We’ve been providing programming for homeschoolers for awhile now and it’s a bit hit with our community. This fall, one of my homeschooling moms requested that we do a program for the kids and allow the parents to meet and exchange homeschooling ideas/curriculum, etc.
I admit, I was leery about having the kids unsupervised by their parents. That’s not typically how we do things at my library. But I figured we would give it a try… lo and behold, it was quite a success! Here’s what we did:
We threw a “Back to Homeschool Party” for homeschoolers ages 5 and up with siblings welcome (we ended up with kids ages 2-12 at the party). We had snacks (Goldfish crackers and juice boxes), games, toys, and a simple mask craft. We set up the Wii and allowed them to play. I had two staff members in there with the kids and we recruited a couple of our teen homeschoolers to be volunteers and help corral the younger kids.
While the kids were being entertained in the large meeting room, I invited parents to join me in the small meeting room for an idea exchange. I gave parents the choice of coming in or staying with their children. They were also welcome to bring small children in the small meeting room with them.
It took awhile for parents to trickle in to the small meeting room, but once we got a pretty good crowd in there, we had a blast! I heard laughter coming from the meeting room before I even got back in there and I found parents sharing stories about their experiences and offering each other advice. I had set up tables displaying resources we have for homeschoolers, emphasizing our nonfiction titles, educational titles, and titles from our parent/teacher shelves.
Although I didn’t necessarily need to be in the room supervising the adults, I found it helpful to be there so I could write down purchase suggestions as the parents talked about different resources they had used. I was also able to let parents know what resources we had on certain subjects. Parents shared information with each other about 4H activities, different curricula they’ve used, and how to solve problems they’re having with online schools.
The party lasted for about an hour, at which point the kids started to trickle in to the Small Meeting Room looking for their parents and I wound down the meeting. Having a space for parents to share ideas was such a successful part of our program that I’ve decided to make it a part of our Fantastic Friday programs from now on. In October, we had a costume party and again recruited teen volunteers to help supervise kids while the parents were invited into the small meeting room. In November and December, I have activities planned where parents will need to accompany their children, but I plan to offer the small meeting room after the activities while my staff supervise children in the Children’s Room (right next door).
We’re continually looking for ways to make our Fantastic Fridays more fantastic. Do you do programming for homeschoolers? What has worked for you?
— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN