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About Joseph Demme

Joseph Demme is an Online Marketing Specialist at Demme Learning. Joseph has a B.A. in Communications: Film & Technology from Bryan College and currently lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters.

Pi Day Roundup | 2018


Here are some fun pi day references that we saw posted about Pi Day on the Internet in 2018.

Happy Pi Day, everyone! At Math-U-See, we love math and we love to celebrate, so a math holiday like Pi Day is perfect! Two years ago we even had a pi(e) contest at the Demme Learning home office. Here’s the pie that Steve Demme brought in that day. 🙂

Some aren’t that fond of π, like our own Isaac Demme (although he does love piE, to be clear). Read his thoughts on the matter in this blog post.

What is Pi Day?

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th because 3, 1, 4 are the first three digits of the mathematical term π: 3.14.

People celebrate Pi Day in several ways, ranging from doing mathematical activities to making a delicious dessert for the family to enjoy. We’d love to know how you celebrate Pi Day! Let us know in the comments.

Our friend Bethany shared this helpful video from PBS that explains it:

Pi Day Roundup

Here are some fun Pi Day references posted about Pi Day that we’ve seen so far on the Internet in 2018:

A post shared by Matt Wheeler (@mattwheelervh) on

Celebrating #PiDay with a savory & sweet crock-pot contest. Yum! 😋

A post shared by Demme Learning (@demmelearning) on

Free Math Facts Music & Activities

Songs, music, and rhyme are all helpful tools to aid students with math facts. Download some math songs to sing while you’re outside! There are also activities for when the weather doesn’t lend itself to outside math.

Download free addition facts songs, coloring pages, and activities.

Download free songs, activities, coloring pages, and more to help your students learn math facts!


Math-U-See Decimal Street® Creations


Decimal Street® is a fun way that Math-U-See teaches the concept of place value in a visual way with manipulatives.

Decimal Street® is a fun way that Math-U-See teaches the concept of place value in a visual way with manipulatives.

A poster of Decimal Street® is included with all of the Math-U-See Integer Block Kits, and many of our customers have created their own versions. Instructions on how to make your own are included in the Primer, Alpha, and Beta levels of Math-U-See; Decimal Street® is intended to be used with the Math-U-See integer blocks.

We love seeing what our creative customers come up with, and wanted to share some of our favorite creations that we found below. Cars seems to be a favorite theme; what other themes and stories can you come up with? It works best when you can adapt it to your child’s interests. You could have a story about people riding bikes, borrowing cooking supplies from a neighbor, or finding a friend to play with.

If you do get creative with your own version, post it on social media with the hashtag #DecimalStreet and tag us so that we can see it.

Decimal Street® Creations

Gena from I Choose Joy created this Decimal Street® Lapbook.

Source: I Choose Joy.

Renee from Little Homeschool on the Prairie created this Decimal Street® Lapbook.

Source: Little Homeschool on the Prairie.

Courtney from Life on Courtney Lane created this Math-U-See Decimal Street®.

Source: Life on Courtney Lane.

This version of the Math-U-See Decimal Street® was found on My Home School 101.

Source: My Home School 101.

Decimal Street® Story

We recently wrote a story about three little pigs that might sound a little familiar for an article in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Download the story as a PDF file.

three-little-pigs-of-decimal-street

Free Math Facts Music & Activities

Songs, music, and rhyme are all helpful tools to aid students with math facts. Download some math songs to sing while you’re outside! There are also activities for when the weather doesn’t lend itself to outside math.

Download free addition facts songs, coloring pages, and activities.

Download free songs, activities, coloring pages, and more to help your students learn math facts!


5 Quick Tips for Taking Better Holiday Photos with Your Family


Take better holiday photos on your smartphone or DSLR this year with these quick tips.

Take better holiday photos on your smartphone or DSLR this year with these quick tips.

Whether you’re using a smartphone, a DSLR, or a point-and-shoot to take your photos, these tips should apply to any photographer.

1. Shoot Moments and Poses

Some of the best photos are taken when the subject isn’t expecting it. Look for moments that you can capture, like someone opening a gift, rather than just taking photos of your family posing and smiling for the camera. Not only will you get more variety in your photos, but they will look more natural.

2. Get Down to the Kid’s Eye Level

When you’re taking pictures of kids, try to get down to their eye level. You will look silly and suffer a little discomfort, but the results will be more personal and dynamic.

Girl with a fourth of July sparkler.

3. Photograph Items

The holidays are full of nostalgia. When you’re taking photos, don’t forget to take some time to capture the dinner table before (and after) you eat, the candles by the window, or something that has a specific memory for you.

Christmas train display.

4. Charge Batteries and Prepare Memory Cards Beforehand

I can’t stress this one enough; I’ve missed capturing so many moments because my camera’s battery died or I ran out of room on my memory card. The evening before an event is a great time to make sure that your camera equipment is ready for action.

5. Know When to Put the Camera Down

The holidays are a great time to take photos with your family, but don’t let this take away from the overall experience.


Our “Catchiest” Title Yet: A Parent’s Guide to Pokémon GO


The Pokémon GO mobile game is being played by millions, and parents need to know the benefits and risks. Read this short guide to learn more.

The Pokémon GO mobile game is being played by millions, and parents need to know the benefits and risks. Read this short guide to learn more.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is a popular mobile game that was created by Niantic and released in July, 2016. It’s based on the popular Pokémon franchise that covers trading cards, video games, television shows, and more (few made it out of the 1990s without some exposure to it). The latest game takes a more personal approach by utilizing the camera on your smartphone and a game map that puts you in the Pokémon world. It’s called augmented reality, and it’s a feature that you’ll be seeing a lot more of in the near future.

Pokémon Go fun at Demme Learning.

In Pokémon GO, you are a Pokémon trainer who walks around catching Pokémon by flicking a Poké Ball at the creatures and adding them to your virtual collection. You can find items to improve your game, hatch eggs to get more Pokémon, and battle other trainers on opposing teams. If you would like to learn more about how to play the game, this blog post is really helpful.

Our family has been playing the game for the last few weeks and have enjoyed it quite a bit; we’ve gone on more walks, explored new places, and met lots of people along the way.

The Benefits of Pokémon GO

There are several benefits associated with playing Pokémon GO:

Exercise

If you don’t get up and walk around, you won’t go far in the game. Since I started playing Pokémon GO, I’ve walked over 20 miles. I’ve been wanting to go on more walks, and this has been a great motivator for me.

Community

So many people are playing Pokémon GO, making it really easy to meet your neighbors and make new friends; it appeals to different age groups, and the competition isn’t as prominent as it is in other games. You can’t interact with the players in the game, which encourages players to do this in person.

Family Activity

This is a great way to get out of the house with your family, and it’s cheap! You can go on a walk, pack a picnic, or go on a play date with another family.

My kids enjoying a break from playing Pokémon GO in East Petersburg.

Exploration

One of the things that I like most about the game is that it encourages me to explore more; I’ve gone to several parks in the area, and have walked around parts of my neighborhood that I normally wouldn’t go to.

Demme Learning employees playing Pokémon GO.

Learn History

Poké Stops are locations in the game where you can collect items that will help you in the game. They’re often located at historical markers, so you can learn a little history while playing the game. You can also take your students on field trips where there are a lot of Poké Stops.

EastPetersburgPokemonGo

What Parents Should Know About Pokémon GO

While Pokémon GO is a fun, beneficial game, it also comes with potential risks.

In-App Purchases

While the game is free, you can make in-app purchases. For kids who have the password to your account, or for a compulsive spender, this could be problematic.

Meeting Strangers

As I mentioned before, one of the benefits of the game is that you can meet people; but it can also be a risk. It’s helpful to set clear guidelines with your family on how to interact with strangers: when they should be playing the game, where they should go, and whether or not they can play it alone.

Distractions

The game is on your phone, so the possibility of being distracted is high. This can be a mild issue for tripping or walking into things, and dangerous when you’re walking down a road or by a cliff. When the game loads, this warning appears: “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”

Privacy

This one ties into distractions as well. It’s super easy to walk onto private property while playing the game, so game players should keep this in mind so that they aren’t an annoyance to property owners.

Addiction

Like most video games, you can become obsessed with Pokémon GO. If your children are showing signs that they’re addicted to the game, have a talk with them about how to balance it with the rest of their life.

Additional Reading

The Wired Homeschool’s podcast episode about Pokémon GO.
Ethan Demme’s series on digital citizenship.

How does a family stay safe and sane in the face of so many screens vying for our attention?


You Might Be a Homeschooler If…


Over the years I’ve heard a LOT of homeschooler jokes and thought that it would be fun to share of them with you.

I was the valedictorian in my class and voted most likely to succeed…I was also a homeschooler.

My parents homeschooled me and my three brothers, and from what I’ve experienced and learned over the years, homeschooling is not easy. It takes a lot of commitment, patience, and laughter.

I read this quote recently, and I think it’s a great motto to live by:

“Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves, for we shall never cease to be amused.” – Author Unknown

The first homeschool joke I remember was from one of Todd Wilson’s Homeschooling cartoon books that my father brought back from a homeschool convention that he was attending one year:

Homeschooler joke by Todd Wilson.

Over the years I’ve heard a LOT of jokes about homeschooling and thought that it would be fun to share of them with you. Keep in mind that everyone’s homeschooling journey is different. Some of these jokes are spot on, some aren’t true for you, and some apply to homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike.

You Might Be a Homeschooler If…

…you’ve ever graded your own test.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever graded your own test. #YMBAH

…your report card was ever written on a napkin.

You might be a homeschooler if your report card was ever written on a napkin. #YMBAH

…you’ve ever read the dictionary or encyclopedia in your free time.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever read the dictionary or encyclopedia in your free time. #YMBAH

…you know what Vancouver B.C., V6B 4G3 is the address to.

You might be a homeschooler if you know what Vancouver B.C., V6B 4G3 is the address to. #YMBAH

…you’ve ever constructed your own catapult.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever constructed your own catapult. #YMBAH

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

…birthdays are school holidays.

You might be a homeschooler if birthdays are school holidays. #YMBAH

…you finish your homework early so you can play in the snow.

You might be a homeschooler if you finish your homework early so you can play in the snow. #YMBAH

…you’ve ever done your homework in pajamas or a costume.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever done your homework in pajamas or a costume. #YMBAH

…you heard the Weird Al parody version of a song before you heard the original.

You might be a homeschooler if you heard the Weird Al parody version of a song before you heard the original. #YMBAH

…you stop to read historical markers on trips and count it towards your history credit.
You might be a homeschooler if you stop to read historical markers on trips and count it towards your history credit. #YMBAH

…you ever wore your coonskin cap to the grocery store and didn’t think it was weird.

You might be a homeschooler if you ever wore your coonskin cap to the grocery store and didn’t think it was weird. #YMBAH

…you’ve ever stepped on math manipulatives.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever stepped on math manipulatives. #YMBAH

…you have your library barcode memorized.

You might be a homeschooler if you have your library barcode memorized. #YMBAH

…school lunches are actually really good.

You might be a homeschooler if school lunches are actually really good. #YMBAH

…you’ve ever gotten an educational toy or textbook as a present.

You might be a homeschooler if you’ve ever gotten an educational toy or textbook as a present. #YMBAH

If you thought that these were funny, share them with your friends and let us know what you think. 🙂

Do you have your own joke to share? Post it to social media with the hashtag #YMBAH so that we can read it.

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!


#TrustParents Rally 2016


#TrustParents Rally

You don’t realize how small your office building is until you invite all the local homeschool families you know, and lots of helpful education experts. That’s when you assign someone to refill the coffee, another person to refill paper towels, and another person to carry folding stools anywhere the crowd gathers.

On January 28th of this year, we at Demme Learning filled our office and warehouse space with friends from the tri-state area to talk about what school choice meant to them, and to say to all you parents, “you know what’s best for your child! Don’t settle for a poor education!”

If you missed out on the #TrustParents Rally on that cold morning, you can find the speakers’ talks below.

Ethan Demme

Ethan Demme (Demme Learning) encourages educators of all stripes to teach students how to make a living, and how to live.


Dan Beasley

Dan Beasley (HLSDA) explains the legal supports available for homeschoolers.


Brandon Detweiler

Brandon Detweiler (Veritas Press) tells how his parents struck out on their own to fill in a gap in education.


Ben Kafferlin

Ben Kafferlin (Kafferlin Strategies) explains how innovative legislation can free parents to make the best choices for their students.


Keith and Courtney Dunlap

Keith and Courtney Dunlap (CHALC) encourage parents to look beyond themselves for support in homeschooling. They also share a story about their own experiences as educators.


Ginger Wayde

Ginger Wayde (CHAP) shares a Christian perspective on supporting homeschooling.


The #TrustParents Rally was just the beginning of the day, though! Some of the same speakers participated in panel discussions, along with some new faces. Together they took audience questions, told stories, and shared candidly about their educational journeys.

The panel discussions made for a more personal and encouraging time for the parents and educators in the room. But the best parts of the day were those one-on-one conversations at the booths and at tables. While their kids hunted all over the building for Math-U-See blocks to complete a scavenger hunt, parents and other educators held cups of coffee discussing how to teach multiple grades at once, how to teach students with special needs, how to make their voices heard in legislation, and everything else people need to discuss when they’re looking for new ways to do things.

Kids having fun with Math-U-See blocks at the 2016 #TrustParents Rally.

Related Post

2015 #TrustParents Rally


Technology: Castles, Cameras, and Connectedness


We are the first generation to parent children in the media-heavy and media-reliant world. Growing up, we saw technology and the internet evolve, and we learned about it as it became part of our world.

KinderTown recently published an article for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine about using apps and technology in the family from her perspective as a parent, educator, and curator of quality educational apps.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

We are the first generation to parent children in the technology-reliant world. Growing up, we saw technology and the internet evolve, and we learned about it as it became part of our world.
 
I wake up to an alarm on my iPhone. I use a timer to be sure I don’t burn the eggs for breakfast, and I check my weather app to choose my clothes. I check my email to see if there are messages I could respond to before the kids wake up and I look up the directions to my son’s doctor’s appointment. And somewhere in between I’ve probably checked Facebook.
 
It’s only 9:15 and I’ve clicked, swiped, and scrolled through more media (and its accompanying advertisements) than my parents would have encountered in a week at my age. Although technology has become an integral part of my life, navigating this space with my children can be tricky.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Download the most popular guide to finding and using educational apps for kids!



Introducing KinderTown Power Packs


KinderTown is launching a brand new product called Power Packs.

We’ve got some exciting news to share, and you’re part of it!

KinderTown is launching a brand new product called Power Packs. Each pack is aligned to the KinderTown Learning Map and is designed to support parents in connecting the learning that happens on the iPad with educational experiences for the home. In addition, in each pack we also recommend websites and resources where parents can find more information. Our mission at KinderTown has always been to help parents be their child’s best teacher by providing them with tools to succeed. Power Packs are one more step in that direction.

Learn more about KinderTown Power Packs here.



Tips on Schoolroom Organization


There are several ways to organize your (home)schoolroom

“How should I organize our schoolroom?” is a question asked by first-time homeschoolers and veterans alike, and changes from year to year. One of the first things my parents purchased when they started homeschooling was a set of school desks & chairs from a local yard sale.

There are several ways to organize your (home)schoolroom. I collected tips from our social media followers, email newsletter, and the I asked the COAH Community.

Schoolroom Organization Tips

I really like the “workbox” organization concept. Meaning that we use a set of drawers to keep our daily work in. Each drawer contains 2 subjects, and I can easily pull out the items needed for that day. Then when my kiddos get into the school room, they just need to go through their drawers and can easily see what they need to complete each day. – erica

I have a set of square plastic containers with hinged, snap lids. Each weekend, I fill each day’s box with work for both of my kids. At this point they are too young to manage it by themselves, but I anticipate continuing with the method as they age. – LinseyWilliams

Don’t be afraid to use your dining room table, or wherever the center of family life is for lessons. Having a tucked away learning center will stay as just that…tucked away. For us, it helped to accomplish our daily lessons. – Julie J.

BONUS: Download our free homeschool 101 eBook

My children are 13, 10 and 7 and they all have their own [12×12] cubes. They have 1 for their books, 1 for my teacher books, and 1 for their backpacks (we belong to a co-op). It make it easy for them to find their work (and put it back where it belongs). – Terri W.

I find that it helps to have a way to store things like pencils/erasers/crayons/colored pencils/pencil sharpeners and other necessary items within easy reach of my students. I now have five kids and each has a pencil box with basic supplies. The pencil boxes are each a different color. Each student is assigned a color (mechanical pencils match the box, as do rulers and compasses…notebooks and backpacks). I always know who left out the supplies. Each child has a drawer with the name of the child on the front where they put their pencil boxes and extra supplies that do not fit. They each have a large bin for notebooks and non-shared school books, too. The bins are labeled with the child’s name and are placed on shelves that even the youngest child can reach.
 
Math-U-See has its own shelf too! The blocks are stored within reach and the extra workbooks are stacked and ready for the students who finish a book. – Cheryl C.

Lots of bookcases! Also plenty of binders and dividers for printable downloads! – Kim G.

A plastic bin with a handle on top for each child to keep their own curriculum they are currently working with daily… also handy for travel! It teaches responsibility for own materials, too. – Yvonne C.

It is important to keep daily used stationery close at hand and properly organized. Having to look for any of those can waste a tremendous amount of time.
 
A kid-sized plastic table and chairs.
 
I keep puzzles and boardgames in one cupboard and have another cupboard for stationery and textbooks, organized according to subject and grade. – Elsabé Pienaar

Individual planners. I have found that each of my kiddos use that as the daily guide. – Jennifer E.

My advice is that you don’t need a “school room”. We schooled at our kitchen table with a bookshelf nearby, and a small rolling cart to contain all the “stuff”. Ours had three shelves, with books/binders on the bottom, pencils and utensils on the top, and thinner notebooks in the middle. It was easy to pull out whatever we needed and to clean it up at the end of “table time”. Our Math-U-See blocks are in a basket on the nearby bookshelf with the work books on the rolling cart. – Fontaine P.

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!



Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp!


Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go!

KinderTown is hosting a free online summer camp for families!

KinderTown Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go!

Each of the weeks have a creative and educational theme, starting with Wonders of Water from June 12th – June 18th. Join KinderTown each Friday this summer for the opening ceremony where you’ll find the projects and activities for that week.

Register for camp and learn more here.