Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; this tragedy has immediate and long-lasting effects that affect many families around the world.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.
– Fred Rogers
With all of the recent reports of school closings and social distancing going on, there has been a massive outpouring of help from the homeschooling community. We’ve collected tips from several homeschool blogs below, with links to read more on their blogs.
How to Homeschool During COVID-19
1) Enjoy the Time Together
“Have adventures, go exploring, visit museums, take day trips, play board games, read together, build with LEGO, watch great movies, exercise with sites like GoNoodle, or even just relax together. This is a uniquely special time to create memories that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Use this opportunity.”
2) Create a Routine
“I think the best thing parents can do right now is to try and keep a sense of normalcy for their family. If possible follow a similar routine that your kids were already on. For example, get up, get ready, eat breakfast. We like to do our harder subjects in the morning, take a lunch break, and then finish with more fun activities like science experiments, art projects, and group activities.
If you’re enjoying an extended spring break, try to use this period as a way to spend quality time together as a family. Have game night, movie night, bake cookies, play cards, prepare meals, and just enjoy this time together!”
3) You Won’t Screw Up Your Child’s Education
“Thousands of families have gone before you worldwide to home educate their children, and many of the top universities seek out homeschool graduates because of the positive results they’ve become known for.”
4) Homeschooling Varies From Family to Family
“[h]omeschooling looks different for every family. Some homeschooling families have a “school-at-home” approach where their homeschool looks very similar to traditional education, while others may have a more natural approach to homeschooling and use exploration and discovery to ignite their curiosity for learning. However, if you are planning to homeschool temporarily then you might want to consider the most straightforward and easiest to implement homeschooling methods. For example, there are many online homeschooling curricula out there that enable you to subscribe monthly and get started within a few days. For emergency homeschooling, this is a great solution because it will allow you to pick up where your students left off and then discontinue whenever you feel it is safe to return to the classroom.”
5) Take Your Time
“It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure and advice about what you must do the moment you start homeschooling. Many parents feel like they need to run off and purchase curriculum right away and start immediately with a rigorous school schedule. Don’t do that. Give yourself some grace, give your kids some time. It’s okay to start homeschooling slowly. Bring the kids home, and take the time to read and research, play and explore the big beautiful world out there. Take time to get to know how your kids learn and how they tick. You really do have time. Take it.”
6) Be Compassionate
“It’s important that we in the homeschooling community do not panic and show kindness and compassion towards each other during these difficult times.”
7) Plan for Breaks
“Kids don’t actually sit and work for hours on end. The public school teachers build in time to stretch or move around the room and they alternate between different activities to hold the children’s attention. A child’s attention span is probably less than what you are assuming. Check out this list of average attention spans per age.”
Homeschooling 101 eBook
Our free Homeschooling 101 eBook is filled with helpful information from the history of homeschooling to going over the different homeschooling styles.
Homeschooling & Coronavirus
According to a recent article from CNN, “Around 180 million students across Hong Kong and mainland China have been schooling from home.” The earliest that traditional schooling will restart is in late April at the earliest.
With the coronavirus outbreak continuing to spread, and several schools already closed, we may see something like this in the United States as well. The New York Times reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told United States schools to develop plans for school shutting down for extended periods of time.
How to Start Homeschooling Quickly
Homeschooling may not be your first, second, or even third choice. If you’re planning on homeschooling short-term, we’ve collected some of our best blog posts that will help you learn how to start homeschooling quickly.
You can also download our free Homeschooling 101 eBook. It’s filled with helpful information from the history of homeschooling to going over the different homeschooling styles.
Ideas for Family Time
Since you may be spending more time with your family than you’ve planned for, you may be looking for some ideas on what you can do together to pass the time and make lasting memories. Here are some resources that can help you with that.
Homeschooling 101 eBook
Our free Homeschooling 101 eBook is filled with helpful information from the history of homeschooling to going over the different homeschooling styles.
Each of the Demme Learning products encourages children to explore and learn side-by-side with an engaged parent. The parent’s role may be as the primary instructor or as a supplemental instructor in their child’s education. We recognize that engaged parents are crucial to children’s success in becoming lifelong learners.
At Demme Learning we talk a lot about being lifelong learners, from blog posts (like this one) to having the occasional Learner’s Lunch (that’s what we call them) during lunch breaks. Someone will do a short (15-20 minute) presentation on something that they’ve learned to share with everyone else.
What are some other ways that we can be lifelong learners? We read several blog posts on this topic, and included some of their tips below. We recommend going to the source to see what else they have to say.
12 Ways to Be a Lifelong Learner
1) Pursue Your Own Interests
“So here’s the big question to encourage you: What do you want to learn about? If you take a deep breath and ask yourself what you’re interested in, what comes up? It might not be what you expect. It might not seem very practical. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore it.
Here’s an example: I have always loved birds. I think they’re beautiful, and I smile to see them fly by. So I bought a bird feeder, and I keep it stocked. I have a few bird identification books to peruse as I see birds at the feeder. And you might laugh, but it is such a thrill for me to be able to identify unusual birds that sometimes stop by.”
2) Make Time to Celebrate
“Celebrate the successes, whether big or small! When my son first started out working on sight words, we celebrated with a trip to the ice cream shop anytime he accomplished his goal. Now he is reading almost anything he picks up! By celebrating, it helped to create excitement and enjoyment. This is an important part of the process.”
Source: SPED Homeschool
3) Learn WITH Your Kids
“Like mine, your household is made up of different individuals with varying interests and personalities. It isn’t important WHAT you continue learning but THAT you continue learning. And that is the key to not being a hypocrite while raising lifelong learners. Keep learning yourself.”
Source: The Pioneer Woman
4) Don’t Make Learning Competitive
“Sure, competition may motivate a person to accomplish a task, but it puts the focus on the wrong goal and, in education, it degrades the role of knowledge. Education is not about using knowledge to compare yourself with someone else, it’s about feeding your mind so you can grow as a person.”
Source: Simply Charlotte Mason
5) Have Conversations As a Family
“We often had animated discussions at the dinner table to encourage their love of learning. One time, we were a divided family as we discussed whether or not Barry Bonds should keep his home run record. (Yes, we’re a sports family). Steve took one side; Gentry the other. We all “learned” how to support our ideas through the discussion. Who cares if it’s on the topic of sports. Any topic can encourage learning to support your stance.”
Source: How to Homeschool My Child
6) Ask Good Questions
“Lifelong learning isn’t about following a prescribed plan or curriculum, it’s about knowing how to ask questions and seek out one’s own answers.”
Source: Raising Lifelong Learners
7) Model a Love of Reading
“My husband and I both read voraciously. My husband reads history and political biographies and I read entire sections of the library, depending on what I am interested in at the moment. I recently read every book our library had about gardening, and prior to that I read the entire nutrition section. We both also read plenty of ‘brain candy’. My husband loves fantasy, while I love classics, especially Jane Austen.
Every one of my kids love to read, too. So much so that it is almost problematic at our house. My children are constantly disappearing from family work and learning projects — to read. It is pretty much impossible for them to dislike reading, when our entire family spends so much time enjoying it.”
Source: Everyday Graces
8) Learn Creatively
“When I came up with hands-on activities for science, took my kids to see historical sites, or figured out a clever little song to help my kids remember math facts, an amazing thing happened. Not only were they likely to remember things learned creatively, I learned too! We’ve taken a creative, problem-solving, out-of-box approach to everything from using textbooks to earning technology credits. Customizing an education for your child’s goals and interests is a creative learning experience that helps them achieve success in homeschooling and beyond.”
Source Heart and Soul Homeschooling
9) Go on Field Trips
“Field trips are an incredible way to bring history to life. We have enjoyed open-air museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, and historical sites. Everyone in the family remembers something different from the trip, but all benefit. Traveling with kids can be challenging. Keep in mind, though, how much learning is taking place. There are benefits beyond the obvious educational ones.”
Source: Triumphant Learning
10) Encourage Curiosity
“Children are naturally curious. It is important that we do not squash that part of them. Instead we should be actively encouraging it. We can be intentional about the kind of responses we give to their questions. Try the following:
-That’s a great question!
-I’m glad you asked.
-What do you think?
-I’m glad you brought that up. Let’s find out.”
Source: Breathe Belief
11) Frequent Your Local Library
“While I haven’t always been a big reader, the kids and I utilize our local library for many free resources every single week.
Magazines, books, DVD’s, or even just general information about various topics have all come in handy as I’ve tried to learn about various topics and subjects over the years.
Our library also has lots of fun events for families and kids — so it’s a great way to meet people in our neighborhood, do something fun, get out of the house, and learn something in the process.
Also, if you think your local librarian is just a person sitting behind a desk, you might be surprised to know that librarians are HIGHLY trained and almost always have a masters degree or higher — so please utilize them as a valuable resource if you’re seeking information on a specific topic or trying to learn more about a certain subject matter.”
Source: Andrea Dekker
12) Allow Your Children to Lead Their Learning
“In order to love learning, our children have to be given opportunities to follow the interests and gifts that God has given them. While you may still require that they use a specific curriculum for Math and English like I do, handing over the rest of their learning will allow them to spread their wings and fly!”
Source: Year Round Homeschooling
Related Blog Posts
When I first heard about podcasts I wasn’t impressed and didn’t think it would last; boy was I wrong. According to Podcast Insights, 51% of the United States population has listened to a podcast. 49% listen to podcasts at home, and 22% listen to them in the car.
For me, it would be closer to 90% at home. I find that listening to podcasts while I’m tidying up, yardening, or cleaning our rat cage (this takes a while) drastically helps to alleviate the boredom and redeem the time.
As podcasts becoming even more popular and widespread, it gets harder to find the right podcast to listen to.
We previously published a blog post which lists 15 favorite podcasts from our readers. In this blog post, we are compiling a list of homeschool podcasts. If we are missing a podcast, please post a link in the comments section to that we can keep this blog post up-to-date.
Sally Clarkson shares her beliefs, advice, and stories in order to connect with other Christian mothers. Sally hopes to give mothers the inspiration and resources to cultivate a home with God’s love by giving her listeners inspiration and encouragement in each episode, varying from developing growth in: discipleship, motherhood, education, home, and leadership.
“Author and speaker Heidi St. John brings encouraging, relevant, Biblical truth to women.”
“Our heart is to take on the work of wrestling through the, sometimes difficult and philosophical, ideas presented throughout the classical education movement and bring them down to earth, specifically and practically for the classical homeschooling mom.”
“Join us as we cultivate grace into the principles and practices of homeschool and motherhood. Homeschool experts and mentors will be here to share encouragement, tackle questions about homeschooling methods, learning styles, and to help you cultivate a home culture filled with grace. Right here — every Tuesday.”
Cultivating the Lovely is hosted by MacKenzie Koppa, a single mom of four. “This space is all about realness, encouragement, humor and, hopefully, a little bit of inspiration thrown in along the way!”
This podcast is ideal for any parent who is seeking knowledge in the Charlotte Mason method of education. Through A Delectable Education, you can join in on the weekly conversations between three moms who’ve studied the approach and have practiced the principles in their home. The episodes provide information, support, and encouragement in a fun, laid-back way.
The Home Education Podcast is part of the homeschooling journey of a family in England. Their goal is to help other homeschoolers by answering questions that they had when they were first learning about it.
The Homemaking Foundations Podcast provides listeners with practical tips and Biblical encouragement.
The Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Turning our Challenges into Charm Podcast is focused on tackling homeschool challenges and providing homeschool moms with self-care strategy.
“Cait and Kara are two homeschooling moms doing this homeschooling thing out right beside you. On this podcast, we talk about real life homeschooling, books, caffeine addiction and surviving and thriving through these wonderful years.”
This podcast is perfect for parents who are looking for homeschool support. Find out what other parents are working on, worrying over, and learning about. Connect with the stories and lessons from other homeschool families miles away. Different categories, ranging from Talking Preschool to Cultivating Young Entrepreneurs.
Pam Barnhill hosts The Homeschool Solutions Show every Friday to “Bring you the best homeschool content on the web.”
“Homeschool Talks is an informative podcast about all things homeschooling. We feature exciting interviews with homeschoolers from all walks of life. Each episode is packed with practical tips, inspiring stories, and more.”
“Are you ready for a homeschooling experience you can enjoy? One with less stress and more fun? Are you ready to think differently about homeschool? Join Maren and Angela every Monday as we encourage each other, laugh, and get real about homeschool.”
Get motivated and encouraged with Sarah Mackenzie’s Read-Aloud Revival. This podcast equips you with the resources you need to build a family culture around reading. Parents, homeschoolers, and instructors are inspired through interviews to make reading aloud a focal point of family life.
“Want to raise your kids to love learning? To become lifelong learners — children who know that they can find the answers to anything they’re curious about? This is the podcast about all of that and more! Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and listen to how others help inspire kids to view their world with play and passion and fascination.”
Savvy Homeschool Moms Postcast is a homeschool podcast that features peeks into actual homeschool experiences and answers questions that they get about homeschooling.
Scholé Sisters [skoh-lay] exists to help mothers in their homeschooling journey, both for their families and for themselves. “We’re friends who believe that teaching is the art of being imitated and who desire to bring scholé into our homes. Each of us draws on the classical tradition in different ways; our practices look different, but our commitment to the principles is the same.”
This podcast give parents the option to listen to their weekly blog. Each week, author and speaker Sonya Shafer gives encouragement and teaching tips to help parents homeschool with the Charlotte Mason Method.
“Every week a new audio blog post will publish on Mondays – no seasons, no themes, just another 10ish minute short but meaty focus session to help you keep your head in the game as a homeschool mom who is juggling many plates while wearing many hats.”
“The podcast that encourages and inspires you to find simple ways to bring more joy into your day. Whether you are looking for a little encouragement in your faith, family, home, homeschooling (if you do) — or just life — then this is the podcast for you!”
The Wired Homeschool is a podcast produced by homeschooling dad John Wilkerson that is focused on technology advice for homeschooling families.
With new episodes airing every other Tuesday, all of your morning time questions are answered in Your Morning Basket. Listen to moms discuss everything from choosing the right book for your child, to figuring out the best time to introduce Shakespeare into the lesson plan, to how to get your child to sit still. Chances are if you’ve thought it, they’ve discussed it.
Did we miss a podcast? Please provide a link below in the comments and we will take a look.
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:
— Sandra Boynton (@SandyBoynton) March 14, 2018
The largest human pi symbol consists of 589 students and teachers from Carl-Friedrich-Gauss Grammar School in Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg, Germany, on 14 March 2014 #PiDay pic.twitter.com/g0VZGeRXMq
— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) March 14, 2018
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
Source: I Choose Joy.
Source: Life on Courtney Lane.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What Parents Should Know About Pokémon GO
While Pokémon GO is a fun, beneficial game, it also comes with potential risks.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
…your report card was ever written on a napkin.
…you’ve ever read the dictionary or encyclopedia in your free time.
…you know what Vancouver B.C., V6B 4G3 is the address to.
…you’ve ever constructed your own catapult.
…birthdays are school holidays.
…you finish your homework early so you can play in the snow.
…you’ve ever done your homework in pajamas or a costume.
…you heard the Weird Al parody version of a song before you heard the original.
…you stop to read historical markers on trips and count it towards your history credit.
…you ever wore your coonskin cap to the grocery store and didn’t think it was weird.
…you’ve ever stepped on math manipulatives.
…you have your library barcode memorized.
…school lunches are actually really good.
…you’ve ever gotten an educational toy or textbook as a present.
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.
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 (Demme Learning) encourages educators of all stripes to teach students how to make a living, and how to live.
Dan Beasley (HLSDA) explains the legal supports available for homeschoolers.
Brandon Detweiler (Veritas Press) tells how his parents struck out on their own to fill in a gap in education.
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 (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.