In The News                      November 2009   Vol. 12-11

President’s Message

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;

But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in

With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly sto
rmed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would
stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;

From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hard
ships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly--
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

 Wishing you a Thanksgiving full of many blessings!



Page 2

Let children be smarter than you are. 


Learning with e-Tutor


Tracking Off-Line Work

When students first login to e-Tutor, they will notice a lot of different subjects.  For instance, in Language Arts, they will see Reading, Writing, Listening and Literature.  Students will not do lesson modules in all of those subjects.  e-Tutor  provides a list of the subjects to concentrate on for the student's grade level. 

Students should spend about one to one and a half hours working on each lesson module.  Some students may take longer, of course, since there is no time limit on the amount of time for learning.

Although most of student learning with e-Tutor will be online, students will be asked to do some paperwork in most of the lesson modules.  Where is the student going to put those papers?  We suggest folders.  These do not have to be fancy…..we use four simple manila folders, one for each curricular area.  As your student completes the Activities, Extended Learning, Vocabulary and Resource work, he/she can place the papers in the appropriate folder.  Make sure you review what your student has done each day. 

You may want to print out the report card once a month.  Put these in the appropriate folder so your student can keep track of how he/she is doing. 

Finally, your student can keep track of the hours he/she studies each day.  It is nice for students to be able to see what they have accomplished each day, week and month.  Don't forget to praise your student for the hard work he/she has done.   

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 
over 2,700 lesson modules.

We Want to Hear From You!

Has your student done an exceptional job on one of the lesson modules?  Let us know, so we can give him or her credit in the newsletter.  Has your student done an exceptionally fine job drawing a picture?  Send it to us, so we can print it in the newsletter.  Do you have a story to tell about your child using the e-Tutor program?  Let everyone know.  We will print it here.  Send pictures and stories to  We look forward to our mailbox being full!   

   The Book Case            

A Day on Skates, The Story of a Dutch Picnic
by Hilda Van Stockum

 Intermediate Level

This story is set in Holland before the Second World War and it's about a pair of nine-year-old twins, Evert and Afke, who go with their class on a day's skating picnic. Along the way we learn an awful lot about life in Holland back then. But it is the children who make the book so divine.

This is a wonderful book for younger children, and their older siblings, too. It portrays the values and attitudes of days gone by when boys were masculine and girls were feminine and everyone was happy that it was so. The story is interesting, the action is well-paced and fun; you feel as if you have been on the picnic with the children! One of our favorite books!

This book with pictures can be found online at:


Be enthusiastic, even when you don't feel like it. 

Homework Overload

Studies have found almost no correlation between homework and long-term achievement in the elementary school.  Yet, some parents are finding their children have so much homework there is not enough time for recreation, practice or family time.  The National Education Association guidelines recommend no more that ten minutes per grade level per night (that's ten minutes total for a first-grader, 30 minutes for a third-grader).  Here are some things you might try if your child has too much to do each night.

  • If your child has too much homework.....stop the suffering with a note.  If he's been working longer than he can bear, don't push him further.  It will only make him dislike homework more.  Instead, write a note to the teacher on the homework, saying that your child tried but couldn't complete the assignment and that you felt it was more important that he get a good night's sleep.  There usually are no negative consequences.

  • If homework overload is a continuing problem...speak up.  Ask the teacher how long she expects her assignments to take.  Compare that to the ten-minutes per-grade-level guideline and how long it actually takes your child.  Together, perhaps you can decide that your child will tackle reading first, do only five math problems, and stop once she has reached her limit.

  • If homework overload is a widespread problem at school...find strength in numbers.  If your child is miserable, chances are other kids in his class are, too.  Ask other parents to email the teacher or approach the principal with you.  Sometimes that is all it takes.  

Adapted from Parenting 

Take Time Away

Nobody wants to be together all the time.  Children need time away from you and you need time away from them.  Whether it is a little break in the day or a weekend getaway, being apart can refresh everyone. You need regular time to be alone, to reflect, to sit quietly.  You also need time to talk privately with your spouse or friends.  

Start with a little getaway when they are babies.  Time away can add new insights to your life and will help you appreciate each other more.  When they reach school age your children will start wanting to spend the night with friends.  For a short break, go to the bedroom for a nap or soak in the tub.  A fifteen-minute time-out can revitalize you and your child.  

Take a weekend outing alone.  If you feel a little guilty, remember that a little guilt is preferable to piles of resentments because you never have time for yourself.  When you are stressed-out, burned-out, or suffering from too much togetherness, the best way to deal with it is to announce honestly with a "Do not disturb" sign.  In fact, make sure each family member has a "Do not disturb" sign to hang on their door when they need to get away and be alone. 

Adapted from Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Ford

Small Assurances

"Do you remember what tomorrow is?"  Barbara asked her four-year-old son Adam as he ate his lunch.

Adam tapped his finger on his lips and said, "I* don't remember."

"Tomorrow will be your first day of preschool.  Do you remember what we talked about?"

Adam nodded as he took a bite from his sandwich.  He swallowed and then looked at his mother with wide eyes.  "Mommy, will I have breakfast at my new school?"

"No,"  Barbara said.  "You'll have breakfast here at home before you go to school."

Adam look over to the next chair where his favorite blanket was bunched in a ball.  "Will I get to take my binky with me?"

"No.  Your binky will stay here.  And you'll have lunch here after school as well."

Adam looked around the room nervously,  "Will I get a snack at my new school?"

"I don't think so,"  said his mom.

"So what am I going to have to do while I'm at school?"  Adam was on the verge of tears.

"Oh, you'll get to meet new kids and play new games and take field trips to new places and..."

Adam's brow wrinkled.  "Will they have crayons?"

"Yes.  They'll have crayons, plus finger paints and maybe even..."

"Good!"  Adam let out a sigh of relief and sat back in his chair.  "Because I like crayons."


Page 4

Don't worry.  Be happy.  

Working Hard

Work hard, not solely because it will bring you rewards and promotions, but because it will give you the sense of being a competent person.  Something corrosive happens to the souls of people who stop caring about the quality of their work...and begin to go through the motions. 

Harold Kushner

Maintain High Expectations

Pygmalion, a sculptor in Greek mythology, carved a statue in ivory of a beautiful woman.  He fell in love with his own creation and Venus gave life to the statue.  This myth inspired George Bernard Shaw's play, "Pygmalion," a story of how Professor Henry Higgins turned a Cockney flower girl into an elegant lady, using language rather than love.  The play subsequently became the musical hit "My Fair Lady."

Psychologists have concluded that the concept is more than fantasy and that one person's expectations can influence the behavior of another.  The phenomenon has come to be called "self-fulfilling prophecy;"  people become what is prophesied for them.

For some time it has been accepted that the physician's positive expectations seem to implement the patient's recovery.  Some random studies done by psychologists indicated that the results of children's IQ tests could be affected by the expectations of those administering the tests.  Even animals, some experiments showed, responded to people's expectations. 

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

Where You Sit Can Influence Results

The person at the foot of a table, even unconsciously, feels intimidated and defensive.  This makes it more difficult to be agreeable.  A round table has no head or foot. 

The same principles apply at school.  Sitting across a desk or table, facing each other is what sociologists call the confrontation position.  Facing someone behind a massive desk is just naturally intimidating (think teacher).  Sitting next to each other on the same side of the table is what sociologists call the cooperation position.  It breaks down some of the invisible barriers.  It helps promote agreement, teamwork and camaraderie. 

When people are separated physically, they tend to think separately.  When seated close together...side by side...they will usually be quieter, softer, and less intense.  They are also less likely to argue or verbally attack each other.  

Where people sit can help promote either confrontation or cooperation.  Experiment with this yourself.  Is it easier to persuade someone when you are sitting side by side?  The changes may be subtle, but also significant.  

Adapted from Working Smart

Page 5

Avoid making simple things complex.  

Noteworthy November Links:

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth:  This site offers primary sources for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, the historical significance and the events leading up to the feast.

The History of Thanksgiving:  This site includes videos, stories and facts about the first Thanksgiving.

Mayflower History:   The Internet's most complete, thoroughly researched and accurate web site dealing with the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and the early Plymouth Colony.

Giving Thanks: Have we always celebrated Thanksgiving? And how did the traditions associated with Thanksgiving evolve? Thanksgiving represents the combination of different traditions of giving thanks. One was a long religious tradition of religious observances where people gathered to thank God for their lives and good fortunes. Another, more ancient tradition is to celebrate the bounty of a good harvest.  This site provides information about the different traditions of Thanksgiving.

Proclamation of the First Thanksgiving:  See a copy of the original document signed by George Washington.


Wishing you all that Thanksgiving offers!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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