There are endless workbooks, Websites and television shows dedicated to helping kids learn basic school work, like ABC's and 123's. And while mastering these skills is important, there are other skills — like caring for others, giving back to your community, and always telling the truth —that are way more important, yet often missing in workbook exercises and activity sheets.

There is a new online course that is hoping to fill the gap. Raising a Humane Child is a distance-learning class designed for all parents, teachers and caregivers to help them bring humane education concepts and values to their child-rearing strategies. The course shows parents how to teach their children to be humane citizens: compassionate, honest, wise, generous.  

I know from experience that the best way to teach kids to do anything is to let them see you doing those very same things. And as a green mom who cares deeply about the planet, I know that I have benefited tremendously from my community network of like-minded friends and colleagues both in "real life" and on the Web. So I think one of the most impressive features of this course is that participants can interact virtually with other participants and course advisors through discussion boards, instantly connecting a group of people who are passionate about nurturing compassionate, happier children.

The course can also be counted towards Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for teachers through the University of Maine. First session begins March 1, and a second session will begin on Oct. 2. Check out the Institute For Humane Education for more info.

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