In The News                                  July 2009   Vol. 12-7

President’s Message

Hard to believe that July is almost over.  Time, as always, races by without our noticing it. There are still many days for fun and recreation with family and friends.  This month our family will be getting together from far and near for a family reunion.  We miss seeing each other face to face and these gatherings give us a chance to laugh, cry and enjoy the stories and tales of current and past adventures.  In this age of instant communication, the many tools make it easier to stay in touch, but there is something special about a hug, a smile, a hand from a family member.  We treasure the times we have together and take delight in the newer and younger members of the family.     

This year, with the help of loved ones, I saved a small section of my garden for vegetables and strawberries.  And, they are growing tall and strong.  There is one slight problem, no fruit or vegetables.  The birds and squirrels are feasting on my harvest!  I know the foods could be saved with adequate cover, but somehow, I don't mind nature's creatures enjoying far.  I probably take as much enjoyment in the growing, as in the eating.  So, I will continue to share, until my stomach aches for my own homegrown harvest.  

Summer gives me a chance to work on planning for the business.  One would think there probably is not much planning that needs to take place after thirteen years in the business.  But, the instructional needs of students are changingAnd in order to continue to offer the "best place to learn online," we want to know how the latest technologies can improve our instructional offerings.  Our research tells us, we are still ahead of the curve.  

The vision we had thirteen years ago for educating K-12 students over the Internet, is still current and the concept is being actively pursued by most states in the country.  Our concern remains, however, that any online instructional program for these younger learners must differ dramatically from that offered in regular education.  You cannot take a typical instructional program and fit it into the online world and hope that students will take an interest in a new way of learning.  Because, it won't be new and students, and parents, are smart enough to know it.   

At Knowledge HQ, we will continue to look for the latest advances that will enhance and improve the learning quality for our online students.  We find the planning exciting, in the sense that there remains so many options to change the way instruction is delivered to students.  We will keep you posted as we move ahead.  

Stay cool and enjoy family times this month!   




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At least once a month, toss out your plans and do what you like. 

Learning with e-Tutor

e-Tutor instructional content is aligned to standards created by e-Tutor as well as State and National Goals for Learning.  Over the last months, we have shared with you the goals for each of the four curricular areas offered in the e-Tutor program.  Students benefit from the customized approach to learning that is based on achievement, interest and learning style. 

Each e-Tutor lesson module has several important components that the student needs to finish before fully completing the lesson module.  Each component is a useful tool unto itself, but powerful when combined in the lesson module.  The  interactive program is designed to increase knowledge in a collaborative, seamless learning environment that promotes intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning.  e-Tutor requires no plug-ins or complicated downloads for users; it is designed for the basic computer user. 

The benefits of e-Tutor are significant:

  • Increased access to education

  • Increased access to best content

  • Decreased instructional materials costs

  • Increased student and instructional effectiveness

  • Increases motivation for learning

  • Involves parents

  • Expands learning time

  • Utilizes the resources of the entire wired world

* Registration for summer school is now over.  Fall registration is now open.  

Have you noticed how many lesson modules are added to the e-Tutor system each month.  The bank of lesson modules will continue to grow each month.

Twenty New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view 
over 2,700 lesson modules.

Online Learning

We have just a few more weeks before we submit our report to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education about the Supplemental Education Services section of the No Child Left Behind Act.  Our goal is to show how technology, and explicitly online education, has not been widely used in SES programs across the country.  Yet, at a minimum it is cost effective, tracks student achievement, and provides for an instructional program available any time day or night.  

Thank you to those who have provided your ideas for this important work.  If you have not provided your input, please do so.   Leave your comments on the blog @ 

   The Book Case            

It's Like This, Cat 
Emily Cheney Neville

 Middle/Jr. High School

This book is a 1964 Newbery Medal winner.  This is the story of a young man, Dave Mitchell, and how he grew to maturity, helped along indirectly by a stray cat that he brought home from Crazy Kate, the neighborhood Cat Lady. Dave lives in New York City with his lawyer father and his mother, who has bouts of asthma brought on by family strife. The cat, named “Cat” lives a wild life that brings Dave in contact with a future friend and girl friend. Dave’s adventures take him throughout areas of New York City, and the reader is treated to descriptions of famous city landmarks. With Dave’s new cat-related experiences comes an increased appreciation for his parents and deepening care for his new friends.

View an electronic version of this book @

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When playing games with children, let them win more than once in awhile. 


Reading for Meaning

This week I have been reading a book written in the early 1800s.  It is written in old English style, mixed with Latin and French.  The book is a difficult one to read, but the story has much to tell about the culture of a much earlier period.  In order to understand what I am reading, I depend on clues that provide meaning for me.  From time to time we all need help with reading.  

To read for meaning, we must simultaneously utilize clues from all cueing systems.  Readers bring knowledge and past experiences to the reading task to construct interpretations and to determine if the print makes sense to them.  It is easier for readers to understand print when the content is relevant to their personal experiences.  Familiar content and topics convey meaning or clues through the semantic cueing system.  When we are comfortable and familiar with the content of a passage, we can predict upcoming text and take greater risks in reading.  Research has repeatedly shown that fluent readers risk more guesses when interacting with unfamiliar print than poorer readers.  They derive more meaning from passages than readers who frequently stop to sound or decode words by individual phonemes or letters.  

Knowledge of word order and the rules of grammar which structure oral language, guide readers' predictions for printed language.  Such language-pattern clues comprise the syntactic cueing system.  Readers should constantly question the text to ensure that what they are reading makes sense and sounds like language.  

Reading experiences that focus on relevant and familiar content, vocabulary and language patterns increase one's chances of constructing meaning and being successful readers.  For early readers, successful reading experiences reaffirm one's confidence as language users and learners.  The holistic approach to the reading process stresses the importance of presenting one with whole and meaningful reading passages.  This approach is based on the principle that the readers' understanding of an entire sentence, passage or story facilitates the reading and comprehension of individual words within those passages. 

The graphophonic cueing system relates sounds to printed symbols.  When print is translated into words that are in their listening vocabularies, readers will recognize and comprehend the words.  If the sounded words are unfamiliar to readers, they must rely on the other cueing systems to construct meaning.   

Adapted from Saskatchewan, Canada Education Dept.  

Time Saving Tips

In this day of email and instant messaging, isn't it strange how a telephone call or snail mail seems to have a sense of urgency, yet it rarely is urgent?  Why, then do we take some of our most productive hour to read the mail, most of which is junk?  It it's unimportant enough to have taken several days to reach you by mail, why can't it wait a few more hours until you have completed the important functions on your day's schedule. 

As for phone calls, should there be a presumption that an incoming call is more important than the task you happen to be working on?  If you were to keep a log of all incoming calls for one week, you would probably be surprised to see how few were really relevant.  If the call is important, the caller will say so.  If it isn't, the caller can return the call at a prescheduled time or you can do the same.

These tips are only as good as the discipline you use in making them effective.  You just have to remember that any time you save becomes valuable for you and all the people with whom you come into contact.  

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Teach Values by Example

Children learn their values from watching you.  Values are not taught directly but rather assimilated and absorbed, and by this subtle process of identification your children will imitate you.  For example, if you value polite manners but speak to your children rudely, they will never get the hang of it.  If you value gentleness, be gentle with your children.  They take note of what you do more than of what you say.  The old cliché, "Do as I say, not as I do" is not only ineffective, it sends mixed messages that are both confusing and unfair to a child.

Teaching values is a very delicate undertaking.  What values do you want to impart to your children?  Do you practice what you preach?  Do you value honesty but when they tell the truth, do you in some way punish them?  

Remember that you are teaching by your example in your daily life.  Practice emotional honesty by embodying the values you want to instill in your children.  If your home is a peaceful, nurturing, safe place to grow up, you are doing your part. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

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Strive for doing things right, not jus doing the right things. 


Focus on the Child, Not the Score

The best advice for student success in learning is: read, read, read!  Read together.  Read what you enjoy, including stories, poems, and comic books.  Talk about what you read with your children.  Reading helps in mathematics with word problems and math journals.  Many children's books also focus on math.  

Are there tricks for getting high scores on standardized tests?  Sure.  But we can kill children's enthusiasm for learning with pressure to perform well on these tests.  Often students who have not 'shown aptitude' on standardized tests have become successful doctors, lawyers, teachers, and scientists.  Standardized tests don't measure commitment, work ethic, motivation, or passion.  If we are doing what we love, we are a success.  if we respect knowledge and learning, we have passed the most important test.  

Adapted from Classroom Leadership

 Encourage Your Child

You can help your child succeed in learning by building his or her self-confidence.  Use these guidelines:

  • Respect your child by treating him or her with the dignity you would a friend. 

  • Have faith in your child.  Don't be afraid to give your child increasing responsibility and independence.

  • Concentrate on the positive; avoid using discouraging words or actions.

  • Recognize your child's efforts, not just his or her accomplishments.

  • Build self-esteem and feelings of adequacy by using positive phrases such as...
    "I can tell you worked very hard on that."
    "You're getting much better at that."
    "I appreciate what you did."
    "You really handled that situation well."

  • Discourage competition (in all forms) between brothers and sisters.

And, remember, don't feel guilty if you "blow it," but use your energy to try again more effectively. 

Adapted from National Education Association

Know the Odds

Sam was an excellent golfer whose obnoxious ego and lack of sportsmanship made him unbearable.  Because his game was good, many players still wanted to compete against him.  But he would only agree to play lesser opponents for cash...$50 a hole.  Needless to say, this practice earned him a nice purse and the disdain of other golfers.

One afternoon, an elderly gentleman, wearing dark glasses and sporting a white cane, approached Sam in the clubhouse.

"My goodness!  Is that the great Sam Nelson I hear?"" asked the old man.

""Who wants to know?"  snapped Sam.

"Just an old man who would give anything to play 18 holes with you."

"You've got to be joking." replied Sam.  "You're blind."

"True, I am blind," said the old man. But I played the pro circuit before I lost my sight.  I'm pretty sure I can beat you.  And I'd be willing to put down $100 a hole.

Sam chuckled.  "Now let me make sure I heard this right.  You're blind and you want to challenge me to $100 a hole?"

"Yep," replied the blind man.

"You've got yourself a deal, old man.  Just pick the time and place...and promise not to whine when I take your money."

"Agreed,"  said the man and they shook hands.

"So, when do you want to tee off?"  asked Sam.

"Any night," said the blind man.  "Any night at all." 

Bits and Pieces

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Don't be afraid to make mistakes but be sure to learn from them. 

Juicy July Links:

Black Hole Gang:  Created by teacher and author Stephen Kramer, this site introduces four kids and a dog named Newton who are crazy about science, and points kids and their teachers to some of the best kid-friendly science on the web.

Statistics:  With the winning combination of statistics and politics, this Annenberg/CPB Website offers an original, educational, and entertaining online experience. Visitors follow a fictional race between two candidates by reading news bulletins, then learn basic statistical concepts in a real-world context. Find out what a random sample really is, what "margin of error" means, and why polls aren't always right.

Skateboard Science:  Momentum, gravity, friction, and centripetal force have never been so interesting. This online exhibit from the Exploratorium explains how skateboarders seemingly break the laws of gravity with tricks shown and explained in physics terms. The site includes a video webcast, glossary, and information about equipment.

Handspeak:  A practical sign language online dictionary. Contains some signs not found in other online dictionaries. Approximately 2800 signs and growing daily. Formerly known as the Sign Language Dictionary Online.

Ancient Stones of Scotland:  This fascinating site is part of SCRAN, a searchable archive of history and culture. Links lead to pictures of natural and manmade stone outcroppings, with the local lore included. The glossary can pump up your vocabulary a bit, too.

Try Something Different This Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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