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In The News
                        March 2006   Vol. 9-3

President’s Message

Have you ever noticed that when things are going the smoothest (or you think they are) then, all of a sudden, things are tipped upside down and everything is in a muddle.  We've had just such an experience this month.  It is disconcerting.  These hills and valleys crop up throughout life.  Some of the dips last longer than others, but we know that there will always be an upside.  And, perhaps by knowing this, the down times may not last as long. 

It is these hills and valleys to life that provide learning experiences for us.  When we hit those plateaus and maintain the status quo for extended periods, we are not growing as much.  So, painful as they are, I suppose we should treasure the opportunity to push ahead and do some growing.  However, sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow.  

This month we have been evaluating and realigning the direction in which we are going. This is part of our regular work of evaluating our systems and programs to determine if we are providing the type of service that our clients anticipate. It is a process we do at least once a year.  And, although time consuming, it is a necessary part of our ongoing effort to improve quality.  We appreciate the many comments that you have sent to us and hope that you will continue to provide feedback to us.  We depend on your input. Some of our students have been with us for five years now.  There have been many changes in the e-learning space since we started in 1997.  It is exciting to be a part of it and applaud those of you who are the early adapters.

Perhaps it is the time of year, but I find myself wandering out in my garden looking for the new shoots of growth that are beginning to push their heads through the brown earth. I am anxiously waiting to see if the rewards of my work last Fall have been worth the effort. A visual reminder of the work is a wonderful way to evaluate what one has done.

Enjoy this Spring Month!

 


Frequently Asked Questions

We frequently act as a resource for parents and teachers as they plann an online educational program for a student or group of students.  Students frequently write to us with questions about homework, graduation, college entry or course requirements.  We are recognized for our expertise in k-12 online education.  If you have a question you might want to check our resources first.  Go to our Online Learning Resource pages for more information.   We enjoy learning from you!

 

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Work is more fun than fun.

Noel Coward


 
Learning with e-Tutor

Unique Online Learning

What makes e-Tutor different from other online learning programs?  

Well, we believe it to be the only curriculum which embraces the assets of the Internet into the teaching learning process.  Our goal in developing this unique program was to capture what the Internet offers in such abundance....information... and incorporate it into the structure of each lesson module.  The concept has been recognized by NCA and CTA for accreditation.  They found the distance learning program to be of such high quality that it is now recommended to other organizations as a model for K-12 online instruction. 

 

Thirty-three New Lessons were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

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

www.e-tutor.com


Opposite Sides....

Just as most issues are seldom black or white, so are most good solutions seldom black or white.  Beware of the solution that requires one side to be totally the loser and the other side to be totally the winner.  The reason there are two sides to begin with usually is because neither side has all the facts.  Therefore, when the wise mediator effects a compromise, he is not acting from political motivation.  Rather, he is acting from a deep sense of respect for the whole truth.  

Stephen R. Schwambach

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Happiness is a stock that doubles in a year.

Ira U. Cobleigh

 

Beg To Differ

Speak up. Disagree with conventional wisdom.  Take the risk of going against the tide.  It works!  The "go along to get along" crowd doesn't even make it in politics anymore.  Success demands the courage of one's convictions.  

Good teamwork and the ability to agree easily are not the same thing.  A good partner is the person who has the courage to stand up and challenge the other.  To be willing to override consensus. 

The person who is uncomfortable with a group decision can be the most important person to a team.  That person needs to be heard and take a leading role.  Those who take a leadership role whenever possible are the most effective.  As opposed to people who turn to group thinking or a group leader and give up responsibility easily. The person who only says, "This is wrong, that is wrong....' takes second place behind somebody who points out those problems by showing solutions.

Those with a sense of urgency, who act quickly when called upon to help, who are never too busy to solve a problem are the most valuable to others.  In short, people who take the time and invest the effort to do what must be done.  

Adapted from Executive Strategies


The Home-School Team

We all have very busy schedules.  Many of us are working parents and spend long hours away from home. But there are some creative ways to be involved in your child's learning activities.  Here are some ideas that others have reported are working for them.  

  1. Watch a specific television program with your child and then discuss the show with him.

  2. Take your child to the library regularly.

  3. Review learning activities with your child and sign them as a signal that you have checked them over.

  4. Participate in a task that requires your child to ask you questions.

  5. Play a game or take part in an activity that reinforces and concept or skill that your child is learning.

  6. Talk with your child about what she is learning each day.

  7. Review spelling words, drill math facts or quiz your child about tasks that require memorization.

  8. Establish a regular study time.

  9. Set aside time to read to and with each of your children every day.

  10. Limit the number of hours your child watches television or plays on the computer. 

Adapted from The Parent Institute


Doesn't That Sound Fair?

I'm always intrigued by conversations that start out, "It just isn't fair...."  The whole concept of fairness interests me so much because I tend to believe that fairness is, at best, a losing proposition.

Company day care services for children?  Totally unfair to childless couples.  Will you watch my dog instead?  Upward mobility programs?  Career pathing?  Sorry.  Unfair to the downwardly headed.  Increased maternity leave?  You must be joking!

The dilemma of each of these scenarios begins with one false assumption:  that fairness is possible.  And the more you talk about fairness the more unfair you become.  The more you're motivated by wanting people to approve of you and your actions, the harder it becomes to win approval.  There seems to be a finite universe of expectations people have about what constitutes fair treatment.  Make just one change in that universe and you affect an entire system of beliefs and feelings.  People hate it when that happens.  

So is the answer unfairness?  No, that wouldn't be fair. 

Complaining about fairness has an unspoken hook.  It's like a child saying to a parent, "I'm bored."  The unstated but intended message is, "Don't just sit there, Dad.  Do something to entertain me." 

Of course, when parents assume that responsibility they nurture a dependency that can be hard to break in later years.  An alternative....or more authentic....conversation goes like this:  "You have a toy chest full of games and toys, lots of lessons, coaching and books.  You can take responsibility for your boredom."  It may turn out that boredom isn't the issue.  The child may really want to say, "Dad, I'd like to spend some time with you.  I'm lonely."  Since that is a more authentic "child" conversation, the adult is more likely to deliver an authentic parent response.  The operative word is authentic; owning what you really want to say in a clear, clean and direct way.  

What happens in fairness conversation is the same deal.  When I say, "That is not fair," the unstated intended message is, "Make it right for me."  When a spouse or friend plays that game with us, we are nurturing the same kind of dependency that the bored child and his parents have created.  

Where there is trust, honesty and respect between two people, there are fewer conversations about unfairness.  If there is basic honesty in the way you approach others and you are clear with your own beliefs and feelings, you can also free yourself from having to take responsibility for the baggage of others, when there is really nothing you can do to make their world perfect.

Now, doesn't that sound fair?

Adapted from Working Smart

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Adversity is not bad....it's inconvenient, uncomfortable and sometimes painful....but it's the most powerful catalyst for positive change and growth. 

Jim Whitt


Radiating Enthusiasm!

A Harvard psychologist suggested that you feel the way you act.  If you are going to feel enthusiastic you must act enthusiastic.  Let your enthusiasm radiate in your voice, your actions, your face, your personality, the words you use and the thoughts you think! Besides the joy and energy you will get from the feeling, you will be a more exciting person to others. 

Watch children on the seashore and notice which holds their interest more....gulls or sandpipers.  Sandpipers chase down in the wet sand when a wave recedes and then scoot up on the dry sand when the waves come back in.  Children are fascinated with the moving, darting sandpipers; the placid gulls sitting on the dock post are almost totally ignored.  

So, which are you?  A gull or a sandpiper?  The world will notice you if you're moving, animated, alive!  You'll be ignored if you sit lifeless like a gull on a post.  You can be interesting, vibrant, have personal magnetism that will make you a more dynamic person with the one magic quality of enthusiasm. 

Adapted from The Public School Administrator


Good Health = Good Learning

The Greeks knew the importance of a sound mind and a sound body.  Today, we know that poor health or nutrition can cause poor performance when learning. Here are some tips to help you and your child:

  • Exercise together.  Studies show that American kids are more overweight that any earlier generation.  In fact, doctors are now seeing children with adult health problems, like high cholesterol.  One of the main reasons children are so overweight, doctors say, is because they don't get enough exercise.  Set aside a regular time for our family to enjoy some outdoor activity together.  A brisk walk will improve your fitness...and give you time to talk with your kids. 

  • Teach your children to prepare healthy snacks.  Even young children can learn to prepare a peanut butter sandwich.  Older kids can pop some popcorn.  Fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth.  If you avoid buying snacks that are full of sugar and fat, your children will soon learn to prefer more nutritious choices.  

  • Encourage your child to take part in a sport.  Not only will your child get more exercise, but sports also teach team playing and encourage friendships.  Kids often translate success on the playing field into success with learning.  Encourage your child to choose a sport (instead of you choosing one for her).

American Association of School Administrators


Write It In Shorthand!

Consider using these shorthand symbols to save time when taking notes.  

Symbol Explanation
> greater than, more than
< less than
+ the same, equals
C century (C19 = 19th century)
change
different, not the same
infinity, a great deal
w/ with
w/o without
caused
individual
= identical to
~ implies, suggests
Q question

Brush Up Your Study Skills

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They know enough who know how to learn.

Henry Brooks Adams

Magnificent March Links

Campus Tours:  This site is for students who are planning ahead for college or for people who just want to see what other places look like.  Colleges are listed by U.S. state.  Links can lead to VR tours (Virtual Reality), streamed video or a website.    
http://www.campustours.com

Zoothland:  Flash animations of brushing, flossing and the mouth are supplemented with some online videogames on dental hygiene.  The most useful part of this site may be in the teachers section, where diagrams of teeth can be printed for use in the teaching learning process. 
http://www.zooth.com

Woodland Network:  These projects from Sweden allow students to observe and hypothesize about the health of trees in their area.  The first project is for students 10 - 15 years old and is called Just a Tree (in both Swedish and English languages).  Older students (age 15+) can participate in the more extensive Woodland Research Project (available in nine languages).  Data is sent to the project site, then posted for public use. This is a great site for mathematics/science/geography integration. 
http://schoolweb.se/

Poster Art:  Graphic Design from the 1920s and 1930s:  Trying to set the scene for the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald or the rise of Adolph Hitler?  This is an online gallery created to share a collection of 1920s and 1930s travel-related ephemera (printed matter of passing interest). http://www.travelbrochuregraphics.com/

Fun Mathematics Lessons:  This site includes creative fun lessons.  Skip right to the bottom of the page to easily find out which lessons are best to use with your child.  By placing your cursor over the links listed at the bottom of the page, find out the grade level and a short description of the lesson.  
http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/Lessons/

The Physics Zone:  For those who get it when they see a simulation or when they are able to play a tutorial over and over, this site will be a valuable aid.  Lessons, review materials and solution to workbooks created by this company.  But, this website is open to all, so take advantage of the materials online. http://www.sciencejoywagon.com/physicszone/ 


Hoping You Can Take a Break This Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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