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In The News                     August 2006   Vol. 9-8

 
President’s Message

Students around the country are getting ready or have started a new school year.  Many of our homeschooling students have taken the summer off and are returning.  Expectations are high.  Students look forward to a great learning experience, they want to be successful, even when they tell us something different.  Parents expect their child will work hard and that he will meet with care and understanding in his learning experience.  Educators want all of their students to meet high standards for learning and do their best in the learning experience.  If one could capture this time of year and carry it throughout the year, what a different world we would see in the educational arena!  Success for all!  It is achievable.  Why can't we get there?

A parent called this month inquiring about our online instructional program.  She said she didn't care if her child took chemistry or geometry.  She had to take them and never used them.  So, she thought it was a waste of time.  It may seem that way....but the time spent in these courses, which do not seem relevant to our daily lives, really do help us.  They cause us to think and prepare us to solve problems that we will encounter later in life.  We may never run into a chemistry problem or a need for geometry, but without our knowing it, our mind utilizes tools we may have learned in these courses to make our lives easier, to help in our work or to give us those "aha" moments.  I recommend any course that broadens our horizons, stretches our minds or adds tools to our arsenals as worthwhile.  

This month we will begin to provide the e-Tutor curriculum to tutoring centers that want to offer online learning for their students.  It provides a way for these centers to provide more value to the services and products they offer.  We will continue to offer e-Tutor to students through the Guided and Independent Programs.   This is part of our continuing effort to ensure that Internet-based learning is of the highest quality.  

Enjoy this last month of summer!

 


Begin The School With e-Tutor

ENROLLMENT for the 2006-2007 school year is taking place now.  If you are not a subscriber to one of the e-Tutor Programs, you will want to join the thousands of students and parents who have benefited from this highly regarded program.   Many returning students have been enrolled for several years. 

e-Tutor Independent Program for students who are self-motivated.

e-Tutor Guided Program for students who want the guidance and assistance of a professional tutor.

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Dream big dreams but be known for what you do. 


 
Learning with e-Tutor

An Educational Website:  e-Tutor

Navigation! Graphics! Those two things are the name of the game in Internet websites. e-Tutor is proud of its graphics, which appeal to a diversity of students. We use cartoons, current baseball stars, accurate diagrams of the circulatory system and photographs of Tasmanian Devils, to name just a few. Our photos of the starry night sky show the position of Orion and the Pleiades. In the lesson module on comets, there are actual photos of comets. For younger children, we use appealing graphic representation of tomatoes, bunnies and clowns.

The graphics are important because they must catch -- and HOLD -- a student's interest and imagination. We choose graphics that illustrate our lesson modules -- sometimes precisely (as in the graphics of the brain in our science lessons), sometimes whimsically (an octopus to illustrate the eight parts of speech.) Consistently, users tell us that our graphics are one of their favorite features.



The second important part of a Website is the navigation. How easy is it? e-Tutor requires you to know two things to be able to navigate it. First, the "BACK" button does not work. When parents and teachers want their students to use e-Tutor, a prime concern is that students stay within that website.  By NOT using the "BACK" button (and instead closing windows by clicking in the top right or left hand corner), students are kept "within" e-Tutor. It is easy for teachers and students to learn this and adjust to this in our website. Second, we use the "scroll" feature frequently. We want e-Tutor to load quickly and accurately. By loading the lesson module all at once and using the scroll feature (or clicking on the Index), students have very little to learn in terms of navigation. Students can click on the area they want to go to ---"Study Guide", for example -- or scroll through the whole lesson module. Either way, e-Tutor provides an illustrative trip through education!

Twenty-one lesson modules were added to e-Tutor this month. 
Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  

www.e-tutor.com


From History

In September 1787, the Constitutional Convention ended in Philadelphia, after drafting one of the greatest documents in history.  In the agonizing debate that produced the final draft, many proposals and suggestions fell by the wayside.  One was a motion that the country's standing army be restricted to no more than 5,000 men.

When George Washington heard this, he said the suggestion was fine with him, as long as there was an amendment requiring armies invading the United States to have no more than 3,000 men.  

Bits and Pieces

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Show respect to children and youth.


THE BOOKCASE

 

Grassroots

Written by Carl Sandburg
Illustrated by Wendell Minor

Daybreak comes first in thin splinters shimmering.
Neither is the day here nor is the night gone.
Night is getting ready to go
And
Day whispers,
Soon now, soon. 

Sandburg’s words are like a warm blanket that wraps the reader in memories of a simpler time, when the corn stood yellow, the October sun sweetened the crab apples, the prairie fog moon created a pearl mist on the horizon, and the field after the harvest was a proud place to come.  Sandburg weaves the sights, sounds, and grassroots warmth of America ’s heartland into a tapestry that tenderly tells the story of the Midwest .  The watercolor images draw the reader into a time and place long since gone, however, fondly remembered by those old enough to recall and wistfully envisioned by those too young to remember.  This book provides a strong portrayal of the roots of American life that bind us to the land and to each other.


Too Much!

Too much TV can actually increase stress, says research from Rutgers University psychologist, Robert Kubey. Using the tube for the relaxation and escape it provides might lead to TV dependency. 

Trap:  As with a drug, the medium's sought-after effects wear off.  Kubey's research found that after watching television, subjects felt more passive, were less alert, and had trouble focusing.

A more last relaxation is reading a book, even though it requires more concentration.  

Working Smart

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If you make mistakes, try not to make them again. 

 

My Rules For Online Safety

I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents' work address/telephone number or the name and location of my school without my parents' permission.

I will tell my parents right away if I come across any information that makes me feel uncomfortable.

I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking with my parents.  If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a public place and bring my mother or father along.

I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my parents.

I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel uncomfortable.  It is not my fault if I get a message like that.  If I do I will tell my parents right away so that they can contact the online service.

I will talk with my parent so that we can set up rules for going online.  We will decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online, and appropriate areas for me to visit.  I will not access other areas or break these rules without their permission. 

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMBC)

 


Idea-Prepared Writing

The ability to write well is rarely based on raw talent.  Like anything of value, learning to write well requires instruction, exploration, observation, practice and commitment.  Time-consuming, frustrating and challenging, the art of writing well is worth the labor of learning it. 

Writing, like speaking, is pivotal to good communication....no matter what the occupational or vocational goals.  Once the writer has mastered the mechanics of writing clearly, the writer will have control over all types of communication.  Those possibilities include expressing ideas on paper, establishing a point of view, exploring a theory, reflecting upon an experience or feeling, recording an event of merit, narrating a moment of sadness or happiness or simply expanding a dream into a vivid story. 

The writing process begins fairly easily.  It encourages students to begin to understand their ability to gather and organize ideas for assessment for writing projects.  The habit of gleaning ideas from daily life will help students to think and to assess what is viable and what is mundane.  

Students will benefit from learning to collect ideas from a variety of sources.  They need to understand that to become good writers they need to assess the ideas they have about any given topic or assignment.  They have to become familiar with what is happening in the world.  They need to practice collecting ideas and staying aware of things around them.  Most students need help understanding that ideas are everywhere and that developing the habit of paying attention to them will improve their writing.  

Students can use an idea journal to help them remember the events unfolding around them.  They will want to form the habit of recording what they hear from the news, such as the details of the event and their reaction to what happened.  Once recorded, they will have some topics they can discuss with family members for further expansion of ideas.  They can write about and expand these topics into written expressions of their ideas.  

The more comfortable they are with finding ideas, the more willing students will be to start the process of writing a composition or an essay or a report.  It is worth their time and effort to learn the process of being idea-prepared. 

 

Adapted from Strategies for Writing Success, Kim Mitchell 


I Don't Have Time to Study!

We all want our children to do well when learning.  Managing time wisely will help your student improve learning and achievement.  The following tips can be used by your student to help get control of time.

  • Keep a weekly chart to help track your time.
  • Note scheduled tests and due dates for major assignments on your chart.
  • Set daily goals.
  • Break large projects down into smaller chunks.
  • Use small bits of time, about 10 minutes, to review vocabulary lists, names and dates, formulas or other facts.
  • Watch out for activities that take up a lot of your free time, but don't provide much benefit, such as talking on the phone or watching television.
  • Build time into your schedule for unpredictable happenings. 

Once your student has put his own time management plan into effect, he'll be amazed at how much more he can accomplish.  He'll probably find time he didn't know he had!

Adapted from Brush Up Your Study Skills, American Association of School Administrators


All Giggly 

Children are the merriment makers.  With their miniature bodies they giggle and run and roll, they bounce and move all over the place.  They wiggle when you hold them and they've got such exuberant energy that when they enter a room you notice.  They like to touch and taste everything.  And they can look you in the eye with such charming honesty that for a second you don't know for sure what to do.  There are so many things to be tickled about.  Washing those sticky little fingers and soft little chins can bring a mile to any sourpuss.

Life is full of the ridiculous, and children have a knack for seeing it everywhere.  Four-year-old Annie was the smartest little girl.  An adult asked her one day, "Do you have a boyfriend?"  She looked at him; ran to her mother's side, started laughing, and answered, "That's a funny question."  Then she giggled some more.  Mom giggle too because it was such a silly question.;

Giggling starts as a ripple and may expand into a deep belly laugh.  It's truly therapeutic, relaxing and calming.  With a little laughter you're free to enjoy the absurd.  Kids are quick to laugh, and you don't have to be a comedian to entertain the.  Little kids, especially, will laugh at just about anything.....just give them a excuse.  A silly face or an absurd comment can elicit shrieks of delight, especially coming from you.

Sandy took a van full of third graders to the park.  While driving down the road, the kids laughed and waved at the passers-by.  Some grouches ignored the kids, but other folks smiled, honked their horns, and waved too; and then the kids laughed louder.  If a kid waves at you, wave back; it's a very easy way to spread a lot of happiness around.

Never squelch those giggles.  If you find that you haven't felt giddy for a while, try talking gibberish or singing a nonsensical tune to  break the ice; the reaction you get from your child will certainly keep the momentum going.  And if you have really forgotten how to giggle, invite a team of thirteen-year-old girls to afternoon tea.  That will surely get things going in the giggling direction.

Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford


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Never force anyone to do anything. 

Awesome August Links:

The Oregon Trail:  This website, developed to support the PBS documentary of the same name, has lots of information for students to explore.  Learn "All About the Trail'" read excerpts from diaries and memoirs of those who traveled the Trail, and marvel at the "Fantastic Facts."  All in all, a great site for elementary students to explore. 
http://www.isu.edu/~trinmich/Oregontrail.html

Impressionism:   This unit leads students through the works of impressionist artists of France.  Lessons include a look at nine French impressionists, how their work shared common characteristics and how they viewed the world differently. 
http://www.impressionism.org/

This Nation:  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/

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 toast more quickly than white bread....several reasons are suggested.  If your children are in search of interesting science fair projects, this may be the place to begin. 
http://www.newscientist.com/lastword.ns

Postcards From:  Although the travels were completed in 2000, 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/

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

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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