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Posts Tagged ‘learning at home’

eTutor Offers New App – eTutor Unplugged!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014


In an effort to provide more access to the wealth of instructional content in the eTutor bank of lesson modules we have created an additional program. eTutor Unplugged has been developed to give students and parents another way to access instruction over the Internet. Individual lessons may be purchased for a nominal fee and can be accessed unlimited times for one year.

For instance, in this lesson module on Figurative Language, you can see how the use of graphics and pictures enhance the information and skills being taught. The use of internet links within the Study Guide and in the Resource section provide additional information for student learning.

Lesson Modules cover 27 subjects in the four major areas of Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Subjects are recommended based on the grade level of your student. Of course you may adapt your selections based on student need.

eTutor Unplugged offers users the option of receiving credit for lessons completed. When enrolling in eTutor Virtual School for a minimum of three months, students may transfer their work for credit which is accepted in public and private schools, universities and colleges, military and when applying for jobs. eTutor Virtual School is accredited through AdvancEd and North Central Association (NCA).

Rules for Being Human

Sunday, November 24th, 2013


  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is the process of trial-and-error and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.”
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
  6. There is nothing better than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
  7. Others are simply mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you make of them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you have to do is look, listen and trust.
  10. You will forget all this.

Author Unknown

How Not To Argue with Your Kids About Homework

Monday, November 18th, 2013

You remember those days: they want to do something else or just not do it at all. You want to help them make sure homework gets done, but sometimes you ask if it’s even worth the fight. It doesn’t have to turn into an argument. Whether its about homework, staying out late or doing their chores…you CAN avoid an argument with your kids.

First, Three Basic Rules About Rules:

Make sure the rules are clear. Are your expectations about what is supposed to be done, and more importantly, HOW it’s supposed to be done the same?

Make sure the rules are consistent. If homework is supposed to be done everyday before television, there are no exceptions (unless, its agreed upon ahead of time).

Check to make sure these rules are still in place and reinforced on a regular basis.

How NOT to Argue (this goes for your kids, your spouse, your family).

Some keywords to remember are:

  • Validate: Acknowledge you are listening. You can do this by paraphrasing or repeating what they’ve said to you. This comes in handy when the comeback is “You’re not listening to me!” Sometimes by repeating what they’ve said first, they realize they may not have a valid argument after all.
  • Deflect: Sometimes kids will purposely try to start an argument to get out of the chores or responsibilities. They may try to provoke you by ignoring you, starting an argument (how many times have you heard: “But that’s not fair!” or “So-So doesn’t have to do this”). Stay focused on what the issue is. The issue is not that you are unfair or a “slavedriver”, the issue is that the homework was supposed to be done by five o’clock. Repeat this rule (“Even if you think its unfair, the rule is no T.V. before your homework is done.” “You may have more chores than your sister, nevertheless, the rule is you must get them done.”)
  • Absorb: If they still attempt provoking an argument, stay cool. Act like a sponge. Whatever is said, simply absorb it. You can do this through “Uh-huh,” “I see”, “Yes,”…but the decision stands. Do not attempt to be drawn into their provocations. If you lose control, you lose the power of the rule. Remember what the issue is. Remember it’s o.k. to become angry for both yourself and your child—you’re both only human. But do not take it personally or allow it to become a personal attack.

Sometimes parents worry that by doing this, they are not allowing their children to express themselves. You can validate their feelings by saying “I can tell you’re angry, but my decision stands.” Sometimes this can be prevented if all of the rules are expressed clearly before the situation arises. It helps if consequences are spelled out for specific actions. (“If your homework is not done by five o’clock, you will not go outside for the rest of the day.”) Some parents (and teachers) have even drawn up “contracts” with their children, spelling out the exact expectations for performance and behavior and the consequences/rewards for each. Make the child part of this progress and ask for their input on what these should be.

These are some suggestions that may help prevent arguments in the future. Many times families repeat the same arguments over and over, on an ongoing basis. While these suggestions are not guaranteed solutions, they may be a start in providing better communication with your family.

Happy Columbus Day!

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Columbus Day is celebrated on October 14 this year. Since 1920 the day has been celebrated annually. The history of Columbus, first landing in the New World on October 12, will be retold in many social studies classes in October.  The following is a brief account of its history.

On August 3, 1492 Columbus and 90 men set sail to find an easier route to Asia for the spice merchants. The expedition was sponsored by Queen Isabella of Spain, provided that Columbus would conquer some of the islands and mainland for Spain. On October 12 the ships landed on the island of Guanahani (in the Caribbean Islands) which Columbus immediately christened San Salvador and claimed it for Spain. When they landed on what is now Cuba they thought it was Japan! After 3 subsequent voyages, Columbus died rich and famous but not knowing that he had discovered lands that few people had imagined were there.

There are many holidays celebrated in the United States. Each holiday has an interesting history, and learning about holidays can help us understand the country and its people. Happy Columbus Day!

Have a Good Laugh!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Having a good laugh is a great way to reduce the stress of family life.

Create your own “humor first aid kit” for days that don’t go well. Collect items that will make you and your kids laugh….silly books, squeaky toys, cartoons, and funny videos.

Find a special place to tape up cartoons and other funny items….if your kids like silly poems, they’ll love Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row).

Some families like to write stories about funny things that have happened to them….you may want to create your own silly stories.

Every library is full of humorous stories and songs that your children will love. And don’t forget the joke and riddle books. Ask your librarian to recommend a few.

Laughter is not a cure-all, but it certainly helps.

Outsmarting Stress

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

We don’t know where we got this wonderful reminder….but it is something we wish we could remember when pressures get too great.

Relieve stress by understanding which brain hemisphere is stressed. If you feel depressed or emotionally overwrought, your stress is in the right hemisphere….the creative, emotional, holistic side.

What to do: Switch to your matter-of-fact left hemisphere by doing math, writing factual prose or organizing. The emotional right brain will calm down.

If you feel time-stressed and overburdened, the left hemisphere is involved. Switch to your right brain by singing or playing a sport.


What is Discipline?

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

There are times when children simply need discipline, and nothing else will do. We discipline them because we love them. We discipline our children to prepare them for life. Discipline is training through containment, setting limits or boundaries with clearly defined consequences. Here are a few things that discipline provides to help children make good choices and to live life well:

  • Discipline Provides Protection: Discipline provides limits that protect our children by keeping them away from danger. As we set limits, we also give our children ample opportunities to apply what they are learning to life.
  • Discipline Provides Security: In life, we must submit ourselves to people and laws to succeed. Teachers, police, principals, baby-sitters, parents and bosses have say over what is permissible and advisable behavior. To achieve and keep peace in our society, our children need to develop a healthy respect for those limits that make their lives make sense.
  • Discipline Provides Responsibility: In order for children to grow toward independence and take their place as adults, they must assume various responsibilities for themselves. They must learn to handle their money, to hold a job, and to manage emotions, to name a few. As they grow up, they learn that freedom and responsibility go together
  • Discipline Provides Training: Discipline trains a child in self-discipline and prepares the child for his future as an adult. A child who learns to do his chores or homework forms the habit of getting work done first, which leads to maturity and independence.

Frame Their Art

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Have you ever noticed that all young children are artists?  Creative geniuses ready to bloom and be discovered.  Children can teach us so much about creativity…just watch them when they paint a picture.  They become completely absorbed in the drawing and put their complete attention, concentration, and love into that one picture.  They don’t worry about what others think…they give it their all.

Creativity takes many forms.  A four-year-old boy I know can take a watch apart and put it back together almost exactly the way it was.  When his father discovered this curiosity, he recognized his son’s mechanical ability.  He buys old watches and clocks at garage sales;  the little boy loves them better than toys.

With art children learn to solve problems.  When your child is angry, frustrated, or scared, drawing a picture and telling a story can help him work it through.  Always encourage creativity, for you never know where it might lead.  A top Seattle department store carries jewelry designed with the drawings of a twelve-year-old girl.  One mother used her son’s pictures to make greeting cards; he now works on movies.  A father designed his business cards using a logo that his daughter had scribbled on paper.  It gave her quit a boost…today she is a graphic designer.

When a child explores her creativity she discovers her potential.  When her potential is recognized and acknowledged, her future is secured.  Frame their art and suddenly it looks suitable for any gallery.  Hang it on the walls and they are ready to fly.


Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

As spring brings out all that is fresh and new, thoughts turn to spring cleaning and packing away our winter hats and gloves. But as we look forward to getting ready for spring, we should not forget all of the progress we have made throughout the school year. It is important to look back so we can see how far we have come. Consider setting up a filing system for your student. These files can prove to be a rich source of inspiration and reflection for any student.

Grade school students may wish to save cherished artwork and see the progress they have made. With a quick flip through their file, they can see how their cursive writing has become neater, how they can read books with chapters, and how their artwork has improved.

Middle school students will be able to track the development of their skills. Simple addition and subtraction give way to geometry and pre-algebra. Essays extend beyond a page; science projects involve complex equations and chemicals.

As their studies become more complicated, students may find their files have grown dramatically in size, an indication of the increasing complexity of their knowledge. They may be surprised to learn how much material they have studied.

High school students may wish to save long English papers which can be revised and turned into college admissions essays. Favorite books can be a source of inspiration; an essay about The Great Gatsby from the 9th grade could be the source of an inspiring AP essay for college credit. Chemistry and biology experiments may be the basis for scholarship applications for science programs.

Over the long run, students can examine these saved files and see how their interests develop. A science fair project from the fifth grade could spark a lifelong interest in chemistry, reflected in more and more complicated projects throughout junior high and high school. History papers about the Civil War can spark an outside interest in re-enactments.

As they look back on these files, students can see how much they’ve improved year by year. The 3rd grade book report about Old MacDonald’s Farm may be a far cry from Animal Farm in 11th grade, but students will be able to see how they have developed into mature young adults with a broad range of knowledge. These learning files show students how they’ve grown and where they are heading.

Your Child and Reading

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The best way to prepare children for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

Excerpts from Creating Reading Instruction For All Children by Thomas G. Gunning, Allyn and Bacon, 1992.