The library held an open house for homeschooling families on September 26, 2016. This is a summary of what was presented and discussed.
Handouts were available on the following topics:
Michigan eLibrary & MeLCat
Spaces system for reserving rooms in the library
Woodlands Downloadable Library
Letters about Literature writing contest
Additionally, a survey was distributed to gain feedback from homeschooling families and parents could fill out informational forms to have the library contact them about upcoming homeschooling programs. If you would like to give us your feedback or contact information, please contact the Youth Desk (517-321-4014 x3).
Information was presented regarding programs and services the library offers that may be useful for homeschooling families.
Great things about DTDL for homeschoolers:
- The majority of library services and programs are completely free. No fees to get a card with us, regardless of where you live
- No item limit on books – check out as many as you’d like
- Our borrowing periods are reasonable (usually 3 weeks) and items can easily be renewed by phone, online, or in person
- Computers & Wi-Fi
- Staff wants to welcome you and make you feel comfortable in the library
Useful features for homeschoolers
- Many places to study, do homework, read (tip: quietest and slowest during the weekdays at non-program times, also when we can help the most (noon to 3 pm))
- Rooms available for use/reservation – FREE for non-profit use
- Display cases – maybe could display student work?
- Friends Bookstore – open most hours the library is
- Up-to-date website and online catalog
- Variety of formats, nonfiction, some homeschooling resources
- Requests for materials can be made in the library, over the phone, or online
- MeLCat – Michigan’s state-wide interlibrary loan program
- Mel databases & more – provide full-text access to many journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Ebooks & eaudio (OverDrive/Woodlands), including kids/teen reading room
- Mango Languages
- Ancestry (inside library)
- ABC Mouse (inside library)
- Hoping to add more in the coming year!
Programs – see our events calendar for current schedule, here is a sampling of programs:
- Storytimes – early literacy, motor & social skills
- Book Clubs (tweens, adults) – reading/writing/discussing/learning about others, socializing
- Creativity Club (STEAM) – enriching activities
- Family programs (movies, Big Playdates, book parties) – great chance to get together with others, get out of the house
- Gaming – video games, Minecraft, unplugged
- Tween & teen programs – some fun, some educational, meeting new friends
- Paws for Reading – building reading skills
- Summer Reading Program
- Battle of the Books (4th grade and up) – great to do as family, reading/discussing
- TAG & teen volunteering – community service, may need volunteer hours, meet new people
Homeschool Connect is the program we have been running on a monthly basis since 2011 for homeschoolers. Each month typically features a different educational theme and includes informational presentations, guest speakers, hands-on activities, games, art projects, and more. This blog has information from some of our Homeschool Connect sessions (see previous posts).
After the library orientation, participants got together in small groups to discuss the following ideas:
- Do you look for support and advice when selecting curriculum and following different educational approaches? Would access to curriculum representatives at a resource fair or opportunities to gather with other homeschoolers and share information be useful?
- Are you more interested in finding opportunities for social interaction for yourself and your family or participating in structured educational programs? How does the Library fulfill your purpose?
- If you have children of different ages do you prefer to engage with programs all together or do you prefer programs targeted at specific age ranges?
- The Library is a community space for all – how do you imagine you and your family can best use the space to help you achieve your homeschooling goals?
- The library has opportunities to partner with other organizations (e.g. 4H, MSU, Eaton County, Delta Township). Are there partners you could imagine might offer opportunities to meet your Homeschooling aspirations at the Library?
- Are there any barriers that you encounter in homeschooling your children? What gaps are there in what you can provide and also what is provided in the community?
The library hopes to use the feedback provided from this discussion and the surveys to see where homeschoolers’ goals and needs overlap with the library’s goals and mission to provide services to homeschooling families, as space, time, staffing, and budget allows.
Feedback from Homeschoolers
Many good thoughts were shared. Feedback from the group discussion and surveys indicated the following trends:
- Families new to homeschooling are in need of resources and access to groups to help them get started
- Curriculum trends, educational approaches, state laws, and local homeschooling groups were all topics of interest
- Participants were interested in seeing more of the following types of programs: arts & crafts, curriculum based/learning programs, open-ended creative exploration, curriculum swaps, information/resource fairs
- The need for more opportunities to gather informally and share resources was expressed by many
- More access to academic support/tutoring is needed
DTDL is offering a second homeschooling program this fall:
Homeschool Connect: Family Meet-Up
Monday, November 21
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
All ages. Join us for a casual gathering of homeschooling families, with information about winter homeschool programs at the library and community homeschool resources. Parents will have time to connect and share ideas with each other while kids enjoy an open learning environment with art projects and STEM activities. Families are welcome to bring a snack to share.
We then plan to offer some continuing and new programs in 2017. We will post any upcoming programs on the library’s website. You can also stay connected with us on Facebook, or contact the Youth Desk (517-321-4014 x3) to provide us with your email to keep you in the loop.