GPL Column: Libraries – the perfect homeschool resource

I love seeing patrons leave the library with stacks of reading material, but what I love more is when they have positive life-changing experiences while they’re here.

When Aryana came into the library last week with her little sister (both of them homeschoolers) I was excited to help them pick out some titles from TeenHQ. As we browsed the collection, she found a brochure of books for music lovers, and ended up with a huge pile of books to take home – so awesome!

But even better, while here Aryana checked out the Rainbow Loom kit from our game cabinet, and the tiny neon rubber bands got the attention of some other private and public school girls. Immediately Aryana had three new best friends to make bracelets with. Before she left they had exchanged names, Snapchat accounts, and Spotify playlists – and already had plans to meet up again the next week.

With the increasing use of technology and virtual spaces more and more families are choosing homeschooling for their children. Libraries are an important hub for many homeschooling families because they are full of beneficial resources – all ages programming, reservable spaces, and of course reading and other educational materials that can be used at the library or checked out with your library card.

Our Kids Department offers regular storytimes for babies and toddlers as well as preschoolers 3-5 years to help children prepare for kindergarten. Our Kids librarians have special training in sensory processing as well as the Orton-Gillingham dyslexia approach. In addition to storytimes, the Kids Department at GPL offers school-age programming for kindergarten through 5th grades to learn and explore STEAM concepts, as well as age-appropriate activities in our makerspace, The Studio, for kids, tweens, and teens to use their imaginations and create.

Teens can also find both educational and recreational programming in TeenHQ, where events range from video game tournaments to murder mystery parties, writing workshops, Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, and after-hours events like Laser Tag – where they get to take over the whole library. TeenHQ is also home to giant chess and checkers, an interactive LEGO wall, marble run, board games, school supplies, and study areas.

I haven’t even mentioned our public meeting rooms available for the community to reserve, plus our eleven reservable study rooms for groups or individuals needing a quiet place to work – great for tutoring! And don’t forget our Special Collections, including Experience Passes to local places (field trip anyone?), Try It Kits to let you try various items before you buy them, and Bagged Books for your own book club that include discussion questions. The Kids Department also has Early Learning, Beginning Reading, STEAM, Sensory, and History kits – a kit for almost anything you could need.

Lastly but most importantly, GPL collects materials for all of our patrons, and if we don’t have it, we can probably get it for you through the Evergreen Indiana consortium. Check out our subject-based organizing system, Subject Savvy, to find the books you’re looking for more easily.

Visit the Kids department to try out Vox picture books that read-along with you, deal with a life-changing issues with a title from the Kids Experiences section, or look into Kids Resources for educational books for parents and homeschoolers. Teen Nonfiction is comprised of items specifically written for teens and include education, history, social topics, and wellness subjects. Nonfiction in the adult section includes books written for adults about pretty much anything you’re looking for, but also include an educational category on the US school system, testing books, curriculums, and standards for education.

If you’re looking for a place to take your children for homeschooling resources or just to make a new friend, the library is probably the best place to visit. Come see us!

Jessica Smith is the Teen Specialist at Greenwood Public Library. GPL staff members share in writing this twice-monthly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].