Use the Public Library and Great Resource for Homeschooling
I cannot tell a lie. I was relieved to see those curriculum boxes outside my doorstep by the end of
January. Even though I had been reassured by two homeschooling moms I had recently met, I
was still uneasy trusting my children’s education to “just a couple of library books”, despite the
fact that we had over forty books sitting on our kitchen table.
Little did I know that I was getting an excellent introduction to homeschooling through Debbie
and Deanna. Debbie was an ideal example of homeschooling “by the book” with a curriculum
that left no detail uncovered. Deanna was a prime example of an eclectic homeschooler. Eclectic
homeschoolers tend to use a little of this and a little of that for their curriculum. They may use
some textbooks, a few workbooks, computer programs and educational games just to name a
few. No matter what, all homeschooling moms will agree that one of the best, and free,
resources you can use is your public library.
Now I have been a fan of the library since kindergarten. To me, the library brings the world to
your fingertips. What I hadn’t realized is how much you can learn at no cost from library books,
tapes, CDs, DVDs and more. I can’t think of one subject nor one topic that my children haven’t
been able to learn about through the library.
I admit I am from the mind set that believes textbooks work. We learned all of the significant
dates and figures of the civil war from them. But I can testify that the war really came alive
when we rented the documentary on it from the library. Even my daughter, who has no love for
history, found herself sitting down to watch the exciting battle between the North and the South.
My son memorized the beginnings of Spanish from his textbook and could recite his alphabet,
colors, numbers and more. However, it was much more fun watching the young students on the
Deviants Spanish tape as they acted out phrases. We all learned something from that tape.
My daughter was very happy to choose from the large selection of educational computer games
that covered everything from geology to castle building. I was impressed with how much she
retained just from playing rock games for science. When we studied weather, the series of four
tapes from the library taught us everything about clouds, thunderstorms, hurricanes and wind.
The children’s room has a wonderful reference book chock full of science experiments that are
age appropriate. We loved making a simple tornado using a mayonnaise jar!
Aside from the tapes, DVDs, CDs, magazines and computer programs, don’t forget the main
staple of any library – books. Not only can you study any period in history from library books,
but your child will enjoy learning history from historical fiction. Science books fill the science
section of the children’s room and you will be hard pressed to find any topic lacking. And
surprisingly there are books on grammar, punctuation, multiplication, fractions and geometry. If
you’re concerned about those “extras” like health, art and music, rest assured that you will find
books for these too. I have yet to not be able to find any topic on health. My children have
studied the great artists and composers all through books and video tapes. For children taking
lessons or learning independently, there are books that will teach them piano, violin, flute, guitar
I have come to realize that we are eclectic homeschoolers. I like my old fashioned math text
book, spelling book and grammar workbook. I also have found that when it comes to science and
history, library books and videos do the job more than adequately.
My children take music lessons, study additional instruments for a community drum and bugle
corp and are a boy and girl scout respectively. Everything and anything is a learning opportunity.
That is homeschooling in a nutshell. So if you are itching to get started, dive in to the resources
at your local library.
Listen to an Interview About Homeschooling with Christine Lorensen