In The News                      November 2007   Vol. 10-11

President’s Message

I'm surrounded by gold this month.  In fact, it is raining gold.  The trees have been spreading their fall beauty for the last few weeks and it is just beautiful!  My walks take me through paths of gold that crunch under foot.  The air alternates between crisp and warm.  It is a beautiful time of year, no doubt.   Nature is giving us a last look at color before the white and grays of winter approach.  

If no other time during the year, this month provides a time to give thanks for all that we have been blessed with throughout the year.  It is a time for family and friends to gather and share their bounty, love, and companionship with one another.  As my family migrates to distance places, it is a time to remember the many times we have been together, cooking, laughing, remembering and sharing with one another, over the years.  As time goes by my family has grown to a vast extended family giving me the opportunity to continue the celebrations started so many years ago.  

At the same time we remember and give thanks to the parents and students who have given us such delight over the past year.  We hope this Thanksgiving season finds you with loved ones and friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving!    


Page 2

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.

Michael De Montaigne (1533-1592) Essayist

Learning with e-Tutor

New Features at e-Tutor!

e-Tutor is constantly under a state of revision.  Everyday there are changes made to the system.  Some you may see and others you may not.  One of the revisions we have recently initiated is a reminder to students of how many lesson modules we encourage students to do each day.  We recommend no more than four lesson modules each day. As they reach the limit, students receive a reminder that they have completed the recommended number of lessons for that day.  They are encouraged to make sure they have completed the off line projects and activities included with each lesson module.  If they wish to proceed they can complete up to three more lesson modules before they are blocked from completing more.

There is a very good reason for our suggesting no more than four lesson modules each day.  Remember, that e-Tutor has been online for over ten years.  During that time we have completed a great deal of research to determine how students are using the program, how long (on average) it takes each student to complete a lesson module and what parts of the lesson module students prefer.  We have found that students complete most lesson modules within an hour to an hour and a half.  Some students have even found this very difficult to achieve.  We know that some lesson modules (especially in High School Literature) take up to three days to complete.  

You may want to check with your student to determine an adequate number of lesson modules to be completed in a normal day for your child.  Keep the number four (4) in your mind as the maximum number to complete in a day.  

Twenty-eight New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
e-Tutor Lesson Library this month!

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

Join the Writer's Circle

Last month we were pleased to welcome many new writers to the Writer's Circle.  We are continuing our invitation to write lesson modules for the e-Tutor Program during the next few months.  You, a friend, or relative may be interested in this opportunity.    e-Tutor includes 2200 lesson modules at this writing.   

If you are interested in writing lesson modules for the e-Tutor program, please send an email to  We will send you information on how you can participate in this exciting endeavor and earn money at the same time. 


   The Book Case

              Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a             Remarkable Friendship

              Hatkoff, Isabella and others, 
              Ages: Intermediate Grades 3 - 5

A baby hippo and an aged giant tortoise are unlikely companions, yet the two have become inseparable. The story of their friendship begins in the aftermath of December 2004's devastating tsunami, which hit the coast of Kenya. When the water receded, a young hippo was discovered stranded alone on a coral reef, having been separated from his mother and the rest of their pod. Since the terrified animal was too young to survive on his own and not likely to be welcomed into another pod, he was transported to a wildlife preserve, where he immediately gravitated toward a 130-year-old Aldabra tortoise. After initially trying to crawl away from the young hippo,  the old fellow began to warm to his new fan. The two now spend their days swimming, eating and snuggling together.

Page 3

Love is never lost.  If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.  

Washington Irving (1783-1859) Novelist and essayist

Saving the Family Meal
How to Get Them There

This is the second part of a three part series we started last month.  It has become increasingly difficult to get a meal on the table.....and to get the family to the table.  Family meals are important.  
We want you to know it is okay to want the kids at the table, how to get them there, and what to do when they get there.  This month we will look at ways to get our kids to the table.  

Once the parent establishes that there will be a meal, the way it actually happens can be negotiable and flexible.  Use everybody's ingenuity in adjusting times, locations, and types of food.  One family, for example, has Wednesday night supper at a fast food restaurant after the soccer game.  Another family eats dinner right after the children get home from school because dad is off work at that time and everybody is hungry.  Yet another family has a substantial family breakfast instead of dinner.  Both mom and children are active in sports, and morning is the one time they can all be together. 

Keep meals enjoyable.  The family table has to be a nice place to be or nobody...not even parents...will want to be there.  Keep it pleasant, keep it light, include everyone in the conversation, and don't use mealtimes for disciplining or airing grievances.  It's all right to talk about touchy issues, just don't try to come to any conclusions.  Use mealtimes for listening to each other's views. 

Expect good behavior at mealtime, and excuse children from the table if they won't behave properly.  Being at the family table is a privilege that children have to earn by helping to make it pleasant for everyone.  If they don't like something, teach them to say, "no thank you" and pass it on.  The meal has to be pleasant for you, too, and if you are listening to complaints or worrying about getting your family to eat, it won't be. 

But do let your children be children in the way they eat.  Young children spill, are awkward about using their utensils, and eat with their fingers.  Children can get so preoccupied with neatness they can forget to eat.  

Adapted from Ellen Satter, How to Get Your Kid to Eat....But Not Too Much

Building an Accurate Self-Image

The maxim "know thyself" looks good on paper.  But, if you have tried it, you know that one of the greatest hurdles is being able to see yourself objectively.  We all have built-in biases about who and what we are, and these biases can color our self-images.  It is very difficult to see ourselves as others see us.  We often cannot be objective about our emotional selves because we have built up defenses that hinder accurate self-evaluations. 

Our "insights' about ourselves usually contain a number of convenient blind spots.  The self-actualized individual, who can speak freely and honestly of her/his faults and abilities is rare. 

Many writers on success encourage us to exert a "110 percent" effort in everything we do.  Of course, this is unrealistic, but it is not unrealistic to set as a goal of exerting ten percent more effort than you thought you could. 

People tend to be too humble about their talents and activities.  We need to realize that diminishing our own talents can be as socially and psychologically damaging as overconfidence.  Dizzy Dean once said, "If you've done it, it ain't bragging!"  Today we say, "When you're hot, you're hot!"

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

The Best Kept Secret

Somehow, the world seems to be unwilling to admit that simple, good, old-fashioned hard work can be the basis of success.  Studies are constantly being made to determine personalities, hormone ratios, childhood characteristics, intelligence, education, methods, techniques, and the rationale of successful people.  The fact that they work hard is shoved aside as some strange coincidence. 

Thomas Edison tried futilely for years to convince the world that his inventions were not the result of any great genius he had.  "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration," was the way he explained it.  "I never did anything worth doing by accident nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work."

He left, at the time of his death, some 2500 notebooks crammed with notes of his work and ideas.  He would work himself into virtual exhaustion and then sleep in a cot he had in his laboratory until sufficiently refreshed to pursue his work again. 

So, the best kept secret of success seems to be that success, strangely enough, is always preceded by hard work.  This fact is so obvious that, either by oversight or inclination, it is entirely overlooked.  As someone once said, "The obvious reaches almost total oblivion."  People read books, go to meetings, take courses, attend conventions, and probe frantically in all directions for new secrets and methods for achieving success.  But, somehow, they almost deliberately avoid admitting the answer was right before them all the time. Work!  Human effort!

It is so uncomplicated that ordinary work is the fountain of achievement that people who have not reached the levels of their aspirations seem not to want to admit to themselves that their failure can be attributed to the lack of such a conspicuous ingredient as work. 

Adapted from University Outreach Service, Inc.

Page 4

If people knew how hard I have had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all. 


Peter's Wish List

"You're going Christmas shopping today, aren't you?"  Peter asked his mother as she dropped him off at junior high.  

"Maybe," she teased.  "And maybe not."

"Well, I know you are," Peter said.  "You have on your sneakers and you only wear those when you're headed for the mall.  So here's my list!"  Peter smiled and pressed an envelope into his mother's hand.  He kissed her goodbye and bolted from the car before she could respond.  "Love you, Mom!" he called out to her. 

Margaret sat in the car holding the envelope that read "Pete's Holiday Wish List."  It felt thick, like there were several sheets of paper folded inside of it.  She was disappointed,. 

Margaret and her husband Paul had done their best to teach Peter about sharing with others, understanding the value of money, and appreciating the things they had.  She feared that peer pressure was having more of an influence over her boy than the good examples she and her husband tried to give him. 

Once inside the mall, Margaret bought herself a cup of coffee and sat at a small table.  She pulled out the list she'd prepared over the last few months of gifts she wanted to buy for family and friends.  In Peter's column she'd written the name of a series of books she knew he wanted.  Now she wondered if Peter's "mega list" had any books on it at all.  What was he asking for, anyway?  Video games?  A drum set, maybe?  A dirt bike?

She pulled his envelope from her purse, thinking about the conversation she would have to have with her son that evening.  As she removed the folded papers from the envelope, five $5 bills floated onto the table. 

Margaret quickly unfolded the pages.  Peter's wish list included items like plant a tree, cook for Meals on Wheels, sponsor an exchange student, work at a soup kitchen, and read to the kids at the children's hospital.  There was also a note:

Dear Mom and Dad, 

I know how lucky I am to have you for parents.  And how fortunate I am to be related to the grandparents and cousins and other loving relatives that make up our family tree. 

But I've only just realized how many people don't have compassion in their lives, and how much isn't getting done in our world only because nobody's stepping up to do it.  This is my way of stepping up. 

I'll need your help because it could take a couple of years for me to accomplish everything on my list and keep up with school, too.  So you can "nudge" me any time you want!

All My Love,

P.S. The money's for you, Mom! After you wear yourself out shopping for everybody else, have a pedicure on me!

Margaret wiped the tears from her eyes.  She was overwhelmed by Peter's thoughtfulness.  And like any parent, Margaret hoped she could make her son's wishes come true.  

Stephanie Marston, Psychotherapist 

Communicating Reading to Our Children

There are four main concepts we want to communicate about reading to our children: (1) Written words have value because they are a vital communication tool; (2) Written words can be personally enjoyable; (3) Written words increase understanding and power over the world; and (4) Reading is something most people can easily learn to do.  We communicate these concepts through:

  • Having a print rich environment.  This simply means our house is full of good things to read.  In one study it was concluded that  "A rule of thumb for predicting success is to know the number of books in the home."

  • Reading aloud to the child from an early age, pointing out simple words, running a finger from left to right under the lines of print, and encouraging the child that soon he will be able to read these books himself.

  • Letting the child see you read.  Children take their cues about what is worthwhile from their parents.  If the parents seldom read, the children assume reading is not a valuable activity.  Boys need to see their fathers read.

  • Letting the child see you attach value to books.  This not only means that you have your own library of personal "treasures," but it also means that the child sees you go to books for answers to questions you have. 


Talk Money to Your Children

Some people feel that talking to their children about money matters is like discussing sex....only it's more difficult.  Psychologists agree that parents are often afraid to discuss family finances with their children because money is closely tied to identity.  Most experts feel that the subject should be talked about frequently and that parents should start early to educate their children about financial matters.  The following are suggestions for preparing your child to deal with financial matters: 

  • Begin talking to preschoolers about how money works.  Take your child to the bank and explain in simple terms how banking works.  Show them how groceries and clothes are paid for at the store.  Offer them small amounts of money and let them know the different things that can be bought with that amount. 
  • Introduce a weekly allowance when you think your child is ready.  For some people, that age may be around 6, for other a little older.  Dr. Kathryn Williams, a Pittsburgh-based psychologist, believes that an allowance should be considered a share in the fami8ly income.  "An allowance should not be tied to do chores,"  she says. "That's a separate issue."  If you want your child to save a portion of that allowance, set us a system for doing so.  
  • Teach children about earning, spending and saving.  Isabel Sloane, managing director of J.P. Morgan and Co., New York, says "I tell my young children that I work so that our family can go on vacations and afford to live in a nice apartment.  When they see a toy that they want advertised on television, I tell them that the toy costs money and that maybe it's too expensive for our family's budget.  I then might suggest that they choose a different toy that is less expensive."
  • When children are teenagers, involve them in the family budget.  This would be a good time to talk about saving more for college.  If possible, institute a matching system; for every dollar your teenager saves, you put away a dollar.  Investigate investing money in the stock market for him or her.  You can help your kids in this age group find a summer or weekend job.  Discuss what kinds of things you expect them to pay for. 
  • Observations:  You can open up a bank account for your child at any age.  As your child grows older, make it his or her responsibility to withdraw and deposit funds.  By starting early and taking the mystery out of money management, your child will feel comfortable with everyday financial matters.  

Working Smart

Page 5

An inch of progress is worth more than a yard of complaint. 

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) Educator and actiivist


Wonderful November Links:

Thanksgiving Trivia:  This site offers a hunt activity that can be done entirely online.  Students can learn about navigating the Internet while also discovering fun Thanksgiving facts.

History of the Mayflower Pilgrims:  The Mayflower Society has developed this site to provide more information about the passengers of the Mayflower and their descendents.

American Indians and the Natural World:  Hosted by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 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 their interactions with the natural world."

Justice Learning:  Civic education in the real world:  Justice Learning is an innovative approach for engaging high school students in informed political discourse.  The web site uses audio from the Justice Talking radio show and articles from the New York Times to teach students about reasoned debate and the often-conflicting values inherent in our democracy.  The web site includes articles, editorials and oral debate from the nation's finest journalists and advocates.  All of the material is supported by age-appropriate summaries and additional links.  In addition, for each covered issue, the site includes curricular material from the New York Times Learning Network for high school teachers and detailed information about how each of the institutions of democracy (the courts, the Congress, the presidency, the press and the schools) affect the issue.

In Search of the Ways of Knowing Trail:  Your trip to the village of Epulu takes a detour when your jeep experiences mechanical failure.  You are forced to walk through the Ituri Forest in central Africa accompanied by four youths from the different local cultures.  Along the way, you'll make choices and learn about plants, animals, and survival.  A Forest Factbook serves as a glossary.  Totally Flash-driven.  Could get noisy!

The Thrill of Flight:  This multimedia resource contains lessons, interactive activities, games, worksheets, simple quizzes, Glossaries, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  Divided into five topics:  aviators and events, air and lift, airplanes, helicopters and gliders.  Requires Flash.

Accordion Dreams (PBS):  A renewed interest in grassroots regional musical styles, such as Zydeco, Cajun and Tejano, have resulted in the rediscovery and rise in popularity of the accordion.  Conjunto is a unique Texas-based Mexican American music tradition born in the 19th Century that continue to evolve and thrive today.  The world of accordions and conjunto is attracting a diverse worldwide audience that includes millions of admirers of the accordion-based polka that is popular in Czech, Polish and German communities.  Pictures, music, biographical and historical information make this site 'muy bueno.'  Requires Real Player and Flash.

Virtual Cave:  Caves are cool!  Learn about Solution Caves, Lava Tube Caves, Sea Caves and Erosional Caves.  Students can also investigate caves near their homes with links in the U.S. Show  Cave Directory.

We Give Thanks to YOU!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

Copyright © 2007 Knowledge Headquarters, Inc. All Rights Reserved.