In The News                              April 2008   Vol. 11-4


President’s Message

What a difference a month makes!  Finally!  We are seeing a change in the weather and it looks like warmer weather is finally here.  Just a week ago, we were trudging around in heavy coats and there wasn't a smile to be found.  This week there is literally a 'spring' in everyone's step.  

It is hard to get me out of my garden at this time of year.  I creep around looking for new plant growth, root out rogue plants and ponder over where a new plant might go.  The weeds have not taken over and so I can just enjoy that new greenery popping their heads through the brown soil.  The tips of green stalks are just starting to turn yellow as daffodils wait for another day or two of warmth.   And from now until Fall the colors of nature's flowers will enthrall me with their beauty.  Isn't it amazing how little it takes....a few hours to put in a few plants and they perform so brightly for our pleasure.   

Just as a garden needs winnowing and care, so do our children and families.  The opportunities we give our children provide them a foundation on which to grow and develop.  We may have to root out what is not beneficial for the child, but we will be richly rewarded in watching them grow strong, proud and prepared for life beyond the family.   

This is a month of transition for many of our families, as they decide whether to continue an instructional month during the summer months or follow the traditional school model of summer vacation.  The needs and desires of each individual family are different, but we suggest a modified learning program during the summer months.  Some students who take a break over the summer months sometimes struggle when returning to their education.  Those who continue a learning program over the summer months do not seem to have the same struggles.  

Join with me in celebrating a long awaited Spring!  

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Change your thoughts and you change the world. 

Harold R. McAlindon



Learning with

    Planning for learning sometimes takes a back seat to everything else the student wants to do during the day.  Students who get into the habit of planning their day find they have much more time to "fit in" everything they want to do.  The following is taken from "Tips for Using e-Tutor."  It may help both parent and student to plan for a successful learning experience.  

Create an e-Tutor Day Planner

  Learner's Day Planner:

  • Review how you spend your time.
  • Prioritize your goals and objectives.
  • Compare the two.

These steps may help you.  Determine how you spend a "typical" 24-hour day:    

As you enter the hours or parts of hours for each activity, that amount is 
subtracted from the total:

Hours in your day:


Daily Activities:

Hours spent



Personal Care/Grooming:


e-Tutor Virtual Learning:


Meal preparation/eating/clean-up:


Family Activities:


Socializing and Playing (with friends):


Relaxing - Reading/TV/video games, etc. (alone):


Exercise - Sports:


Art or Music Activities:




  How did you do?  Make a similar chart for your own use. 

Thirty 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.

Register for Summer Courses Now! 

Registration for Summer Course Work is taking place now.  Continued learning over the summer months keeps student minds active and there is no learner gap when they return to studies in the Fall.  Receive a five percent discount for registering for three months.  

If you would like more information call 877-687-7200.



   The Book Case

              The View From Saturday

              E. L. Konigsburg 
              Ages: 9 - 12

An uproarious Florida wedding, a rain-soaked rescue of sea turtles, and a mysterious invitation to afternoon tea are the connections that draw sixth-graders Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian into a fast friendship. Master-author Konigsburg gives each of these memorable characters a turn telling how they formed an unbeatable team in their school's Academic Bowl, in this brilliant but complex novel.

When asked how she chose her school's latest team for the Academic Bowl, sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Olinksi never gives the same answer twice. Sure, the four sixth-graders from her homeroom are intelligent, they work well together, they practice hard. But what is the mysterious bond that links these four underdogs?

Only Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian know -- and in alternating chapters, each one tells a different piece of the story of how they became friends. The calamitous wedding of Nadia's grandfather and Ethan's grandmother, where Noah fills in as best man, is just the beginning. Mrs. Olinski, a paraplegic, proves to be an indomitable coach as the foursome wins one victory after another.

Adapted from Common Sense

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There are spaces between our fingers so that another person's fingers can fill them in.   

Author Unknown


Learn the "Sense-Able Way"

Most people use all their senses to learn and they are more likely to remember things that way.  Here are some suggestions.

  • See it.  Use flash cards,  Whether it's vocabulary words, history dates, or math formulas, a set of flash cars can go with you wherever you are.  Then, whenever you have a few minutes, you can study the cards.  You are likely to remember better if you make yellow flash cards and write in black ink.  
  • Say it.  Say things out loud.  Repeat them.  (Repeating is the principle on which all advertising is based.  If you can complete the phrase, "You got the right one....," you have just proven the value of repetition. )
  • Sing it.  You may find that you can set the things you need to remember to a popular song.  For example, one little girl say "Old MacDonald had a farm, A E I O U" to remember the vowels. 
  • Write it.  On student had to learn important dates in Roman history.  She drew a simple picture to go with each date (a dagger for the year Julius Caesar was assassinated, flame for the year Rome burned).  Then she posted the pictures where she could see them.  She found that she had learned half the dates just by making the pictures.  
  • Hear it.  Does your family have a tope recorder?  Use it make your own study tapes.  Ask the question, leave a few seconds for your response, and then give the answer. 

Adapted from American Association of School Administrators

Answer Their Questions

If you want the kind of relationship with your child in which he knows he can come to you with any question, concern, or upset, be sure to answer his questions honestly.  This is not always easy, because children have a knack for asking the hard ones:  "Did you ever skip school?" "What happens when you die?"  Who is God's mother?"

Constant questions are a sign of an intelligent child.  And it isn't a sign of disrespect when she questions your words or actions.  An inquisitive child does not go along willy-nilly with authority figures, including her parents.  A child who follows blindly without asking why can be easily led.  So respect questioning.  And if you don't know the answer, say so...."I don't know, that's a good question"...then help your child find answers.  Try not to lose patience with the continual "whys" or "how comes" the little ones ask, nor with the tougher questions that are sure to follow.

Here's the tricky thing about questions: although it is important to answer their questions, it is equally important that you not ask too many yourself.  Perhaps you have noticed that children, especially as they approach their teens, often get defensive when you ask even the simplest question.  Though you are genuinely interested in their lives, they for some reason think you are snooping, prying, or butting in where it is none of your business.  Teens share only what they want, when they want.  So here is the rule:  Don't ask teenagers many questions, but always answer theirs.  You can survive with your sense of humor intact if you think of it as a stage they are going through, albeit a long one!  This too shall pass, and you will once again be able to have a normal conversation. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Stress Pileups

More women are working outside the home, which often leads to a renegotiation of roles between men and women.  People are living longer and having children later, which means many Americans find themselves caring for their young adult children and aging parents at the same time.  There are also economic pressures on families such as unemployment and job insecurity.

If they are going to cope, families must rely on inner resources for strength.  Time together and commitment to working through problems appear to act as buffers against stress.  

Stress is a human reaction to life's worries.  It touches everybody at some time.  While stress and change are never easy, they are predictable parts of family life and are, in fact, necessary for growth.  Stress has both positive and negative consequences but the severity of the consequences depends on strengths and coping skills. 

Several years ago, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota observed that stressful life events in families tend to occur in clusters, resulting in stress "pileups."  These pileups, however, do not occur evenly across the life cycle.  Rather they appear at four distinct stages in the family life the couple stage; the childbearing and school-age children stage, the teenager and young adult stage, and the empty nest and retirement stage.  Knowing that stress and change are part of life may help family members anticipate difficulties.

The Next Step Magazine

The Last Word On The Subject

One night at sea, the ship's captain saw what looked like the lights of another ship heading toward him.  He had his signalman blink to the other ship:  Change your course ten degrees south."  

The reply came back:  Change your  course ten degrees north." 

The ship's captain answered: "I am a captain.  Change your course south."  

To which the reply was: "Well, I am a seaman first class.  Change your course north."  

This infuriated the captain, so he signaled back:  "I say CHANGE your course south.  I'm on a battleship!"

To which the reply came back:  "And I say change your course north.  I am in a lighthouse." 


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Life is an escalator:  You can move forward or backward, you cannot remain still.  

Patricia Russell-McCloud


Another Great Attitude - Self-Confidence

Throughout your life you have been developing attitudes towards yourself and discovering the importance of attaining self-confidence.  You may have realized that:

  1. It is rather difficult to meet yourself face-to-face and evaluate your inner attitudes about your self.

  2. It is especially difficult to discuss your feelings about yourself with others.

  3. If you can bring your self-concept into the open it could be a valuable first step in analyzing who you are, what you can do, and where you are going.

  4. Perhaps your attitudes about yourself are being affected more by your weaknesses than by your strengths.

  5. You may have taken for granted many of the strengths and natural abilities you have and ignored them in your day-to-day thinking about yourself. 

  6. People who succeed in life generally build on their strengths and ignore their weaknesses. 

  7. The way you "verbalize" affects the way you think and act.  Words have a hypnotic effect on you.  What you are today is, really, the way you have hypnotized yourself with words all of your life.

  8. By the words you use people get their first impressions of you.  People judge your intelligence, your capability, your personality by your words. 

  9. Words are the bonds of interpersonal relationships.  They are the links of mutual understanding.  By words you mold the feelings for others and yourself. 

  10. Your mind and body react to words.  Kipling said that words are the most powerful drugs used by humanity.

  11. Words are either your masters, or your servants.  They control you, or you control them.  The choice is yours.  Your mind, your life, your body, your day-to-day existence, whether it be brilliant success or dismal failure is determined by words. 

  12. Words used positively build up your self-confidence, your success, your day-to-day living, even your health. 

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Improving Academic Achievement

By showing your interest in your child's learning, and by holding high expectations for your child you can develop attitudes that lead to learning success.  Here are some ways you can improve academic achievement:

  • Today's news is history in the making.  Watch the evening news together.  Talk about current events at the dinner table.  Choose one or tow stories to follow closely.  Read more about them in newspapers and magazines.

  • Consider using the "rule of thumb" when choosing books for your child.  Have your child read a page of a book aloud.  Each time he encounters a word he doesn't know, have him hold up one finger.  If he holds up four fingers and a thumb, or finds five or more troublesome words on a page, the book is probably too difficult. 

  • Reward your child for doing well.  However, keep in mind that always offering money or presents for special accomplishments will leave the impression that people should work only for rewards....and not for the pride of doing a job well.  Try rewarding outstanding performance with time together.  Let your "star" choose an activity for the whole family to enjoy....a picnic, watching a favorite video, or a visit to the zoo. 

  • Turn your child into the teacher.  You play the part of the student.  As he teaches you, he'll be absorbing important information. 

AASA, Parents Can Help Students Achieve

Work Shouldn't Be Like Clockwork

Many of us expect to work at a sprightly steady clip all day long.  We believe we should fill every minute with productive work.  This expectation is contradictory to human nature.  Clocks tick along at a consistent pace at all times.  But clocklike regularity is not the way of nature. 

In nature, no day, not even one minute, is the same as any other.  The amount of light and darkness changes from day to day, and the weather is shifting....sometimes obviously, sometimes imperceptibly....from moment to moment.

There is no precedent in nature for the relentless, unvarying pace of our factory assembly lines, our repetitive office work or our full schedule schools.  Sociologist Edward Thompson has studied the pace of work practiced by people who are not regulated by external forces, mostly self-employed people such as artists and writers and small farmers and craftsmen.  He found they don't work at a steady pace throughout the day.  Instead, they alternate bouts of intense labor and idleness....mixed together into their own personalized work rhythm. 

Michael Young, also a sociologist, writes, "No one can know what fits someone else."  The more people pick their own rhythms, the better the chance they will pick the right ones.  Society would not survive everyone's making their own choices....but at least there do not need to be so few choices for so few about how to make use of their most precious asset [time]."

The Metronomic Society:  Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables, Michael Young

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It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top. 

Author Unknown

Awesome April Links:

Ewe 2:  A Case Study:  This inquiry-oriented activity "places students in the position to ask great questions, seek out the answers, develop new relationships, and take a stand on a current hot issue: cloning. " A team from San Diego County worked together to develop this Case Study. Complete with warm-up activities, instructions,  forums, and grading rubrics, the site includes everything you'll need to get started in the WebQuest..

Cinema:  How Are Hollywood films Made?  Inspired by programs from the American Cinema video series in the Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection, "Cinema" explores the creative process of filmmaking from the screenwriter's words to the editor's final cut. Includes interactive activities from writing dialogue for a scene to managing the production of a film.

The Evergreen Project Adventures:  This attractive site features What's It Like Where You Live? (resources on biomes and aquatic ecosystems for students in grades 4 and up), Partners For Growing (plant investigations for primary students), and WebWorkShops (for instructors). Produced in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Waterford Press:  Here you will find lots of activities and worksheets for those rainy days.  This site offers free print-based instructional materials to support elementary natural science curriculum.

Pilkey's Website of Fun:  Children's author, Dav Pilkey, aka Sue Denim, has a unique and amusing website about himself and his stories. Also included is a section on jokes, interactive activities that include printable coloring sheets and games, and a section for teachers on how to use Dav's site as a teaching tool. This site presents kids with a fun and educational web based activity where they make their own secret messages. Kids also learn about secret codes cryptography and how secret codes are used in real life.


Climb into Spring!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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