[Today’s post is by contributor Michelle Habrych.]
The local library offers many children’s programs and books, but that’s not all! If you’re homeschooling middle school or high school, the library is an invaluable resource for you! Read about Using the Library with Your Homeschooled Teens.
Placing Holds on Items
In “How to Use the Library While Homeschooling Elementary Students”, I talked about placing holds on items from other libraries. With your teenage-students, this can be extremely helpful for classes they are taking. If you need a specific book that is not in your budget and is not available from your local library, this is the way to go! The library may be able to loan it to you through its interlibrary loan program.
The technology available for use at your library can really stretch your homeschool budget as well. There are computers with many different software programs available for use. Most libraries offer programs to teach patrons how to use its technology and software programs, such as Microsoft Office Suite and Google Drive.
Many libraries also offer WIFI capabilities to patrons. This came in extremely handy for us a week ago when our home internet service went down. After three hours, it still was not back up for us, so we spent the afternoon “homeschooling” at the library. We had the entire children’s department to ourselves, because the school-age kids were still in school and the preschoolers were probably at home taking naps. It was a nice change of pace and it allowed us to be productive despite the technology snafu at home.
Remote Printing Services
Speaking of technology, is your printer broken? Your library may offer remote printing services! I have mentioned this benefit to students in my high school classes at the homeschool group where I teach.
Our library offers a teen department for students in grades 6-12. The programming options often include pop culture and entertainment, but there are wonderful learning resources as well. Recently, our library offered free SAT and ACT practice testing for anyone who pre-registered. My sophomore son took the ACT practice test since he has never done a standardized test before, and I wanted him to know what to expect. This was very helpful to our family.
Know Your Librarians
Get to know your librarians. They want to help you. Mine asked what she could do to help homeschoolers, and I recommended a program I would like to see. She then made that program happen. If your librarians know you will utilize the resources, they will take your suggestions for books and DVDs which you might want to use in your homeschool.
Some families want to learn foreign language but don’t have the money to spend on curriculum. Libraries often offer programs for your use. Mine has Rosetta Stone available for users in the library. There are also video programs available to take home.
The library offers freedom for your homeschool student too. If you choose, you can drop your teen off to do work on his own and pick him up a couple hours later. This is an opportunity for him to show responsibility. There are study rooms available for use at most libraries. Your teen could use one on his own or with some friends from a co-op class, without disturbing anyone else in your home. Once my son met with some co-op classmates at a library between our home and theirs, as a midway point, to work on a group project.
The library also offers volunteer opportunities for teenagers and older. This could be a great way for your book-loving child to get involved in the community and build a resume of service.
Opportunities for homeschoolers are endless at your local library. Just ask a librarian if you need help finding them.
Michelle Habrych would spend the night in a library—if they would allow her! Her teenagers feel the same way. She has been homeschooling for a decade and enjoys helping other homeschoolers.