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In The News
                        August 2005   Vol. 8-8

 
President’s Message

It is that time of year again, when we begin to prepare our children for learning.  I enjoy the children who live nearby as they share their new learning tools with me....pencils, folders, book bags, pencil cases, erasers, markers  and paper.  If we could just bottle that enthusiasm and save it for the days when the child needs it.  As parents, it is up to us to keep our children enthusiastic about learning.  We can do that by being good role models.  Learning is a life-long adventure and our children benefit by seeing us in the pursuit of new ideas and information.  

Have you ever put your trust in someone and had that trust abused?  Most of us have had this uncomfortable experience.  We have had that happen to us recently.  It is a painful experience.  The immediate reaction is to recoil in order to protect oneself and I suppose we have done that for a period here.  However, in our hearts we know that these bumps and bruises are part of the experience of life and the risks that we take each and every day.  If we don't expose ourselves to these risks, then our experiences are not as great.  One of my favorite sayings is, "The more uncomfortable we are, the more we are growing."  We have grown a lot this month and we expect more uncomfortable times ahead.    We will go on putting our trust in people every day.  It would be unfortunate if we let people who would harm us, also control us.  There are very few who would abuse the trust given to them.  

Thank you for your many phone calls this month.  It has been wonderful to touch base with so many of our returning parents and students and greet new students and parents. Your summer experiences have sounded delightful.  And, I thoroughly enjoy talking with new subscribers and parents who are contemplating a program for their children.  We hope you will keep those phone calls and emails coming.  You make our days brighter!  

 

 


We Work For You!

Did you know that Knowledge HQ, Inc. maintains many websites?  The websites create part of our ongoing effort to enhance the teaching-learning process through online learning. 

Knowledge Headquarters  
e-Tutor Virtual Learning   
Homeschooling Corner 
LessonPro   
Learning Themes  
Strategic Studies

We hope you will take many opportunities to visit these sites.  If you have suggestions, we would like to hear those as well.  

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Life's only lasting joy comes in erasing the boundary line between "mine" and "yours."

Unknown 


Learning with e-Tutor

What Does Accreditation Mean To You

e-Tutor was accredited by two outside agencies in March.  It was a huge endeavor for us to go through the process, but we felt it necessary to give parents and students the security of knowing that e-Tutor has the strong reputation we have been telling you about over the years.   

The North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Commission on Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA) are non-governmental, voluntary organizations that accredit more than 9,ooo public and private schools in 19 states, the Navajo Nation and the Department of Defense Dependents' Schools worldwide. 

To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI - CITA's quality standards, be evaluate by an outside group of professionals and implement a school improvement plan focused on increasing student performance.  Accreditation is voluntary and must be renewed each year.

  »  Benefits to Students
Increased performance.  Accreditation focuses a school  on improving learning for all students.  A six-year study of schools actively engaged in NCA CASI - CITA's process revealed that 79% made verifiable gains in student achievement.  Consequently, NCA CASI and CITA accreditation is a proven method for improving student performance. 

Transfer of credits. In addition to raising student achievement, accreditation eases the transition of students as they move from one accredited school to another.  The regional nature of accreditation allows a receiving school in the same or another state to assess the quality of a sending school and accept the incoming student's credits and academic record.  This ease of transfer applies across the nation through reciprocal agreements between the regional accrediting agencies. 

Access to programs and scholarships.  Accreditation can also benefit students as they participate in specific sports programs, apply for federal grants or scholarships or pursue admission to colleges, technical schools or military programs that require students to come from regionally accredited schools. 

  »  Benefits to Parents and the General Public  
Accreditation assure parents and the public that the school is focused on raising student achievement, providing a safe and enriching learning environment and maintaining an efficient and effective operation.  Accreditation extends across state lines, assuring parents and the public that their school adheres to high quality standards based on the latest research and successful professional practice.  

Sixteen new lessons were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month. 
Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  

www.e-tutor.com


Ability and Effort:  Lessons from Japan

You may have heard about the impressive academic accomplishments of students in Japan.  There are numerous reasons why Japanese children seem to accomplish more.  But one important reason is that Japanese students are expected to learn.  They are taught, in the home and at school, that effort is the key to success.  

Ability, on the other hand, is rarely mentioned.  One American who live in Japan said that Japanese recognize differences in ability among children.  But they consider these differences to be like the distinction between an automobile capable of going 100 miles per hour and one capable of doing `40.  There is a difference, but for most purposes, it is irrelevant.

Japanese teachers and parent teach children perseverance, self-discipline and concentration.  For example, Japanese children typically spend at least twice as much time on homework as children in the United States. 

Illinois Association of School Boards

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The best that the great teachers can do for us is to help us to discover what is already present in ourselves.  

Irving Babbitt (1865-1933) Scholar

 

Communicating Learning

An effective learning program must consider a wider range of objectives than just skill work.  Our children should understand skills necessary for daily life, but these are neither more nor less important than the development of understandings that free our children from rote memorization.  In grade K-4 the learning program should include numerous opportunities for communication so the child can:

  • Relate physical materials, pictures and diagrams to ideas
  • Reflect upon and clarify thinking about ideas and situations
  • Relate everyday language to written language and symbols
  • Realize that representing, discussing, listening, writing and reading are a vital part of learning and using what has been learned  

By grades 5-8, learning should include opportunities to communicate so that students can:

  • Model situations using oral, written, concrete, pictorial, graphical and mathematical methods
  • Reflect upon and clarify their own thinking about learned ideas and situations
  • Develop common understanding of learned ideas, including the role of definitions
  • Use the skills of reading, listening and viewing to interpret and evaluate learned ideas
  • Discuss learned ideas and make conjectures and convincing arguments
  • Appreciate the value of print material and its role in the development of learned ideas

If you see some of the rationale for the Activities and Extended Learning sections of the e-Tutor lessons above, you are correct.  We encourage parents to take an active part in listening to their children describe their work.  

Adapted from Today's Mathematics


Using Prior Knowledge in Predicting Outcomes While Reading

Predicting outcomes is practiced during the act of reading.  Children make logical guesses about what will happen later in a story based upon their understanding of text-based clues and their prior knowledge.  

Predicting outcomes is similar to using the strategy of inference.  When predicting outcomes and making inferences, children must find stated, text-based clues and integrate them with their prior knowledge.  Predicting outcomes may be thought of as "forward inferencing" because children examine a stated cause and infer an effect that has not yet been stated.  When making an inference, on the other hand, children analyze a stated effect and must infer its cause. 

Predicting outcomes can be used to monitor reading comprehension.  Once children have made their predictions, they continue reading to verify their hypotheses.   Based on this information, children make new predictions.  This process continues until they reach the end of the selection, at which point they verify and evaluate as many predictions as possible.  

Adapted from Silver Burdett & Ginn

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Make the most of yourself.  For that is all there is of you.  

 

A Curriculum Umbrella

What is this umbrella and what purpose does it serve?  It is the curriculum a student receives.  It covers everything that is offered in a program.  It embraces all learning activities, all experiences and all interactions that are part of the teaching-learning program.  

In our society and in our country there is a need for all types and varieties of educated people.  Certainly we need engineers, doctors, scientists and teachers.  We also need farmers, builders, factory workers, artists, clerks and computer technicians.  Perhaps we have also come to recognize that we distinctly need trash haulers.  Each of these persons, regardless of lifestyle, needs an education that is in keeping with his or her abilities, interests and ambitions.  It is the aim of a good educational program to provide the opportunities needed for all to reach potential.  

Students now are faced with selecting a direction in keeping with their interests and goals.  Some students choose the college preparatory curriculum; some select the curriculum which includes courses that prepare them to enter the business world; some follow courses that prepare them for service-based careers; others have ambitions in the science and technology areas; while still others take courses that lead to careers in food and other product product production.  Many students, whose goals are nut yet firm, choose a general curriculum that embraces required courses and allows a sampling of several curriculums.  

The curriculum umbrella should offer a broad range of topics and skills  that are focused on creating a successful learning experience for all students. 

Adapted from The Master Teacher

 


 

 Teenagers and Peer Pressure

Teenagers long to be accepted, to be part of a group.  And groups of teens want everyone to do things the group's way.  That's peer pressure and it comes in many forms. 

Some peer pressure is good...Wanting to get good grades in school, to excel in a sport or to become a good musician can all result from positive peer pressure. 

Some peer pressure is bad...The pressure to try drugs, to drink or smoke, to take wild risks, to do something illegal also result from peer pressure.

Sometimes peer pressure comes in the form of a direct challenge:  "If you don't join us, you're out!"  More often peer pressure will be in the form of silent rules.  "Do it with us or be excluded."  No matter what its form, peer pressure is real and teenagers are especially vulnerable.  To help your children during their teenage years you can begin with understanding.  

Parents want children to become self-sufficient, to make their own decisions.  The problem is, some days your teenagers may amaze you with their mature insights and the next astound you with some foolish stunt pulled with friends.  

  • Rebelliousness is inevitable and can even be healthy in adolescence.

  • Questioning rules, taking risks, testing limits are all part of the way teenagers prove to themselves and their friends that they do have some control over their lives.

  • Parents do have to set clear limits in these years.  They must recognize both the movement toward independence and the continuing need for guidance and authority.  It is a delicate balancing act.

  • Hanging out in groups, dressing and talking like their friends and being part of the crowd are also normal ways of struggling for independence.  it builds the confidence necessary to take the big step into adulthood and genuine independence.

  • With the help of peers, teenagers learn how to build friendships including friendships with the opposite sex.  They learn about trust, compromise and the value of friendship.  Teens use each other to develop and practice social skills that will serve them throughout their adult lives. 

  • Peer groups provide the testing ground for trying out emerging adult identities.  They are a bridge between childhood dependence and adult independence.  That is why friends and peers are so important in a teenager's life. 

  • There will be times when teenagers will want to do things that you believe are wrong.  You can help guide the way through these years to help your child survive what can be bad peer pressure.  

Helping Youth Say No, National Assn. of State Boards of Education


Make Return To School Days A Calm Event

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are almost over.  On the horizon: the inevitable beginning of school.  Education, now perhaps more than any other time in history, is essential for the welfare and happiness of our children.  Let your child know that you expect education to be a high priority.  Encourage your child to view his education as a challenge and an opportunity rather something to be avoided or dreaded.  The following are some suggestions for making the coming school year successful. 

  • Provide the proper environment for home studying that is free from distraction.  Furthermore, by assisting the child when appropriate with homework and special assignments, the parent can place the child's education in a healthy perspective.  The first 5 to 10 minutes in the morning are among the most important of the day.  Calm, unrushed positive communication and action must take place.  Allow enough time to prepare for the day.  Resist the urge to gripe and complain.  Depart each day on a pleasant note.

  • Recognize that the first days or even weeks of school may be stressful for some children.  Those who have not gone to school before and are separating from their parents for the first time, those who are new in a town and don't have many friends, those who are moving from one school to another and other similar situations can produce stress that needs special and added attention from parents and teachers.

  • Spend time after school talking with your children about how the day went and allow them to express feelings about teachers, classmates and subjects in school.  Let children know that their feelings and perceptions are important to you.  Look over any work that they bring home and show an interest in what they are doing.  

By Hap LeCrone, Cox News Service

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A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.  

Awesome August Links

Actionbioscience:   This link is a non-commercial, educational web site created and managed by BioScience Productions, Inc. to promote bioscience 
literacy. This web site provides articles by scientists, science educators, and science students on issues related to seven bioscience challenges: environment, biodiversity, genome, biotechnology, evolution, new frontiers, and bioscience education. In addition, the web site provides educators with lessons and resources to enhance bioscience teaching. Actionbioscience.org articles are correlated to the U.S. National Science Education Standards and organized in easy-to-follow charts. 
http://www.actionbioscience.org/

Diamond Ranch:  This site by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum contains colorful characters and a variety of activities for young children including songs, games, reading and coloring. Cowboy Jack and Dusty Trails teach and entertain as children enjoy a visual ride through the museum and interact with cowboys from the Diamond R Ranch to learn the code cowboys live by....honesty, integrity and plain hard work.
http://www.cowboyhalloffame.org/diamondr/index.html

Care For Animals:   This site, presented by the American Veterinary Medical Association, is an excellent site for helping young children learn about caring for pets. Animated Journeys is easy to navigate and contains areas such as 
Selecting a Pet and Pet Health. Pet Stories contains stories written by children and children can use an online form to submit their own pet stories. Kids Corner contains a mix of activities about animals.
http://www.avma.org/careforanimals/default.asp

State Web Games:  This site contains web games that are a wonderful way to learn about our fifty states. Students learn state capitals, abbreviations, and 
locations. The games provide clues that include over 500 important and engaging facts.
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/web_games.htm

Weedpatch Camp:  This site is a wonderful companion to John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath. While writing the book, John Steinbeck visited Bakersfield, California and based his book on Arvin Federal Government Camp which he portrayed as "Weedpatch Camp." This site includes the history and pictures of the camp as well as personal reminiscences and music of the time.
http://www.weedpatchcamp.com/

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose:    This site provides engaging on-line and off-line interactive activities, focusing on the areas of science, mathematics and literacy for preschool and elementary-aged children. Educators can search for activities by grade level and can also register for an online newsletter that contains creative activities for children.
http://www.cdm.org

Wishing You a Wonderful Month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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