As a kid, I remember making weekly trips to the library and bringing home stacks of books to read. I was a voracious reader and so the library was one of my favourite places. I can still picture exactly where in the library I found some of my favourite books (though I suppose the library has long since rearranged or changed!) and I enjoyed the yearly summer reading challenges.
As an adult, I’ve used the library much less frequently. My husband and I are both book lovers and have a huge library between ourselves. Visitors to our place often comment on our books (and they can’t see the ones we have in boxes!). As a book reviewer, I have an endless supply of new books to read and not nearly enough time to read them all. With so many books at home to enjoy, it’s hard to make it out to the library to look for more.
Until this year. Now, I find myself making that weekly trip to the library, just like my mom. The library has become a huge resource for us as homeschoolers. Here’s a few ways we are using it.
We are now nearly halfway through our Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space science curriculum. This curriculum is geared for multiple grades, which I appreciate since I am doing it with both Sunshine and Lily. Each chapter introduces the topic and suggests a few activities to facilitate learning. Then I head to the library to find age-appropriate resources to help the girls explore the topic further.
I’ve found quite a few science-related DVDs geared for kids at the library, including:
- DK Eyewitness
- Bill Nye the Science Guy
- Magic Schoolbus
- National Geographic Kids
At our library, these DVDs are grouped together, making it easy for me to scan titles and grab the DVD on “volcanoes” or “weather” or whatever our topic of the week is.
Similarly, I can look up a topic in the book catalogue, narrow the selection to kids’ books, then go browse that section of the library for books. We found a great variety of books on the hydrosphere, from whimsical poetry books to more factual books, which made that unit a lot of fun. (And by the time we’d read all dozen or so books that week, I was confident that the girls knew all about the water cycle.)
This year, we started the Connecting with History Program, which I heard several other local moms raving about. History is now the girls’ favourite subject (and as a history buff myself, I’m enjoying their enthusiasm). I ordered most of our books through the RC History website, but I’m realizing I could have found several of them at our local library (and saved some homeschool funding).
There have been one or two extra books which I’ve found at the library, and I also grabbed an Eyewitness DVD on Mesopotamia which I thought the girls would find interesting (and which they occasionally still mention, when we study something that was covered on the DVD). Currently, we’re studying ancient history, but I’ve already noticed some books that will be fun to read as we move into other time periods.
Sunshine is becoming a voracious reader (just as my husband and I were) and enjoys checking out the books at the library. Our local library has a great selection of leveled readers, so that’s the first place that she heads when we get to the library. She’s quite proud to have her own library card now and we come home with stacks of books every week. Jade is becoming quite spoiled because she’s realized she can easily talk Sunshine into reading to her; I love to see them all snuggled up on the couch together while Sunshine reads (and I’m sure that will come in handy when the baby comes!).
That’s how we use our local library as homeschoolers. We are quite blessed here in BC to have government homeschool funding to use for our books and programs. Still, with the girls taking classes like dance, violin and theatre, it’s easy to use up that funding. While I like buying the books I know we’re going to use repeatedly through the year (or over the years, as I homeschool multiple kids), it’s been nice to find other resources that we might only use once or twice at the library.
Are you library regulars? Do you find it a helpful resource in homeschooling?