November 2002 Vol. 5.11   
http://www.strategicstudies.com
 ..

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President's
Message


Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Getting Messages to Seniors

Is Control the Goal?

Listen To Your Child

Reporting Learning

Keeping Well

Getting the Hang Of It And Riding High

Noteworthy November Links!

Top of Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Presidentís Message

Well, this is another month that has caught me off balance! Where did it go?   And now the holidays are upon us.  Much as I try to blame this on a sign of the times, I think it is more a sign of my age.  My days remain unimaginably full (thank goodness!) and they seem to go by in a blink.  While many of my colleagues are slowing down, I'm just starting up.  It is thrilling and exciting and I find each day a new experience that finds me anticipating what each day offers.   


This month I have been fortunate to have heard from many of the great writers of the lessons that we offer on our educational website, e-Tutor.  This remarkable individuals come from all over the country, including Canada and Australia.  What a wonderful opportunity this has provided us to create community through the Internet.  We hear much about the demise of technology, since the burst of the "so-called" bubble.  But, I consider it more a ripple and similar to shaking out a quilt or blanket, technology needed a shaking out.  In the months and years ahead, I think we will see a smoother, leaner transition into this phenomena.  If we consider how far we have advanced in just five years ago (think back),  our progression has been miraculous.  Did you rely on email five years ago?  How many cell phones have you bought in the last five years?  Did you consider that your child would need a  computer for education just five years ago?   So, after looking back, the story is quite amazing.  And building unique online communities through Internet technology will be one of the highlights of this era.  

Historically, I hope that we will be able to put all this into context for ourselves and especially our children.  It is really quite a revolution that we are experiencing.  And, it does come with some pain.  But the rewards are and will be great, if we continue to persevere and  look at the reward each day has to offer.  

In this season of gratitude,  special thanks for your support and encouragement throughout the year.  Happy Thanksgiving! 


Don't forget to check out the resources and links at Homeschool Corner.  You will also find some interesting information by reading through some of the postings on the bulletin board.  Did you know that homeschoolers make up 86 percent of e-Tutor subscribers?  
 
Suggested Lessons at e-Tutor:

Primary

  • A Thanksgiving Pumpkin
  • Months of the Year - November
  • Corn Bread
  • Animals in Fall
  • Pumpkin Time  
  • Colonial Children
  • Thanksgiving
  • The First Thanksgiving

Intermediate                                                                                  

  • Pourquoi Tales
  • Traveling Geese
  • Migrating Geese
  • Photosynthesis and Why Leaves Change Their Color
  • A Pilgrimage Into History
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
  • The Pilgrim Experience
  • The Pilgrim Way of Life

Middle/Junior High

  • Deciduous Forests of the United States
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Say...Who Spilled That Oil On The Ocean
  • Sarah Winnemucca, Piute Woman, Parts 1 and 2

High School

  • From the History of Plymouth Plantation
  • Ode to Autumn
  • The Hobbit
  • The Colonial Period                                                                        

Over 25 new lessons were added to e-Tutor during the past month.  

Page 2

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once the artist grows up.  

Pablo Picasso

Good Spellers:  Born or Made?

Correct spelling has become, in our society, one mark of a well-educated, conscientious person.  It is vital to effective written expression. 

At one time it was thought that the spelling of American English was entirely inconsistent, that each word in the language presented a unique problem, and that therefore children ought to learn in school to spell the three to four thousand words tat make up nearly 98 percent of all adult writing.  This method...one that is still used today in some schools...has been to drill students on word lists compiled on the basis of usage by each age group.

Comparison of different world lists shows a wide variation in the words included, because opinions differ as to the words needed for written work at each age and the relative difficulty any given world presents to the child learning to spell it.  In addition, researchers report that some children will spell the words correctly when drilled on lists but will not transfer this knowledge when writing in context.

Six elements in the teaching of spelling have long been recognized as essential:

  1. Children must learn to analyze both written and spoken words.
  2. Spelling requires the use of sight, hearing and touch.  The child must say the word, hear it, visualize it and write it. 
  3. Students must learn to proofread their work. 
  4. Children must learn how to use the dictionary as a spelling aid and acquire the habit of using it.
  5. The ability to spell can grow throughout the high school and college years.  Students who are poor spellers by the time they reach these levels must first improve their attitudes toward spelling.
  6. Compositions and other types of written work provide strong motivation for the student to learn to spell.  

A significant change in the method of teaching spelling has been to draw on the knowledge and methods in the field of descriptive linguistics.  Children learning to spell on the basis of linguistics do not learn to spell each word separately from a list of basic words for their grade. Rather, the words taught are those that illustrate certain rules of American English spelling.  The child learns to discover the rules and apply them to other words, thus developing an unlimited spelling vocabulary. 

Adapted from National Education Association

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success. 

Henry Ford

Getting Messages to Seniors

Especially at this time of year we may be spending more time with those in our families who are aging.  You can help your children communicate better and enjoy visits more by providing them with the following guidelines:

  • Avoid complex messages.  Seniors have trouble dealing with too much information at once.

  • Repeat messages as often as possible...especially the more complex ones.  This will reduce the effort needed to interpret them.

  • Design concrete messages.  Abstract thinking ability often declines with age.  Use rational rather than emotional appeals, which tend to be vague.

  • Use visual aids.  Visual memory declines more slowly than verbal memory.  Put together a combination of words and pictures.

  • Deliver messages slowly...point by point.  When information is presented too quickly, the earlier points overpower the later ones. 

  • Give preference to print media.  This allows older people to process information at their own rate. 

  • If you want seniors to recall information you present to them, strive to evoke positive images of family, health, social interaction, etc.  Pleasant memories of events...such as graduations, weddings and births...are more easily recalled. 

Charles D. Schewe,  American Demographics  

Student Involvement Assures Oregon Department of Revenue Student Web Site Success

More than 200 high school students from all over Oregon helped the Department of Revenue develop its Web site for working students, ww.steps2cash.org.  The students' involvement with content, design layout, and testing helped make this site a useful tool for the more than 80,000 employed Oregonians between the ages of 16-19.

Students can use the site to learn why they pay taxes and how their tax money is spent - and they can complete their returns using a self-calculating form.  Tax filing becomes easy and understandable for these first-time filers, or as one student put it, "This site is very simple.  It made it easier than your parents talking to you."

This is the site's second year.  During the first year, the site received thousands of hits and many positive comments from students, teachers and parents about its clarity and ease of use.  Because the site is such a successful computer-based teaching tool, the site has replaced the department publication, Understanding Oregon Taxes.

Page 3

Health and intellect are the two blessings of life.

Menander

Is Control the Goal?

It has been said that the best parents are the ones who make themselves progressively unnecessary.  They constantly grapple with the difficult question of when to train and when to let go.  The controlling parent who "over-directs" and "over-instructs" is often motivated by the very important concern that the child be able to make it in a dangerous world.  Giving responsibility for their lives over to our kids involves some big risks.  

At the same time, there is no real alternative than to let go.  Inevitably the time will come.  The parent who remains conscious of the process will achieve the best outcome.  The real goal is to help children grow from parental control to self-control.  This involves a "releasing curve."  your child's self control...zero at birth...must increase to 100 percent at maturity.  Parental control....total at infancy....must become zero over time.  

So at each point along the way, some decisions should be left to the child, some reserved for the parent, and some made negotiable, depending upon the child's readiness.  As a parent, it helps to ask:  "What do I want my child to be able to do for him or herself by age 6, 12 or 18?"  Include in your answer:

  1. Character traits (by age 6 my child should be able to respond positively to authority figures other than his parents)
  2. Specific responsibilities (by age 12, my daughter should be budgeting her time efficiently)
  3. Practical skills (by age 18, my son should have the financial skills necessary for independent living)

List with each item a strategy or two for training the child in that particular competency.  And don't forget your goal....it is to work yourself out of a job.  

Adapted from Paul Lewis, President, Family University

Listen To Your Child

Listening helps you find out how your child feels about school and if there are any problems.  Listening lets your child know that you care about his or her ideas and feelings.

To listen effectively:

  • Give total attention to your child and establish eye contact.

  • Communicate that you understand your child's feelings by accepting them, not judging them.

  • Show respect for those feelings.

  • Give your child an opportunity to solve his or her own problems.

If a problem exists at school, ask your child how he or she feels the problem could best be handled.  Get as many ideas from your child as possible.  This is an excellent opportunity to provide your child with a sense of control over his or her own life....an important part of developing self-confidence. 

The secret of education is respecting the pupil.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reporting Learning

Many educators complain that parents and community members focus on grades and standardized test scores as evidence of student achievement.  Still, it's these measures that we most often use to show that students are, indeed, learning.  We believe that all children are smart in different ways.  There are several different ways that  student achievement can and should be measured.

Projects, Exhibitions and Presentations
Asking children to show their understanding by creating projects, exhibitions or presentations opens up a world of possibilities.  Beyond learning the content or skill, students need to think about the best way to present the information to their audiences.  In making presentations, students work on making eye contact, enunciating and pacing their speech, projecting their voices and "reading" their audiences.  

Report Cards and Progress Reports
R
eport cards or progress reports are formal communications about student progress as measured, most often, on locally developed test or standardized tests.  Progress reports are part of an ongoing communication with parents and are what most of us are familiar with. 

Portfolios
A portfolio is a collection of work and artifacts that gives a picture of the child's growth.  These provide a way of capturing progress without using paper- and pencil measures.  Items in a portfolio should contain reflection sheets that indicate why they were chosen for the portfolio.  Students should include in each portfolio photographs of three-dimensional accomplishments as well as audiotapes and videotapes that capture their progress.

It is important that our students perform well in all areas.  There are many ways in which we learn and many ways to demonstrate our understanding of what we have learned.   We can learn much about our student's strengths and weaknesses when viewing their progress in multiple ways.

Page 4

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. 

Benjamin Franklin

Keeping Well

With the holidays upon us, now is an important time to think about the issue of wellness.  This topic has received a great deal of attention in recent years as diet and exercise fads have come and gone.  But wellness is not a trendy issue; it is a matter of utmost importance in our daily lives.  It is estimated that as much as 30 percent of health care costs are due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, and more that 80 percent of health care costs are associated with preventable illness.

As a parent, you are in the unique position of needing to not only attend to your own personal health, but also to be a role model for your children and perhaps other family members.  Here a just a few suggestions.  You will be aware of many other ideas.

  • Get a physical regularly.  
  • Have your blood pressure and cholesterol tested regularly.
  • Promote health among your family. 
  • Serve fresh fruit and juice and other healthy snacks instead of sweets.
  • Create a picture montage with photos of family members having fun being active and eating right.
  • Remember, exercise does not have to be exhaustive to be beneficial.  Walking briskly for as little as 20 minutes a day improves circulation, muscle tone, and overall fitness and can help you lose weight.  Make walking a family affair.
  • Pay attention to your body's signals that you are distressed, including changes in sleep or hunger patterns, frequent headaches, stomach troubles and irritability.  Try to discern what is triggering these physiological reactions and eliminate or decrease their hold on you.
  • Take up a hobby completely unrelated to what you normally do.  Pick something you can get totally into mentally.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule that makes you feel refreshed in the morning.
  • Take time to just breath every now and then.  Slow, deep breathing will help regulate your heart and respiration rates and clear your mind. 
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day to keep your energy level steady.  If your schedule doesn't permit this, be sure to combine protein, complex carbohydrates and small amounts of fat at each meal. 

Getting the hang of it.....and 
Riding High!

If you came of age in the 1960s or 70s, then you remember the first skateboards.  They were primitive, actually.  Nothing more than a set of reconfigured roller skates fastened to a slab of wood. 

But you enjoyed placing one foot on the board and pushing hard with the other.  The wind whipped your face, and you delighted in the clickety-click of sidewalk cracks.

Parenting is a lot like riding a skateboard.  The motion feels awkward at first, but as you put your best foot forward, you relax and enjoy the ride, even if your legs are wobbling.  The fact is, you won't feel confident until you have a few hours and several miles under your belt.  Experience is gained through time and effort. 

If you are a mother or father who just started rolling down the sidewalk of homeschooling, remember this advice: hang on, keep pumping, gain experience and don't forget to enjoy the ride. 

Page 5

Walking is the best possible exercise.  Habituate yourself to walk very far. 

Thomas Jefferson

Noteworthy November Links!

North American Biomes:  The biomes discussed include Desert, Grasslands, Tundra, Rainforest, and Temperate Rainforest. With each biome the program includes looking at representative species, developing food chains, studying environmental and geographic factors, and examining contemporary problems that each area faces. The activities include collecting expeditions, use of aquariums and terrariums, and production of a biome book.
http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1992/5/92.05.12.x.html

Tips for Teens About Steroids: This is a simple, limited resource about the dangers of non-medical use of anabolic steroids. Some
people consume steroids illegally for body building and enhanced athletic performance. As this site makes clear, however, such use comes at a high price, including potentially dangerous mood swings, possible exposure to HIV infection, feminization of males and masculinization of females, heart attacks and cancer. The site aims to make it clear that taking steroids is definitely not cool. 
http://www.mninter.net/~publish/Ttsteroi.htm

Ceramics Web:  An experimental site that is still growing and 
expanding, CeramicsWeb houses databases of glaze recipes and material analyses, links to other ceramics Web sites, health and safety 
information, and a variety of educational materials related to ceramics. http://art.sdsu.edu/ceramicsweb/

The Tide Pool Page: An interactive tour of a tide pool. Included are Tide Pool Tips for safe viewing and minimizing human impact upon this fragile ecosystem, information about some of the organisms found in tide pools, how tides work, and a list of related links. http://hmsc.orst.edu/projects/rocky/tidepool.html

Virtual Field Trips: Take your students on nature field trips through the Web. Each field trip covers a single topic such as salt marshes or volcanoes. Sites are arranged in sequential order to build a story and include a series of "trail markers" or stops, that describe each site on the field trip to guide students' learning. If logs or journals are required, every field trip has a set of prepared documents that you can print out for each person on the trip. 
http://www.field-guides.com/

Vietnam: A Children's Guide: This site includes information about Vietnam, teacher resources, sources on the Web, professional materials, Vietnam photo sites on the Web, and much more.
http://www2.lhric.org/pocantico/vietnam/vietnam.htm

Earth History: This terrific site is posted by professional illustrator Douglas Henderson. Showcasing the blend of researched science and the fancy of human curiosity. Helpful text also accompany the detailed drawings. Click through the geologic timeline of Earth history to visualize life in prehistoric times, thus entering a special place where earth's mysteries are complemented by one artist's ability. http://gallery.in-tch.com/~earthhistory/

American Indians and the Natural World: This site is an 
exploration of four tribes of Native Americans: the Tlingit of the 
Northwest Coast, the Hopi of the Southwest, the Iroquois of the 
Northeast, and the Lakota of the Plains. It includes the "belief 
systems, philosophies, and practical knowledge that guide [these] 
peoples' interactions with the natural world."
http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmnh/exhibits/north-south-east-west/

We Give Thanks This Month for Our Many Blessings!  

From the Staff at Strategic Studies Corporation

 
Copyright © 2002 Strategic Studies Corp.
http://www.strategicstudies.com