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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
As parents, we love our children dearly, but sometimes we just need to be around other parents. Homeschooling can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Connecting with other homeschoolers is helpful because everyone can band together to encourage and educate each other and just hang out, both online and offline.
There are several ways to connect with other parents, from local support groups to online Facebook groups. The Internet has been a tremendous tool in recent years by making it easier and more accessible.
I asked the COAH Community, a new forum created by Confessions of a Homeschooler, about any tips about how to connect with other homeschoolers.
Here are their responses:
Facebook is certainly a wonderful tool. I belong to a private Facebook group for homeschoolers who have children with my daughter’s genetic disorder. How they learn is a little different than the typical child, so it helps to have others in a similar situation to offer suggestions.
Local co-ops. You can google info and find out where they are. Many churches also offer support groups or links to homeschool groups in the community.
HSLDA also has a links page where you can look up state/region.
Websites like this one, which offer a forum, are also very helpful. The best sites have veteran homeschoolers and “newbies” communicating. There is no “right” way to homeschool and everyone comes to it from a different perspective. I’m a better homeschooling parent because of the connection I’ve made with other parents.
Libraries. My local librarian is FANTASTIC. (We’re on a first name basis since I’m always in there). She knows I homeschool, and has made an effort to link me to other parents in our community. She also knows when special events are being held (and not just at the library) so she is a valuable source of info! – KathiJohnson
We have found “MeetUp,” and use it for learning, fun and social time. The kids have really enjoyed the activities and I get a chance to talk to other moms. We belong to three and the cost ranges from $5-10 per year.
Our library has a homeschool group once a week where everyone meets up and the librarian will teach the kids something different each week.
We are also part of two other homeschool groups where we go on a lot of different field trips.
And of course there are the co-ops, which we are not a part of yet, but maybe will someday soon!
I would say this SO depends on your area and if you belong to a homeschool association etc. We are part of a homeschool board that has over 600 kids. There are many events you can attend and over time you begin to get to know other families. I think connecting with like minded people is so important! I remember chatting with another mom at an event a few times. I only knew her first name, but I knew we would click if we spend more time together. I hunted her down on Facebook – sending her a message that I thought we should be friends. It is over a year later and we get together at least once a week and our kids really enjoy each other.
There is a homeschool group in my area that I belong to. It is around 175 families. If you have a group in your area, I recommend joining. It is so wonderful to have events to share with other homeschoolers, graduations, field trips, co op classes. The fellowship with other homeschool mom’s is such a blessing, I am so thankful I have the group.
I would highly recommend staying connect with other homeschoolers any way that you can.
This forum is a great resource by the way. Look how much we are supporting each other already.
Check online, local schools, or at your local churches to see if they offer a homeschooling co-ops and support groups. Start up a monthly LEGO club, or science club. There are so many fun things you can do to meet other homeschooling families. Connecting with others can go a long way in staying encouraged in your homeschooling journey!
Share your tips in the comments.
We visit a lot of places during the year and we look forward to meeting our current and future customers.
We want to see YOUR photos of parents and students interacting with Steve Demme, Dr. Karen Holinga, or any other Demme Learning employees. So stop by, snap a selfie with a booth staffer, and upload your photo to enter!
Photo submissions can be entered daily; there are a lot of prizes! Ten people will be randomly selected to win a Demme Learning coupon code worth $10.
There were several talks that covered a wide range of topics from local policies to school funding programs to personal stories of homeschooling. Below are some highlights from these talks and an opportunity for you to #TrustParents with us.
Ethan Demme, president & CEO of Demme Learning, made opening remarks about school choice, shared his personal story as a homeschool graduate, and closed with a plea to trust and empower parents to make the best educational decisions for their families.
— Ethan Demme (@EthanDemme) January 29, 2015
State Senator Ryan Aument
Pennsylvania Senator Ryan Aument talked about the educational challenges in Pennsylvania, and outlined some of the ways that we can improve our educational policies.
— StudentsFirst in PA (@PAStudentsFirst) January 29, 2015
“This program is really vital to Dayspring; it’s vital to our families; it’s vital to all of the Christian schools and the private schools in Lancaster County that continue to grow and continue to allow families to have a different option.”
Anthony Barr is a homeschool graduate and public relations assistant at Demme Learning. In his talk, Anthony describes what it was like as a homeschooler, and offers some points about the merits of homeschooling.
“Today, we’re talking about trusting parents. My whole homeschooling experience can be summed up in that one phrase.” #trustparents
— Anthony Barr (@AnthonyMBarr) January 29, 2015
Aimee Spencer is the marketing manager at Demme Learning and is a mother of three. Aimee talks about her personal experiences with educating her children, and all of the educational options that her family explored.
“The responsibility of the parent is to know their child and know the options and be willing to step outside the traditional path or outside their comfort zone to best meet their child’s needs.”
At Demme Learning we love learning and sharing helpful information and learning tools with you.
We do this by writing blog posts, hosting webinars, and encouraging people to ask questions. We also share articles that we think are encouraging or helpful.
Over the years Demme Learning has cultivated relationships with several homeschool blogs, from small one-person blogs to group blogs that work together to create online communities.
Here are three of our favorite homeschool blogs. Link to your favorites in the comments.
(This is not an exclusive list and are not in any particular order.)
Confessions of a Homeschooler
Confessions of a Homeschooler is a personal homeschooling blog that focuses on sharing homeschooling ideas, tips, and resources with other homeschoolers.
It started off as a way for my husband to ‘see what we do all day’.
The blog covers a lot of topics from recipes to specific subjects like geography to helpful printables that people can download and use for their homeschooling.
We love the way that photography is used in the blog posts, and the personal updates on their school year.
Recommended Reading: Homeschooling 101 Series.
Hip Homeschool Moms
Hip Homeschool Moms is a group blog run by three homeschool moms, with several contributing authors.
Our goal is to bring homeschoolers together for friendship and support while providing them with lots of helpful resources along the way!
This blog delivers consistent blog posts on a wide range of topics; one feature that we admire is Mentoring Moms, where they have hours that people can stop by on Facebook, YouTube, etc. and ask questions.
Recommended Reading: Including Grandparents in Homeschool.
Well Planned Gal
On their blog you can find helpful blog posts for various subjects and engaging videos from several writers. Well Planned Gal is committed to providing support to homeschooling families.
If you peek into our homes, you’ll probably find dirty dishes somewhere, unfolded laundry, and piles of books and projects scattered around the house. In fact, on some days you’ll even find crabby kids and moms. After all, real life doesn’t look like a magazine cover. Real homeschool life has ups and downs.