_In The News                          August 2004   Vol. 7-8

Presidentís Message

re your being overwhelmed by countless email?  We are!  In spite of the fact there are many filters on our systems, we still get many emails we would rather not receive.  Speaking of filters.....if you have written to us, and do not receive a response within 24 hours, please write again.  We do monitor the filters, but we also recognize that some emails may have been missed.  We apologize if we have missed you.  Our responses, usually begin with "Strategic Studies, e-Tutor" in the subject line.  We enjoy hearing from you.  So, please, keep those emails coming.

Summer is winding down already.  Can you believe it? Families are getting ready for their children to begin school again.  Many homeschool families follow the same calendar as schools.  This year we have discovered a new trend we haven't seen in the past.  Students are finding us on the Internet and often call for more information.  They then ask the parents to call us with their questions.  We think it is a great sign!  One of our principal goals is to have students be responsible for their own learning.  We like this trend and hope it continues.  

It has been a busy month again.  First, there was the Education Industry Conference here in Illinois.  It was wonderful to meet many of you there.  The conference gave us an opportunity to share what we have learned about online learning and homeschooling over the years.  We look forward to meeting more of you at other conferences in the future.  

Then, attendees at a business expo in the Chicago area had an opportunity to learn more about our new Center and the e-Tutor Program.  It was in our neighborhood and we used the occasion to  exhibit right outside our offices!  Although the Expo focused on many types of businesses, there was much interest in online learning.  More people, than one can imagine, were looking for alternatives in education.   Students, as well as parents, had questions for us.  We look forward to offering an extension to  e-Tutor by  using it as a basis for one-on-one tutoring at the new Center.

Best wishes for much success goes to our students as they begin a new year of learning.  We want your year to be successful.  If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 May you all enjoy the end of another summer and the beginning of a new month.   



Try some online learning with your students this year. Use the template at lessonpro.net to create inspiring lessons for your students.  Your students can access the lessons you write both at school and at home.  It's a great way to extend the learning experience.  


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Experience is not what happens to a man.  It's what a man does with what happens to him.

Aldous Huxley, British Author 

Learning with e-Tutor:

e-Tutor Accessories

The heart of the e-Tutor Program is the Lesson Library.  However, at the top of the student page there is a row of buttons that gives them access to other features in the learning program.  

  • The Study Page takes the student to the Lesson Library.  

  • Study Tools give students a dictionary, thesaurus and other tools which will help in learning.  

  • Online Help provides a user guide for the student and a quick link to send email to e-Tutor.  

  • The Communication Center lets the student send email (but not receive it).  They can broadcast their message to a group of friends.  

  • A File Cabinet lets the students keep track of links they are using in studying or favorites.  

  • Fun Pages are full of activities and projects to fill those spare hours.  

  • The Art Gallery gives the student resources, ideas and a place to post his or her own work.  

  • My Desktop lets the students change the font size for the lessons, to change the opening page for e-Tutor and to create a new password.   




Online Projects
A list of online projects to fill your after school hours. 

e-Tutor provides you with a list of links to games that you can play after you
r work is done. Games will
be added regularly and are targeted at each individual grade level.


eep your mind sharp by visiting e-Read links. Reading material of all sorts and kinds will be included. 

News and Sports
Get the latest scoop by clicking on "News and Sports."

e-Tutor recognizes the many different ways that students learn.  Students need many choices so they can experiment and find their own ideal way of learning.    

Twelve new lessons were added to e-Tutor this.  Subscribe today to view these great new additions to the Lesson Library!


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We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi


When you Have To Reprimand

When talking about positive discipline, we sometimes minimize the necessity of dealing with a child whose action is unacceptable.  But like it or not, our job as parents is to reprimand when necessary.  Here's how to do it, when it must be done. 

  1. Don't smile.  The moment you smile, even though you are trying to put the child at ease, you have reduced your effectiveness.  Smiling indicates approval and you are talking about action that does not have your approval. 

  2. Don't gunny-sack.  Gunny-sacking is saving up all of your complaints and problems until the bag is full and then dumping it on the child.  Reprimand as soon as possible after the problem occurs.

  3. Be specific.  Tell the child what he did wrong.  Tell him what you observed and how that differs from what you expected.  Give him a chance to clarify the issue.  But don't accept "excuses."

  4. Tell him how you feel about what he did or did not do.  If you are surprised or angry or disappointed, tell him.

  5. Put the reprimand into perspective.  You are reprimanding the child for a specific action in a specific situation, not for being a "bad child."  Let him know that you value his actions in general and in other specific situations though not here. 

  6. Don't repeat the reprimand.  Once the reprimand is given, you've done it.  Go back to what you were doing. 

Practical Supervision

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.

Thomas Edison

Are You a Slave to Time?

Are there so many demands on your time that you can't squeeze another second out of your schedule?  If so, you have "timelock."  Just as gridlock stops traffic, timelock stops productivity.  Here's what to do to get unlocked:

  • Think of what you want out of life....not how much you can get done.  Assess all your activities.  If they add to your life, keep them.  If not, eliminate them whenever possible. 

  • Understand your body clock.  It is irregular and not as uniform as time from a clock.  Identify its peak times.  That's when to schedule especially difficult work. 

  • Don't crowd every minute with some task.  If you do, tension rises and effectiveness declines. 

  • Slow down.  Don't be addicted to rushing.  Ask, "Why am I rushing?  What'll happen if I don't?"  Know the difference between necessary haste and impatience. 

  • Subtract an old activity when you add a new one. 

Ralph Keyes, writing in Parade


Are You Really Listening?

Here's a roundup of tips that can help all of us become better listeners.  Many are based on research studies in business. 

  • Spend more than 50 percent of your time listening, especially if you're a parent.  And don't offer your opinion until you have given your children a chance to air their views first.

  • Listen for ideas, not just for facts.  Listening only for facts often prevents you from grasping the meaning of the topic.

  • Avoid jumping to conclusions when someone is speaking.  Don't anticipate what someone is trying to say.

  • Try to stay interested in what is being said even if the delivery is boring or wordy.  Avoid the tendency for your mind to wander.  You have to work at listening.

  • Don't evaluate or judge how something is said.  Keep listening for ideas and avoid the tendency to become upset by strong words that may tend to irk you. 

  • Never rush or interrupt someone who is speaking.  And don't change the subject until you are sure the child has finished. 

  • Ask questions to clarify points and to let the child know you are paying attention.

  • Tell yourself that everyone is important enough to listen to.  Don't fake paying attention. 

Adapted from Communication Briefings

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We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Anais Nin, American writer (1903-1977)


Tutoring Your Own Child

Parent involvement in their child's learning can benefit both students and parents. Miriam Stearns of the Stanford Research Institute has found that when parents act as tutors for their children, three benefits result:

  1. Students become more motivated

  2. Their skills improve

  3. The parent's self-image is enhanced

First, the parent motivates the child to work on improving skills.  The child sees that the parent thinks education is important.  The parent learns how to teach her own child.  She gives her child individual attention to teach skills. The child learns better and performs better on tests.  As the child become successful, that in turn, reinforces the parent, who sees that her action led to improvement. 

As the parent feels more able to control what happens, she reflects that attitude to the child.  Gradually the child realizes that his success depends on his own efforts.  That leads to increased motivation to work even harder. 

Miriam Stearns, cited in Oregon School Study Council Bulletin.


Brush Up Your Study Skills

Is studying by yourself at home the only way to prepare for a test?  While no one disputes the value of individualized study in a quiet place, you might find some of the following strategies complement your solo efforts:

  • Peer Study groups.  Getting together with four or five classmates periodically to share notes and discuss lessons can be an effective way to review for upcoming tests.  Each student might agree to summarize a different chapter or section, then share his or her notes with the entire group.  
    In addition to informal study groups, many teachers are
    grouping students together for projects and other cooperative learning activities.  For example, students in a government class studying  the judicial process might be assigned different topics to research and present during a mock trial.  To prepare, students would have to work together in and out of class. 
    One word of caution:  Make sure your study group focuses on the task at hand.  If you and other students spend more time socializing than working, your study time would be better spent another way.

  • Tutoring programs.  There's nothing wrong with asking for extra help....in fact, it's usually the sign of a conscientious student.
    If you're having trouble keeping up in a particular subject, or if you just think a little more review and instruction would be helpful, ask a teacher or guidance counselor if your school offers any tutoring programs.  Tutors might be other students your own age, older students from a nearby high school or
    university or adults and other community volunteers.  The programs usually are free and allow you to meet with your tutor regularly in one-on-one sessions. 

  • Community resources.  Local libraries, community colleges and universities can be a gold mine of study resources....often available at little or no cost.  Some libraries offer students free access to on-line computer information services and other valuable research materials.  Universities and colleges occasionally offer community workshops, speakers or seminars on a wide range of topics and academic areas.  You should be able to find out about upcoming events and services by calling the public information offices of any of these institutions.  



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 school success.  Here are some way you can help your child do better on tests.  Make sure to encourage your child to:

  Study for several days before the test.  Kids need time to absorb information.
  Get plenty of sleep...and a good breakfast.

Also encourage your child to:
  Listen carefully to directions.  Teachers may deduct points if students don't follow instructions.
  Look over the test before answering any questions.  Nothing is worse than discovering a 15-minute essay
question when you have only five minutes remaining in the class.
  Do not spend too much time on any one question. 
It's usually better to answer as many questions as possible.  If there is time, your child can return to questions that have him stumped. 

American Association of School Administrators    

Page 5  

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt


Charisma - How To Get, How To Use It.

Charisma is a quality some men and women have that makes people like them.  It has little to do with looks and charm.  Like body language, it is projected nonverbally and it gives those who have it a certain amount of authority and command. Charisma is an acquirable personality trait and one that can give your life an important boost not readily visible to others.  Here are a few training guidelines:

  • Make everybody you meet, feel like the most important person you'll see that day.  Sure, everybody you meet isn't as important as everybody else, but you can effectively leave that impression and do it without sounding or acting as a phony. 

  • Thank others a lot, especially members of your family.  And do it in an offhanded, natural way that doesn't seem forced or phony.  

  • Respond to other's feelings more than to their words.  Instead of chastising a teenager who has blown his stack and made perfectly unreasonable demands, you should sit him down and find out what is really bothering him.  Then see if the two of you can't work out a solution. 

  • Smile a lot, even if you don't feel like it.  Others gauge your mood from the expression on your face.  

Charisma is a state of mind given visible form much more that it is a natural gift.  You can practice acting in a charismatic manner so that others will be more likely to admire you. 

Secrets of Power Persuasion, Roger Dawson

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.

PostcardsFrom.Com:  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. 

Impressionism:   This unit leads students through the works of impressionist artists of France. The included lessons look at nine French impressionists, how their work shared common characteristics and how they viewed the world 

Square of Life: Studies in Local and Global Environments:   What's in your schoolyard? Developed for grades 1-6, this project involves an up-close and personal look at a square meter of schoolyard, observing and classifying plants, animals and non-living objects. Comprehensive or abbreviated lessons accompany the project in the Teacher Area. 

Dare to Fly with Class:   Here's an engaging project for grades 3-5. Students love to fly paper airplanes, so mix a little scholarship in with the fun. Cover the four forces of flight: lift, drag, thrust and weight (gravity) and have students chart the results of their efforts.

Camp Silos:   Exploring the Prairie, Pioneer Farming, The Story of Corn and Farming Today and Tomorrow are the areas covered by this website. Each area is divided into a Student area, a Teacher area (with lesson plans) and 
Resources. This is a great site for combining the study of the US westward 
expansion and biomes.

Bembo's Zoo: A flashy site (Flash plugin required) for artists and creative thinkers to just sit back and watch. Turn your high school students loose trying to figure out how they did it. Beginning animators may get some wonderful ideas, all surrounding the basic alphabet.

Ontario Science Centre Online:   Apply science liberally! The Home Lab will give you ideas for science experiments for your classroom. Look at some of the great questions of our day (found in Our Brains), such as Is Pluto Really a Planet ? and What Can the Ramones Teach Us about Science? Learn the science of  papermaking in Electronic Exhibit Extensions.  Activities are available in both English and French.

Enjoy a special August!
From the Staff at Knowledge HQ

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