Home-schooled Dubai Sisters Dazzle in Top U.S. Univs

Three sisters are living proof that home-schooling is a valid alternative to traditional education.

Jun 3, 2024 - 18:38
Home-schooled Dubai Sisters Dazzle in Top U.S. Univs

Ivy league doctorates, coveted accolades and several co-curricular activities: these are the glowing achievements of a trio of Dubai-raised Indian sisters. And how did the Thomas girls get there? By being the subjects of a home science project of sorts. More specifically, they were home-schooled by their mother and father, in what was a daring experiment which has yielded extraordinary results. 

The oldest child Stefanie Danielle has her name affixed to two bachelor degrees. Having earned them from Liberty University and Arizona State University, the young lady is exceedingly well qualified in business management and leadership. Meanwhile, her youngster sibling Darianne, who won the U.S. Presidential award for academic excellence in 2021 is in the final months of securing a bachelor’s doctorate of her own. Yes, she is going to be a proud graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. 

That institution boasts another famous alumnus – the middle sister Dorothy. Outdoing Stefanie and Darianne (for the moment, anyway), she is the recipient of one of the highest honours a student can get – the Richard J. Estes Global Citizenship Award. It’s richly deserved for an ambitious and hardworking lass who aced her courses with an unbeatable 4.0 Grade Point Average GPA and whom the board recognises with the potential to make a significant social impact on the world.

So what role did the three young ladies’ parents play in scripting this success story? The Indian couple who have chalked up nearly 40 years as Dubai residents apparently went with their gut instinct to withdraw their progeny from regular schooling and turn their domicile into a classroom. Frustrated by ineffectual instruction, scheduling and the negative influence of other students, they made the “drastic” change in 2005. This was when the girls were in Grade 4, Grade 2 and in infancy.

Guiding the family on researching and applying a suitable curriculum was a Dr. Lakshman Madhurasinghe. Accordingly, the parent teachers started their daughters out on a South African system before switching to one from the U.S. The annual exams too were derived from the latter, aligning them completely with American educational protocol. 

Ensuring the girls received a well-rounded education, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas turned them into capable and competitive swimmers, horse-riders and soccer players, while ensuring they more than try their hand at sketching and painting. And their education didn’t stop there. The family would take regularly holidays abroad... to a total of 70 destinations to be exact. At each of these places, they would forge rich friendships with children their own age. 

There were challenges of course, like fixing different daily time-tables based on each child’s abilities and potential and deficiencies. Fewer hours of study in the earlier years morphed into a busier schedule in high grades. What apparently contributed to the triple-triumph was undoubtedly their parents’ dedication and love for the girls. Now, it looks like the Family Thomas has a valid alternative system of education to pitch to parents and students worldwide.