In The News                     January 2008   Vol. 11-1

President’s Message

Happy New Year!  
This month we once again welcome a host of new students who are using the e-Tutor instructional program.  We have enjoyed talking with parents and students who are looking for a new way of learning.  Your concerns, your ideas, your willingness to share inspire us to continue to look for ways to enhance and improve curriculum and features for our users.  Much has changed since we started offering online education eleven years ago......sounds so far back now, doesn't it?  But, with advances in technology, there are many new options that we will be considering in the future.  Just thinking about what we can do to change traditional thinking about education with online instruction is exciting!  We look forward to sharing with you many new features as this new year progresses. 

January brings the cold north wind to our part of the world.  After many festive and colorful days, this month can often seem bleak and unending.   But, we find it refreshing.  The long, dark days provide us an opportunity to stretch our thinking, ratchet up goals achieved the previous year and finish tasks that take extended efforts to accomplish.  With fewer interruptions, we really can make "hay" of each and every day.  

This is a great time of year to review with the family what was accomplished last year.  Our children are proud of their physical and mental growth and these should be celebrated.  Everyone in the family should set individual goals and several for the family as a whole.  This creates a sense of excitement and achievement and increases family unity.  When next year rolls around, January will be a month to anticipate for all that was accomplished in the past year!

Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year! 



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Let us be of good cheer...remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) Poet, critic and editor

Learning with e-Tutor


Fully Completing a 
Lesson Module:

Learning is not a race.  Yet many students want to get through their course of study as quickly as possible.  Some are forgetting important parts of each lesson module.  Remember it takes a minimum of one to one and a half hours to complete each lesson module.  While we do want students to move through their instructional program at a reasonable pace, we would remind both students and parents that learning is a life-long event.  

e-Tutor lesson modules have several sections.  Each section is important to  learning and should be completed before moving on to the next section.  To fully complete a lesson module students should follow these guidelines:

  • Problem Statement: Student responds in writing to the problem statement before and after completing each lesson module.  This acts as a self check.  The student will be able to quickly see how much has been learned.   
  • Vocabulary:   Student keeps a notebook with new words given in each lesson module.  They are to write a short description next to each word. They use the vocabulary words for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.   Or, if writing is difficult the student can draw a picture to go with each new word.
  • Study Guide:  This teaches the concept or skill of the lesson module.  The student should carefully read the Study Guide and take notes.  Then he will study their notes.  He may even need to read the Study Guide several times.  Some words are blue with a line under them.  These are very important to the student's learning.  The student should click on these links.  They give more information that will help the student remember what he is learning in the Study Guide.  The student will need to remember the information in the Study Guide and in the links because he will be tested on what he knows at the end of the lesson module.   
  •  Resources:   Students will be disappointed if they don’t check on every one of the resources!  These give more information about the topic of the lesson module.  They may find a game or a song or something that really interests them.  The student should take his time when reviewing the resources.  They are important to learning.  He should write a short description of each of the resource links. 

·     Activity & Extended Learning:  These are most often completed off line.  The student may be asked to write a story, draw a picture, complete an experiment, do a project or create something of their own.  This is where the student gets to practice what he has learned.  There should be no skipping!  Students are to complete the activity and extended learning for each lesson module.

·     Quiz/Exam:  It is time to let us know what the student has learned.  If the student has fully completed everything up to this point the quiz and exam will be easy.  

There are no shortcuts to learning!  We want the student to take his time and do his own best work!   

Thirty-seven New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.

Congratulations to the Writer's Circle!

Have you noticed how many lesson modules are added to the Lesson Library each month?  That is in most part due to the excellent group of writers who are producing outstanding and interesting lesson modules to be used in the e-Tutor program.  There are nearly 2,300 lesson modules for students to choose from now!  We appreciate the efforts of those participating in the Writer's Circle.      

If you are interested in writing lesson modules for the e-Tutor program, please send an email to  We will send you information on how you can participate in this exciting endeavor and earn money at the same time. 


   The Book Case

              Millions to Measure

              David M. Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Kellogg 
              Ages: Preschool - Primary

This book was recommended by one of our writers who created a lesson module on measurement for the primary grades.   See how Marvelosissimo measures Moonbeam the Unicorn and Jello the Cat, to name a few. This is a good explanation on the metric system. You will learn how it was invented, why and how to use it in a fun way!

This book is a colorful and creative way to convey mathematical information.  It covers the history of measurement and the English (and American) system of measuring length, volume and weight.  Then it continues to explain the metric system and how vastly simpler it is.

The “millions” in the title is only to connect it to other books the author has written.  The author sticks with basic information about measuring things we can readily imagine.  There is a lot of information to get across in this book, so it comes out a little bit like a catalog of facts.  Still, they manage to make a mathematical subject interesting and accessible to any child or adult.

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When we grow old, there  can only be one regret:  not to have given enough of ourselves.  

Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) Actor

Read, Read, Read

Read to your children as often as you can.  It cannot be stressed enough how important this is.  You are the role model who builds positive attitudes and helps children learn.  Fathers or the male role model in the family unit must also be part of the read-aloud time to demonstrate that men in our culture also value reading. 

Let your children see you read.  Children need to see you as a model constantly demonstrating the place of reading in living such as reading to get the news, reading for entertainment, reading to solve problems, and reading to get information.  

Listen to your children read.  Particularly when your children are beginning to learn to read, they need your positive support.  You are part of their "cheering section"  as they work hard to learn the reading game, and it is hard work to learn something new.  When you listen there are some guidelines you can follow:

  • Be positive.  Negative responses on your part will cause your children to dislike what they are doing with you.

  • Let your children stop when they want to stop.  Short practices, where children stop before they are frustrated, are better than long ones.

  • Let your children read lots of easy material.  The best practice is easy material because it allows children to build self-confidence and fluency or speed of word recognition.  Easy material is defined by the number of decoding miscues children make for every 100 words of reading.  For every 100 words, easy material has about two or three miscues, average material about five miscues but not more than 10, and difficult material has more than 10

Adapted from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Let Them Help

From a young age, children want to help and be active participants in family life.  They want to make a contribution, they want to belong.  Your willingness to let them help out in the way they desire will teach them to exercise judgment, take responsibility for themselves, and make meaningful choices.  

We all hope that our children will grow up to be responsible adults, able to care for their own needs.  We want them to have happy, independent, and satisfying lives.  How do we do this?  Some parents believe that to instill a sense of responsibility, they must, above all else, demand a high level of dedicated participation around the house.  They think that good grades, clean rooms and obediently doing chores are a sign of a responsible child, and that messy rooms, poor grades, and pouty attitudes mean the child is not learning responsibility.  But that is not necessarily so.

In order to take responsibility for his own life, a child must first have the opportunity to exercise control over his life.  This is the only way he learns to make choices and live with the consequences of his choices.  When a parent always tells the child what to do without allowing him any input, the child becomes more and more dependent on others and less confident on his own ability to make decisions for himself.

When they are young, keep the chores simple.  As they grow you can let them do more, but don't demand perfection or blind obedience.  Keep things flexible and you will create an environment where your children will willingly help out and learn solid values in the process.  

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Test Smart Tips

Most students  could use a few tips on how to improve their test taking skills.  Whether you want to earn higher grades.....use your study time more effectively.....or improve you test performance, the following may show you how. 

Before the Test:

  • Break your studying down into smaller time periods rather than studying all at once. 

  • Try writing lists, creating flash cards, and making charts if you're a visual learner.

  • Create memory cues, read aloud, and use a tape recorder if you're an auditory learner.

  •  Act out a lesson from history, read while standing up, and study in short periods if you're a kinesthetic learner.

  • Use all your senses to study.

  • Create and use mnemonics to help you remember.

  • Pretend you're the teacher and make up possible test questions.

  • Prepare for midterms or final exams by reviewing old tests. 

  • Avoid all-nighters or cramming before a test.

During the Test:

  • Follow the directions carefully.

  • Skim the test quickly to get an idea of its length.  Note how much time you have to take the test.  Wear a watch to keep track of time. 

  • Don't be afraid to skip a question and go back to it later. 

  • Check your work for careless mistakes. 

  • Be alert for word cues that indicate the wrong answer

Adapted from American Association of School Administrators

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Experience has two things to teach:  the first is that we must correct a great deal; the second, that we must not correct too much

Eugene Delacroix(1798-1863) Artist


How to Cope With Cyber Bullying

Your child may have experienced bullying from others over the Internet.   Many have.  Four percent of children have been bullied while online.  One in four of these have had it happen more than once. Thirty-five percent of kids have been threatened online.  Nearly one in five of these have been threatened more than once. 

Twenty-one percent of kids have received mean or threatening e-mail or other messages. Fifty-eight percent of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.  More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once. 

Tips for Teens

  • Tell a trusted adult about the bullying and keep telling until the adult takes action. 

  • Don't open or read messages by cyber bullies

  • Tell your school if it is school related.  Schools have a bullying solution in place.

  • Don't erase the messages.  They may be needed to take action.

  • Protect your self.  Never agree to meet with the person or with anyone you meet online.

  • If bullied through chat or instant messaging, the "bully" can often be blocked.

  • If you are threatened with harm, inform the local police.

Tips for Parents

  • Keep the computer in a public place, such as family room, kitchen or recreation room

  • Reduce the amount of time your child spends online, especially at night.

  • Consider investing in a good monitoring program, to observe and monitor their behavior online.

  • Talk to your child about your expectations and the do's and don'ts of online behavior.

  • Look for mood changes or changes in behavior, especially withdrawn behavior or sudden unexplained amounts of money.

Park Ridge Herald-Advocate 

Thirty Cents

Here's a young girl who is destined to succeed:

She visited a farm one day and wanted to buy a large watermelon.

"That's three dollars," said the farmer.

"I've only got 30 cents," said the young girl.

The farmer pointed to a very small watermelon in the field and said, "How about that one?"

"Okay, I'll take it,"  said the little girl.  "But leave it on the vine.  I'll be back for it in a month."

Bits and Pieces

Why Analogies

An analogy may be defined as a comparison between two or more dissimilar things that share at least one characteristic.  Through the use of analogies, children build vocabulary skills by creating mental sentences that summarize comparisons between two pairs of words.  The relationship between the first pair parallels the relationship between the second pair of words.  To complete the analogy pumpkin  is to orange as spinach is to ___________, children must create a mental sentence, such as "The color of a pumpkin is orange, and the color of spinach is green."

The process of building analogies helps children develop an awareness of the relationship between words and expands their vocabularies.  In addition to word-building skills, work with analogies demands that children think logically and analytically.  As part of this process, children must identify and form conceptual relationships among known words and new words.

An analogy class defines the relationship existing between both pairs of items.  Below is a list of common analogy classes:

  1. Characteristics:  Rain is to wet as sun is to dry.
  2. Part/Whole: Leaf is to tree as feather is to bird.
  3. Whole/Part:  Cup is to handle as clock is to hand.
  4. Location:  Juice is to glass as tea is to cup.
  5. Action/Object:  Run is to track as swim is to pool.
  6. Agent/Action or Object:  Doctor is to patients as teacher is to pupils.
  7. Familial:  Uncle is to nephew as aunt is to niece.
  8. Grammatical:  Hear is to heard as see is to seen.
  9. Temporal or sequential:  Fifth is to first as twenty-fifth is to fifth.
  10. Antonyms:  Smile is to frown as happy is to sad

Adapted from Silver Burdett and Ginn

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In winter, the big problem is how to get 72 inches of son to shovel 3 ½ inches of snow.



Juicy January Links:

ESRI Mapping Center:  This site allows you to browse a world of geographic data to create live maps of specific areas of interest.  Maps can include a variety of information, such as floodplains, earthquake zones, and demographics.  A great source of graphic representations of detailed data.

Ceramics Web:  The site is produced by the School of Art Design at San Diego State University in California an is an experimental site that is still growing and expanding.  CeramicsWeb houses databases of glass recipes and material analyses, links to other ceramics Web sites, health and safety information, and a variety of educational materials related to ceramics.

Welcome to the Mary Rose:  Come and explore Henry VIII's great warship and meet some of the crew in this website!  Hear the crew talk, find out about the objects found on the wreck, try your hand at the quizzes, then print out an activity sheet to do afterwards.  A second site, the Learning City, is based on life aboard the Mary Rose.  Even if you are not studying history, there are some great pictures and information on these sites. 

National Geographic Creature Feature:  The site links to short, flashcard-like information about numerous animals including: bats, bears, cheetahs, chimpanzees, coyotes, and so on through the alphabet to the warthogs.  Click on an animal, experience a flash introduction, then access photos, video, audio, postcards, fun facts and links to further information.

Environmental Inquiry:  The mission of Environmental Inquiry (EI) is to support teaching and learning about the environmental science through teacher education, curriculum research and development, and scientific inquiry by students and teachers in grades 7-16.  This site offers resources to aid development of meaningful research projects in the areas of toxicology, watersheds, ecology and biodegradation.

Free Rice:  This is a sister site to  The site has two goals, 1)  provide English vocabulary to everyone free; 2) help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.  FreeRice has a database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty.  Click on an answer that best defines a word.  If you get it right, you get a harder word.  If wrong, you get an easier word.  For each word you get right, twenty grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program.


Have a Fantastic Year!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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