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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.

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.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

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."

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!

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.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

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.

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!

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.

A Military Family’s Guide to Homeschooling


As a military family, what might appear to be obstacles to homeschooling can transform in to catalyst for exciting and enriching educational adventures.

A little over a month ago, we received our official orders. We had two and a half weeks to rent out our home on the East Coast, find a rental on the West Coast, purge adequately to squeeze into a cottage one-third the size of our former suburban abode, ship our vehicle, pack up our family of four, and fly to our new duty station in Southern California. And I lived to write about it!

The military lifestyle is not for the faint of heart, especially around PCS (permanent change of station) season. Other factors like long deployments, detachments, and long hours further complicate the lives of service members and their families. One might think it ambitious to consider homeschooling in an environment riddled with uncertainty and constant change. However, home education has proven to be a steady anchor for our family. (Forgive the pun. I couldn’t resist. Go Navy!) It is one element of our lives that we can truly say is consistent, no matter our destination. Even still, providing a stable home education for our children while navigating the tumultuous seas of military life requires a boatload of flexibility, creativity, and courage.

I have picked up a few lessons along our journey that I hope will help homeschooling service members and their families. These tidbits of wisdom have proven invaluable to me.

Semper Gumby

Always flexible.

A seasoned military spouse whispered that phrase to me during a meeting at our first squadron. I had shared with her the story of our almost-didn’t-happen wedding and cancelled honeymoon. My husband-to-be had received orders that placed him 1,400 miles away from our wedding venue the night before we were set to take our vows. He managed to make it to the ceremony but we had to trade in our tickets to Jamaica for a long ride to our first duty station. “Semper gumby,” she said, as she patted me on the shoulder. Always flexible.

Military families are masters at flexibility. It is that attribute that keeps us from breaking when we are asked to bend. That pliability will serve you well as you homeschool your children.

• Be prepared to stretch to accommodate varying homeschooling laws as you move from state to state. From umbrella schools and homeschool charters, to private school affidavits and portfolio evaluations, we have seen a wide range of homeschool requirements – some more involved than others. One of the first things to do when given options for your next duty stations is to investigate the homeschool laws for that area.

• Be willing to drop or alter your lessons and activities in order to take advantage of hard-to-come-by Skype/Facetime sessions with a deployed service member or an opportunity to catch a Space-A flight to an exotic destination. In an effort to provide consistency, we can become so rigid with our learning schedules that we do not leave room to live. Take advantage of the freedom to school at your pace and redeem that precious time with your family.

• Consider lightening your curriculum load in order to become more portable. When the rubber meets the road, we can usually pack our grammar, writing, and arithmetic books in our carry-on bags and then rely on local libraries to supplement our learning. What are your bare essentials? Though it is tempting to collect materials, manipulatives, and other classroom tools, I have found that doing more with less makes for a more peaceful home. When you are purging before the next big move, consider scaling down your school items.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

Embrace the Richness of Military Life

Often, I have felt like the demands of the military life have interrupted or impeded my well-laid plans for our schooling. It would seem like we would get into a routine and then my husband would leave for a temporary assignment and we would have to readjust around his absence. Even his returns would throw us off-kilter. Recently, I made the decision to stop kicking against the goads. We decided to make the make the military lifestyle a part of our education.

• Take advantage of your ability to travel. When we fly out to meet my spouse on his temporary assignments, we dig into the history, geography, agriculture, and culture of our destination. We do not consider these trips an interruption to our school year. Instead, we welcome these adventures as a part of a well-rounded education.

• Learn military history, traditions, and technology. Bases offer tours of ships, planes, subs, tanks and more. Discuss the roles of the various branches of the military and make it a point to understand the role of your active duty member within their squadron or platoon. My girls love to sit with their father and watch planes take off and land. He gets to share some of his work with them and they get to show appreciation for his skill and ability.

• Connect with your community. It takes courage to venture out into a new city and build with people who have may have lived their all their lives, but it is worth it! The most loving co-ops, churches, and neighbors have taken us in during our various tours. Not only have they proven to be valuable sources of information, with inside information on the best museums, parks, dental and medical clinics, etc., they have also provided support and encouragement during our most vulnerable seasons. But do not just join to receive those benefits; give of yourself as well.

Among the freedoms I am most grateful for is the freedom to choose our own path as we educate our children. As a military family, what might appear to be obstacles to homeschooling can transform in to catalyst for exciting and enriching educational adventures. Homeschooling while serving in the military requires some ingenuity, resourcefulness, and grit, but we know first-hand, the price of our most treasured freedoms.

About the Author

Nathalie is mother to two intelligent, capable girls and doting wife to a handsome naval aviator. When she is not managing or her website (www.ToTeachHerOwn.com) she enjoys audiobooks, reading anything by Jane Austen, heading out on impromptu field trips, and playdates with her two girls, Elise and Lydia. Her best moments, however, are spent on her travels and adventures with her husband of 10 years, Emile.

Nathalie is mother to two intelligent, capable girls and doting wife to a handsome naval aviator. When she is not managing or her website (www.ToTeachHerOwn.com) she enjoys audiobooks, reading anything by Jane Austen, heading out on impromptu field trips, and playdates with her two girls, Elise and Lydia. Her best moments, however, are spent on her travels and adventures with her husband of 10 years, Emile

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!

As a military family, what might appear to be obstacles to homeschooling can transform in to catalyst for exciting and enriching educational adventures.

5 Ways to Find Time to Read Aloud


Instead of envisioning the perfect read aloud time, we need to start where we are and weave it into our day-to-day lives. Here are five ways to do that.

We all know reading aloud is a good thing to do as a family. Reading aloud bonds our family relationships as we share not only time but also stories. Stories shape the heart as well as the mind, educate the imagination and soul as well as the brain. Our children need stories. Even we as parents need stories.

As Sarah Mackenzie says in The Read-Aloud Family:

If you want a child to know the truth, tell him the truth. If you want a child to love the truth, tell him a story.

So we try to cram in one more thing: reading aloud.

But when we approach reading aloud as one more thing to add to our day, we get bogged down and end up doing nothing because our grand visions of how the day should go never seem to work out.

Instead of envisioning the perfect read aloud time, where everyone gathers around peacefully after a delicious dinner and sits enthralled as father reads in a deep baritone, we need to start where we are and simply weave reading aloud into our day-to-day lives.

Here are five ways to do just that.

5 Ways to Find Time to Read Aloud

1) Read Aloud During Meal Times

You have a captive audience around the table, an audience whose hands and mouths are already occupied. Seize the opportunity: read aloud during breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

Your read aloud time might only be 10 minutes, but it still counts. Ten minutes 5 days a week adds up much more quickly than thirty minutes every once in awhile.

2) Morning Time

Many families start off their homeschool day with Morning Time, Circle Time, Morning Basket, Bible Time – whatever you call it, it’s the perfect opportunity to work in some read aloud time.

And don’t forget to include reading the Bible aloud as a family as read aloud time. Too often we get a narrow perspective on what we “should” be doing and neglect to notice how we’re already doing it. If your together homeschool time includes a Bible story book or Scripture reading, you’re already reading aloud together as a family. Good job!

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

3) Audio Books

Another way to get in shared stories is often not counted: audio books. Whether it’s in the car, during meals, during craft time or even chore time, audio books are a great way to share a story as a family.

Audio book narrators are often trained voice actors, so they perform accents, different voices, and sometimes even break into song! If there’s a book you’d like to share as a family but you have a hard time reading aloud, try it as an audio book. Audio books count as read aloud time.

4) Bedtime

The bedtime story is cliché, but that’s because it’s such a sweet and special time to share. Even if it’s just a single poem or one board book, connecting over a story at bedtime is a great way to wrap up the day together.

5) Delegation

One avenue to work in more read aloud time that is too often forgotten is to delegate the reading aloud! Audio books are not the only way to delegate, either.

We should give our kids opportunities to be the one reading aloud. When they read a picture book or story – even one well below their reading level – to a younger sibling, those siblings are not only sharing a special bond, the reader is gaining confidence and fluency in both reading and speaking.

Listening in on our children reading aloud allows us to notice and diagnose troubles they might be having that we wouldn’t notice if they’ve become silent readers.

Reading aloud is good for both the reader and the listener. Don’t feel like you have to be the one reading in order to get the benefits! Share the wealth. Assign some sibling reading time to give the toddler extra picture book time and the older child extra reading practice. Ask the children to take turns reading a Psalm or Proverb each morning. Have a child read aloud to you in the car.

Make sharing books a way of life by weaving it into the nooks and crannies and by counting all the unconventional ways it happens in your family. Don’t set up an ideal and beat yourself up trying to reach it. Perfectionism hinders progress, but simple practice will get us farther than we imagined possible.
Today, simply pick up a book (or hit play on an audiobook!) and share a story as a family.

About the Author

Mystie and her husband, Matt, have five children whom they educate classically, seeking to cultivate wisdom and virtue in themselves as well as their children, through discipleship in a simple life full of Truth, Goodness, Beauty – and a lot of books. Mystie blogs at Simply Convivial.

Mystie Winckler (Simply Convivial) and her husband, Matt, have five children whom they educate classically.

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!


How to Reflect on Your Homeschool Year


It's important to reflect on your homeschool year to take stock of strengths and weaknesses; this is an essential part of growth.

Whether you’re looking back on the first half of the year or focused on the year as a whole, it’s important to reflect on your year to see what worked and what didn’t in your homeschool. Taking stock of strengths and weaknesses is an essential part of growth. It can also be reassuring, especially as new homeschoolers, to see how much progress has been made instead of dwelling on the negatives.

Here are some tips to guide you as you reflect on your homeschool year:

4 Homeschool Reflection Tips

Spend Some Time Talking to Your Kids

It’s amazing what answers we get from our kids when we ask. Spend some time reflecting with your kids, so you can all understand what was good and not-so-good about this school year. Give them a chance to ask questions, too.

Some questions you might consider are:

• What changes do you notice in your child?
• What do you need to do to prepare for next year?
• What are you most happy about accomplishing this year?
• Where do you have room for improvement?
• Did you love the curriculum you used or do you need to make some changes?
• Could you have visited the library more often? Taken more field trips? Participated in more local homeschool group activities?

These are just some general ideas to get you started as you reflect on your homeschool year together.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

Evaluate What Your Family Has Learned

Most people would agree that homeschooling is a journey. It’s not just an individual learning path, but the whole family is learning as a whole. Don’t be afraid to look at the big picture. The great thing about evaluating what you have learned is that there is no right or wrong answer.

Write It Down

Even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s always good to keep a written record of your child’s progress. This can be done in transcript form, narrative, or a portfolio combining completed work with photos and narrative of your homeschool year. Do whatever works for you because you’re more likely to stick with it year after year. Keeping track in writing will help you remember and measurably mark progress from semester to semester or year to year. It will also be a nice keepsake when your children are grown. Consider it your homeschool yearbook!

Set Goals

Setting goals in any area of life is helpful, but especially in homeschooling. Choose a goal for the semester, for the year, and even for your overall homeschool vision. What will success look like for you when all is said and done? This vision can help you get through the tough days. It can also keep you on track when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Goals help us to focus. Remember that they’re guidelines, not hard and fast rules. The beauty of homeschooling means that we can adjust as necessary to meet our educational goals in the way that works best for our child’s individual needs and learning style.

Whatever method you choose, spend some time reflecting on your school year. It’s never too early or too late to evaluate your progress, shore up your weak spots, or celebrate your successes.

About the Author

Sara is a homeschooling mom of three daughters. She blogs about their delight-directed, literature-rich homeschool at Embracing Destiny and at The Homeschool Post. She has been a speaker at the Digital Homeschool Convention in 2016 and 2017.

Sara is a homeschooling mom of three daughters who blogs and speaks about homeschooling.

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!


Bored Students: How to Discourage & Inspire Their Curiosity


Bored students needs to be reignited, not just given more work to do.

My student is bored. What do I do?

For many homeschoolers our goal is to teach our children in such a way that they have a love of learning, so it is very disheartening when we see that our student is bored. A bored student will be slow to participate, won’t give their best effort, will look for distractions and will be a distraction to others. At times it will seem like there is very little that we can do about that.

But – parents know that they must find a way to overcome this attitude because they know, if it is allowed to stay, their child will never reach their full potential. We need to be careful, though, how we approach a bored child. Out of our desire for the best for our kids we can go over the top and just push them to do what we know is good stuff. But unless a child has a teachable heart – a teachable attitude – we will create more resistance instead of a pathway to potential.

Bored students needs to be reignited, not just given more work to do.

How a Student Becomes Bored

One of the most delightful things in young children is seeing their natural curiosity and how that drives them to learn so much in such a short time. Unfortunately, some of the resources and teaching techniques that we use to educate our young children (both in schools and in homeschools) squashes that curiosity out of our children and before we know it, they’ve lost their curiosity and they are bored.

Curiosity is the expression of something that interests us.
Curiosity makes us ask questions and look for answers.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

How to Discourage Creativity in 3 Easy Steps

Here are three ways parents can discourage curiosity – even though they have the best intentions to deliver the best homeschooling education.

1. Start Too Early, Study Too Long

Our culture values productivity, and as such we see play as a relaxation or recreational activity – and yet for a child, it is the context for them to understand their world and who they are in it. Play can be with toys, out in nature, creative pursuits, sporting activities, with siblings and friends, or on their own. Play isn’t without boundaries: respect and responsibility always needs to be considered just as it is in adult life. When we give our young children book-driven lessons that take up their time and energy, we squash their ability to investigate, explore, engage with the world around them.

Play encourages curiosity.

2. Focus on Achievements, Not the Journey

Once again, our culture values academic success – which is only achieved by completing certain studies and by doing well on tests. When achieving academic success is our motivation it will squash curiosity – because curiosity cannot be contained in an exam. Curiosity will take our children here and there, down rabbit trails – they will ask questions and look for answers. This is valuable learning – and yet if we don’t value this discovery type learning we will squash it and focus on the book learning and test-driven activities.

Curiosity asks questions.

3. Stifle the Uniqueness of Each Child

Each of our children have unique ways of learning, as well as different interests. When all our study time is spent studying a prescribed set of lessons (having to learn certain things at certain ages) we don’t make the most of the natural curiosity that each child has – and therefore curiosity dies. Our children’s interests create a context for learning – they will ask questions, and find answers, they will test their theories and communicate their ideas to others. This is learning – this is curiosity driven learning that is consolidated because it is relevant to the child.

Curiosity will lead each child on their own path of learning.

How to Inspire Curiosity

I think the best thing to do when our kids are bored is to pause on the homeschooling/academic book-learning side of things and focus on life: to enjoy outings together, to enjoy the world around us, to enjoy books and creative projects based on the things they are interested in and the things that your family does as a family. When children have lost curiosity, we can give them all the lessons that we plan (even fun ones) and they still won’t learn anything so there is no benefit in pushing through their boredom with more lessons.

Your bored student needs their curiosity re-ignited. Their curiosity will be ignited as they engage with the world, without expectations.

Are you brave enough to set aside planned lessons so that you can:

1. Learn what interests your child
2. Give them time to dig into what interests them
3. Help them learn about the things that interest them

I know there are subjects that our children must learn – these are things that will enable them to do well in life. But does your child have to learn them right now? If they are bored, then certainly, now is not the time. Now is the time to reignite curiosity – an interest in the world around them. And then learning becomes fun.

About the Author

Belinda Letchford writes at Live life with your Kids! where she encourages parents to build strong relationships, shape their children’s hearts and use the whole of life to teach character, wisdom and life skills. Peter and Belinda live in the north of Australia on a small farm, and though directive parenting is over for Belinda and Peter (now that their kids are adults) they still find it a joy to be available to their kids – helping them in their endeavors and talking about all sorts of things day in and day out.

Belinda Letchford writes at Live life with your Kids! where she encourages parents to build strong relationships.

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☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

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New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!


5 Ways to Incorporate Play & Discovery into Learning


You don’t have to craft something elaborate to incorporate play and discovery into your homeschool. It’s much easier than that.

Homeschooling is appealing to many of us because it frees us to be creative, to have fun, to play more and to learn through discovery. As much fun as this sounds, it’s also easy to become quickly overwhelmed. Pinterest is full of fun ideas, and bloggers around the internet share hands-on activities.

You don’t have to craft something elaborate to incorporate play and discovery into your homeschool. It’s much easier than that.

5 Ways to Incorporate Play & Discovery into Learning

1) Go Outside

Nature has a wonderful way of sparking a child’s creativity. Set a goal to spend at least a little bit of time outdoors each week. You can bring your curriculum outside, and do lessons under a shady tree, or, you can leave the books at home and let nature be the teacher.

Give your child a blank journal and some colored pencils and let them explore. Don’t push them to draw or write, just make it available to them. Get yourself a journal as well, and set the example for your children. Draw the plants and flowers you see. Draw and write about birds and bugs. Let your imagination run wild.

2) Get Active

Do your kids ever get frustrated with their school work? If you find yourself sitting at the table with a child who is feeling overwhelmed, close the books, and get moving.

With younger children, you can practice many of the things they need to know while jumping on a trampoline or passing a ball back and forth. Practice math facts, segmenting words, or telling stories as you get active.

With older kids, plan active breaks between subjects. Finished math? Go ride your bike for 20 minutes, or play basketball outside before starting the next subject.

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3) Encourage Creativity

Provide your child with art materials and have them create something! They can make their own board games to go along with their lessons, illustrate something they read, invent something, map something . . . just provide them with the supplies they need and let them explore!

4) Use Manipulatives

Incorporate manipulatives into your curriculum. Some programs (like Math U See) have manipulatives built in, and they can help kids visualize concepts. You can also use manipulatives in other subjects – build words with tiles for spelling, use modeling clay to understand science concepts, and act out historical stories with plastic figures.

5) Take a Step Back

When all else fails, take a step back. Kids are often much more creative and energetic than we are as parents. If you are struggling to find ways to bring more play into your homeschool, ask your kids for ideas!

About the Author

Heather Aliano is a homeschooling mom of four wild and wonderful kids. She’s an accidental homeschooler, who started homeschooling when her family received military orders overseas, and six years later is still going. You can follow along with her adventures, and find free and fun to use printable homeschooling resources at Only Passionate Curiosity.

Heather Aliano is a homeschooling mom of four wild and wonderful kids. She’s an accidental homeschooler, who started homeschooling when her family received military orders overseas, and six years later is still going.

BONUS: Free Homeschool 101 eBook

Considering homeschooling?

Download our free eBook to learn about:

☑ Homeschool styles.
☑ Homeschool tips.
☑ Homeschool resources.

Download the eBook

New to homeschooling? This free eBook is for you!