it is the lives of your children that are bearing the impact of your decision it is even more important to feel sure about your choice.
One year on and despite the wobbly moments and the doubts and fears that have arose at times, I feel very strongly that the decision we made was the right one for us.

It was not only my decision but R's too and the opportunity to return to school has always been there for her. However, she is happy to stay at home and does not forsee herself returning to school any time in the near future.
It has been pointed out to me many times over the last year that R has changed. In a good way. She is no longer so shy or fearful in new situations. She is more sure of herself and is willing to speak up or even take the lead in conversations, even with completely new people! She knows her own mind. Has strong likes and dislikes and takes responsibilty for her own actions and decisions. She is self motivated and able to take initiative.

We have maintained our relationship with R's old school. Two afternoons a week I volunteer in the library and my girls get to use the library facilities. Spending time in the school helps us to maintain and build on existing friendships and keep ourselves informed about the mainstream education system. It also, very importantly gives my girls the chance to make a fully informed choice about how they get their education. They can see for themselves how school works and choose whether it is something they want to be a part of or not. 
R's younger sister K has been at home since April and and although having the two siblings at home together full time can be challenging ( for me and for them!) it is working out well and we all feel that it is the best choice for now.
Staying home allows my girls to have more time to pursue their interests which  are many and varied and we have all learnt an awful lot from pursuing these interests together as a family. 
During the years R spent in school she suffered from several health problems caused by stress. She is now stress free and problem free. 
When I look at our achievements in the past year there are many, and I could certainly name them one by one and maybe give grades like at school, but probably the best way to measure our success is by looking at our health and happiness as a family. 
Im proud to say that as a family we have grown together. Our relationships have improved. We have experienced self healing on many levels. We are happy, healthy and optimistic about the future. We have clear visions of what we intend to achieve and are all willing to work together to achieve these goals, learning together as we go.

We are grateful for all the lessons we have learned and  appreciate all the support we have received. We are thankful for the precious time we have spent doing the things we love with the people we love and intend to continue dedicating our time to doing those things which enrich our lives and the lives of others.

So to end here are some inspirational quotes for everyone who has shared our journey so far....thankyou xx

'To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.' Buddha

'What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of you life for it' Author unknown

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” 
― Bob Dylan
“I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. ” 
―Oprah Wimfrey
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!” 
― Dr Seuss.. 'Oh, the places you'll go!'

Friday, 27 September 2013

A visit to the UK

Its been a while since my last post, partly because I've been busy with having two girls at home with me now but also because we have been away. 
The girls and I took a 6 week trip to my home in the UK during which time we caught up with old friends and family. We had a fabulous time and have brought home some wonderful memories.
Spending time with family whom we rarely see allowed the girls to build upon relationships with their aunt, uncle,cousins and grandparents. Meeting up with friends allowed them to rekindle the close friendships which were made years before but have not been lost. The new memories made will hopefully see us through until the next time we meet and the girls will learn that true friendships never die no matter what the distance or time.
Our personal relationships and experiences should remain private so what follows is summary of the learning experiences we had during our trip. Experiences which had an impact on young minds and maybe will influence the future life and or thinking of my children.
Growing vegetables
Planting seeds
Gardening with their grandfather was a daily delight. The girls loved eating their own produce.
A huge hollow, fallen tree is super for imaginative play.

Meeting a pack of foxhounds.

Handling a piglet.

Feeding sheep.

Pony riding lessons.

Grooming a Percheron
Natural History museum, London.
Handling a Tawny Owl

Making clay tiles
Visiting a windmill.

Learning about honeybees.
From fleece to yarn.
Of course photographs are great for capturing the moment but what my girls have taken from their UK experience is a taste of a different way of life, a glimpse of life through another lens and hopefully a feeling of unity with those who are so far away physically but whom we carry with us in our hearts daily. 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Learning environments

Have your kids ever surprised you by telling you an amazing fact  that you didnt know yourself?
eg 'All polar bears are left handed.' 'Dolphins can swim and sleep at the same time.'

Or by recalling far more detail about an event that happened than you could remember.
 Did you wonder how they knew this or how they had time to observe so much of what was happening whilst seemingly just playing around and not being involved at all?

See, this is the thing about kids. They are observing and learning all the time! Even when it looks like they arent at all!

Kids learn best when they are engaged in something which interests them, whilst playing and when in a new environment or doing a new activity.
How is it that so many people have  been sold on the idea that sitting kids at desks, inside four walls, learning set subjects chosen by someone else for most of their waking hours is the best way for them to learn about life?

Kids need to get out there and LIVE in order to LEARN!

Here some pictures of us doing various activities inside and outside the home.

R enjoys sewing and is learning to make her own clothes.

Collecting shells and observing nature.

We love learning about plants.

Working as a team to build a wormery is so much fun.

Earthworms like the dark..... when I open my hand he tries to hide.

Two afternoons a week we spend in the library at R's old school, reading, creative writing and catching up with friends.
R loves animals and would like to be a Vet. She frequently fosters orphaned and sick animals.

Learning from others about animal welfare.
We are visiting family in UK soon. Where is UK?

Researching on the internet.

During school hours we get the park to ourselves. Plenty of space to practice wave boarding!

Where do eggs come from? .....
.....and what can we make with eggs? Pancakes! Yummy!

We celebrate Holi with friends.
Getting crafty.

We are regular visitors to the science centre.


My main aim is to expose the girls to many different ideas and activities. This is the age to explore and figure out what they are interested in. When a child finds a subject that appeals they run with it! Exploring deeper and deeper, learning all the time. In my opinion this is the best way for kids to learn.
We learn in all different places and at all times of the day. For instance we find that morning time is a good for practical activities, afternoons we chill out and watch tv or read books and evening the kids get an energy boost so they play out in the garden with their friends then go to bed early enough to allow an hour of reading/studying before sleeping.  This flexibility ensures that the girls always get enough time to play and rest which is so important for a growing child. It also helps them to tune into the needs of their bodies and respond appropriately. 
Another important factor in the learning environment is the people.
Kids learn more from what people do than from what people tell them.
 With this in mind I try to provide opportunities for the girls to observe adults in their work environment, and attend workshops. Also we like to watch other kids who have learned a skill eg playing the guitar, pottery as this offers ideas and encouragement to learn these skills themselves.
My girls also accompany me on my errands, for example when Im grocery shopping they read the list out to me, add up the costs, work out cheapest deals etc. When we go to the bank I show them how to write a cheque, pay money in etc.

 Every moment of the day becomes an opportunity for learning even when we are relaxing at home, the girls will reflect on the days experiences and one of them will usually come up with something funny or profound.
I wonder what today's little gem will be?

Thank you to Green Meadows Primary School, Darryl Pereira  (Reira group), Clinton Fernandes (, Welfare for Animals in Goa (WAG)  and everyone else who has helped me to provide a dynamic learning environment for my girls.

Most of all thanks to my amazing girls for never ceasing to amaze me with their passion for learning!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Animal Rescue

In a previous post   I talked about R's love for animals, in particular her dog Biba.
Since then we have acquired one more rescue dog, 'Twilight'.
Where we live, in Goa there are many stray dogs and almost every trip out results in the girls spotting a particularly skinny dog, injured dog or dog infested with ticks, fleas or mange. These dogs are largely ignored by the locals or driven away by hurling stones.
Many times we have felt compelled to stop and and help an animal but its often difficult to know just what is the best thing to do.
This is why we decided to become volunteers for a local charity which works to improve the life of street dogs in Goa.
 WAG  'Welfare for Animals in Goa' ( ) aim to provide health care for the homeless dogs in Goa by providing sterilization,vaccination,de worming,first aid and re homing when necessary. The girls and I have intially signed up for one of the biggest and most important jobs that WAG volunteers do and that is the feeding and monitoring of beach dogs during monsoon.
Every year Goa receives an influx of tourists from October through to May. During this time the beaches of Goa are lined with beach shack restaurants and the stray beach dogs live the good life with regular food from the shack kitchens and tourists.In May the tourists leave and the shacks come down ready for the onset of the monsoon. What happens to the dogs? They are left to fend for themselves for the next few months and many die of starvation or illness before the new season arrives.
This is where the 'WAG Monsoon Angels' step in. Volunteers work on a rota system to cook and deliver food to identified packs along the coast daily. The dogs which come for food regularly are collared and tagged with a WAG tags and their health is monitored by the WAG team.
We have been three times now to feed four packs on North Goa beaches. R has made notes on the location of each pack, names and health details for each dog. I was amazed how quickly she learned all the dogs names and how to recognize them. Both my girls have helped to feed, administer worming tablets and collar and tag the dogs. The great thing about children helping with this kind of work is that not only do they learn about animal care but they are more willing than adults to give something which is equally important to the dogs as food and health care and that is, time and attention. The beach dogs have had tourists fussing over them all season and now suddenly whole days go by without seeing a soul. Having a tummy rub and a cuddle  makes the dogs day and my girls are never in a hurry to leave.
Having some fuss.

Dinner ladies!
A tasty meal for a hungry friend.
 Along with the feeding program WAG have also rehabilitated and rehomed countless puppies and provide continuing support for new owners.
One of WAG's recent success stories is of a mother cow and calf. The mother cow, Daisy, had eaten from rubbish containing battery acid and had burned her full mouth. Unable to eat she could not produce milk for her new calf, Guddi, so they were both starving to death until Atul Sarin, founder member of WAG, took them in. Along with help from his staff and other volunteers Daisy has been treated and given liquid food while Guddi  has been bottle fed three times daily with fresh milk.
Volunteer Jill has been liquidizing watermelon for Daisy and helping daily with the bottlefeeding of Guddi.The dedication has paid off as both mother and baby are now doing well.
Daisy and Guddi

Dry feed before cooking
Medication kit

WAG are not the only charity making a difference in Goa. We recently attended a workshop held by Rani of Goa Dog Trust (  ) ( to learn about animal care. Rani has devoted her life to helping animals in Goa and has saved thousands of lives. Like WAG she has set up feeding programs along the northern coastline of Goa and re homed countless dogs and cats.
At this workshop she brought along her friend Lama who had rescued a 3 week old kitten that needed foster care before going to a permanent home. R volunteered herself and now has the responsibilty of being mama for the next few weeks to this lucky kitty.

Rani with the kitten


Once kitty is strong enough R will have to say goodbye as he goes to his new home.

So, now let me tell you what I think are some of the things my girls have learned so far.

They now know that for every person who ignores a problem there is someone willing to take action to solve it and that they can be that person.
No matter who you are you can make a difference.
 All animals deserve love and respect.
Animals give us unconditional love which we can also return.
Working as a team gets the job done.
Hard work can be rewarding.
If we learn for ourselves we can teach and help others.
There is love all around us if we are just willing to see....

We are proud to be playing our part in this noble cause. The teams of volunteers involved with WAG and Goa Dog Trust really are amazing and deserve support.
The dogs of Goa are so special. If you ever come for a beach holiday in Goa you will undoubtedly find a furry friend or two on your travels. Before you say goodbye please remember that a donation to a charity such as WAG or GDT could help save your new friends life after you leave.