In The News                     February 2009   Vol. 12-2

President’s Message

What a sweet little month February is.  The month passes so very quickly and is packed with special days. Starting with Ground Hog Day each week offers another day for remembrance and celebration.  

I'm writing this on Valentine's Day!  And, I am thinking of you have supported us over the years, how you share with us your experiences and frustrations and how when we have an extremely trying day, you surprise us with a wonderful word of praise.  I wish there was an opportunity to surprise you with a valentine on your doorstep letting you know how you brighten each of our days.  Please know that it doesn't take a special day, but each and every day we relish knowing that you are there.  Thank you.  

For the past several months we have been experimenting with several ways to build community through the Internet.  Our young people are way ahead of those of us of an older generation.  But, it is important that we learn from them.  We need to know how and by what methods our students and parents use the latest tools provided by the Internet.  So, we have started with a blog (  Our goal is to make more frequent posts, but time often gets away from us.  We would like for you to feel comfortable in using this medium.  It would please us to hear from you through a post.  

We are also experimenting with Twitter.  This social networking tool has gotten much buzz in the past year, as its popularity has spread.  It provides a way to share thoughts quickly to a broad range of  contacts. Facebook also offers options for us.  Stay tuned....we will keep you informed.  If you have questions or suggestions, we would love to hear from you.        

Take advantage of all the learning opportunities presented this month.    




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Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed....The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.  

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), Critic and Philospher

Learning with e-Tutor

A Race to the Finish

Learning is NOT a marathon.  Yet, we still have parents and students who are looking for the quickest and easiest way to get to the end of schooling.  Why is that so?   

Learning is a slow gradual process.  If our children are to contribute to their own welfare and to society as a whole, they must be guided to understand the value of learning.  And, often learning what they perceive will not be of use to them.  All learning increases the capacity to learn more.  The more we learn the more we are able to challenge our own thinking and those of others.

Why would we not want to exercise the most important part of our bodies....our brains?  Yet, there are those who would take the easier route.  Most things of worth take practice and repetition (think athletes).  Our children are worthy of receiving a strong and challenging learning experience with guidance and encouragement for adequate time in order for learning to take place.  To help you here are some tips:

e-Tutor students usually spend 4˝ to 5 hours learning each day. Not all of this time is on the computer.  Students should spend approximately half of their time off line completing activities and projects included in each lesson module.   It is recommended that students complete no more than four lesson modules each day.  This means students spend about 23 to 25 hours each week on e-Tutor lesson modules. An additional two hours each day should be considered for physical activities and the arts.  A student signed up for the full curriculum should allocate 35 hours of learning time for each week.

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of parental involvement in the learning experience for our children.  Parents need to be involved each and every day in their child's learning experience.  The e-Tutor Program provides many opportunities for parents to be involved.  It is expected that parents will take advantage of the opportunity to open a learning dialogue with their students.  

As parents we have a responsibility to guide the learning of our children.   

Ten 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.

Attention Bloggers!

Are you a blogger?  Even if you are not, we would like your comments and opinions about online learning, homeschooling and information for students.  Go to and add your words to those of others.  We look forward to hearing from you through this new medium for e-Tutor.   


   The Book Case            

The Fledgling
by Jane Langton

Grades Intermediate - Middle/Jr. High

Have you ever wished you could fly? Really fly, not just by using an airplane or other device, but as naturally as a bird does? Georgie Dorian, the young protagonist of this book, has this wish come true when a Canada goose lands on her roof one night and offers to teach her.

She soon finds, however, that being granted your dearest wish doesn’t mean that everything will go smoothly. 

The Fledgling is set in Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau’s hometown, and he is practically another character in the book, embodied by a bust in Georgie’s house and by the Goose Prince himself. 

The author treats all her characters, even the villains, with a wry, understanding humor that makes this book interesting for adults even though it is aimed at children. The heart of the story, however, is the author’s love of nature. As Thoreau wrote, and as Langton quotes, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.”

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Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of the evidence; faith is daring to do something regardless of the consequences.

Sherwood Eddy (1871-1963), Evangelist


Honest Consistency

Two boys were walking along a street when they encountered a large dog blocking the sidewalk.  "Don't be afraid,"  one of the boys told his more timid companion.  "Look at his it wags.  When a dog wags his tail he won't bite you."

"That may be,"  admitted the other, "but look at that wild gleam in his eye.  He looks like he wants to eat us alive.  Which end are we going to believe....?"

Children can often feel the same way about their parents....those who are tough one moment and soft the next.  Especially confusing are those who say one thing and do the opposite.  

Consistency is one of the essential requirements of good parenting.  Parents who can't present a consistent set of values, both in words and deeds, betray an inner confusion.  And whether they mean to or not, they will pass this confusion on to their children.

A lack of consistency is not to be confused with the ability to change or grow.  Nothing remains the same very long in this life.  Parents must possess flexibility...the ability to roll with the punches, to change when change is necessary.  

Consistency, on the other hand, is more fundamental.  It has to do with attitude, the fundamental honesty parents have about themselves and their children. Most parents are not trying to fool their children, exploit them for their own selfish ends, or otherwise hoodwink them.  If parents are honest and consistent, they are trying to lead their children toward a specific goal for the common good of all. 

Adapted from Bits and Pieces 

Give Preschoolers Experience with Books

My grandchildren are fortunate to have a parent who thrusts a book in her child's hand before they are one year old.  Children who are exposed to books during the preschool years will be better readers when they start school, say researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Experience with books helps children reflect on units of language such as words,  syllables and phonemes, familiarizes them with the language found in books, helps them learn how books convey meaning, encourages development of vocabulary, and introduces ways of talking about books that they will encounter in school.   

School Public Relations Services

Watch What You Say!

This was first published in our newsletter in 2004.  But the advice is still warranted.

In the course of your conversation each and every day, 
Think twice, try to be careful of what you have to say; 
Your remarks may be picked up by someone's listening ear, 
You may be surprised at what some people think they hear.

Things that you innocently say, or try to portray, 
Can be changed, and greatly exaggerated along the way;  
Many stories change for the worse as they are retold  
So try to keep any questionable remarks "on hold."

May I give all of you some very sound advice?  
When you speak of others, say something nice; 
Try to say good things, regardless of who is around,  
If you have nothing good to say, don't utter a sound.

You may find that an innocent remark, in the end, 
May lose you a close and valued friend. 

Henry Lesser

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The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. 

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), Historian and Statesman


 Don't Resist Lists

List all things you want to or must do this month.  This list will contain both personal and business activities because time spent on one activity is time that can't be spent on another.  Any time you think of something that you want to do or must do, it goes on your list if it can't be done immediately.  Writing a list accomplishes two things;  First, you can't forget to do what you have written, and second, because it's written down, you don't need to keep papers or notes lying around as reminders. 

Each day, preferably in the late afternoon or evening, scan your list to determine what you should accomplish the following day.  List those activities on your daily sheet in order of priority.  The most important gets done first, and the items still not done at the end of the day can be shifted to the following day. 

Keep several things in mind when you're making the list.  Remember to distinguish between what's urgent.  Often, the seemingly urgent task is not important, and even if it were totally overlooked, you wouldn't face dire consequences.  However, because it's obvious and others may prompt you to get to it, the urgent task too often gets attention to the detriment of the important one.  

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Students:  Making Excuses To Justify Your Behavior is Not An Apology

You broke an expensive lamp.  You started an argument with your sister.  You were caught gossiping.  Sometimes kids screw up....and discover it doesn't feel so good to be in the wrong.  Here's how you can make it right if....

....Your were caught talking trash
You owe the person you were gossiping about an apology, so be sincere and accept blame.  Don't say, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it."  In a lot of cases, you did mean it.   Saying you didn't mean it is just a way of dodging blame. Kids ofte
n make excuses to justify their behavior.  You've got to get over yourself.  Don't lie to yourself.

...You intentionally broke your brother's toy
Poor Spidey.  You got mad at your brother so you broke the head off his favorite action figure.  Not cool.  Make it right by apologizing and then fixing the problem.  Yes, it's totally up to you to either repair the toy or buy your brother a new one.  

Most kids are taught to apologize, so they think simply saying sorry is the end of the conflict.  It's just the beginning.  You have to be responsible for your actions.  In a lot of cases, you can never make it totally right, but you have to do your best.

...You struck out and the team lost
Sports losses can be hard, especially if the whole team was depending on you.  But before you take the blame,  it might not actually be your fault.  Did you try your best?  Did you do the best you could?  If you did, you are not to blame.   You're never going to catch them all or hit a home run every time you're u
p at home plate.

...You spilled your drink on someone
You're walking through the cafeteria and whoops!  You slipped and doused another student with fruit punch.  Is saying sorry going to cut it?  It's OK to explain you didn't mean it while you apologize.  But even though it's an accident,  it's still your responsibility to make it right.  Help the other person clean up, or get paper towels to mop up the mess.  Just apologizing for something is never enough.  You need to fix what you did wrong and try your best to make it right.  

Adapted from Life's Not Fair.... , Bill Bernard

Walk in the Rain

Rain is a good reminder of how our attitude can affect everything.  Some folks let it destroy their day; others consider it a blessing.  Children seem to like the rain.  They like to get wet and slosh around in puddles.

When it comes to enjoying the simple pleasures of life, children are our best teachers.  Adults forget quickly and get caught up in the stupid little things that don't matter very much.  So what if your shoes get wet when walking in the rain?  By worrying about it you miss the fun of the moment.  Kids can remind us to keep our attitude positive and our thoughts focused on what really makes our hearts sing. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

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The actions of men are like the index of a book...they point out what is most remarkable in them. 



Fantastic February Links:

American Civil War Ethnography:  Thom Caswell has performed a service for any Net-connected student getting ready to study the U.S. Civil War. By gathering links by subculture / category (such as "Letters," "Slave Narrative," "Female Perspective," and "Civil War Photos"), a robust hot list has been created. The outlines of conducting an ethnography are sketched out by Caswell, but there are more tips than step-by-step lesson plans. Use them as a springboard for further learning

Mozart's Magical Musical Life:  Students will love this interactive biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The storybook is embellished with pictures, hypertext links to details, and audio files of Mozart's compositions.

Six Paths to China:  Building on his original WebQuest, Searching for China, Tom March has fully revised this popular site to provide more scaffolding for student cognition and more effective use of the Internet. Tom also created "Six Paths" to China which incorporates five more Web-based activities on the topic. Students can target their learning by using a topic hot list, subject sampler, multimedia scrapbook, treasure hunt, or WebQuest.

Patchwork of African-American Life:  This site offers six websites created as models to integrate the Internet and videoconferencing into the teaching/learning process. African-American History was chosen as a topic because of its importance, popularity and the wealth of resources available. The Black History hot list is a starting point for anyone studying African-American events and issues. Use the interactive treasure hunt if you want to test your knowledge of African-American history. If you don't feel personally connected to African American issues, try "Sampling African America" to engage in the topic and explore things about it that personally interest you. Finally, two webquests: 1) In the Little Rock 9,  students learn about nine African-American students who, back in 1957, chose to attend an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas and 2) In Tuskegee Tragedy, students explore the issues of the Tuskegee Study and question the comparisons some people make to the study and such topics as abortion, gun control, and concentration camp experiments.

The Moonlit Road:  Take a walk down The Moonlit Road if you want to read or listen to interesting folktales presented at a state-of-the-art Website. Producer Craig Dominey and his team have taken a simple concept and created a quality contribution to the Web community. Beginning with compelling stories of the American South, then adding RealAudio versions read by celebrated storytellers and appealing graphics, The Moonlit Road can be a satisfying detour for young children and lifelong learners alike. This is a good example of how artistically presented sites can also be user-friendly and quick-loading.

Essentials of Music:  This site, a collaboration of Sony Music and W. W. Norton and Company Publishers, is like having a music textbook online. Check out the glossary, where you can read the definition for saxophone, then click to hear an example of a tenor sax in Ravel's "Bolero." Eras and Composers round out the offerings on this great site. Not all sections have audio files linked, but the variety of information and audio clips offer students of all ages a wonderful resource. 

Wishing you a Fabulous Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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