_In The News                   November 2005   Vol. 8-11
President’s Message
Oh,  to be able to paint what one sees!   What a time of year!  The beauty of the season cannot help to put a glow on one's face.  It seems like our community has been dipped in gold.  There has not been as much red and orange as in the past....but beautiful gold leaves signaling the end of a season.  So my eyes are the lens for pictures I will hold in memory to pull out during the dreary days sure to follow.  Already the rains have come.

"How do I start to homeschool my child? I have never homeschooled before, what do I do?"  These questions come to us repeatedly, as parents find they want to try a different approach for their child's education.  Each state has different guidelines which they want parents to follow.  But for each state the main areas that parents need to be aware of, are the following: determine the type of curriculum you will use in the homeschooling process; keep track of the time your child studies each day; and maintain adequate records of the child's work.  Some states require physical education and the arts.  This can be accomplished by going to a gym or recreation center each week and providing music or art lessons for your child.  Don't forget to tell your local school district that you have decided to homeschool your child. 

We further suggest that the parent structure learning by having a set time for learning activities each day.  The learning environment is important....good lighting, a flat surface for writing, adequate supplies and no television in the background.   Homeschooling is not an easy task.  It takes effort and commitment on the part of the parent and child.   But the rewards can be awesome!  I wish you could hear some of the comments, I hear....especially from the students.  It is rewarding for us, as well! 

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate the successes of the year.  In our family, the children have taken over the role the older generation held for so long of preparing and hosting the festivities.  It becomes very special when we all help in the preparation, boast of our accomplishments and remember past Thanksgivings.  It is a time for reflection and laughter.  We are fortunate to have this time together and would wish that everyone could have the same.  So the success we celebrate each Thanksgiving, more than any other, is the opportunity to be together.  

A bountiful, happy Thanksgiving to each of you!


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The child mis-educated is a child lost.   

President John F. Kennedy

Learning with e-Tutor:

How many lessons should my student do each day?
Students should do no more than four lessons each day.  Each lesson should take from an hour to an hour and a half to complete.  We recommend one lesson in each of the four major curricular areas.  One lesson a day is sufficient for those who use e-Tutor for supplemental work. At the Primary and Intermediate levels, students and parents can choose the area of greatest need.  However, all areas support one another.  At the Middle-Junior High and High School levels, the following are recommended:

Middle-Junior High

Language Arts


Sixth – Reading/Listening


Seventh - Writing


Eighth – Literature




Sixth – Computation/Estimation


Seventh – Data Analysis/Measurement/Ratio-Percentages


Eighth – Algebra/Geometry




Sixth – Geology/Astronomy


Seventh – Biology/Botany


Eighth – Chemistry/Physics


Social Studies


Sixth – World History/Geography


Seventh – U.S. History


Eighth – Politics/Economics/Sociology


High School

Language Arts


Ninth – Listening/Reading


Tenth - Writing


Eleventh – Literature


Twelfth - Literature




Ninth – Computation/Estimation/Measurement


Tenth – Data Analysis/Ratio-Percentages


Eleventh – Algebra


Twelfth - Geometry




Ninth – Botany/Ecology/Geology


Tenth – Biology


Eleventh – Chemistry


Twelfth – Physics/Astronomy


Social Studies


Ninth – Geography/Sociology


Tenth – World History


Eleventh – U.S. History


Twelfth – Politics/Economics

There is much reading and writing in the e-Tutor program and users will have excellent reading and writing skills if the program is used consistently.  Parents should check the Activity and Extended Learning completed each day.  These are included with every lesson.  They are frequently off-line projects and so e-Tutor relies on parents to check on these.  They can be used as a springboard for discussion, ‘What did you learn by completing this?”,  “How could you have done this differently?” etc. 

When emailing Knowledge HQ, e-Tutor, we are able to respond to subscribers more quickly when the email program included with the e-Tutor program is used.  The program quickly identifies students and parents.  We respond to email within twenty-four hours unless it is a weekend or a holiday. 

Four new lessons were added to e-Tutor this month!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  


The First Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving ever proclaimed by a President of the United States was observed in 1789.  It was proclaimed by President Washington as a day of gratitude for the adoption of the constitution.  Over the years the reasons for celebrating have changed.  Custom now focuses more on an early celebration the Pilgrims had.  Our own family traditions have added to how we celebrate the day.  Yet centuries later, it remains a day of thankfulness and a general sense of appreciation for a way of life founded on the ideals of our fore fathers.   

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'Tis education forms the common mind:/ Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined. 

Alexander Pope, 1731


Oh, Say!  Can I See?

Visualizing or making pictures in one's mind helps us clarify information so that recall is easier.  When students are visualizing information spoken to them, they are actively participating in the construction of meaning.  Some researchers have suggested that visual images are easier to recall and are remembered longer than printed or verbal messages.  A familiar example of this is our ability to remember people's faces but not their names. 

Instruction in visualizing can begin with a single, descriptive object (e.g., a fresh, hot pizza with "the works").  Thoughtful selection of a target object will insure that the student has prior knowledge of the target.   After modeling the visualization of a target object, the child can discuss what he/she would include.

As the child becomes proficient in visualizing simple targets, passages that require increasingly more complex visual images can be presented.  For example:

It was very cold late yesterday afternoon in the big city.  Snow was falling and the wind was blowing strongly.  People who lived outside the city were trying to get home before the snow got deeper.  

Possible questions might include:

  • How did you picture the place?
  • How did you picture the people who were in the city?
  • How did you picture what was happening?

After sufficient practice and discussion, the child can independently practice visualization.  Passages that contain details and descriptive language are especially useful for the visualization strategy.  For example:

It was "Kite Day" at the park.  The sun was shining and the wind was just right for flying kites.  Big Dog, Little Dog and the friend Squeak, the mouse, each had a kite in the sky.  Big Dog's kite had stripes on it.  Big Dog's kite was closest to the ground.  Little Dog's kite had spots on it.  Little Dog's kite was higher in the air than Big Dog's kite.  Squeak's kite had a picture of cheese on it.  Squeak's kite was the highest of the three. 

If the child has difficulty remembering information that is critical to the passage, prompts can be given.  A child's drawing of their visualization can help, as well as comprehension questions. 

Adapted from Idea Factory for Teachers Silver Burdett and Ginn


Eat, Drink and Be Merry

It is that time of year again when there is an over abundance of foods and delicacies that are hard to resist. There is entertainment and much to be done for most of us.  As parents we need to attend to our personal health, but also to be a role model for our children.   The following tips will help you sail happily through the holiday season:

  •  Eat Well, and Often Even Away from Home
    • It can't be said often enough:  Always eat a healthy breakfast.  Your body needs food after its nighttime fast.  A balanced breakfast that includes whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, fruit and juice will give you the foundation you need,
    • 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. 
    • Ask for dressings, gravies, butter and other toppings on the side and use only as much as you need to flavor your food.
  • Drink Up
    • Keep a bottle of cold water close at hand throughout the day so you can drink your "daily eight" without interrupting what you are doing.  The dry heat in the winter can quickly deplete your body's fluids.
    • Avoid thirst.  By the time you feel thirsty, your body has already done all it can to hydrate you.
    • Remember that water is the best source for hydration, but if you need something different, fruit juices are also great and provide vitamins your body needs. 
  • Feed Your Brain
    • Take time to keep up with health issues in the news.
    • Get to know what different foods do for your body so you can choose a wise, satisfying diet. 
  • Don't Worry, Be Happy
    • Laugh frequently.  Take time to find the joy in everyday life. 
    • Take time to just breath every now and then.  Slow deep breathing will help regulate your heart and respiration rates and clear your mind. 
    • Maintain a regular sleep schedule that make you feel refreshed in the morning.
    • Don't expect to be perfect.  If you ever achieve that goal, you will have ceased to be human. 

Adapted from Leaders' Edge

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Unlearning is harder than learning.


Motivating for Learning

With our sermonettes, cajoling and in some instances, begging and threatening our children to study and learn, many of them seem to turn away and perceive us simply as nagging parents with little impact on their daily learning.  We, in turn, often feel guilty and fatigued by these constant battles for our children's benefit and resent our roles as minister-wardens in the service of modern education. 

Show a non-threatening interest in your child's learning.  This means that you care and want to know what your child is learning, but not for purposes of criticism or surveillance.  The dinner table is an excellent setting for exploration of new things your child has learned.  On these occasions your disposition should be to understand and share in the enjoyment of your child's learning.  They are not situations in which to criticize or be demanding of the child to improve or to show superior work.  Such reactions will usually cause the young person to avoid discussions of this nature, or worse, to resent learning activities for the oppression it brings to home life.  

Learning is an active physical and emotional process.   Children must feel rested and healthy to have the energy needed for learning.  They must also feel loved and free from emotional trauma in order to concentrate on learning.  Otherwise their time in school may be spent worrying about or reflecting on personal problems.  A satisfying home life is a prerequisite for effective learning.  

Adapted from National Education Association

Teens and Decisions

One way to help your teenagers become better decision makers is to step out of your role of exclusive decision maker and take on the new role of coach and helper.  Teach these steps for making a decision:

  1. Discuss the problem.  What is it you need to do or decide?  What do you know about this issue?
  2. Gather more information.  What do you know from other experiences that would help?  What do you need to know more about before making the decision?
  3. List the alternatives. What are all the possible choices?  Are there others you have forgotten?
  4. Examine the consequences.  What will be the results, good and bad, of each alternative?  What are the consequences, in the short and long run of each?  How do you feel about each choice today?  How do you think you will feel next week?  Next year?
  5. Consider feelings and values.  How do you feel about each alternative?  Each consequence?  How does each fit with your values, your family's values and community expectations?
  6. Choose the best possible course of action.
    1. Make decisions together.  Go through the steps with your teenager.  Remember that those who contribute to a decision are much more likely to stick to it.
    2. Create opportunities for your teens to make decisions on their own.  When a good decision is made...especially when it is the teenager's ...it is important to praise the child and let him or her know you are proud.  


 Adapted from National School Public relations Association

The Expectant Life

Washington Irving once wrote:  "Great minds have purposes; others have wishes."  His insight leads to the realization that without expectancy, we lack purpose.  

Achievers, in particular, exhibit this attitude of expectancy.  This shows itself most forcefully in the way they minimize their losses.  The do not grieve over failures or what might have been.  Rather, the achiever looks around the corner in anticipation of the good things that await him.  All he has to do, he believes, is show the determination to get there.  

He rejects the notion of 'can't.'  As a result, he is able to open more doors than others, strike better deals and attract more energetic and resourceful people to work with him.  He sets higher standards and gets others to help him meet them  He wins confidence and nurtures vitality in others.  He expects to succeed.  

When combined with desire, expectancy produces hope.  And hope makes all things possible.  Living the expectant life is simply an act of good judgment.  

Allan Cox, The Making of an Achiever


What Your Child Fears Most

Most parents don't understand how deeply a child fears humiliation.  All too often we don't see or hear what is really troubling our children.  Research has shown that children are afraid of losing face:  being thought of as unattractive, stupid or dishonest.  It is more troubling to wet their pants in class, get a bad report card or repeat a grade, for example, than it is to undergo surgery or be confronted by a rival baby brother or sister....situations a parent might expect to be most disconcerting.  For a child, a blow to self-esteem, the sense of being worthy, is a terrible thing to endure.  

Researchers have found that once a child starts school, the respect and liking of peers become immensely important.  The opinion of friends sometimes matters more than the approval of teachers and parents.  When asked what was so bad about repeating a grade, the most common response was shame at being "laughed at and teased" by former classmates. 

We have always understood that adolescents turn to their peer group for support, but we have also assumed that for younger children friendships were easily formed and easily broken.  New studies show that the loss of friends and particularly rejection by the group are painful and humiliating for even very young children. 

There are some things we can do:

  • Listen.  Instead of grilling a child to discover truth, let him or her talk.  What the child first complains about may not be the real problem.  

  • Prepare the child for the new.  Whatever the upcoming event, parents should carefully prepare their children.  

  • Provide emotional physical support.  Children need to be accepted by their peers.  Take very seriously a child's complaints about being teased, or being left out of games, or not being asked to a party.  

  • Finally accept the child for what he or she really is.  Understanding the child comes from letting him show us what he is like. 

Parents, of course, have to help shape their children to fit into society.  But let them fit in, in their own ways.  The basic requirement for everybody, young or old, is to feel that he or she is worth something. 

Adapted from James Lincoln Collier

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The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance. 

Noteworthy November Links:

Curtis Botanical Magazine:     Students of all ages can access antique illustrations of native plant species from around the world. The US Department of Agriculture has created a database from the information found in Curtis Botanical Magazine (published 1787-1807). Use the search feature to find plants by common name, species, or location, such as US state or country.

Space CAD:   Do you want your child to experience CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting and Design), but don't have a lot of time and money to set up a program? Try using the lesson ideas from this ThinkQuest entry, which uses authentic NASA technical drawings and includes a link to free, lite-CAD software. Tutorials, slide shows, interactive quizzes, and design projects are linked to the history of the NASA manned space program, including many color photographs. Lessons are also available in Spanish and French. 

Yes I can Science!   The International Space Station is in the news. Learn more about the role the Canadian Space Program plays in the station, and let your students experiment and create activities using the themes of water, ecosystems, robotics and energy. Specific lessons targeted to students from grades 3-12.

Codes and Ciphers in the Second World War:  Everyone I know has played spy at one time or another. Let students see the practical side and how technology and mathematics helped break codes during World War II. Take a virtual tour of Bletchley House, where code-breaking operations were housed, and learn about Enigma, the coding machine that was so tough to break.

EuroTurtle:   EuroTurtle, despite the name, covers turtles worldwide. This great resource has information on the biology of turtles, species of turtles, their location and their chances for a long and happy life. Early learners can view great images and gain information, while older students can spend hours accessing the information and activities on the site. 

Chaucer Metapagea:   For educators and students trying to understand Chaucer or for those trying to get a feel for life in 14th and 15th Century England, visit this site to read about Chaucer's work, hear the work read aloud and figure out the meanings of Olde English words found in his work. 

We give thanks for each of you this month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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