In The News                            June 2011   Vol. 14-04

President’s Message 

The purpose of learning should be to transform, not to maintain the status quo. I had an interesting conversation with a person this week who has been involved with education in various capacities over many years but not as an educator.  He has worked to reshape what is happening in traditional schooling as an involved citizen. He is now helping to re-educate disenchanted youth and prepare them for the workplace.  When we began to talk about the commitment of parents to education,  I had to disagree with him.  I reminded him of how parents from whatever socio-economic level walked with their child hand-in-hand to that first day of kindergarten with all the hope and anticipation that all parents have for education.    

However, something happens between those kindergarten years and about third grade.  Some parents no longer want to come to school.  Have they been told that they don't have the parenting skills needed for their student?  Have they been told the student needs to be fed more?  Have they been told they need to have more books and educational tools at home?  

During this period, we begin to loose many of our children, as well.  The confidence they had when they walked into the school, just a few years previous is no longer there.  

Surely this is betrayal of trust and confidence.  That hope and anticipation for a better way of life is no longer there.  Parents can walk away from the schools.  Our students cannot, they are bound to the school even when they don't want to be there.  Vast numbers of our students are not learning even the basic skills.  So, this disillusioned students are eventually pushed out or drop out. 

At Knowledge Headquarters, every day we work to broaden the learning experiences for students, so that they may make informed choices about topics of interest that teach the important knowledge and skills that will insure their value and future role in society.  Parents take their rightful place as guide and mentor for their student with our support and encouragement.

My friend listened to me go on for sometime and then kindly asked what could be done for those students who were already lost.  I did not have an easy answer.  We are developing programs and ways of reaching these students to express that we have faith in their desire to learn and can offer an alternative to traditional schooling that may provide an escape for their untenable situation. 

It will take all of us, educators, parents and students, working together, trusting one another and leaving the status quo behind to develop a new way of schooling that will guide our students to their rightful place in a democratic society.

 May you follow different roads this summer!


Welcome Summer School Students! 

We are so pleased to welcome many new students to the summer school program!  Summer school provides a great way for students to get a head start on the year ahead, reinforce learning and recover credit lost during the school year.  Whatever your goals, your learning is our highest priority.  We want students to be successful and enjoy their learning experience.  Don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or want to inquire about our Fall Program.

Toll Free:  877-687-7200

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Build bridges, don't burn them.

Learning with eTutor

One of the most important underlying premises of the eTutor program is the use of hyperlinks within each lesson module.  These reinforce concepts or skills being taught in the Study Guide.  The links give more valuable information to the student about the topic of the lesson module.  Students should take advantage of using these links as they help in linking previous knowledge to new learning.

At the click of the mouse, students go around the world to learn about concepts and skills.



Excerpt from eTutor Slide Show #12

Lesson modules integrate links to resources on the World Wide Web






Nearly 3200 Lesson Modules

are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

Join the eTutor world of learning today to view 
the lesson modules.

   The Book Case            

The Fledgling 
by Jane Langton

Intermediate -  High/High School

If there's one thing Georgie Hall has always been, it's determined.  So when her stepcousins Eleanor and Eddy tell her that she can't fly, Georgie doesn't get discouraged -- she just tries harder She feels a peculiar lightness when she leaps from the top of the staircase, and is even more certain of her seemingly impossible ability when she jumps from the porch and soars to the rooftop before landing safely on the ground. And now that a mysterious Canada goose is visiting Georgie's window on a nightly basis, the Hall family begins to wonder just what Georgie is capable of.

1981 Newbery Honor Book

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Rate your success by many standards.


When Your Child Has A Meltdown

Lots of children struggle to control their emotions.  We expect them to be more rational.  Even big kids get hungry, tired, and frustrated....all meltdown factors.  Here are a few suggestions that might help:

  • Give him a heads-up.  Meltdowns occur when plans change.  If a child knows what's happening next, he will be more likely to go with the flow.
  • Help him roll with the punches.  To bust him out of his mood, engage him in a favorite activity.  For some kids, a back rub might do the trick.
  • Deal with the issue afterward.  It is hard to be rational when we are mad, so don't try to get your child to apologize in the heat of the moment.
  • Talk about the big picture.  When he is calm, brainstorm about what he can do differently next time.  He will be better able to learn from the experience than he could back when he was a toddler. 

Adapted from Parenting Magazine - School Years

Forecast:  Brainstorms

Brainstorming is often needed when solving problems, to jump-start activities, or in creating new ways of doing things.  Being sure the process leads to a storm and not a drizzle takes effort.  Hazel Wagner, a brain-storming expert and facilitator has the following tips:

  • Write it down, right away!  We think we will easily remember the great idea we just had, but most of us forget if we don't writ it down or record it.  Ideas that come to us in the middle of the night (dreams are often the way the brain continues to figure out unresolved problems) need to be jotted down. 

  • Fast and furious, timed lightning rounds.  Time yourself.  Require a number of ideas to be written down in a short amount of time...for example, ten ideas in three minutes or 25 ideas in eight minutes.  Forcing yourself to work with the pressure of a li8mited amount of ti8me keeps that censor in your brain from interrupting.  Items you might have thought wouldn't work might turn out to be the essence of a fantastic idea.

  • Organize and reorganize after the lightning rounds.  After any lightning rounds of fast-paced idea generation, organize the ideas into clusters that fit together.  

Adapted from Power Brainstorming: Great Ideas at Lightning Speed,  Hazel Wagner

 The Trouble With When They Get Into Trouble

Like everything else, it begins in the cradle.  Babies quickly learn how much they have to cry to get their parents to pick them up.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the earliest discipline strategy is passive and occurs as parent provide structured daily routines for feeding, sleeping and awakening. But as children grow older, parental discipline strategies have to become more proactive, and inevitably parents are faced with the eternal question:  to spank or not to spank. 

Opinions are changing from the time of Dr. Benjamin Spock who advocated no spanking.  In a recent study, more than ninety percent of American families have spanked their children.  According to one specialist, "one of the things we've done by making parents feel guilty about spanking is that it is not the first mode of intervention.  It is used as a last resort when they get frustrated, when they are angrier, more emotional...and that is least effect and most likely to injure the child. In some families when spanking is administered promptly and matter-of-factly it quite possibly has a better effect.

Timeouts are the recommended alternative to spanking, but many parents complain that timeouts don't seem effective for their child. The rule of thumb for timeouts, many experts say, is one minute per year of the child's age. 

The best parenting strategy is to always praise positive behavior.  Children love attention and if they only get attention for negative behavior, it could actually encourage negative behavior.

Withdrawing certain privileges....a favorite toy or television show, or "grounding" and older another useful discipline strategy, but one that is more effective if the privileges are understood by the child to be part of a package of positive reinforcements that can be withdrawn if certain expectations are not met.

Good parenting comes down to being consistent and always following through on what you say you are going to do.

Adapted from Chicago Tribune Magazine


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Value the work you do.


More About the Teaching of Phonics

Last month we defined phones as learning individual letter sounds and how to blend them to form words.  No issue in the field of reading conjures more emotion than the teaching of phonics. However, no other aspect of reading instruction is more misunderstood by the public. One expert in the field has defined common misconceptions about phonics instruction which appear over and over again in the popular press.  Here are two:

  1. Memorizing letter-sound correspondences is how children learn to read.
    Many people think reading is simply the process of memorizing sounds, but readers use syntax (word order), semantics (meaning) and phonics (letter-sound relationships).  We have all seen children who are "word callers" rather than readers because they construct no meaning.  We have no difficulty spotting these children because they can't retell the meaning of the text that was read.

  2. It's never too early to begin teaching phonics.
    A recent report compared the reading achievement of citizens in more than 20 industrialized nations.  Scandinavian countries were at or near the top of the list of those with high literacy rates.  Many of those countries don't begin the formal teaching of reading until about age seve
    n.  In the United States, many schools begin teaching reading at five or six years of age.

    This researcher has found that children who begin formal phonics instruction before it makes sense to them become confused.  The instruction is therefore useless and counterproductive.  

    Maybe it is time for us to revisit some of those old notions about the early teaching of phonics. 

Adapted from Six Phonics Myths Dispelled, Maryann Manning, 
School of Education, U. of Alabama, Birmingham


No tree becomes rooted and sturdy unless many a wind assails it.  For by its very tossing it tightens its grip and plants its roots more securely; the fragile trees are those that have grown in a sunny valley.  


Seeking New and Different Ideas - Creativity

The creative vision that sees beyond the commonplace into strange and new vistas of unexplored areas gives the inventive mind chances to soar.  The following may be helpful to understanding and encouraging creativity in the home.

Seek freedom from conventional categories and from word magic.  The ease with which we have seemed to abandon ideas because we have given them a proper name or placed them in a particular category, which may then be tossed around glibly because now we know it, tends to discourage further investigation.  Naming or placing ideas in conventional categories does not necessarily explain or give understanding to a subject.  Too often it merely cuts off further discussion and presupposes that the selected name covers all.  If people believe that giving a thing a name adequately explains it nobody bothers to investigate.  Word magic is a common gadget of advertisers who sell their products without reference to the actual content.  The public finds the name pleasant, catchy, and so enticing that further investigation into the product itself seems unnecessary.  

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

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Look for opportunities to engage in random acts of niceness.  

Juicy June Links:

A parent called this month and asked for suggestions for websites where her son could review skills while having fun.  Our focus has been in creating instructional programs for students.  But we understand the need for relaxation and fun while learning especially at this time of year.  We hope you find the following helpful: 

Just For Kids: 
Presented by the University of Illinois Extension Service, this site has links to games and activities about insects, friends, food and more.

Fact Finder, Kids' Corner:  Presented by the US Census Bureau, your student can learn about the US Census, get facts about states, and have fun with quiz questions.

Woodlands Maths Zone:  This site developed and maintained by Mandy Barrow includes fun online interactive activities to help improve mental maths skills.  It also will help with your SATs Revision, too! Java and Flash are needed o play these games.

Interactive Zone:  From New Zealand, this site covers all major curricular areas.  Although not as colorful, the site covers material up to high school.

AOL for Kids:  Highly visual, this site has advertisements,  but your student will like the clever games, pictures and quizzes.

These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.
These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye.


Savor the Joys of Summer

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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