In The News                     December 2005   Vol. 8-12

President’s Message

his is a time of wonder for all children whatever our age. The homes on the street are decorated with lights......parents are shopping......parades are happening.......windows display stories and tales of the season.....wreaths are hung......candles flicker......trees sprout color and tinsel. Memories of seasons past pop up in my mind when I least expect it.....surprising me and bringing me the joy I felt so long ago. Our work with and for children makes this season more special for all of us, as we watch their anticipation grow in expectation of the festivals ahead. This is an ideal time to reflect on what it is to be a child.....to recall what pleased us.....what made us happy.....what made us sad.....what caused us difficulty and then to determine what we can do to make a better world for our children. May the joys of the season remain throughout the year. Happy Holidays!

You may be receiving this at the end of the month.  We apologize for the delay in sending out our newsletter this month.  We moved our offices this month, as it is one of the slower months in the year.  The move has set back our regular schedule.   The additional space will give us room to spread out and expand.  We look forward to continuing to offer you quality programs in the years ahead.  

Best wishes for much peace and joy at this special time of year.


Two Outstanding Educational Programs

e-Tutor has been created exclusively for the Internet as a distance learning program.  Some students have been enrolled in the program for over five years.  If you are not a subscriber to one of the e-Tutor Programs, you will want to join the thousands of students and parents who have benefited from this highly regarded program.  

he-Tutor Self-Guided Program for those who want an independent study program.

he-Tutor One2One Program for those who want the guidance and assistance of a professional tutor.

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Hidden talent counts for nothing. 

Learning with e-Tutor

An Educational Website:  e-Tutor

Navigation! Graphics! Those two things are the name of the game in Internet websites. e-Tutor is proud of its graphics, which appeal to a diversity of students. We use cartoons, current baseball stars, accurate diagrams of the circulatory system and photographs of Tasmanian Devils, to name just a few. Our photos of the starry night sky show the position of Orion and the Pleiades. In the lesson module on comets, there are actual photos of comets. For younger children, we use appealing graphic representation of tomatoes, bunnies and clowns.

The graphics are important because they must catch -- and HOLD -- a student's interest and imagination. We choose graphics that illustrate our lessons -- sometimes precisely (as in the graphics of the brain in our science lessons), sometimes whimsically (an octopus to illustrate the eight parts of speech.) Consistently, users tell us that our graphics are one of their favorite features.

The second important part of a Website is the navigation. How easy is it? e-Tutor requires you to know two things to be able to navigate it. First, the "BACK" button does not work. When parents and teachers want their students to use e-Tutor, a prime concern is that students stay within that website.  By NOT using the "BACK" button (and instead closing windows by clicking in the top right or left hand corner), students are kept "within" e-Tutor. It is easy for teachers and students to learn this and adjust to this in our website. Second, we use the "scroll" feature frequently. We want e-Tutor to load quickly and accurately. By loading the lesson all at once and using the scroll feature (or clicking on the Index), students have very little to learn in terms of navigation. Students can click on the area they want to go to ---"Study Guide", for example -- or scroll through the whole lesson. Either way, e-Tutor provides an illustrative trip through education!

Over 1800 lesson modules are in the e-Tutor Lesson Library. 
Join the e-Tutor world of learning today to view the Lesson Library.  


A Better Way to Do It

Do you want to develop the best ways to do things? Ask yourself the following questions to eliminate things that get in the way of your productivity.

4Look at what you….not what others do every day. Keep asking yourself: Why am I doing this?
4Ask if this is necessary.
4Does it meet your needs? Does it need to be done at all?

After answering the questions you will know if an activity should be changed or eliminated.

Adapted from Communication Briefings

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The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right.


How to Beat Holiday Stress

The holidays can be the most joyous time of the year, but they can also be the most stressful. Holidays can also be a time of hectic shopping, financial concerns, family conflicts and loneliness. We are so busy trying to take care of the details of the festivities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Here are some suggestions to help you cope with holiday stress this season:

Try to plan ahead.

See if the stores you need to go to are on another person’s list-maybe you can divide the list and split up to get the shopping done in less time and l
ess trips.

If childcare is an issue, see if you can rotate days with another parent. Maybe
you can take turns with babysitting.

While waiting in line at the store with the kids, give them articles or ads from newspapers or magazines (usually the stores carry copies of their own flyers). With a pen, have them circle all the letters in their names within the ads or play a word search game.

For the bad weather days when everyone is stuck inside, have activities for the family to do. Try having wintertime crafts like creating "snowman garland" for the younger kids (see below) or having older children create and decorate their own holiday cards.

Finally, remember that you need to take care of yourself during this busy time. A good way to remember how to do this is to "Be Natural."

B -- Breathe deeply, it will help increase energy levels.
E -- Exercise: 20 minutes, three times a week -- and running from errand to errand doesn't count!

N -- Nutrition: Three well-balanced meals each day.
A -- Attitude: Negative attitudes are contagious and destructive. Try to see the glass half full.
T -- Time management: Set priorities and don't take on more than you can handle.
U -- Uniqueness: Recognize and treasure your own uniqueness. Say 'no' w
hen necessary.
R -- Relaxation: Private time to read or listen to music -- a time not to focus on the next item to do.
A -- Associations: Maintain contact with nurturing support systems -- colleagues, friends, family.
L -- Laughter: Still the best medicine. 

Snowman Garland

You will need:
White paper plates
String or ribbon
A hole punch
Crayons, markers or paints
Felt or construction paper
Scissors and glue
Cotton balls

Have kids create snowmen garland by decorating the paper plates like snowman: use the cotton balls to create "snow".   They can paint the eyes, nose and mouth (or they can also attach the face with felt or construction paper). Cut a black stovepipe hat out of construction paper or felt to place on top. Next, punch a hole in either side of the face and string together with string or ribbon. You can also have each person in the family decorate a snowman, as themselves,  to string together as a family activity.

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Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle. 


Rules for Being Human

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is the process of trial-and-error and experimentation. The "failed" experiments
are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have
learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
6. There is nothing better than "here." When your "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
7. Others are simply mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the
tools and resources you need. What you make of them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you have to do is look, listen and trust.
10. You will forget all this.

Author Unknown



Double Your Brain Power

You probably sometimes wish that you could think faster; grasp new information quickly and recall more of what you read and hear. If so, you will find help in Double Your Brain Power, by Jean Marie Stine. Some examples include:

8 Tackle information you ant to commit to your short-term memory in the morning. Reasons: The brain section that stores short-term memory items performs about 15% better in the morning. But switch to the afternoon for items you want to keep in your long-term memory because that part of your memory bank hits its stride later in the day.
8 "Reverse and rephrase" to overcome negative thoughts about your ability to learn something new. Example: Instead of " I won’t remember what I am learning" tell your brain "I’ve already learned to recall many things…names, dates, computer commands. So I can and will remember this."
8 Plan for an upcoming learning event by selecting a reward you will give yourself afterward. Pick something you would not usually buy or do. Picture yourself enjoying the reward just before the learning event starts. Repeat the process whenever you feel anxious about learning the information. Note: No matter how things turn out, give yourself the reward.
8 Answer these questions after you read something that you want to remember: What was it about? What parts of it were most important? What opinions, if any, did it contain? What is my opinion of it? What element makes it unique? Note: Do this mentally or in writing….whichever works best for you.
8 Rely on graphic devices to increase your reading speed and to help you zero in on the main points in books and other publications. Examples: italics, boldface, underlining, bulleted lists, charts, graphs, etc. As you go through pages, ignore regular text and scan only for these devices. When you find one, slow down and read those sections more carefully.
8 Boost your thinking power by taking the time to really think about the answers to these questions about a situation, some information or a problem: What seems to be the key idea here? Does this resemble or parallel anything I’ve already learned or experienced? Do I still have a nagging question about any part of this? When I put everything together, what do I see as most important.

Double Your Brain Power: Increase Your Memory by Using All of Your Brain All the Time 
by Jean Marie Stine, Prentice Hall

Who Is Doing Homework Tonight?

Homework doesn’t have to be a hassle. When you and your child tackle the how-to’s of building a positive homework partnership together….you will have a more willing learner, a more successful student and a happier relationship.

Make homework a "given" in your household. While homework is your child’s responsibility, all students benefit from a parent’s thoughtful guidance. Your child’s school is an important part of your partnership. Keep in touch with your child’s progress. Remember…teachers want your child to succeed.

Did you know…

T Students in the United States spend less time doing homework than students in any country in Western Europe.
T Research shows that girls spend considerably more time on homework than boys…doing both more assigned and unassigned study.
T The top 5% of students in the United States do less homework than the average Japanese student.
T  Time spent doing homework is positively related to higher achievement test scores.
T  Low ability students are able to achieve grades on a par with brighter students if they increase their study time.
T  Students who come from homes with an abundance of reading material…and watch little television (less than 2 hours)…achieve at higher levels than students who have little reading material…and watch a great deal of T.V. (more than 6 hours).

Institute for Educational Research


The ABCs of Conversation

To keep a conversation alive, try using the ABC method….Angles, Bridges and Catapults.

Angle: Look for a new angle on the topic, one that offers a fresh view point.
Bridge: Find a way to connect the current topic to one that’s related.
Catapult: When the conversation lags, just jump to another topic, one that’s unrelated. Wait about six seconds, though, before changing the topic.

Great Connections, Anne "Baber, Baber & Associates

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When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

Decidedly December Links:  

Engines of Our Ingenuity:  This site features nearly 1500 five-minute radio broadcast episodes on how various technological advances, art forms or ideas have shaped us.

The Medieval Source Book:  This site is a true treasure trove for anyone studying the period between the end of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. The site is an enormous collection of primary sources and other material for medieval studies.

Colorful Mathematics:  Can you prove that no more than four colors are ever needed for any map? Sounds simple but, like many simple questions, in fact it's a lot more complicated than it seems. Finding a simple proof of the 4-color theorem is one of the toughest unsolved problems in mathematics today.

Journey North:  This site is a wonderful interactive online project involving animal migration and seasonal change.

Fiscal Responsibility 101:  The Federal Reserve has launched a newly redesigned web site intended to help teach greater fiscal responsibility among school-age children.   

The eSkeletons Project:  The eSkeletons Project website is devoted to the study of human and primate comparative anatomy. It offers a unique set of digitized versions of skeletons in 2-D and 3-D in full color, animations and much supplemental information. The user can navigate through the various regions of the skeleton and view all orientations of each element along with muscle and joint information. eSkeletons enables you to view the bones of both human and non-human primates ranging from the gorilla to the tiny mouse lemur. All of the large apes are represented as well as other species from different parts of the world. Many of these primates are rare or endangered species.


From the Knowledge HQ Staff

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