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Posts Tagged ‘learning at home’

Twelve Tips to Encourage Reading at Home

Monday, February 13th, 2012


Learning to read is much like learning any other skill. It requires a combination of instruction, experimentation, and practice. But the first step must be motivation. The child must want to learn to read. Parents can encourage their children to read  by demonstrating that they think reading  is important. Parents can help their
children discover the benefits of reading:
new ideas…relaxation…adventure…fun.

  • Buy as many children’s books as you can afford.
  • Give books as gifts.
  • Visit the library regularly.
  • Allow your children to choose their own books.  Don’t rush them.
  • Show your children that you enjoy reading. Make sure they see you reading newspapers, magazines, and books.
  • Set up a special place for reading.
  • Encourage older children to read to younger children.
  • Surround your child with words; point out street signs; label objects in the house such as table, desk, and stove.
  • Play word games like Scrabble, Anagrams, and Ad Lib.
  • Watch educational TV programs together. Some stress reading development.
  • Read to your child, especially at bedtime. Reread favorite stories.
  • Ask you child to read to you.

Stress the things your children do well in reading rather than any mistakes they make. Remember: Success breeds success.

Three Features Identify Outstanding Online Learning

Friday, August 5th, 2011

All online courses of study should be accredited and designed according to national and state standards.  Content will include:

  • Technology-based curriculum activities to enliven and enrich learning
  • Online communication, collaboration and reference tools
  • Community-based activities

The outstanding online instructional program will deliver broad, engaging curriculum content in major curricular areas that include many different subjects.  Subscribers will have access to all curricular areas at their level. Each time a student enters the program he will choose the curricular area he wishes to study:  Language Arts, Mathematics, Science or Social Science.   Within the curricular area the student will select subjects based on a recommended course of study.

No plug-ins, software or additional components will be needed.  Teachers from across the United States will be able to create the interactive instructional modules.  The amount of instructional material will be increased regularly.  Instructional modules will be aligned to state and national goals and standards in the four core curriculum areas.  The program will be fully accessible through the Internet,  with no peripherals or ancillary material, allowing registered users to access the program from any location.

Six Steps Online Students Need to Follow

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Online learning is gaining acceptance in school districts around the country.  However,  school districts want to know students are actually spending their time learning.  When asked about your online learning program,  if your student has taken the following steps, you will have evidence of a very strong program.

  1. Plan to spend approximately five hours learning each day.
  2. Keep track of when you start to study and when you stop each day.  Keep record of sport and art activity on your list, as well.
  3. Have a notebook, pencil, paper and any other necessary materials available before starting online learning each day.
  4. Establish a schedule for learning and start, as much as possible, the same time each day.
  5. Share with your parents or another adult the goals and time management plan you have established for yourself.
  6. Keep a record of activities, assignments, and testing completed. Include examples when possible.

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.

Learning in the Dirt

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Watering SeedlingsThis spring I am taking a cue from our students, who know that learning opportunities are everywhere.  In Colorado, home of e-Tutor headquarters, the sun has been shining and folks are starting to crowd local gardening centers; I am no exception.  I’ve recruited my two year old daughter Carson to learn some more about gardening along with me.  Parents, I encourage you to do the same; students, tell your parents it’s time to get dirty.

Last year, I experimented with an aquaponics system in my home (more on this later) and a few plants grown in a tiny planter behind our townhouse.  We were able to enjoy fresh zucchini, yellow squash, and basil, but not much else, since my skills are still lacking.  Even with the limited selection, it was really satisfying to see Carson watch food grow in her own back yard at such a young age.

We also started a compost pile last year, which Carson has helped contribute to since.  She likes to keep her mother and I company in the kitchen as we cook, and helps put egg shells, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, and other compostables into the pile each meal.  This year she’s been able to see what that turns into: beautiful nutrient rich soil that we can now use to grow more food.

My goal this year is to expand the vegetable selection a bit, with plans to add peppers, jalapenos, eggplant, soybeans (Carson loves edamame), spinach, potatoes, scallions, cilantro, carrots, lettuce, and a few others to the trio I enjoyed last year.

Carson has helped amend our lousy Colorado soil with compost, played with some worms, turned some seeds into seedlings, and sown other seeds directly into the planter outside.  She also feeds the fish in our aquaponics system on a daily basis.  While she’s not quite ready for botany or biology lessons quite yet, she asks a lot of questions and is clearly learning about quite a few things:

  • caring for and nurturing the living
  • where food comes from
  • where worms live
  • why sun and water are important

For those of you with older children, the learning possibilities are endless.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with aquaponics, you may want to take a look.  It’s a fascinating system that pairs plants with fish, and in many cases, produces edible varieties of both.  Many educators are using aquaponics in the classroom and in the home to teach facets of biology.  If you’re interested, I’d recommend The Aquaponic Source to help get you started.  Founder Sylvia Bernstein personally got me off and running and is a wealth of knowledge in the subject.

Though it’s still very early in the gardening season here, Carson and I have had a chance to learn quite a bit, and more importantly, have had some great father-daughter time together in the sun and dirt.  I look forward to more of the same as we approach summer and beyond.

Get on out there and play in the dirt!  You may learn something – I certainly did.  If any of you are doing some gardening of your own already, share what you’re learning with the rest of us in the comments!