In The News                      November 2010   Vol. 13-05


President’s Message 

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to see the movie 'Waiting for Superman.'  It is a commentary on what is happening in today's schools.  It saddened me, alarmed me and made me angry.  For what we have known, and in some small way have tried to change, for too many years has come to naught.  This business of pointing fingers and placing blame does not benefit our students.  I'm afraid we have lost the battle.  There are not many, speaking for themselves or their children, who have not struggled with schooling somewhere along the line.  This is unacceptable from a nation such as ours.  We are wasting our student’s time and cheating them of a productive life.

Now, if you have not seen or are not familiar with the events in Chili, please familiarize yourself with this story of a group of people and a nation that caused a miracle to happen.  It occurs to me if an impoverished nation can move itself to produce the startling results that it did for 33 miners, then why can't we as a people and a nation produce similar results for our children?  What is holding us back?   

Unfortunately it will not be educators and politicians who will bring about change or it would have been done before.  The responsibility for making the drastic changes needed if we are to improve education will come from parents and the students themselves. 

I am often asked why I started eTutor.  It was because after many years in public and private schools, I felt students and parents need to have a choice.  I recognized that online learning may not work with all children, but it could provide an alternative for traditional schooling.  We sought to capture the strength of the technology that that Internet offered.  In so doing, over 10,000 students have benefited from a new and different learning environment.   

 

We give our most heartfelt thanks to each of you who have supported us 
over the years. 

 


 

A New Look for eTutor 

Welcome to the new eTutor logo.  You will see the new logo slowly move out over the next few months as we launch a new home page..  And as you may have guessed by the logo....a difference in colors.  A few of you will be asked to participate in a trial of the new eTutor program.  There will be many different functions that we do not have in the present system.  If you would like to participate please let us know.  

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Quality is never an accident.

Willa A. Foster





Learning with eTutor

Scheduling for eTutor 

• Develop a weekly calendar for your eTutor Program. - Enter important dates for your social/family life and holidays that week. - Mark Monday – Friday as study days with e-Tutor.

• Each week develop a daily schedule that includes routines and eTutor study time.
Remember you should be spending about 4 ˝ hours each day using the eTutor Program. 

• Post this schedule in your study area. 
Use your schedule to refer to, to review, and to mark your progress. 

• Each evening develop the next day’s schedule. 

This will help you organize for the next day; include study time, routines, and important appointments. 

Review each day's schedule in the morning before you start eTutor.

Forty New Lesson Modules  
were added to the 
eTutor Lesson Library since our last eNews!

Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view 
over 3,100 lesson modules.  

www.etutor.com



   The Book Case            

Honk, the Moose
Phil Strong
All Ages
              

What do you do when a moose takes over your town?  When two boys discover a moose residing in Ivar's father's stable, eating up the hay, chaos ensues. Soon, everyone from Ivar to the mayor and the city council is involved in deciding the fate of the poor, tired moose.  A 1936 Newbery Honor Book, this children's classic is sure to please children of all ages.  


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Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

Oprah Winfrey

Homework - When is enough, enough?

According to a national survey, kids are spending twice as much time on homework as they did in 1981.  And elementary school children account for the brunt of that jump. It is controversial as to what whether this is good or bad and whether there is such a thing as an ideal amount of homework. 

Alfie Kohn, author of "The Homework Myth," thinks giving homework is a tradition based in folk wisdom and that, in reality, it does more harm than good.  "The amount of homework is increasing, at least for younger children at precisely the same time that more research is failing to show any benefit whatsoever." He believes there is no evidence showing that homework is beneficial academically, but it may be the single greatest extinguisher of children's curiosity yet invented. "It's all pain, no gain," he says. 

On the other hand, Harris Cooper of Duke University defends the worth of homework in measured doses and for certain grade levels.  He used available research showing the success of homework to frame what is called "The 10 Minute Rule."  It stipulates 10 minutes of homework per night, per grade level beginning in 1st grade.  So 1st graders should get no more than 10 minutes of homework each night, 2nd graders 20 minutes, etc. 

For parents who see homework eroding their child's sleep, affecting their health or eliminating their free time, experts encourage them to take the issue back to the school or pulling in like-minded parents.  The idea is to help parents and educators advocate for saner homework practices. 

Adapted from Chicago Tribune 

 


Talk....to Yourself?

Talking to yourself when you are alone is not unhealthy.  It can help to identify and solve problems.  Close the door, let the thought come and write down the issues they raise.  Added bonus:  the process provides the opportunity to identify emotions that are allied to an issue you may not have realized were out there.  Example:  You talk out loud about frustrations regarding the people you work with and fid out you were angrier at one of them than you realized. 

Working Smart


Have Fun Indoors

It is getting to that time of year when the weather does not give us the opportunity to spend as much time out of doors.  What to do with children (and parents) who need to release some energy? 

  • Have a dirty-sock fight...Got cranky kids?  Take the socks right off your feet and challenge them to a throwing battle and watch the whines turn to gigles and squeals.  Make up teams to help out your littlest ones.

  • Play Simon Says, redux...Put a twist on the game with Spider-Man Says...or whoever's popular in the house that week...and everyone can take turns being their favorite superhero.  Mix it up every time: "Spider-Man says, 'Pretend to spray a web on the wall!"

  • Go on a free field trip to the pet store...It's too cold for the zoo; spend an hour checking out the cute puppies and kittens.  If your kid's really into wild things, look for a store with exotic creatures.

  • Jazz up "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"...Keep a pack of stickers in your purse; when your toddler's getting antsy in a restaurant, stick them all over her body.  Sing the song, then ask her to find them, and name the body part each sticker is on together. 

  •  

Adapted from Practical Supervision

 

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I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how hard it is, you can make it.  

Gale Sayers


Listen for the Spiritual Language

Children are innately spiritual, and if you pay close attention they can speak to you about the subtle energies of another dimension; whether or not you believe, it can be intriguing to listen to what they have to say.  Children's intuition is highly attuned, and frequently they hear and see things that we miss, as they aren't so tightly immersed in ":reality" yet. 

Before about age six, children are highly attuned to the spiritual world and with thins unseen and unspoken, but they are more than likely to lose touch once they start school and are exposed to traditional thinking and logical reasoning.  Until then they are adept at tuning in to our thoughts. 

Children have highly develop intuition...they can feel the energy and vibes of others.  Sometimes just seeing somebody will cause a child to start crying loudly she move to avoid that person and, although she can't put into words why, she can feel the person's energy and wants to stay away.  Trust this instinct in your child. 

Some children already know profound spiritual truths without ever being taught.  Part of honoring your child's divine nature is recognizing her spiritual language and respecting her special perceptions. 

Wonderful Ways to Love a Child, Judy Fordt


Communicate in Writing at Home

You can turn your home into a writing center by making writing a regular household medium of communication.

  • Organize a chalkboard or bulletin board for written messages for all family members.  Ask children to leave notes telling where they are going, to write down telephone messages, etc. 

  • Allow your child to be involved in family operations that require writing...lists for shopping of all kinds, instructions for babysitters, directions for visitors to your house, plans for birthday parties, and notes for family and friends. 

National Education Association


Expectations for Learning

What  exactly do we expect of our school children?  At best, the signals we send about the purpose of schooling are mixed, especially those about the purpose of academic achievement.  Compared to other developed societies, achievement in the the U.S. often takes a backseat to the whirl of student social life and the demands of a part-time job.  

Similarly, the need to demonstrate academic achievement as a prerequisite for entering college has given way to the belief that any high school student who wants to go to college should not be denied the opportunity.  Getting into an academically elite college is still a powerful incentive to study hard for some high school students.  But even those who do mediocre or shoddy work can almost always find a college that will accept them, despite their academic deficiencies. 

In its quest for the well-rounded student, American society often steers the attention of students away from academic pursuits.  Educators and parent encourage participation in nonacademic enterprises....sports, hobby clubs, politics, pep club, and community service, not to mention after-school jobs.  For the college bound, selective colleges give preference to well-rounded applicants with outside interests and accomplishments as well as...and sometimes instead of...high grades and test scores. 

So long as we are ambivalent about the comparative importance of academic achievement, we shall continue to underwrite academic mediocrity.  So long as students can allocate major fractions of their time as they wish, they will likely give their studies less than the share necessary to meet high academic expectations.  

Yet the conflict itself implies the solution:  if students have wide discretion in their use of time, then they also have a great deal of time that could be used for learning if they chose.  This is where online instructional programs can make a difference. The ideal program will put the student in charge of his/her own learning.  And then offer instructional content that is refreshing, current, intriguing, informative and constantly changing in order to adapt to student interest and instructional strengths. 

Adapted from The Public School Administrator

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LOST:  Yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes.  No reward is offered, for they are gone forever.  

Horace Mann

Awesome October Links:

Airplane Math:  Find the shortest path between 2 cities, figure out how many people can board your plane, or plan a flight around the country. Nine different activities focusing on air flight include the lesson, experts, educator guides and more.  
http://www.planemath.com/activities/pmactivities4.htm

Bullying:  Bullying.org's purpose is to prevent bullying in our society through education and awareness.   The site  provide educational programs and resources to individuals, families, educational institutions and organizations. You can find online learning and educational resources in order to help you deal effectively and positively with the act of bullying and its long lasting negative consequences.  
http://www.bullying.org/

Autumn:  Why do leaves change color? It's autumn, and you're already back in school. Our hardworking trees, on the other hand, need to take a break from all that photosynthesizing. When leaves change color, from green to yellow, bright orange or red, you'll know trees are beginning their long winter's rest. 
http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/veg/trees/treestruecolor.htm

Pumpkin Exploration:  Pumpkins are fun! Their size and color, smell and taste make them perfect for children's observation and exploration. In this activity students in cooperative groups search, suggest, question, predict, and estimate the number of seeds in a set of pumpkins. They will combine mathematical procedures and scientific observation to learn more about this seasonal delight. http://www.sedl.org/scimath/compass/v01n02/pumpkin.html

Walk Through Time:  A history website for seven to nine year-olds. Play interactive games, explore and put things together.  The site includes educator guides.  
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/walk/index.shtml

October Revolution:  The October Revolution, also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution, Red October or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917. http://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/events/revolution/index.htm

 

Have a bewitching month!

From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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