Did you have big plans to go out on vacation, to the museums, to the libraries, to this great vacation program – and it just never happened? Or was it just me?
I thought this was a great time to do social and learning activities with other children who are not taught at home. Everyone’s gone at least a few weeks, so this is a great opportunity, isn’t it?
Then reality happened. Probably, like many of you, we had a family visit from all over the United States. Of course there were gifts to buy, decorations, Christmas meals, house cleaning before the company came, and house cleaning after the company left.
We made cookies from scratch with all the kids, not just once but twice.
Baking Christmas cookies is an educational activity in which children learn units of measurement and fractions – a teaspoon of vanilla, half a cup of brown sugar. This is a hill I’m going to die on.
Unless you made your cookies out of the cookie packs you bought in the supermarket. If you are, don’t feel bad. I’m sure your house looks a lot better than mine, which for most of the vacation’s after-party scene resembled a horde of death metal rock stars. I don’t actually know any Death Metal rock stars, but I can imagine.
So, January is almost over, there is almost a whole year left before leaving the house. Let’s get to the point.
If you don’t have a library card, get one for you and each of your children now!
Even if you have a library card, you can’t take advantage of everything the library has to offer.
If you are an experienced parent at a home school, all of this may be old news to you. However, if you’re not yet familiar with homeschooling like we were all, you can overlook some of the great resources in your public library.
Public libraries are a gold mine for homeschoolers.
Library resources for your children
Of course, if you live in a big city, Your large public library will probably have more programs than in a small town. But even if we lived in a city with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants, child authors would occasionally come to our small library and give readings.
Most libraries have a separate area for children with tables for learning or reading books. It may just be your child’s entry ticket to have a quiet place outside of the distractions in the house.
Some have a huge area with playhouses and boxes full of toys that children can play in the library. Almost all of them have stories for younger children. Many offer software services like Duolingo to learn new languages for free!
I want my children to be confident to speak for themselves. From the age of 6 or 7 I went to the children’s library and asked the librarian what type of book they were interested in. It is currently for the middle “silly songs and poems”.
If you live in a part of the country where the temperatures are below or below this time of year, it can be helpful to move to a different area to fight “cabin fever”.
Maybe your kids don’t like mine and they never get on each other’s nerves. You mustn’t nudge each other all the time and want whatever the other one is doing right now. For those of us who raise human children instead of little angels, the separation works wonders.
Libraries for homeschool parents
Librarians are also a great resource for you as parents who teach at home. You can recommend resources for class level and your child’s interests. They can also recommend books to help you on your way to school. They do not work for large publishers or school districts and therefore tend to be impartial.
Many offer computer courses for the community, starting with teenagers. You may want to do this yourself so that you can help your children learn coding, for example. It can also be an activity that you do with your teen. I firmly believe in modeling lifelong learning and walking the path.
Most libraries offer literacy programs for adults. If, like our family, you feel that community service is important, you may be able to volunteer. I will be honest here and say that this is a dream for me at the moment and something I plan to do if I have only one child left in the house. However, I only mention this to point out the many possibilities in your public library and that it is probably impossible for large libraries to take advantage of all of these benefits.
Get an event calendar every month.
Speaking of the month, I’m planning a monthly “library day”. This does not mean that we only travel once a month, but that we certainly travel on that day. Our children are always happy to go.
And of course there are books!
I recently checked out our public library and every book on our 9th grade reading list was either available on the shelf or could be requested and received within a week. Free!
What are your tips for using libraries in homeschooling?
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