Homeschoolers’ Open House

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:
Library information
Michigan eLibrary & MeLCat
Spaces system for reserving rooms in the library
Woodlands Downloadable Library
Mango Languages
Library programs
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).

Library Orientation
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

Digital Resources

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).

Discussion Forum
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

What’s Next?
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.


Our January 25th Homeschool Connect was about Electricity- We got to play with squishy circuits, makey makey, and so many other fun things, along with learning about electricity.


Electricity: A Question and Answer Book by Adele Richardson

Energizing Science Projects With Electricity and Magnetism by Robert Gardner

Building Blocks of Science: Electricity by Joseph Midthun and Samuel Hiti


Bill Nye the Science Guy: Electricity

Educational Links:

The Children’s University of Manchester – Energy and the Environment
Great site that talks about how energy is made, renewable and non-renewable energy sources, it also has a couple of games that have go along with their website

Science Kids: Electricity for Kids
Great site with lots of information about electricity, games, and experiments

United States Government

Our November 23rd Homeschool Connect was about the United States Government- We explored the different branches of the government and voted for our favorite fictional bear.


Grace For President by Kate DiPuchio

So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George


Schoolhouse Rock: The Preamble

Schoolhouse Rock: Just a Bill

Activity Links

Government Interactive Notebook & a Free Presentation

Educational Links:

Kids Discover

Note: You need an account to download this document, but the account is free.

Government for Kids

Ducksters United States Government

Congress for Kids

Aboriginal Art

Our October 26th  Homeschool Connect was about Aboriginal Art- We learned a little about Aboriginal lifestyle, culture, sports, and art.


Ready to Dream By Donna Jo Napoli
Aboriginal Rights Movement by World Book


Traditional Aboriginal Activities and Games – An extensive list of Aboriginal Games, some with video explanation.


NAICD Activity KitThis PDF has a ton of different craft, game, song ideas 

State Library of Queensland This PDF has some cool word searches, and a list of books that is quite extensive

Rock Art World Heritage Site

Australian Rock Art Archive

Bradshaw Foundation

National Museum Australia












Our September 28th Homeschool Connect was about Space- We explored the different planets by going on a planet walk, played planet riddles, and learned a little about space exploration.


Mousetranaut By Mark Kelly
National Geographic Kids: First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes Saturn Could Sail: and Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot
Explore the Solar System by Anita Yasuda


Walk The Planets

Solar System Hat

Solar System Scavenger Hunt

Solar System Beads


Chris Hadfield’s Space Kitchen


Rotating Vs. Revolving

NASA For Kids – Solar System

NASA Kids Club








Biomes: The Rainforest

Our March 2015 Homeschool Connect is about the rainforest biome. We learned about the different layers of the rainforest, as well as the plants and animals that call the rainforest their home.


Additional Informational Packet

This blog has a wonderful educational packet to expand on what we learned at Homeschool Connect

Information packet photos

These are the photos that go into the informational packet listed above.


Mongabay: Tropical Rainforests

This resource has tons of information about the rainforest, the people who live there, and also what we can do to save it. Mongabay also has teacher resources.

Rainforest Alliance

Not only does this site have a lot of wonderful information, it also has informational coloring pages, virtual storybooks, and a virtual rainforest visit!

World’s Biomes: Rainforest

This resource has a lot of cool links to other websites for additional information.

Science Kids: Rainforest Facts

This is a good site for fast facts about the rainforest.

PBS: Journey into Amazonia

This awesome site includes teacher resources!

National Geographic: Rainforest at Night

This site lets you explore the rainforest at night (it’s interactive!).

Rainforest Animals

This site has a ton of information about the rainforest, along with links to other resources, books, and so much more.

San Diego Zoo: Rainforests

The San Diego Zoo website has a ton of great information and pictures about the different animals that live in the rainforest.