“The school library and the public library co-exist as partners in the future of our children…” wrote Roxhill teacher librarian Pat Bliquez last year. But the partnership between homeschoolers and the public library may be even stronger.
“I couldn’t homeschool without the library,” Shannon McClendon, a Greenlake and Northgate patron told us, “I couldn’t afford to buy all the resources that the library provides. And I’m not just talking about books. If my son is interested in rockets, for instance, I can go to the librarians and they’ll help me find all the things about rockets that he might like. It saves me time.”
“We homeschool, and would be lost without the library,” wrote Delridge patron Sara McMahon. Vicki in Magnolia says, “As a homeschool family with 4 children, we greatly use and depend on our library. We visit at least once a week and frequently reserve books on hold.”
April Hichens, in West Seattle quantified the value, ” I figured as a very rough and low estimate, we check out approximately $18,000 worth of books, CDs and audiotapes annually.”
According to the US dept of Education, an estimated 1.5 million U.S. children were homeschooled as of Spring 2007. That represents an increase from the estimated 1.1 million who were homeschooled in 2003. An estimate at the A-Z website suggests that over 27,000 parents homeschool in Washington State. R. Hannigan, who uses multiple Seattle libraries to gather homeschool resources writes, ” I belong to Seattle Homeschool Group, a collection of 300 + families that homeschool in Seattle. We have meetings at libraries and attend programs as a group however as a home learning family the library is the crown jewel in our education plan. We use it for every subject in our house from math to SAT prep.”
“The library is a vital part of homeschooling. The first two things my son got in life was a passport and a library card. In fact I think his first trip out may have been for his library card,” said Tamblyn Alexander, a Wallingford branch patron. “The biggest thing for homeschooling really is being able to delve into a subject. I was part of a group of homeschooling parents that got together to do French Camp. We watched videos about French, got books in French, and books in English about France. I wouldn’t even have tried to attempt to do that without the library. I may have three or four books about France in my library and I could never do a week long education with just that. We may only have needed about ten books but by having the library I was able to get a lot more and that way I could find the very best. Other parents in the camp said I’d found the best of the best.”
“The library is the basis of my educational plan. I can’t stress that enough,” emphasized a homeschooler using Northeast Branch library, “Books, reading, stories are the foundation of our education. For my son’s first week of homeschool, I plan on presenting him with his own book bag and taking him in to get his own library card.”
From all points in the City, homeschooling parents are enjoying and depending on access to our new and renovated neighborhood libraries. Open library doors, rich collections, and helpful librarians are foundational in all styles of education.
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