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_In The News                      April 2006   Vol. 9-4


President’s Message

What a month it has been!  If you haven't done so already, you will want to review our new e-Tutor home page.  Over the past years we have heard from you about changes you would like to see.  We have used your suggestions, added to them and deleted some, to create a totally new look for e-Tutor.  You will be able to access information more easily, learn more about the programs we offer and the range of students we serve and keep up-to-date on changes in the company.  We hope you are as pleased as we are with the new look.   We enjoy the work we do and look forward to continuing to provide the very best in instructional programs for the Internet.  

We continue to get phone calls and emails from parents who have reached the end of their ropes with the public or private schools their children attend.  Any child that is just a bit different from the norm, just does not seem to be getting the education parents envision for their child.  "My child is just slipping through the cracks," is a common complaint.  Or, "My child is not being challenged in her schoolwork," is another. There are just no easy answers.  It is unfortunate that schools today have so many restrictions on them, that the needs of the student are sometimes forgotten.  In the broadest sense, that is why we have created e-Tutor....to provide a choice for parents.  When I talk to parents, it is as if they have no alternative.  Yet more than ever there are instructional alternatives for parents and their children to chose from.  e-Tutor is one.  We have worked hard to maintain the quality, range of curricular areas and breadth of topics that will provide simply the best Internet-based learning option available for students.  Our students can attest to our success rate.  Many have been with us for four and five years.  Others leave to try other programs, but then come back to e-Tutor.  A brother or sister will sign on because they have seen what their sibling is doing in e-Tutor.  We are successful because of you!  Thank you for the wonderful support for and confidence you have in us!

Have you noticed a change in the weather this month?  What a change we have had in this part of the country.  Flowers are nodding their heads, green leaves are popping up on branches and the grass is greening.  For me Spring is always a surprise.  I forget over the winter what I have planted and then new plants just seem to finally decide to grow.  So, for me, a walk around the garden in the morning or evening is a time of discovery. 

Enjoy this season of rebirth and growth.  Happy Spring!


Meet The Staff

Each month I share with you what this remarkable group of people I work with have been doing.  I thought you might like to learn more about them.  We are fortunate to have a highly qualified group of people who share the same mission.....to provide the very best in online education to students.  

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From a child's essay on the sun:  "Sometimes we bawl the sun out for being so hot.  But without the sun to help it, a tree could never make shade. 

Learning with e-Tutor:

Studying the e-Tutor Way

e-Tutor lesson modules are grouped at Primary (about K-3), Intermediate (about 4-5), Middle/Junior High (about 6-8) and High School.  This cross-aging of lessons has been very successful for e-Tutor students as they can work at their own pace.  Some lesson modules may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging.  Students should do no more than four lesson modules each day.  We recommend one lesson module in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson module a day is sufficient for those who use e-Tutor for supplemental work. Students and parents can choose the area of greatest need.  However, all areas support one another. 

Lesson modules take from one hour to one and a half hours to complete.  Some may even take several days to complete.  The default for passing quizzes and exams is set at eighty percent.  Students are expected to fully complete lesson modules.  We ask parents to review Activities and Extended Learning with each lesson module since these are most often completed off line.  They can be used them as a springboard for discussion, ‘What did you learn by completing this,” “How could you have done this differently,”  "Explain this concept to me," etc.

We suggest the student respond in writing to the Problem Statement before and after completing each lesson module.  The vocabulary words can be used for writing sentences or creating word puzzles.  Students should write a short description of each of the resource links. e-Tutor is a Pass/Fail program.  Completed lessons are reflective of those where the student has successfully completed Quizzes and Exams. 

Students are expected to spend approximately four to five hours studying each day when using e-Tutor for their full curriculum.   We suggest that the student keep track of his hours of study each day on a piece of paper or a calendar.

Forty-four new lessons were added to e-Tutor this month.

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


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 It's easy to tell one lie or have one peanut.  The problem is, each leads to another.  



If Your Child Is Having Trouble with Reading

Don't become irritated and disgusted with her.  Her difficulties probably stem from factors she cannot control.  Your anxiety will make her so resentful and discouraged that her reading difficulties will increase. 

Don't compare his reading with other, more successful young readers in his family or neighborhood.  Such comparisons make a youngster feel inept and inferior and may keep him from reading at all.

Don't air your child's reading difficulties in front of family or visitors.  In fact, the less you discuss them....except in private, with the educator....the better. 

Don't try to solve your child's reading problems yourself.  Have a conference with an educator.  If she or he thinks they are serious enough for remedial reading help, or for a consultation with a psychologist, take the advice of an expert. 

National Education Association

When people share their fears with you, share your courage with them.



Helping Your Gifted and Talented Child

Often the gifted child feels isolated from the rest of the world because of the exceptional abilities he or she possesses.  Facing these feeling of difference alone can create emotional problems, disruptive behaviors or withdrawal from the frustrating situation.  

  • Discuss feeling of difference with the child as they arise.

  • Help the child relate to friends who may not be so gifted.  Instead of setting themselves above others, they should learn to look for strengths in friends as well as for ways to share their abilities in a productive manner. 

  • Explore the difficulties that arise from too many viable choices.  As gifted individuals mature, they usually find that they are able to excel in many areas, which at first may seem exciting and fortunate.

  • Provide structure and boundaries for behavior.  Often gifted children are able to argue very convincingly about their "rights" to be excused from conventional behavioral requirements.

  • Encourage the gifted and talented to challenge themselves.  Because of their superior abilities, the gifted often work at only partial capacity in various areas and still succeed. 

  • Help gifted children set realistic self-expectations.  Because of their exceptional abilities, such individuals are often expected to perform at high levels at all times. 

Adapted from National Education Association

Say "I Love You" In Many Ways

  • Spend time with your child doing what he or she want to do.

  • Give honest praise in the presence of others. 

  • Say I'm sorry" when you are

  • Forgive when he or she hurts or disappoints you.

  • Take time to LISTEN.

  • Respect your child's opinions.

  • Show physical affection...."Did you hug your child today?"

  • Let gifts be symbols, not proofs of love. 


Math and Science By The Numbers 

57% of parents say that "things are fine" with the amount of math and science being taught in their child's public school

70% of high school parents say their child gets the right amount of science and math.

50% of children grade 6 to 12 say understanding sciences and having strong math skills are essential for them to succeed post-high school.

62% of parents theoretically say it is crucial for today's students to learn high-level math.

32% of parents say their child's school should actually teach more math and science.

32% of parents in 2006 consider a lack of math and science in their local schools to be a serious problem 

Study by Public Agenda (Chicago Tribune)

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You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving. 


Recognizing Stereotypes

Stereotypes are often based on generalizations.  For example, we might have met one teenager who squanders money and behaves in a disrespectful, irresponsible manner.  We may then conclude that all teenagers are like this.  A child whose grandmother has gray hair may conclude that all women with gray hair are grandmothers.  

People stereotype other people for a variety of reasons.  We may stereotype people so we don't have to think too much.  Research shows that stereotypes may arise from the very way our minds work.  Each of us receives hundreds of impressions and pieces of information every day.  To make sense of all these impressions, we tend to put things into categories.  Events, ideas and people all get sorted and put into convenient slots so we can deal with them.  

The problem with stereotypes is that they hurt people.  Stereotypes are harmful because they can lead to prejudice and discrimination.  Some people have been denied jobs, or friends, or a place to live based on stereotypes and the discrimination which too often follows.  It is even possible to victimize yourself with stereotypes.  Suppose you are having trouble with math.  Suppose you then say, "I must be stupid."  You would be making a generalized statement about your intelligence based on your ability in one subject.  

Not all generalized statements are stereotypes.  Some generalizations are based on scientific facts.  For example, "People who smoke cigarettes risk cancer and other health problems."  Other generalizations are based on commonly accepted definitions.  For example, "Teenagers are people between the ages of 13 and 19."  So how does one distinguish between a fact and a stereotype?  And how can you avoid stereotypes?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Consider the source.  

  • Learn to respect, rather than fear, differences.

  • Get to know all kinds of people.

  • Use your critical thinking skills.  

You might also try replacing some popular stereotypes with more factual statements.

  • Stereotype:   "Americans are inherently superior to citizens of other countries." 
    More factual statements:  "Americans can be proud of being Americans.  But Canadians can be just as proud of being Canadians.  Japanese can be just as proud to be Japanese."

  • Stereotype:  "People with disabilities are helpless and must depend on others to do everything for them."
    More factual statements: "People with disabilities may require some assistance from others.  However, they also are capable of doing many things for themselves if given a chance. "

Perhaps the best weapon against stereotypes is to respect each person as a unique and individual human being.  By respecting each person's individuality, you can avoid stereotypes of all kinds. 

Adapted from School Public Relations Service

Friends For Life

That giggly group of girls you drive around every weekend or those boys who gather in the basement to play video games are doing more than entertaining your son or daughter.  They are helping shape who your child will be someday. 

According to experts in the field, friends do matter and it is appropriate to pay attention to that aspect of your child's growth and development.  Children who form good, sustaining friendships and who are accepted and valued within their peer group will generally do better in school and better in life.  

Parents can steer children in the right direction by teaching basic social skills, such as tolerance and how to start conversations, as well as building up the child's self-confidence.  Research has found that children who choose good friends are supported by parents who spend time with their kids.  

Parents of toddlers can encourage them to smile and use eye contact with other kids.  By age 3 or 4, try the two-praise rule: Anytime your child goes out, remind her to praise other kids with similar values and interests at least two times.  Repeating "You are sure good at that" is certain to attract a new friend. 

During the stressful middle school years, in particular, kids worry about where to sit in the lunchroom or about not being picked for a gym team.  Easy tricks may help your child connect with others, such as saving a seat on the bus for someone or saying "hi" to someone in the hall. These little courtesies build a sense of belonging....even among middle schoolers. 

Adapted from Executive Strategies

Dealing With Conflict

To handle conflict:

  • Ask those who disagree to paraphrase each other's comments.  This may help to know if one understands the other. 

  • Work out a compromise.  Agree on the underlying source of conflict, then engage in give-and-take and, finally, agree on a solution.

  • Ask each one for a list of what the other side should do.  Exchange the lists, select a compromise that works for both parties.

  • Have each one write ten questions for the other.  This will signal concerns about the one side to another's position.  The answers may lead to a compromise. 

  • Convince both sides that they sometimes may have to admit they are wrong.  Save face by convincing each that changing a position shows strength.

  • Respect expert advice.  Give their opinions more weight when a conflict involves their expertise, but don't rule out conflicting opinions.  

Adapted:  Communication Briefings

Boost Self-Esteem

You may hate to hear criticism....everyone would rather hear "You are Great!" than "We have a problem."  But if your self-esteem is low, you could react defensively, passively or simply overreact.  Conflict can arise when a controlling figure looking for status tries to find it by putting down another person.  A person who seeks agreement or approval may want to avoid conflict, causing his self-esteem to suffer. 

When you question your self-worth because of what someone has said or done, you will need to boost your self-esteem to avoid losing ground at work or to appear to be intimidated easily.  Instead of letting your confidence waver, try reacting to criticism using these techniques.  

  • Find out more.  If the criticism is valid, you will learn what behaviors you can change.  Avoid being confrontational, but ask the critic specific questions like, "What about my remark was dumb?" If the remark is simply a ploy to put you down, you can quickly dismiss it. 

  • Strive to learn about yourself.  While some people may criticize you unfairly, others often are able to see more about us than we know about ourselves.  Value your own opinion of the situation and ask a trusted friend or family member to help you determine what is a valid critique and what could be improved. 

  • Determine the real critic.  Your self-esteem may be so low that you can't bear to hear anything negative about yourself.  Look for ways to enhance your self-esteem by giving yourself credit and praise for work done well.  Soon you will find that your own recognition of your success will help others notice, which may quiet your critics. 

Getting Along

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Temper is what gets most of us into trouble.  Pride is what keeps us there.  


Turn Rebels Into Allies

Left unchecked, bad attitudes can infect everyone.  But you can lift spiritis and open minds to more positive outcomes by asking the right questions.  Try these:

  • What should ideally happen to fix this situation?

  • If you could start from scratch, how would you proceed?

  • What is the biggest obstacle blocking a solution?  Why is it hard to overcome?

  • What changes will help us move on?

The Bad Attitude Survival Guide, Harry E. Chambers

Appealing April Links:

Don't Buy It:  By dissecting pop culture and advertisements, media literacy education can help students build critical thinking and analytic skills, become more discriminating in the use of mass media, distinguish between reality and fantasy and consider whether media values are their values.  Activities are intended for children ages 9-11 and are designed to touch on the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  

Chevron Cars:  Chevron Cars are toy cars.  The site is colorful and fun.  Divided into several sections including eh Playground, Kids Shop, Meet the Cars and Free Stuff.  The site features games, many in Flash and Shockwave, biographies and multiple views of the cars, coloring and sticker pages, jigsaw puzzles and connect the dots games, screensavers, desktop themes, musical tunes and more.  There is also educational content covering oil and gas refining and subjects ranging from famous people and history to animals and science. http://www.chevroncars.com/wocc/

Science NetLinks:   This site is part of the MarcoPolo Education Foundation.  The website provides a wealth of resources for K-12 science educators, including lesson plans and reviewed Internet resources.  All site content is organized around Benchmarks for Science Literacy.  You can subscribe to receive free weekly updates. 

Flight-History:  This site has developed an extensive on-line archive of aviation history. The site offers stories, photos, plane details and the ability to send an electronic postcard.  The website is a division of Ghosts of Aviation Inc., which is located in Canada. 

ClassBrain Reports:   The Projects and Reports section is part of the much larger ClassBrain website.  It will help students create reports by providing access to specific resources and is divided into several different sections. http://www.classbrain.com/cb_reports.htm

SuperThinkers:  This website features a set of original interactive mysteries designed to foster literacy and problem-solving.  Created by children's book author and illustrator/educator Peter H. Reynolds and his creative team at Emmy Award-winning FableVision and funded by Verizon.  This site takes a creative approach in order to engage every type of learner, using sound, animation, words, images and interactivity.  The Super
Thinkers site offers a variety of activities and suggested reading, as well as games.  

Microbiology Information Portal:  This web site is designed to bring useful and interesting microbiology informational resources to you. It covers: General, Environmental, Food, Industrial, Medical and Veterinary Microbiology.  It also includes sections of Education and Learning, Employment and Careers, Organizations, Companies, News, Articles and more.  http://www.microbes.info/index.html

The Toxic House:  This site provides a quick and interesting overview of the dangerous chemicals in our very own homes!  As you explore various rooms in the Toxic House, you discover bad things.  Links take you to more information about the toxin.  It's simple, yet engaging. http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/toxic_flash/toxic_house_flash.html

Have a Beautiful Month
From the Staff at Knowledge HQ

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Chicago, IL 60631
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