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Posts Tagged ‘homework’

Virtual Learning Takes A Boat Ride

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

It was early summer when Mrs. Blakely called to talk with me about her son, Jared.  They had subscribed to eTutor Virtual Learning Program over the winter months.  Jared was the computer expert in the family and enjoyed studying over the Internet.

Mrs. Blakely and her family lived on a small island in Washington State.  On this day she was looking at the geese and goats in her yard as Jared got in his rowboat for the short distance to the mainland.  With warmer weather he chose to go to the library to access eTutor from the computers there.  The access was faster and he was showing others at the library about the program.

Jared is not unlike other students from around the world who are using eTutor as part of their learning experience.  The virtual learning program has over 3200 lessons in the four major curricular areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Jared logs on whenever he wants to, in order to study, while other students have a set time to log on each day.  Each lesson has nine parts and takes between 45 minutes to an hour to complete.  The extended learning section can increase the time to complete a lesson.

Mrs. Blakely checks Jared’s student portfolio each day to see what lessons he has completed and how he has don on the quizzes and exams.  “It has been hard to get Jared to focus on studying, but he loves logging on to eTutor.  He finally is enjoying learning!”

Ten Steps for Parents Using Online Learning Programs

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Ten Steps Parents Can Take For Student Success with Online Learning

You and your student have decided that online learning is an alternative to regular public and private schooling that must be tried.  What can you do to insure your student is successful?  Here are steps you will want to know before starting online learning.

  1. Understand that you are your child’s instructional and academic leader/coach.
  2. Create an atmosphere for learning at home.
  3. Establish learning goals with your student focusing on the subjects appropriate for his/her grade level.
  4. Get to know your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Review, daily, completed learning projects and activities.
  6. Expect your student to spend a minimum of approximately four and a half to five hours learning each day.
  7. Provide your student with adequate equipment and materials to be a successful learner.
  8. Monitor and review assessment scores with your student.
  9. Work with your child in designating specific blocks of time for studying.
  10. Enjoy the learning experience with your student!

Summer School Activities – Ninth Grade

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Good VRead new words.ocabulary Skills are Essential

Learning and using new vocabulary is an area of the curriculum that is often neglected by high school students using online learning programs such as eTutor.    Sometimes students and parents are not sure of how to use new vocabulary words or words they are not familiar with.  Practicing vocabulary and word usage skills  will  help students go far beyond the particular subject or topic they are working on.

Vocabulary is essential to comprehension.  Students need to apply strategies before, during and after reading to understand the written word.  New words should be reviewed and used in a variety of ways.   Students might use the following ideas to build and extend their vocabulary skills:

  • Use definitions of words to create word riddles.

    New words are important to learning.

  • Group words based on similarities and/or differences.
  • Draw pictures that illustrate the vocabulary word.
  • Play a variation of the card game, Go Fish.  Prepare a deck of word cards with five or more sets of four related words in each set.  Duplicate the cards so that at least each student has a deck for the game.   Try to build sets of like words, ie, antonyms, synonyms,  nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
  • Go beyond definitions in the dictionary.  Explore ways to describe the associations that cluster around the word.
  • Choose a vocabulary word and then answer the following questions:  How would a scientist describe this word?  How would a judge describe this word?  How would a poet describe this word?  How would you describe this word?
  • Make new words.

    Organize a collection of words:

    • Reference Book:   Create vocabulary pages for a three-ring binder.
    • Word Wall: Display collected words and definitions on a bulletin board.
    • Word File: Record words, definitions, and context-rich sentences on index cards.  Place them in a recipe box that organizes the words alphabetically.

Students should not skip this important skill work.   Learning new vocabulary is essential to learning.

Homework – When is Enough, Enough?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

According to a national survey, kids are spending twice as much time on homework as they did in 1981. And elementary school children account for the brunt of that jump. It is controversial as to whether this is good or bad and whether there is such a thing as an ideal amount of homework.

Alfie Kohn, author of “The Homework Myth,” thinks giving homework is a tradition based in folk wisdom and that, in reality, it does more harm than good. “The amount of homework is increasing, at least for younger children at precisely the same time that more research is failing to show any benefit whatsoever.” He believes there is no evidence showing that homework is beneficial academically, but it may be the single greatest extinguisher of children’s curiosity yet invented. “It’s all pain, no gain,” he says.

On the other hand, Harris Cooper of Duke University defends the worth of homework in measured doses and for certain grade levels. He used available research showing the success of homework to frame what is called “The 10 Minute Rule.” It stipulates 10 minutes of homework per night, per grade level beginning in 1st grade. So 1st graders should get no more than 10 minutes of homework each night, 2nd graders 20 minutes, etc.

For parents who see homework eroding their child’s sleep, affecting their health or eliminating their free time, experts encourage them to take the issue back to the school or pulling in like-minded parents. The idea is to help parents and educators advocate for saner homework practices.

Adapted from Chicago Tribune