Home-school notes: Library’s home-school program continues to evolve

Home-school notes: Library’s home-school program continues to evolve

Mar. 18, 2014
Written by Kristen Kindoll

The Middle Tennessee library systems represent the best in education and community outreach. Various branches have been particularly welcoming to home-schoolers. One example is the Nashville Library’s main branch. It has a home-school program that meets on the third Thursday of each month.

Lindsay Jensen, children’s librarian, explains the evolution of the home-school program.

“Last summer, I was approached by various home-schooling parents who requested programming specifically for kids that don’t go to a traditional school every day,” she said.

The home-schooling families are ardent supporters of their local librarians and library systems. Many families belong to several county libraries. The local branch is essentially their school library. It is by fostering these relationships with the librarians that have created innovative classes for home-schoolers.

The response from the home-schooling community has been overwhelming for Jensen and the otherstaff, with 40-60 children consistently present at each monthly event. The program began with word of month and has grown with of the eager endorsement by home-schoolers.

“LinkedIn has nothing on home-school parents,” Jensen said. “They took it upon themselves to share the information with the email lists, Facebook groups, home-school co-ops, etc., to which they belong. The families that have been coming are always bringing in new people to the group.”

Jensen describes the mentality of the families she has encountered.

“Those first parents who asked us to provide a home-school program and promised that if we’d build it home-schoolers will come,” she said. “They were right, and we’re so happy to have had such a warm reception from the home-schooling community.”

Each month has a different self-contained theme. This provides variety and the ability to be flexible with the influx of new and previous home-schooler attendees. At the first meeting, Lindsay had the children compose a list of activities they would like to do within the club. Past events include art projects, science experiments, theatrical readings, family book club and even a day devoted to natural disasters.

“We’ve all gotten a lesson in the Dewey Decimal System by having to look up subjects like GMOs in food, naked mole rats, very specific war events and so much more,” Jensen said. “It’s always funny to hear everything the staff has learned from the kids once the crowd dissipates.”

The next meeting will be 1:30-2:30 p.m. Thursday. There will be a break during the summer months and the group will reconvene in September. Lindsay asks for families to RSVP to allow for proper supply preparation. Families can do this by calling the library’s children’s department at 615-862-5785. Other events for home-schoolers can be found at several branches within Davidson County. A complete list can be found at www.events.library.nashville.org/cal/main/showMainEnd.rdo.

“My hope for this group is that everyone has fun, makes a new friend and learns to love the library. It is great to have a place for home-schoolers to get together and meet each other, and then be supported at home through our digital collection when it’s not feasible to get to the physical library.”

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140319/WILLIAMSON0701/303190014/2023/WILLIAMSON

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