eNews                                September 2014 Vol. 17-9

President's Message

This month I have harvested apples, plums and pears from trees in my garden.  My refrigerator is full of fruit that I try to give to family and friends whenever they stop in. I have tried new recipes and old favorites.  And then there is the flower garden where I have spent an inordinate amount of time planning for an expansion next Spring.  It is so relaxing to spend time in the sun and feel the soil beneath one's hands.  There is such pleasure in work that reaps such a beautiful reward throughout the seasons.   

We have been in conversations with persons who are desirous to market online learning from the U.S. to nations such as China, India, Egypt, Indonesia and the Philippines.  While we have served individuals from most countries of the world, we would like to see more inroads into these markets for eTutor.  We struggle to share a wider vision for what online learning can offer all students.  Common and traditional biases surrounding the delivery of instruction continue to create barriers in most parts of the world. We need to put aside outdated concepts and embrace what technology can do in educating our world's students.

It is hard to believe that we are on the cusp of another new month.  There always seems to be a lot of planning in September as we get ready for another season of cooler weather. Our coffee group has started up after a summer hiatus.  This year we will meet every other week to share our comings and goings.  It is fun to see connections made and new ideas for gatherings.  

And then there is our book club, the Happy Bookers.  This is the time of year when we choose books for the entire year. You can imagine there is much jostling in selecting favorite books that will challenge our thinking and engage us in reading something we might not have otherwise.  

Today I had a lovely surprise in my mail box....a handmade greeting card from a dear neighbor before I made a leap to the West.  Every once in awhile I get a lovely handmade greeting card from her....I must have ten years worth of the beautiful cards, which are too precious to throw away.  I have them displayed on several antique toast holders throughout my home.  Visitors love to go through the cards and marvel at the workmanship and delicate nature of each card. It's just such things that brighten our days and bring joy to our lives.

Enjoy a beautiful month!


Open Enrollment!

eTutor offers open enrollment for students from throughout the world. The eTutor school year is ten months. A school year begins upon enrollment.  While some students will complete a full year in ten months, others may use twelve months to complete the instructional year.

eTutor programs are accessible on hand held computers, such as tablets and smart phones.  Whether one student or 50,000, eTutor curricular content meets the instructional needs for all.  

If you would like more information call 877-687-7200.


Connect to Us

 Creating Community! 

The eTutor community grows each month.   While there is no one 'best' way to engage in the eTutor community, the following are several ways we have found to be the most useful..

   Facebook - Don't forget to "Like" us. Although Facebook sometimes has a "black eye," it does offer reminders and glimpses of what is important in education today.

   Twitter - Sign up to receive our tweets. Although short phrases, we find wear able to keep up with current educational news through Twitter.  

   eTutor Blog - You have an opportunity to really express yourself here. You are welcome to make comments on an article or write your own.   

  Pinterest - You will find favorites from our newsletters here.  Feel free to add or "pin" to your own site. 

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Live to learn, and you will learn to live. 

Portuguese Proverb

Learning with eTutor

Parents are important to the success of student learning with eTutor.  Since we cannot be at the side of a student using online learning, it is important that a parent or another adult be their to reinforce the learning and skill building that is taking place.  While it is not necessary for the parent or adult to do the instruction, it is necessary that a dialogue take place between the adult and the student.  We suggest asking questions, such as, "What did you learn by doing this?"  "How could you have done this differently?" "Explain this concept to me."  By engaging the student in such dialogue it becomes readily evident whether the student has studied the concept taught in the lesson module  and understands it.  Students who cannot discuss what they have learned should be encouraged to go back and restudy the lesson. 

Some students may reject this idea, as they may have done well on the quiz and exam section of the lesson module.  Your student may be very successful at taking multiple choice tests. Some students  have even figured out how to beat the system.  When we review student progress we are often able to detect when a student has not spent adequate time in the learning phase of each lesson module.  It often comes as a shock to students, and sometimes parents, when these scores are rejected on progress reports.

Many studies have shown that parents who are actively engaged in their student's learning are apt to be more successful in their learning experiences and beyond.  Parents or another adult are important to the success of student learning with eTutor. 


  We are continuing to edit eTutor instructional content to make it more adaptable for hand-held devices. 

Over 3500 Lesson Modules
are included in the 
eTutor Lesson Library!

 Join the eTutor world of learning today to view 
the lesson modules.

Writers' Circle

We are happy to report that we are recreating LessonPro.  You will still find a template in which to create your incredible online lessons, but it will be much easier to use.  You will still be able to create your lessons in languages other than English.  And, as always, you will be able to share the lessons you create with your students or others.   We are hoping to launch the recreated site by next month.  This is your chance to inspire your students to really delve into the concepts or skills about which you are teaching.  Interesting topics from LessonPro this month:  

  • Phases of the Moon
  • Narrative Text
  • Listening Even When You Know More
  • Force and Pressure
  • Motion in One Dimension 
  • Exploring Themes in To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Vedic Math 

Launched in 1999, many of the best lesson modules in the eTutor Lesson Bank have come from writers who have used LessonPro.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.  We hope you will join The Writers' Circle today!

   The Book Case            

Knee Knock Rise 
by Natalie Babbitt

    Grades:  3 - 7 

The Megrimum lives atop the Kneeknock Rise, howling on stormy days and nights. In the small town of Instep stationed near the foot of the "mountain", no one has seen him but all are weary, taking precocious measures. For thousands of years, and for a thousand more he will continue to live atop Kneeknock Rise and the villagers will continue to live in fear.

This brief, yet profound tale teaches the power of stubborn belief, and people's unwillingness to change their long-held worldviews, no matter the facts to the contrary. People naturally tend to be highly skilled at explaining away any ideas contrary to their own deeply-held beliefs, and this book teaches this truth quite well.

1971 Newberry Honor Winner 

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Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand. 

Mother Teresa

There has been much interest in how eTutor Unplugged can serve the students in various situations.  Whether 5 or 5,000, eTutor Unplugged offers exceptional learning for students where ever they may want to access learning.  The program is ideally suited to tablet computers, smart phones and other hand-held devices.  

  Try a few of the student lesson modules and let us know your comments. 

The Meaning of "e"

Online learning is often referred to as e-learning, e-tutoring, e-school or some other ‘e’ word referring to the teaching-learning process.  When we began working with internet-based educational programming, over ten years ago, we considered ‘e’ to stand for electronic.  However, over the years, we have refined our thinking and believe that ‘e’ now stands for much more when referring to online learning. 

Exploration – Online learners use the Internet as a tool to access an abundance of information and resources.

Experience – Online learning offers the student a total learning experience, from synchronous learning to threaded discussion to self-paced study.

Engagement – Online learning captivates learners by providing for creative approaches to the teaching/learning process that foster collaboration and a sense of community.

Ease of Use – The Internet provides content easily accessible for students, parents and educational providers across all technical platforms.

Empowerment – Online learning puts the student in the driver’s seat with a set of tools that enables personalization of content and allows the learner to choose the way in which he learns the best.

Embracing Creativity in Learning

Educational institutions whether traditional or nontraditional struggle with establishing instructional programs that are accountable without undermining creativity in the teaching and learning process. It has been observed how students can become frustrated with their online courses; "the monotony for students towards the end of a 30-hour program is obvious."  It is tragic when education lacks relevance and fails to generate positive learning experiences.

We've been frustrated at the emphasis on 'rationality' at the expense of creativity."  Cognitive psychologists are recognizing that critical thinking and creativity are connected to an individual's passion for a subject. There are emotional elements in the creative process such as the decision to take risks.

Why are students not taking more intellectual risk during their course work. One researcher argues that students have not been given adequate instruction about how to assess risks and they fear the possibility of failing grades which causes them to "play it safe."  The best course is helping students to take sensible risks and instructors, then, rewarding their risk taking.

1. All learning should be highly interactive.  In online learning we should not have long passages to read, or long videos to watch. Students should do something meaningful every few seconds. Without this we have a deadening effect on creativity  for many students.

2. Learning should continuously adapt to the individual learner. 

3. In the adaptive environment students can discover much of their knowledge individually. This is a giant step toward creativity. It should begin with very young children.

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The greatest ability is dependability.

Curt Bergwall

The Joys and Pains of Parenting

No one ever said that parenting is easy. Parenting means giving unselfishly when you are exhausted.  It means buying your children new shoes while you go without. it means going by someone else's schedule. It means staying up late and not being able to sleep in.  It means sharing everything....your money, your food, your makeup, your socks.  It means looking out for another's welfare.  When your children are babies it seems as though you pack up the entire house just to go to the grocery store, and when they are older you drive them to the movies, but they won't sit next to you.  Some days they won't leave your side, but other days, without knowing how, you embarrass them, and they refuse to be seen with you in public.  You strive to be a good parent and you know the difficult journey you face and what rewards it will bring. It means you can watch with pride your child's accomplishments. It is wonderful to love your child.

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child by Judy Ford


Online Learning  
for Children of Military

There are many transitions military children must make when they have to move from one school to another because a military parent changes duty stations.  The children often find it hard to assimilate into new school situations.  It's a struggle providing continuity in learning when going from one base to another and moving from one state or country to another.  It is a challenge for military parents, moving children and then trying to decide which educational program is best. 

Online learning is a logical choice for military families who are looking for continuity in the teaching-learning process for their children.  DoDEA policy provides for allowable home-based educational programming expenses that include fees for curriculum-related on-line Internet services, such as study programs and distance learning.  They will pay tuition charges of on-line Internet instruction associated with a formal recognized home-study course or other authorized program. 

Online military homeschooling offers real-time learning in a vast number of subjects and topics for individual instruction. The best online learning program provides students and parents the flexibility necessary for true knowledge to take place. Most online instructional programs provide a core curriculum that will prepare students to enter schools, colleges, and universities in the United States .

Informed parents in all the armed services, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard choose online military homeschooling for their children for many reasons. An accessible online instructional program may be the one stable thing the children may have.  Their learning program will always be there.  Students do not need to be time bound by their learning program.  The quality and range of instructional content determines the excellence of online instruction. Web-based, online learning gives students a unique opportunity to explore learning and gain knowledge at their own level.  Online learning offers a way to stay ahead of the information flow of an expanding knowledge base.

Military living has a way of testing the idea of schooling because everything is so unpredictable.  In this regard online learning is reinventing the idea of school.  The integration of knowledge is a personal process, rather than a social process.  By viewing schooling not so much as a place, but the act of learning, those who embrace online learning have forced us to look at a new paradigm for schooling.  Military parents, who homeschool, recognize that acquiring knowledge does not need to be a group activity, but is often more effective as an individual activity. 

Military families using an online instructional program have an incredible advantage. A child who is free to learn in his own environment, doing what he loves, excelling where he can and seeing the world is a fortunate child.  Instead of feeling the insecurity of moving, they have that strong unmoving foundation of their online instructional homeschool program. They can thrive and be free to learn and achieve no matter where they are in the world.

Under Control

Much of traditional learning is based on control; control was required for
a variety of reasons but mainly because learning was standardized and
therefore neither interesting nor useful to the learner. 

Learning was standardized because it had to be; there was no efficient
means of delivering personalized, inquiry-based learning to the mass of
students in an industrial society. 

But in the internet age, these limitations no longer apply; it is possible
to deliver personalized, inquiry-based learning.  

Therefore, standardization is not necessary
Therefore, control is not necessary.

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He who would leap high must take a long run.

Danish Proverb

September Links:  

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience: The slave trade is the most well-known African American immigration story, but there were eleven other voluntary waves of migration that shaped today's black culture. With 8,300 images, 17,000 pages of texts, and over 60 maps, In Motion (from the New York Public Library) tells the story of those "voluntary movements of resourceful and creative men and women, risk-takers in an exploitative and hostile environment" providing a "new interpretation of African American history.";jsessionid=f8303410721411459536074?bhcp=1

History Detectives:  This companion site to the PBS television series lets you do some of your own investigating.  Along with information about the current season's shows, you will find information on how to conduct your own investigations, take quizzes to assess your skills, and submit mysteries for consideration on the show.  There is also a thorough discussion of real-life techniques used by people who research the past.

The Particle Adventure:  Find answers to the eternal, fundamental questions of physics: "What is the world made of?" and "What holds it together?" The information on this site is clearly presented and well organized, with fabulous resources for teachers, including student activity sheets and links to particle physics education sites. (This site uses Flash and Shockwave.)

Journey North:  One of the best and most successful online science learning communities for K-12 students. This site engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change.

Energy Kids:  This website from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is chock full of information about energy; from energy basics to forms of energy, and from using to conserving. Visitors can go on virtual field trips across the country with Energy Ant through engaging photo journals, and teachers can find lesson plans, guides, links, and suggested ways of using the website in the classroom.


Have a fabulous month! 

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