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Posts Tagged ‘learning at home’

Holidays and the “Missing Parent”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Holidays can be difficult times for children when their parents are divorced or separated.  According to psychologists Evan Imber-Black and Janine Roberts”  “The child may be hurt or angry when the parent does not contact him on a holiday.  The parent who lives with the child may then be left to deal with the emotional reactions.  The child may have fantasies that the holiday would be much better with the missing parents.  or he may blame the parent he is with for the fact the other isn’t there.”

Ignoring the emotional stress may be tempting….especially if you yourself are still dealing with the stress and emotions of a divorce or separation.  But that only causes your child to feel worse, the authors say.

They suggest:  Sit down with the child and look at pictures of the missing parent and talk about what it would be like to have contact with him or her.  Set aside your own anger and simply listen to your child’s feeling, say the authors.  help make contact with relatives of the missing parent if they want to see the child.  if there is no chance of the child reconnecting with a missing parent at holidays, have an honest discussion about the subject.

“Family Change: Don’t Cancel Holidays,” Psychology Today

My Gift To You….

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Sometimes I find myself regarding you as a miniature adult; not tall enough to be awarded respect, not subtle enough to be offered consideration.

I give you love as I might offer you a piece of cake, enough, perhaps, to entice your taste and encourage your appetite, but not sufficient to nourish your needs.

The miracle is not that you grow with my love.   The miracle is that you seem to survive my mistakes….

I teach you words, that you might express new and adventurous thoughts of your own.

I teach you to read to enlighten your mind, knowing that knowledge will lead you to unexplored corridors over which I have no control….

I must also prepare you for realities.  I must offer you both…the way the world should be and the way it is…

Take my hand, my child, and we will explore the land.   I will tell you all that I know, and you will show me the secrets of your heart.  It may not be a fair exchange, but it is all I have to give.

I shall lead you only for this short while…how can I find appropriate words that can say only the right things?  How can I find proper answers to answer the question you ask?  How can I teach you when I, myself, am in need of guidance?  How can I be a teacher when much of me is still a child?

Excerpts from “I’ll Show You the Morning Sun”  by David Melton

Five Reasons to Give a Gift of Art

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Using a little creativity when choosing gifts for school-age family members or friends can really pay off….with gifts that youngsters grow with rather than out grow.  Some expand children’s creativity and curiosity and encourage learning throughout the year.  They also can provide opportunities for family members to join in the learning process.

  • Art Supplies. Young artists will appreciate basic art supplies, like paper, paints, markers, pencils and crayons.  Avoid art kits that have pre-designed patterns, since children should be encourage to use their imaginations and creativity.
  • Framed Art. Have a piece of your child’s artwork matted and framed; this transforms a temporary “refrigerator door” piece of art into a beautiful wall piece that your child can treasure in adult years. Your child may also enjoy a work of art purchase at an art fair, gallery or museum shop.  Additionally, some libraries and art museums rent or loan art pieces.
  • Nontraditional Art. For students who do not express an interest in traditional art, select a gift in some other art form.  Architects, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, cartoonists and industrial designers are also artists.
  • Photography. A digital camera of one’s own is a good gift idea for students who have an interest in art, as well as for students who have not yet acquired that interest.  Children can take pictures on family trips or can use photography to collect ideas for drawings and paintings.
  • Private Space. Provide your child a special place to work on art projects, such as an easel in a quiet corner with good lighting and a comfortable stool.

Communicating

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Individuals often assume that others know how they feel or that their feelings are reflected by their behavior.  As a result, people become lax about communication.  In all relationships one must not only express love and appreciation through behavior, but must openly verbalize these feelings.  Words alone can be empty and meaningless if an individual’s behavior is not consistent with them.

Although beginning to change, socialization practices in American culture have led men to be generally less expressive and affectionate than women.  This attitude can be problematic because both males and females are equal in their need for emotional warmth.  Family members should try to be sensitive to these gender differences and develop ways of expressing supportive-affectionate feelings that meet the needs of males and females while allowing all family member to feel comfortable.

The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.

Parents Influence Student Reading Skills

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The importance of parental involvement in their child’s reading activities does not diminish because of the prevalence of computers and technology.  School-age children still enjoy listening to a good story.  A child’s entrance into a learning program should not mean the end of a parent’s reading to the child.  Early learners like fairy tales and books that have corresponding puppets or other toys.  First graders like easy readers because they can recognize some of the words; they also like picture books with strong characters and a solid story.  At the second and third grade level books should be somewhat above the child’s current reading (but not emotional) level.  Nonfiction works, “How to Do It” books, nonsense books, and riddle books are popular with children in these grade levels.  As with pre-school children, parents should encourage active participation when they read to their school-age children.

At some point, a child may want to read independently.  Many times, however, when the parent stops reading to the child, the child stops reading.  Studies have shown that students who read at home, not surprisingly, improve their reading ability.   A closer look at the home reveals that parents and siblings in the home also read during their leisure time.  There are books available in the home, or there are trips to the library.  Television and computer use is limited.

If a home does not have books for children, and if there is no library close to the home, a parent can use a newspaper, catalog or magazine to encourage a child to read.  Parents often are seen reading a newspaper or a magazine, so that role model is ready-made.  Not only is a newspaper or a catalog inexpensive, but it has something of interest for nearly everyone.  A parent might clip a news article and ask the child to read the article to him or her.  Pictures can be chosen, and the child can either make up a story about the pictures or list descriptive words that tell about the pictures.  An appealing news or magazine story can be clipped into paragraphs; the child can read the paragraphs and put them into the correct sequence.

To keep reading skills sharp, a child should read for at least fifteen minutes a day.  Reading also can be built into everyday activities.  A chid can help a parent prepare a meal by reading recipes to the parent.  Locating names, emergency numbers, or ads requires reading.  While grocery shopping, a child can find specific items on shelves or read label information.  A child can read a restaurant menu to the parent.  If the family is planning a vacation, the child can read maps and tour guides.

Parent involvement means instilling the values of self-discipline, hard work, and responsibility in children.  It means an emphasis on the importance of learning.  It means stepping away from electronic devices in order to provide your child opportunities to practice reading skills.

High School Students Meet With Success Online

Monday, November 12th, 2012
Choosing a strong online instructional program at the high school level is a challenge. Parents and students need to find a virtual program that offers an accredited diploma and provides academic support for students from a certified staff.

Whether looking to catch up, are unable to attend school for medical reasons, are pursuing a GED or simply want a quality high school education, the combination of an accredited curriculum with online tutors ensures a quality education that is recognized across the nation.

While we believe that this is a winning formula, online instruction is different from traditional schooling in some important ways. There is no driving to campus and fighting for a parking space, because students aren’t meeting in a classroom at a regular time and place. Communication with the tutor will take place online, not in person. Without an instructor reminding the student of what is due in class each week, the student will have more responsibility for their own learning. Students will need basic computing skills and convenient access to the Internet.

The skills the high school student needs most to be a successful online learner are the same ones needed in traditional schooling: preparation, organization and self-discipline. The difference is in how these are applied.  The best programs are designed to help students get the most out of their online instructional program.

As an online learner, there are things the student can do to make their learning a successful, rewarding experience. Some are common sense, like being prepared and getting work done on time, while others are less intuitive but important. The following may help the student get the most out of an online learning experience.

Get Comfortable

Spend time at the computer and on the Internet everyday, getting comfortable with the equipment and surroundings. Practice computing skills until confident the online instruction can be fully completed.

Be Prepared

Read instructional material carefully. What activities need to be completed? When are assignments due? How can the student contact the tutor? How can the student get help if needed? Mark important dates on a calendar.

Plan Ahead

Read the instructional guides and handbooks before starting the program. Practice using the online program.  Find out if the computer, to be used, has a firewall. Will it prevent the student from accessing particular web sites or using browser plug-ins to view resources included in the instructional program? Learn how to get around before starting, so that connecting to learning is easy and ready for the learner.

Get Organized

Set aside a significant amount of time each week for online learning. We recommend at least twenty hours. Online learning requires as much time and effort as regular schooling. Develop a schedule and stick to it. Without the structure of weekly class meetings, the student may be tempted to put off assignments and instruction until the last minute. Instead, the student should give himself extra time to do the work, because technology can slow down the process.

Be Dependable

Without an instructor and fellow students nearby to offer help and support, the student will be relying on himself more than ever. One way, is to use the resources that are available in most programs, including online help, tutorials, handbooks and the Internet. Another is to monitor progress by knowing where the student is in each subject; which assignments have been completed? Which lay ahead?

Develop Good Habits

One way to be a successful online learner is to develop good habits early. Email will be the main form of communication in most programs. Get into the habit of checking email at least once a day.

Six Transition Tips For Students Moving to Online Learning

Thursday, October 4th, 2012


Online learning represents a new kind of challenge for students.  Expectations vary widely and the online program response may not always meet expectations.  There are some things all students should expect, however.  Students should be expected to be challenged academically.  They should expect not to understand everything they experience in their online educational program.  They can expect to not always see the relevance of what they are asked to do.  But, they should expect that resources will be available to help them.  lIn order to help your child embrace the online learning program they have chosen:

  • Empower your student to take the initiative and solve his or her own learning problems within reason.
  • Familiarize yourself with the online instructional program and resources in the event you will need to assist your student in them.
  • Advise the instructional program if you or your student experiences difficulty
  • Remember that students often change their minds and this is okay
  • Avoid too much advice, too much supervision, solving their problems, and second-guessing your student
  • Stay positive

TEN Ways to Make the Most of STUDY TIME!

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Relax a bit after school before doing homework. Then….

1. Find the best time to study

After school, after dinner…..homework should have a definite start and finish time. If the homework is finished early, the remaining time should be used to double-check and review.

2. The best place to study

Homework headquarters should be away from television,  phone, and other distractions. A writing surface and good light are necessities. A small table may be the best place for a young student, while a desk or table, even the floor or a bed, may work for an older student.

3. Be prepared

Have all the materials needed to complete assignments. Pencils, sharpener, eraser and paper for younger students, a pen, ruler, dictionary, thesaurus, and more may be necessary for older students.

4. Make a homework list

Make an easy two-part homework checklist:

______ List homework assignments in each class each day as they are made.

______ Check over the list at the end of the school day to make sure you have all the materials necessary to take home.

Show the assignment sheet to educators. They can help to see that you have everything to complete assignments at home.

5. Keep a homework calendar

Record due dates for major long-range assignments on a special calendar brings the task into focus. Work backwards, identifying all the steps along the way to completion of the assignment.

If a short paper is due on Friday, the last step is to write the final draft on Thursday.  The first step is to begin reading and note taking on Monday.

6. Study rhythms

Tackle the most difficult assignments when you are most alert and save easier tasks for off-peak times. Schedule several smaller segments of time for memorization. It is easier to learn in short stretches than at one long session. Try using an easier assignment as a break from something more difficult.

7. When you get stuck – Ask these questions…..

  • Have you read and followed directions carefully?
  • Are you taking short cuts that are confusing you?
  • Are you using your book properly?
  • Read the directions aloud….now do they make sense?
  • Have you tried making a picture, table, graph, or diagram to represent the known facts and relationships?
  • Have you tried to sold a similar, but less difficult problem?
  • Have you checked the glossaries, the table of contents or the indexes for help?
  • Did you copy the words or numbers correctly?
  • Are you trying to do too much of the work in your head?
  • Have you checked for careless mistakes?

Still stuck? Do other homework assignments for awhile. Go to learning program early and check with the educator. Remember…..educators want success from their students.

8. Ask for help

It is okay to ask for help. Ask parents, older brothers and sisters, just ask.

9. Take a break

Schedule one or more short breaks during the study time. Stretching the mind for an hour, calls for stretching the body for a few minutes. Do jumping jacks, play ping pong or the drums…..get up and move.

10. Book bag at bedtime

Create a fail-proof method for getting completed homework assignments to school on time. A good slogan is “homework goes in the book bag at bedtime.”

The Showcase of Learning, A Portfolio Primer

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Portfolios are powerful because they help students learn about their learning.  They provide an opportunity for students to share the responsibility for collecting proof or evidence of learning.  Portfolios are worth doing well because they are a rich resource for reporting…they help student and parents see the results of student learning for themselves.

All portfolios are a collection of evidence of student learning.  They become powerful when they have a purpose.  There are three major purposes for portfolios:  to display student work around a theme or subject, to show the process of learning and to show growth or progress.

e-Tutor provides a portfolio for each student that the parent can access.  The portfolio gives a report of the lessons completed and the results of quizzes and exams.   We also encourage our students to keep their own  progress portfolio.  We suggest that the student create a folder for each one of the major curricular areas: Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies.  As the Activity and Extended Learning sections are completed for each lesson,  these are placed in the folders.  Parents know where to find their child’s work, they can review what their child has done,  the child can refer back to what has been achieved and they provide a basis for discussion.

As time goes by other things can be added to the portfolio, such as a time sheet to record the time the child began and ended a learning session.  Parents can add copies of the e-Tutor portfolio, so that comparisons can be made between accomplishments in  the two types of assessment.

Such a portfolio showcases the learner and his or her own learning, rather than who they could be by making comparisons with others.