One thing that I’ve learned about homeschooling is that, as the parent, I do not need to be the sole source of learning for my children. Anybody who goes into homeschooling expecting to be the one to impart all learning to their child is going to end up burned out. You need to be wise and take advantage of the programs, institutions, and opportunities that come your way. For us, the public library has been a wonderful place to supplement our children’s homeschooling experience.
Below I will outline some of the benefits that public libraries offer to homeschoolers:
- RESEARCH – This is the obvious one. There really is no better place for your child to conduct research for reports, projects, hobbies, or just for fun. It’s quite convenient to have books, magazines, newspapers, and computers all under one roof.
- EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS – The libraries in our area host a variety of educational activities such as author talks, historical presentations, and more.
- HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES – We’ve seen everything from LEGO club to art club, perler bead workshop to making playdough and bubbles, gardening to adult crafting.
- DISPLAYS – The public library in our old city featured artwork by local artists, with the displays changing out regularly. They also showcased people’s collections, such as vintage toys, Minecraft, and LEGOs.
- GROUPS – Our library hosts both book discussion groups and a homeschool group.
- SOCIALIZATION – This is a safe, neutral place for your child to encounter a diverse population of people. I think it’s important that kids learn to interact with people of all ages, not just their own peer group. Plus, your local librarians can become some of your best advocates for your child’s education. They love to promote learning for kids!
- INDEPENDENCE – For us, the library has proven to be a great place for our kids to experience a certain amount of independence. Starting when they’re young, you can allow them to explore age-appropriate areas. As they get older, they can be trusted to explore more remote areas and return to you. With our oldest, we’ve gotten to the point where he can walk down to the library by himself, hang out and return by an agreed-upon time.
- LOVE OF READING – I think this is one of the most important benefits for a child who spends time at the library. A child who loves to read is someone who will learn for the rest of their lives. They will continue to be exposed to new information and ideas throughout their life. To me, that is one of the main goals of homeschooling — to raise a child who loves to learn.
If you’re not using your local library to its full potential, I’d like to encourage you to do so. Both you and your kids will learn new things, make new friends, and you will breathe easier knowing that you have an advocate in your child’s education.