Beginning to Develop Library Programs for Homeschoolers

It pays to remember two things when you’re starting to develop library programs for homeschoolers:

  1. A lot of homeschoolers have more than one child. In fact, the best statistics I’ve seen indicate that homeschoolers are more likely to have larger families than nonhomeschoolers. 

  2. A lot of homeschoolers like to do more formal work in the morning. 

Now, I’ve just made two glaring, bold generalizations. You don’t need me to tell you that situations are going to vary widely from family to family and community to community, but it might be worth investigating to see if these things are true in your community before you start developing programs.

Why, you ask?

I’ve found that the homeschooling programs I’ve developed for children have worked best when I’ve made them flexible for a wide variety of age levels. This has a lot of advantages. The fewer kids in a family who are going to be left out of a program, the more likely someone’s going to want to sign up. Besides that, homeschoolers are still a small population, and targeting a wider age span might help you get a bigger crowd. To accommodate varying age and skill levels, it’s a good idea to plan cooperative activities that can be done in groups. (I hope to share some more specific examples in the coming days.) In the programs I’ve held, older and more skilled children have very naturally and happily stepped in to help children who need it, and we all know what a positive learning experience that can be for both children involved.

As for my second point, you need to give some thought to this sort of thing when you’re planning the day and time of your program. In my community, afternoons at 1:00 have worked really well. I’ve had many, many homeschooling parents tell me that mornings are out of the question for them. On the flip side, maybe you have a homeschooling group in your community that meets in the mornings and might want to come to the library en masse for a program or field trip. I’m just going to keep telling you that it’s always most important to ask questions and believe what your eyes and ears tell you.

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2 Comments on “Beginning to Develop Library Programs for Homeschoolers”

  1. Mary H. Says:

    Hello, I found your blog through a list my husband is on. I like what you said about library programs catering to large families. I wish they could do that with more programs in general, whether a family is homeschooling completely or just supplementing. Thanks for the great points you made!

  2. adrienne Says:

    That’s a great point. At my library, we’ve had a lot of success doing more programs of all types geared toward the whole family. And I think it’s important to build flexibility into even more focused age-leveled programs because there’s a lot of variation within particular age or grade levels. I don’t want to make kids who can’t do this or can’t do that feel unwelcome in our programs. Quite the opposite, I want to make those kids feel comfortable, welcome, and encouraged.

    In my community, lots of families seem to be looking for activities everyone can participate in together. It makes for some challenges in planning, but the programs are always really fun.


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