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About Demme Learning

Demme Learning is an independent family-owned and operated publishing company. Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Demme Learning has been providing innovative learning solutions for homeschoolers, parents and small group learning environments since 1990.

5 Back to Homeschool Traditions


Back to homeschool traditions are all about balance, and creating a sense of excitement in your kids. Trust me, excitement is contagious. When they are excited, you will be too. When they are excited, you will be too.

Commemorating new seasons in our life is a healthy practice, for adults and children alike. Marking time with a tradition or special memory gives us a sense of excitement and ownership over our lives.

The slight hiccup with back to school season is that it can sometimes make homeschoolers feel a little left out. There is a small, or not so small, part of us that may begin to doubt our lifestyle as we see all smiling back-to-school faces fill our Facebook and Instagram news feeds each fall. We begin to ask ourselves if our kids are missing out on something by not having the brand new lunchbox and outfit for their first day.

I propose homeschoolers take ownership over the back to school season. To do so, we must first remember that “back to school” is literally an American retail season. The stores and online ads around you are trying to create a need where there isn’t one. Instead of letting those sales for lunch boxes and backpacks sow seeds of insecurity, we can embrace this season as a time of celebration.

Let’s give our kids a tangible ways to celebrate their first day of school. I believe every homeschool family can find some type of “beginning” to celebrate, even if you’re unschoolers or school year-round. It may be the beginning of a new book, or of a new season; just find a marker in time and celebrate.

Pick one or more of the below back to homeschool traditions, or come up with your own; bend them to fit your specific family. It’s all about balance, and creating a sense of excitement in your kids. Trust me, excitement is contagious. When they are excited, you will be too.

5 Back to Homeschool Traditions

1) First Half Day!

Our first day of school is actually our first half day too! The best advice I’ve ever received from a mentor homeschool mom was to ease into my year with a few subjects at a time. If may be hard for those of you who like to check off all your boxes, but a slow start for the year is a healthy way to allow a students’ confidence to grow for each subject as it comes. We start history and science on our first week, add spelling the second week, math the third, and by the fourth week we are full steam ahead. The half day also allows us to do some of the other fun first day traditions.

2) Special Breakfast

Let’s face it, food talks. Make it a holiday for your kids with their favorite breakfast food. If I’m feeling really lazy, I just go to the store the night before and buy a box of donuts! Kids are not picky when it comes to sugary treats; they just want something out of the ordinary, anything that says “This is a special day!”

3) Treasure Hunt

A simple treasure hunt gives real joy to your morning, without derailing the schedule for the day. We have four to five simple clues, and the prizes at the end are always inexpensive and related to school. This year the prizes were erasable colored pencils and chewing gum. It is OK that the clues are easy and the hunt only takes five minutes, because the object of the game is NOT problem-solving hard riddles. The object is to start school with fun! I thought my junior high boys would have grown out of this tradition this year, but it was just as exciting as when they were in 1st grade. We have each boy take turns reading and solving a clue. Make sure you have enough clues for each of your children.

4) First Day of School Pictures

You may think your big second grader is all grown up, but years from now you will look back at and see how truly tiny they really were. Give yourself grace to be authentic. Last year my kids were freshly bathed with new clothes and a beautifully decorated chalkboard sign on their first morning of school. The next year our “first day of school” pictures took place on the fourth day of lessons at 4:30pm and I had to beg my kids to change out of pajamas! Give yourselves a break! You are the mom, the cook, the principal, security guard, and teacher. It is OK to not be the perfectly scheduled yearbook photographer. The key is documenting the beginning of something new, not how Pinterest-worthy your pictures are.

The key for back to homeschool pictures is documenting the beginning of something new, not how Pinterest-worthy your pictures are.

5) NOT Back to School Trip

Celebrate your freedom from the public school calendar! Take your family vacation in late August or September, instead of July. Go on a camping trip, or enjoy the quiet beach all to yourself! Go to museums during weekday daytime hours. Invite your homeschool friends to the best park in your town, on a Tuesday at 10:00am! Use this season to revel a little bit in the freedom we have as homeschoolers.

I hope any of these traditions help you begin your year with excitement!

About the Author

Robyn Joyner is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mother to twin boys. With a degree in Early Childhood, she believes learning doesn’t begin or end with school or college degrees, but is a lifelong journey. She leads the Women’s Ministry Fellowship in her church, and enjoys meal planning, spending time with her husband and children, and reading children’s literature. Robyn blogs at Leading Them to the Rock.

Robyn Joyner is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mother to twin boys. Robyn blogs at Leading Them to the Rock.

Learn about homeschooling in this blog series.

Back to homeschool traditions are all about balance, and creating a sense of excitement in your kids. Trust me, excitement is contagious. When they are excited, you will be too. When they are excited, you will be too.

Math-U-See & Spelling You See Webinars


We're giving you all the answers about Math-U-See and Spelling You See in our upcoming webinar series.

Let’s Build Lifelong Learners Together

There’s a lot that goes into your child’s education and we want to help by giving you the tools you need to succeed.

Since we have a lot to talk about, we’re breaking things down and giving you all the answers in our upcoming webinar series about our Math-U-See and Spelling You See products.

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• Learn from experts and get your questions answered in real time
• Find out what it takes to build your lifelong learner
• Get insight on our curricula
• And much, much more!

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Fractions Demonstration for Homeschoolers


Many people struggle with fractions–including adults! Steve Demme uses this video workshop to help you see fractions, which is a critical step in understanding them. He reveals unique teaching approaches that you can apply to your own homeschool program, even if you don’t consider math your favorite–or best–school subject. When you teach using Steve’s tips and methods, math will become not only understandable, but also fun for your child.

What holds children back when it comes to fractions? The answer is a lack of true understanding and mastery. They are often encouraged to memorize just enough to complete a chapter. Then, when confronted with even simple word problems or real-life problem solving, they have to ask, “What do we do?” Not anymore. Observe Steve’s teaching methods to learn how to help your child understand fractions and other important math concepts, building knowledge he or she can use throughout home education and in the real world. Steve prioritizes thorough mastery of the subject at hand before students move on to the next topic, a technique that creates truly confident problem solvers.

Fractions Demonstration

Related Blog Post

Fractions Are Critical for Success in Higher Math

Schedule a Math-U-See Consultation

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – Math-U-See is a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Math-U-See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

We’ve gathered 16 tips for new Math-U-See users like you. The best part – the tips are coming from actual parents using the curriculum.

Stewardship Math Demonstration for Homeschoolers


What is your relationship with money? Do you have trouble managing it or making sure it’s in line with what God wants for you? There’s good news: your money doesn’t have to put you at odds with your Christian life. In this video, Steve Demme discusses how to be a faithful steward, caring for the gifts God has given you. He shares insight into God’s view of your possessions and discusses being not only grateful for the gifts God gives us, but also responsible in using them. He covers such topics as riches, temptation, bills, taxes, marriage, and work for the glory of God, providing practical examples, relevant scriptures, and personal experiences. Best of all, he explains each topic in easy-to-grasp terms, with a little humor added in for good measure. Incorporate his approach into your at-home school program.

Stewardship Math Demonstration

Stewardship Math Program

Learn about Steve Demme’s stewardship math program.


Multiplication Demonstration for Homeschoolers


Watch as Steve Demme covers ways to teach your child math with this multiplication demonstration. Too many people go through life memorizing mathematical facts and formulas, but not really understanding how to use math in real-life situations. In this multiplication video, Steve covers ways to teach your child multiplication skills that he can apply throughout his homeschool years and in real life. Even better, he provides ways to make learning math fun.

If you’ve ever watched a child struggle with math, you know that memorization of key concepts isn’t enough. Most children can memorize well enough to pass a test or get through a school week on a particular concept. The problem comes when they are asked to apply their skills to different types of math problems–or even the same type of problem, once the memory has faded a bit. Children need true understanding in order to master multiplication and apply it in homeschooling and throughout life. Steve uses his unique, step-by-step home education method to help children move from memorization to thinking their way through math.

Multiplication Demonstration

Schedule a Math-U-See Consultation

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – Math-U-See is a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Math-U-See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

We’ve gathered 16 tips for new Math-U-See users like you. The best part – the tips are coming from actual parents using the curriculum.

Algebra Demonstration for Homeschoolers


Don’t allow algebra to confuse and discourage your child. You can give him the firm foundation he needs to become a confident problem solver. Watch this algebra workshop video to learn some fundamental algebraic concepts and get tips that will help your child (and you) understand the language of algebra. Steve Demme shows step-by-step approaches to algebra that every parent can use.

If your child is going to explore advanced match concepts during home education and/or use them at college later, she’ll need a firm understanding of algebra. Just learning enough to finish a school unit or chapter will surely leave her frustrated and confused later. Math only gets more complicated from this level. But with Steve’s unique teaching method, your child can master algebra and develop the skills and understanding she needs for continued math success. When you teach using Steve’s approach, your child will fully master one subject before moving on to the next, eliminating the confusion students experience when they lack true understanding.

Algebra Demonstration

Related Blog Posts

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Schedule a Math-U-See Consultation

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – Math-U-See is a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Math-U-See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

We’ve gathered 16 tips for new Math-U-See users like you. The best part – the tips are coming from actual parents using the curriculum.

Division Demonstration for Homeschoolers


For many homeschool parents, just thinking about teaching division causes anxiety. In this video, Steve Demme gives parents at all math levels some tips for making division understandable and fun for their children, providing the basics they need to move from early school work concepts into upper-level math. Even better, Steve shows parents like you how to teach tricky division concepts and turn them into lasting skills that can be used throughout home education and in real life. You can help your child become a confident problem solver!

Steve’s unique teaching methods decode division concepts, from the basics up through advanced math, to ensure that homeschool students really master each concept instead of just memorizing facts until the next chapter. By building on the basics, Steve’s step-by-step teaching methods accomplish what few math programs do: true understanding. Watch the video to learn ways to prevent frustration and confusion from coloring your child’s math experience.

Division Demonstration

Schedule a Math-U-See Consultation

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – Math-U-See is a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Math-U-See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

We’ve gathered 16 tips for new Math-U-See users like you. The best part – the tips are coming from actual parents using the curriculum.

Place Value Demonstration for Homeschoolers


Watch as Steve Demme teaches math concepts and provides tips for making math understandable in this place value demonstration, not only for homeschool work, but also for practical application in real life. Steve’s methods make it easy for you to teach your child, even if you’ve struggled with math your entire life. Best of all, his tips help to make learning math fun!

Place value isn’t just a concept to memorize and move past. It’s an important building block for math, from the basics through advanced school concepts. Steve teaches the language of math, concentrating on mastery versus mere memorization of facts and formulas. His methods ensure that children fully understand the topic at hand before moving to the next subject. If you want to teach your child how to think through math and solve problems rather than just remember rules, don’t miss this video. Steve will show you how to make your homeschool student a confident problem solver.

Place Value Demonstration

Related Blog Posts

4 Creative Activities for Reinforcing Place Value

Teaching Place Value is Important

Schedule a Math-U-See Consultation

Intrigued? We’re not going to be falsely modest – Math-U-See is a great program and we’d love to see what you think. Let us talk to you about your unique situation and learn for yourself what Math-U-See can do for you.

Sign up for a free consultation today.

Get a free consultation from a Math-U-See expert.

We’ve gathered 16 tips for new Math-U-See users like you. The best part – the tips are coming from actual parents using the curriculum.

8 Ways to Include Music in Your Homeschool When You Aren’t Musical


How can you include music in your homeschool when you aren’t musical yourself?

It’s a dilemma shared by so many homeschool moms. You want to give your children a well-rounded education, and, of course, that includes music. But how can you include music in your homeschool when you aren’t musical yourself?

Well, it is possible! Here are eight great ways to include music in your homeschool:

1) Read Books

It seems that every time I’m at the library I find more great pictures books related to music. There are some that teach about the instruments of the orchestra or about great composers throughout the ages. If you need some suggestions, ask your librarian!

2) Watch Musicals

I love watching musicals with my kids. There are some fun ones that are great for elementary ages, such as Mary Poppins, The Music Man, and The Wizard of Oz. Watch these for a super easy way to add some music education in your homeschool

3) Attend Performances

Keep your eyes and ears open to learn about performances in your community. Local bands and orchestras often have special kids concerts during the day. Many parks will host bands in the summertime. And, libraries often have smaller chamber groups and soloists perform. Talk with your kids before you attend about proper concert etiquette: listening, not being distracting, and applauding.

4) Utilize a Pre-Made Playlist

Do you have Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, or another subscription music app? These, often have pre-made playlists such as “Opera for Kids” or “Great Beethoven Music” that will give you the music to listen to. If you don’t have a subscription service, just search for the playlists on YouTube!

5) Start Music Lessons

I’m often asked what age kids should start private music lessons. Five is a good age for violin, and seven is a good age for piano. But, ask the teacher because some will prefer for kids to be a bit older. If you as the mom would like to become more musical yourself, take music lessons along with your kids!

6) Add Music to Your Homeschool Co-op

If you attend a homeschool co-op, find a mom who can teach music to start a class there. There are so many types of music classes to try: music appreciation, music theory, recorder, choir, piano class, drumming, preschool music & movement, etc.

7) Listen in the Car

Do you have a classical radio station in your town? If you do, listen to it for 5 minutes or so each time you drive around with the kids. They (and you) will start hearing a different type of music and hopefully will find some you enjoy! I also recommend Maestro Classics CDs for music appreciation.

8) Use an Online Course

To help moms at home and at homeschool co-ops, I have created a number of music courses at Music in Our Homeschool. If you only have a little time to do some music with your kids, you’ll like 15-Minute Music Lessons.

So, which one of these eight will you start with? Some of these are super easy and free! Add a little music to your homeschool today!

About the Author

Gena Mayo is a homeschool mom of eight and music teacher for more than twenty years. She loves encouraging and equipping homeschool moms at I Choose Joy! and helping them to include music in their homeschools at Music in Our Homeschool.

Gena Mayo is a homeschool mom of eight and music teacher for more than twenty years. She loves encouraging and equipping homeschool moms at "I Choose Joy!" and helping them to include music in their homeschools at "Music in Our Homeschool."

Learn about homeschooling in this blog series.

How can you include music in your homeschool when you aren’t musical yourself?

29 Signs You’re Raising a Reader


Here are some signs and clues that your efforts to raise a reader have paid off – even if it doesn’t always seem so rewarding at the time.

Here are some signs and clues that your efforts to raise a reader have paid off – even if it doesn’t always seem so rewarding at the time.

There’s a lot of talk about raising readers these days. Homeschool parents especially are sold on the importance of reading – and pretty much everyone is now aware of the lifelong benefits of reading aloud and are trying to do everything right in this area from day one:

● Start reading to your child from from birth – or better yet, in the womb!
● Provide access for a wide selection of board books for Junior to chew on
● Make reading part of the bedtime routine
● Get your child his own library card

But after years of effort in this area, how can you know that your children are on the road to to becoming lifelong readers and book lovers? How will you know that you’re getting it right?

Here are some signs and clues that your efforts to raise a reader have paid off – even if it doesn’t always seem so rewarding at the time:

29 Signs You’re Raising a Reader

1. Skipped or missed library visits result in protests and sometimes even tears.
2. You max out the limit of book checkouts allowed on your library card – even if the limit is a generous 100 items.
3. You also routinely max out the allowable number of loan renewals.
4. Your library holds take up their own shelf. Forget their own shelf – they need their own ZIP code!
5. Your kids know how to search for and reserve books online from the library before they know how to navigate YouTube.
6. Your kids are familiar with Audible, Hoopla, Overdrive, and LibriVox and have those apps installed on their devices.
7. You barely have enough strength to carry the weight of your books home from the library. You have a selection of library bags with reinforced handles that you use exclusively for this purpose (or you’ve given up altogether on bags and have adopted using a cart).
8. You catch your broken-hearted children looking longingly into the book return after returning books.
9. Locating library books on library day is a lengthy and sometimes stressful event.
10. Your child finishes the library’s summer reading program before the public schools have even let out for the summer.
11. Your kids want to give books as presents (and are also familiar with which books are already in their friends/cousin’s collections) because …
12. Your kids LOVE getting books as gifts, maybe even more than toys.
13. A visit to the bookstore is just as exciting as a visit to the toy store.
14. Your car, and every room of your house is littered with books.
15. You’re constantly trying to re-organize your family’s existing bookshelves in order to fit in “one more book”.
16. Any book purging is met by a chorus of protests.
17. Your car has more books in it than your library’s bookmobile.
18. Your child never fails to pack a book when going on vacation or on a sleepover.
19. Your child’s bedroom is filled with books – on the shelves, piled beside their bed, even on the floor.
20. Your child takes books along on every car ride, short or long.
21. Your child asks new friends what their favourite books are.
22. You send your child outside to play and they take a book.
23. Your children have peculiar vocabularies that sometimes confuse other kids and even some adults.
24. Your child talks about book characters as though they were real people.
25. You feel the need to limit their reading and wonder, is it possible for a kid to read too much?
26. You’ve heard yourself say, “Put down that book and hurry up and eat your ice cream before it melts!”
27. You’ve considered taking a book away from your child as a consequence.
28. You have to make rules about NOT reading. No reading at the dinner table, or even no reading while your friends are visiting.
29. Your kids think every parcel delivery is books. For good reason.

Do any of these sound like your kids? Chances are you’ve got a booklover on your hands!

Enjoy watching your children grow up into life long learners, readers, bibliophiles, and congratulate yourself on a job well done!

About the Author

Alison is a Canadian homeschooling mama to three sweet girls. She views homeschooling through the lens of discipleship, education as a lifelong endeavour, and is thankful that she can begin each day anew by the grace of God. She’s a lover of good books, all things chocolate, and the great outdoors. Pretty much in that order. Alison also loves to write and share ideas which she does on her blog, Learning Mama.

Alison is a Canadian homeschooling mama to three sweet girls. She blogs at Learning Mama.

Learn about homeschooling in this blog series.

Here are some signs and clues that your efforts to raise a reader have paid off – even if it doesn’t always seem so rewarding at the time.