Home Schoolers @ your Library
by: Nancy McAplin, Director
Libraries are always wondering, “how can we better serve our public…our school children?” St. Paris Public Library may have an unique answer.
The St. Paris Public Library serves the Graham Local School District. We take this responsibility very seriously and strive to support the students and the teachers.
Graham is a very large district serving over 2,200 students in the stand-alone school, a motorized center, and in cyberspace. This rural district has proven to be very interested in redesigning education.
To help and to reward this positive educational outlook, our library offers families a new Statewide Community School and an eSchool, along with a traditional school setting.
This Community and eSchool is especially useful for one of the most prevalent types of patrons in our area…Home Schoolers. They voiced their needs, both students and teachers alike…and we replied. Here is how we support these home school families in their learning & teaching endeavors.
Any curriculum being presented by a parent requires solid support from the resources of the library. The parent searches for the best way to teach a concept and the library delivers by circulating a diverse body of materials.
Home school learning is flexible and individualized. Children learn in different ways and this type of teaching helps them focus in a smaller setting. Our library provides this setting for some and learning is literally at their fingertips. For example, while studying a unit on seasons, a home school parent may require resources on poetry, art, and science. We extend the borrowing privileges to them, just as we do for a teacher’s card. In addition, we secure the odd items through Inter-Library Loan. In addition, we help in their participation in the eSchool (cyberspace learning) by letting them use our computers to find and complete assignments on sites such as “Study Island”.
A fruitful partnership with our home school families begins with well developed juvenile story times, family programs, and summer reading programs. We openly discuss with them their needs and our abilities. Once a month we offer a home school class that provides a social and stimulating environment complete with a theme and a craft. Read aloud books are prepared as well as suporting nonfiction books bases on the themes. However, we shy away from controversial topics and programs based on holidays. Over the last 5-8 years we have seen the attendance and interest in this class grow and develop.
A positive, accepting attitude with all students is a must. A sense of caring from an attentive adult can transform a young learner into an excited reader. Home school students view the library as a mini class room and can enter the library ready to research and seek out support materials. It is important to teach library skills along the way and make sure these students are knowledgeable about the card catalog. Families with differing age groups can find relief with a well developed collection meeting a variety of needs.
The St. Paris Public Library is proud to present an open attitude to the community and the benefits have been substantial to all. Remember that home schoolers are a growing trend and small libraries can be attentive to their needs without much cost or time.