In The News
                        February 2006   Vol. 9-2


President’s Message

After we completed all reports for 2005,  we are happy to report what our initial figures were telling us.  The year was very successful!  Thank you for your continued patronage and confidence in our online learning programs.  Your commendations have encouraged us to add programs and services.  The input you give, makes the planning and enhancing of the educational programs more effective.  We hope you will continue to partner with us in this very important endeavor in the years ahead.

It is raining in our part of the world today.  This is most unusual because at this time of year, we usually have snow and ice.  It doesn't take long for the weather to change, however, and by tomorrow, we may have the snow and ice that most of us are tired of at this time of year. This is the time of year that I find most productive.  With not many weeks before I will want to be outside, it gives me incentive to plan wisely in order to complete the work in my baskets

I am most fortunate to have a walking partner who has continued to get me up and out each evening for about three years now.  It helps to have someone who is a consistent partner in an evening walk.  The thing I enjoy most about these walks are the simple conversations we have.  Each evening I get a refresher course in child development.  Nothing earth shattering is discussed, but  I so enjoy hearing about the antics of her daughters.  It refreshes my memory of my own children.  The early years go by so very quickly and then without our realizing it our children are too soon adults.  It is important to capture and recall the little things that make our children so very special.

Thank goodness for February and Valentines Day.  It is a bright day, a happy day and a wonderfully sweet day.  What a surprise I had when I retrieved my mail, to find cards and a small box of candy from children in the neighborhood!  Forget the rain, snow and ice....February is just fine by me. 

May all your days be sweet and wonderful!


One-2-One Learning

e-Tutor provides a unique program through its Tutor Assisted Distance Learning Program.  The One2One Program includes: 

  • Personalized exclusive instructional program, 

  • One hour session with an assigned online tutor each week

  • Access to an increased number of e-Tutor learning modules 24/7

  • Daily online contact with student's tutor, 

  • Immediate feedback. 

Learn more about this recognized program.  

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Nothing succeeds in a big way except by risking failure.

Learning with e-Tutor

Assessing Student Work

Evaluation is ongoing in e-Tutor Virtual Learning.  It is real time.  As the student completes a lesson, quiz or exam results immediately show up in the report card. Parents can follow what the student is doing while at work, in another room or on a business trip.  

The screen above is displayed after the completion of a quiz or exam.  Quizzes, shown in the blue pencil column, consist of five questions and may be taken any number of times.  Each time the student takes a quiz the questions and responses are rotated.  No two quizzes are the same.   The arrows and the face indicate whether a score has gone up, down or hs remained the same. The ten question exam, scored in the orange pencil column, may be taken only once.  Results show a child's progress for each lesson module.


Parents have access to their child's report card through their own unique login and password.  Each child has a portfolio. By selecting one of the four curricular areas, the parent can view a list of the lesson modules the student is working on and quiz and exam scores when completed.

Report Card

In this example of a report card, the inverted orange triangle indicates that the quiz has been taken more than once and the scores are going down.  Conversly a green triangle will indicate quiz scores are increasing.  The face indicateds the quiz was taken once and the student did not meet the default passing score of 80 percent.  The exam was taken once and the score did not meet the default passing score of 80 percent.  In the example, the student Adam Rock has read the lesson "Anteater" but has not completed the quiz nor exam. 

Report cards can be printed or emailed.  We recommend that parents print them once a month so that students can watch their progress.  

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


Achievement From Experience

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.  

Theodore Roosevelt, American President

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One of the greatest talents of all is the talent to recognize and develop talent in others. .


Let Them Cry

Tears have many dimensions. There are tears of pain and suffering and tears of happiness and delight.  There are the loud cries of a newborn signaling "I'm hungry" or "Hold me...I'm lonely."  A mother learns quickly to understand the meaning of her baby's cry. 

But it's not just babies that cry.  As they grow, of course, there will be many times when both boys and girls need to cry.  Tears are a natural way of mending a broken heart and letting go of disappointment.  Tears can be an overflowing of happiness and running over of a heart full of pure joy.  Although it might be disturbing to see your child cry, sometimes it is the only release that will calm him.  

Even if your child's tears make you feel helpless, please don't ever try to stop them; this will make him feel ashamed and teach him to repress his emotions.  If you want to do something when your child is crying, ask quietly, "Can I put my arms around you?"  If he is willing, gently hold him or tell him it's okay to cry.  Let him know that tears are a sign of a sensitive loving person. Don't judge or embarrass him.  Let him cry until he has emptied himself of his pain and hurt before you ask what his tears were all about. 

Don't force him to talk, because sometimes he just doesn't know for sure.  Sometimes the tears themselves are the only expression needed.  If you don't interfere, tears will bring relief and soon he'll feel energetic and happy again.  

Excerpt from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Family Meetings

Because families' schedules are becoming so hectic, the concept of family meetings is growing quickly in popularity and is strongly recommended by many family counselors and parenting experts. Families used to meet together two, sometimes three, times a day, and that was a place of discussion.  For most of us, this is not possible.  People are busy, but most of us can pull out a calendar and find a space when we can generally get together.  Children often end up actually liking regularly scheduled family get-togethers, when the meetings are conducted properly. Here are some tips for holding family meetings:

  • Make meetings a regular event at a set time.

  • Be realistic about choosing a meeting time when most family members will be able to attend. 

  • Turn off the TV during meetings and don't accept phone calls.

  • Don't use family meeting time for a parental lecture.

  • Provide opportunities for each family member to express his or her feelings.

  • Don't allow any family member to be abused or insulted.

  • Don't project the misconception that the family is a democracy....parents are still the boss.

  • Allow children to participate in making decisions regarding negotiable matters.

  • Don't make meetings a drudge.  Invite children's input on fun issues, such as planning vacations.

  • Keep business-type family meetings brief (15 or 20 minutes).

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Enough Already!  Questioning Homework 

For many parents, homework assignments are an expected burden of childhood; math problems, reading assignments and language exercises are simply considered part of the experience of growing up.  However, amid horror stories of 10-year-olds having three hours' worth of homework, some parents are questioning the wisdom of extending academic schedules.  

U.S. schools have always had a love-hate relationship with homework. It has fluctuated with the times.  Now, however, some voices have begun questioning whether piling on the additional work is really the answer.  Regardless of what experts and parents may think of homework, most would agree that, given the prominence of education issues on the current political agenda, it is unlikely that homework will be vanishing any time soon.  The question, then, becomes one of how much homework should be assigned and at what age it should be assigned, rather than whether any should be given at all. 

There is an informal rule of thumb that says homework should be roughly 10 minutes for each grade level.  Ten minutes for 1st grade, 20 minutes for 2nd grade, and so on.  Experts suggest that assignments for younger children should not be overly complex or time-consuming.  When the assignments are fun and simple, the children learn to enjoy the work.  Homework assignments that are manageable and age-appropriate can teach children important values that extend far beyond the scope of an individual activity or learning exercise.  If they don't get a sense of pleasure of effort and the pleasure of work and achievement, then children in their later years will view homework as drudgery rather than a learning experience.  What is most important is that parents take an active interest in their children's learning exercises, whether in class or at home. 

Adapted from ASCD Curriculum Update

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Patience is the companion of wisdom. 

Predicting Dropout Problems

Family background, along with certain behaviors, were identified by researchers as predictors of whether young women will drop out of high school. The researchers found those with intact families, parents who graduated from high school, and with two or more kinds of reading material available at home were less likely to drop out.  

Most likely to drop out: young women who are sexually active or begin smoking or drinking before age sixteen.  The researchers found that pregnant students who stay in school after becoming mothers fare as well as those who progress straight through without having a baby or dropping out.  In contrast, those who drop out, with or without giving birth, have a great difficulty returning to school and graduating. 

IASB School Public Relations Service

Encouraging Tolerance

As the world becomes a smaller place, respect for differences becomes increasingly important.  Your children's future success may depend as much on respect for diversity as it does on good grades and job skills.  To compete in the job market and live in their communities, children must learn to get along with people of all races and cultures.  Those who avoid gender stereotyping may have more successful dating relationships and marriages.  

Young children are naturally fascinated by differences and the concept of diversity appeals to them.  Parents can encourage children to see cultural pluralism as a positive and natural part of life.  Or, by their own attitudes, parents can teach children to view differences as frightening or bad.  Here are some ways to promote tolerance for others, suggested by a number of experts:

  • Be prepared to deal with a child's natural curiosity about the differences among people.  Don't say, "People are all the same." They're not and you want your children to grow up to value the differences between people.  By ignoring a child's curiosity about differences, parents actually teach that some differences are unacceptable or must not be talked about.

  • Remind you children that what's important about a person is what's inside, not outside.  Tell them that a person's race, gender or physical disability should never be the basis for ridicule.

  • Teach them to put themselves in another person's place.  One aspect of prejudice is the inability to see life from any viewpoint other than one's own.

  • Teach your child to recognize bias.  Point out prejudice when it happens and discuss it with them.  Encourage them to speak up when they see someone, especially another child, being treated unfairly.

  • Encourage children to explore how other people live and broaden your own knowledge of other cultures as well.  

  • Try to have direct contact with people whose cultures or lifestyles are different from your own. Children are less likely to fear what they know. 

  • Help your children develop self-confidence.  Insecure people who doubt their own worth are more likely to be obsessed with conformity.  People who appreciate their own unique qualities are more likely to be tolerant of differences in others. 

  • Avoid stereotypes within your own family.  Expect sons as well as daughters to help with household chores such as laundry and dishes. Encourage daughters to excel at subjects such as science and math. Encourage children of either gender to participate in sports. 

  • Share with your children how you have coped when treated unfairly.  They need to understand that there are some mean people in this world, but his meanness and ignorance has nothing to do with their own self-worth.

Illinois Association of School Boards

Learning Around the Clock

 Learning is cyclical.  It begins with personal involvement, proceeds to conceptual understanding, then to experimentation and finally to individual adaptation.  Research shows that quality learning occurs when a variety of learning methods are employed.  Some use the visual of a clock to illustrate the different steps comprising a well-balanced approach to training.  Here is a quick checklist to determine if learning is going full circle.

  • Twelve o'clock to three o'clock:  Making Connections.
    Seeking personal associations, meaning and involvement.

  • Three o'clock to six o'clock:  Formulating Ideas
    Seeking facts, thinking through ideas, learning from others

  • Six o'clock to nine o'clock: Encouraging Applictions of Ideas
    Experimenting, building, creating usability

  • Nine o'clock to twelve o'clock: Creating Original Adaptations
    Exploring, learning by trial and error, self-discovery 

Thinking of the learning cycle as a clock, learning happens at 11:59.

Adapted from About Learning

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Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.

Fabulous February Links:

Archaeology of Jamestown  The mission of historic Jamestowne is to preserve, protect and promote the original site of the first permanent English settlement in North America.  Two new interactive archaeology modules give users a taste of how Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists do their work.  The Artifact Module and the Buildings Module illustrate the many methods archaeologists employ to identify and give context to their discoveries.  Requires Flash.  You will be asked to provide some basic information before you use them.   

Interscholastic Water Challenge. Although the contest has ended, students can undertake the tasks and use the materials from this site at any time.  Students can share information about this important natural resource and create daily water conservation habits.  

NASAexplores Online Resources:  NASAexplores provides free weekly K-12 educational articles and lesson plans on current NASA projects.  Printable and downloadable, these supplemental curriculum resources meet national education standards.  NASAexplores seeks to generate awareness of and to build students' interest in space, science, mathematics, geography and technology.  Materials are adapted to three reading levels (K-4) (5-8) (9-12). 

NBC American Dreams School Project:  This website contains lesson plans and activities for middle school and high school classes based on a variety of themes highlighted in the American Dreams program.  These include topics such as family relationships, friendship, love, war and peace, sibling conflicts, school, courage, diversity, grades and heroes.  The interdisciplinary materials will focus on the content areas of language arts, social studies and the arts.  All educational materials are correlated to national educational standards.

Virtual Knee Surgery (COSI:  This totally Flash-driven tutorial allows users to conduct a virtual knee replacement.  You will be guided step by step throughout the procedure and will have opportunities to interact with various tools such as the bone saw, a tool for cauterizing veins and so forth.  Also includes real photos of the procedure in a separate section which are not too overwhelming. 

AmericanPresident.org:  When the site opens, you are presented with two pathways:  History or Presidency in Action.  The History section includes information on the Presidents themselves; biographies of each first lady; biographies of each cabinet member; listings of presidential staff and advisers; and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.  Presidency in Action features the functional side of the American presidency, outlining the responsibilities of the President and the resources at his disposal.  Includes essays; a graphically rich Organization Chart; and details about the offices the President relies on and the personnel inhabiting them.  Biographies of leading staffers and advisers add further depth to this portrait of the White House at work.  

Enjoy The Month

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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