August 2003 Vol. 6.8   
http://www.strategicstudies.com
 ..

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Meaningful Learning

Homeschooling Works!

Important Questions

Back-To-School Tips

Meet and Greet

A Very Memorable Gift

Helping With Homework

Awesome August Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Meaningful Learning

Homeschooling Works!

Important Questions

Back-To-School Tips

Meet and Greet

A Very Memorable Gift

Helping With Homework

Awesome August Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Meaningful Learning

Homeschooling Works!

Important Questions

Back-To-School Tips

Meet and Greet

A Very Memorable Gift

Helping With Homework

Awesome August Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Meaningful Learning

Homeschooling Works!

Important Questions

Back-To-School Tips

Meet and Greet

A Very Memorable Gift

Helping With Homework

Awesome August Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Learning With e-Tutor

Meaningful Learning

Homeschooling Works!

Important Questions

Back-To-School Tips

Meet and Greet

A Very Memorable Gift

Helping With Homework

Awesome August Links

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
President’s Message

Where ever you live, I'm sure the weather has caught you off guard this year.  For most of the summer where we are located it has been pleasant.  But now we are receiving the heat that we missed at the height of the summer.  Friends from around the world have had to adjust to a different kind of climate this year.  One wonders if this is a pattern that will stick with us.  What a change it will bring to our world if it does last.  Funny how the weather can change our moods and affect our relationships.  

This has been a month of melancholy as we have experienced losses in family and friends.   We've reflected on our own mortality and our future.  What a struggle life is, but what rewards it holds for those who can adjust to the curves life throws us.  My brother recently sent a beautiful poem about the valleys of life.  That it is in the valleys we grow, and had we always been on the mountain top we would not have grown.  So true!  But so difficult to accept at times.   

School is starting in our area.  How fast time passes.  Where did the summer go?  A parent stopped over the other day to share with me the cost of books for her son in public high school ...over $400.  She received a whopping $34 for selling last year's books.  I'm sure there are many in this community who cannot afford such costs.   One can only hope that the money is well spent and all the texts are used to their fullest.  What a bargain e-Tutor is at $24.75 a month!

This is a wonderful month to get your students interested in Astronomy.  Mars is as close as it will be for the next 60,000 years (just imagine!) and can be seen clearly with a simple telescope.  Three Mars landings are scheduled for this year, as well.  Our knowledge of the red planet has changed drastically since I was a child.  Who knows, it may be your child who adds important new information to our current body of knowledge!  

As the summer winds down, I hope you will find time to spend together with your loved ones celebrating the beauty of our world.   

Now is the time to write a lesson for your students' online learning.   Write lessons at LessonPro.  The template is easy to use.  Your students can access the lessons that you complete.  And, you are providing your students an appropriate way to use the Internet.  
 

Learning with e-Tutor
:


Twenty-five new lessons were added to e-Tutor this month.  We are constantly adding new lessons to the bank of lessons.  There are nearly 1600 lessons in the e-Tutor program now. 

e-Tutor lessons are grouped at the Primary (K - 3), Intermediate (about 4 - 5), Middle/Junior High (about 6 - 8) and High School (9 - 12) levels.  This cross-aging of lessons has been very successful for e-Tutor students as they can work at their own pace.  Some lessons may be easier and can be used for review and some will be more challenging.  Students should do no more than four lessons each day.  Each lesson should take from an hour to an hour and a half to complete.  We recommend one lesson in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson 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. 

Parents are important in the success of e-Tutor.  There is much reading and writing in the e-Tutor program and users will have excellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently.   Parents should check the activities and extended learning completed each day.  These are included with every lesson.  They are frequently off-line projects and so e-Tutor relies on parents to review them and use them as a springboard for discussion.

Parents will quickly know which areas their children are struggling with and which topics they favor, by frequently checking their portfolios.  Parents might need to make recommendations to their children about trying new subjects or topics.  New lessons are added frequently.                                   

If you are not an e-Tutor subscriber, don't let another day pass without  logging on to this great way of learning!

www.e-tutor.com

Page 2

Do not follow where the path may lead...Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. 

Benjamin Franklin


Meaningful Learning

The human mind can be adept at creating meaning from stimuli.  And, although a person is capable of creating meaning from stimuli, he or she does not automatically do so.  If a stimulus does not interest an individual, if it lacks meaning for him or her, the stimulus is given little attention or it is ignored.  Reports of a flood in a distant country may be given cursory attention by an individual unless he or she has a relative in that country.  Nutrition information on food packages may not have been noticed by someone until his or her physician puts the person on a low-sodium diet.  Automotive sections of the daily newspaper may go from front step to garbage can, unread until the subscriber needs a new car.  

The importance to the individual of finding meaning in stimuli presents a formidable challenge to those responsible for learning.  Learner insights are an important key to successful learning.  "An educator cannot give an insight to a student as we serve a person meat on a platter" one researcher wrote.  The insight will not be used by a student unless the learner sees the insight's relevance and significance for himself or herself.  

Experience with several insights that repeatedly bring the learner to the same conclusion form a generalization.  The generalization can form the basis for a prediction and a generalization can be modified to accommodate additional related insights.  A generalization is,  then, an understanding that can be used for the task at hand and for future similar situations as well. 

Learning that helps students make insights of their own gives them opportunities to become actively involved in their own learning.  We cannot expect students to take responsibility for their own learning unless students perceive meaning for themselves in the information to be learned. 

Adapted from Idea Factory for Teachers, Silver Burdett & Ginn

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. 

John Wooden


Homeschooling Works!

Although there are millions of high-achieving kids in public schools, homeschooled kids are making remarkable progress for themselves.  Approximately 1.7 million American children are schooled at home.  Although this represents only about two percent of school-age children, the total number of homeschoolers increases by as much as ten percent a year.  They have accomplished much!

  • Twenty-six percent of homeschool students who applied to Stanford University in 2000 were accepted, nearly double its acceptance rate of traditional-school students.

  • A 1999 study of 20,000 home students found those in grades first to fourth performed better than public and private school students in every subject of the Iowa test of Basic Skills.  By eighth grade, the study found, the average homeschool student performed four grade levels above the national average.

  • Students who are homeschooled scored an average of 1,100 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT college entrance exam in 2000....80 points higher than the national average.  They outscored other students on the ACT exam.

  • The winner of the 2001 Scripps Howard Spelling Bee was homeschooled.  In 2000, all three top winners were homeschooled.  

Excerpts from Better Homes and Gardens, August 2002

Important Questions

A Father and his small son were out walking one afternoon when the youngster asked how the electricity went through the wires stretched between the telephone poles.  "Don't know," said the father.  "Never knew much about electricity."

A few blocks farther on the boy asked what caused lightning and thunder.  "To tell the truth," said the father, "I never exactly understood that myself."

The boy continued to ask questions throughout the walk, none of which the father could explain.  Finally, as they were nearing home, the boy asked, "Pop, I hope you don't mind my asking so many questions...."

"Of course not," replied the father.  "How else are you going to learn?"  Sooner or later, of course, the boy will stop asking his father questions and that will be unfortunate.  Curiosity and the desire to learn should be encouraged and nurtured.

If we want our children to do well with instructional activities, but don't respect learning we are deluding ourselves.  Not many children will be motivated to do it on their own.  We must set an example for our children.  If we have stopped learning and growing, then we will be hard put to inspire our children, no matter how much we may pretend to encourage it.

Adapted from Bits and Pieces, Economics Press
 

Page 3

The greatest mistake a person can make is to be afraid of making one.

Elbert Hubbard


Back-To-School Tips

  • Get back in the routine.  Ease transition from lazy summer days to the structure of the school year by re-establishing bedtime, mealtime, reading and homework routines.  
  • Set education goals. Help your child set goals at the very beginning of the year.  Whether it is striving for an "A" in reading, handing in homework on time or preparing for tests well in advance, setting goals can help set the routine for the new year.
  • Establish a homework routine and place.  Designate a specific time for homework and help your child discover a regular, quiet place where he can study.  Make sure that the area is free from distractions and that study tools are at your child's fingertips.
  • Stay on schedule.  Your child should keep a schedule of all classes, assignments and key dates.  As part of that schedule, she should include specific times for studying, projects and extracurricular activities.
  • Emphasize organization.  For some students, having color-coded binders for each subject helps them stay on track throughout the school year.  Keeping notes organized helps test preparation later in the year, so work with your child to determine the best method for him.
  • Encourage learning at home.  To nurture reading skills spend at least one hour per week ....10 to 15 minutes a day...reading with your child.  To enhance math proficiency, try letting your child help plan the next family trip and encourage him to compute miles, cost of gas, expenses for food, hotel and entertainment. 

Adapted from Pioneer Press


Meet and Greet

To overcome the anxiety of meeting new people....be it at a party or a seminar....remember you don't need to know as much as you need to ask.

Asking questions that are open-ended....ones that require more than just a one-word response....encourages conversational flow.  

Dr. Gilda Carle, InterChange Communications Training, Inc.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Albert Einstein


A Very Memorable Gift

This is an activity in which the entire extended family can participate.  Have you ever wondered why your great-grandparents came to this country?  Why did they leave the "old country?"  What ship did they come on?  Did they come alone?

By now, however, it's too late to get the answers, for your ancestors are deceased.  Their life-experiences are gone and will never be part of your precious memories.  Involving the entire family in the process of writing a family history will bring ancestors alive, helping our children to understand and appreciate their heritage.  Events and anecdotes from all the generations, including input from children should be included.  What better gift can a family give to itself than a tangible memento of their family's heritage?

 Getting a Start:

  • Using a package of index cards, write down one event per card (a first job, a wedding, a birth, etc.)  Use only a few words.

  • Now go back to each card and jot down phrases pertaining to the event (no sentences please).  Basically, you will be answering these questions:  Who?  What?  When?  Where?  Why?  How much?

  • Now you are ready to put your cards in some kind of order.

  • Start fleshing out each card and try to write one or two pages about that event.  Before you know it, you will have a manuscript going!  

Adapted from Smart Families

Page 4

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination. 

Tommy Lasorda


Helping With Homework

With school starting, our children will be bringing home work to do.  Parents who help their children, in elementary, middle or high school grades, with homework play a major role in boosting student achievement.  Following are some guidelines which might be helpful to you:

Set a regular time and place.  In the primary grades, before homework is assigned, take time daily to read to your child and discuss what's happened during the day.

In the upper elementary grades, a half hour should be set aside for studying and reviewing.  Ask your child's teacher how much time he or she would recommend for homework.  

In the junior high and high school years establish with your child a homework schedule that you both agree on and then see that it is followed.  

  • If the homework includes directions, read them carefully....or ask your child to read them to you....to make certain they are clearly understood before starting work.  
  • Check to see if your child is following directions.  If there are problems, demonstrate one as an example, do the next one together and then have your child finish the assignment alone.  Offer to read the finished work and help your child correct any mistakes.  Don't give the answer or do the work for the child. 
  • If you don't understand an assignment your child has received contact the teacher....or advise your child to go to the teacher for help.  Write teachers from time to time indicating what you have noted about your child's progress with homework. 
  • Be certain your child has a quiet place to study with good light, necessary supplies....paper, dictionary, pencils, thesaurus....and a secure place to keep materials where they will not be disturbed.
  • Conduct spelling practice, math drills and other activities to help your child. 

National School Public Relations Association


Lord Nelson, England's famous naval hero, suffered from seasickness throughout his entire live.  Needless to say, the man who destroyed Napoleon's fleet did not let it interfere with his career.  He not only learned to live with this personal weakness, he conquered it. 

Most of us have our own little "sea sicknesses" too.  For some it may be physical, for other psychological.  Usually, it's a private war, carried on quietly within ourselves.  No one will pin a medal on us for winning it, but nothing can dim the satisfaction of knowing we did not surrender.

Bits and Pieces
 

Page 5

Imagination is more important the Knowledge.

Awesome August Links:

Chemistry Function: Do you have fond remembrances of balancing Chemistry equations? This site balances those pesky unbalanced equations and performs molar conversions equations with ease. The Chemistry Functions site is an  excellent study aid authored by professors at Stanford. Note that some features are still under construction. 
http://www.stanford.edu/~glassman/chem/index.htm

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Opinion Journal: 
The Wall Street Journal Editorial page is now available free on the Web. The opinion pieces found in the WSJ cover a variety of topics such as finance, politics and business around the world.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/

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Survival Guide for New Teachers: 
This site might be called "What a First Year Teacher Really Needs" with lots of suggestions, but the only resources linked to the page are very 
general and Internet based. Still, this is a good article to get new teachers thinking of building those personal networks which can help in any career.
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/survivalguide/

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PostcardsFrom.Com:   Although the travels were completed several years ago, this website lists all kinds of information about the fifty US States in a colorful, user friendly format. Picture postcards from each state contain photographs combined with other graphic elements to give an impression of each state. Some information from the governors page (some of whom are no longer in office), is not current.
http://www.postcardsfrom.com/

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Mediterranean Archeological Resources:  This Greek website links to major archeology journals. Scroll past those to get to some wonderful links to information about Ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman cultures. (Watch out for the Geocities popup windows.)  Great for some high school and college level students. Look under the British School at Athens for a Quicktime VR tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos.
http://www.geocities.com/i_georganas/main.html


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Insectclopedia:  OK, at first we thought this site was just plain buggy, but Insectclopedia is great for young students learning about insects and  how they fit into various ecosystems. A lot of information here, with lots of images. Check out the lessons (all sorts of ideas) and Cuisine (look under Hobbies).  
http://www.insectclopedia.com
A related resource has been developed by our staff,  "A Bug's Life" at http://www.knowledgehq.com/.

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The Last Word:  Did you ever wonder..if you did, this site is for you. Readers of NewScientist Magazine, a weekly publication from the UK, write in with unanswered science questions. Have you noticed brown bread toasts more quickly than white bread...several reasons are suggested. If your students are in search of interesting science fair projects, this may be the place to begin. 
http://www.newscientist.com/lastword/

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ThisNation:  Created by a political science professor, This Nation is a guide for students and the voting public, on the US Government. The online textbook starts with an introduction "Why Government?" which explains some of the roles the government plays in our lives. The library links to many documents, speeches and constitutions of other nations. Under the area marked students, you will find some very tough self-grading quizzes. This has the easiest method to find your elected officials.
http://www.thisnation.com/

Enjoy a Wonderful Month!

From the Staff at Strategic Studies Corporation

 
Copyright © 2003 Strategic Studies Corp.
http://www.strategicstudies.com