Helping Homeschoolers in the LibraryAdrienne Furness of the Webster Library in upstate New York has a blog you should check out if you’re interested in being more helpful to homeschoolers who use public libraries. When I worked, years ago, for Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR, I worked with lots of homeschooling families, and I know I would have found Furness’s blog, Homeschooling and Libraries, a fellow WordPress blog, very useful. Take a look at her series on creating curriculum kits.

Furness is also the author of the just-published Helping Homeschoolers in the Library (ALA Editions, 2008).

Public libraries are Curriculum Central for many parents who homeschool their children, and I found that it’s well worth the while of any librarian who serves these parents to talk with them whenever you can to learn what they need. Yes, you can’t usually purchase the religion-based materials many homeschoolers use, but I learned quickly that plenty of your nonfiction materials will fit right into many a homeschooler’s curriculum. I also set up a monthly booktalk / book review session in which middle graders (4-6 grade kids) would meet and I’d booktalk several books I thought might interest them, and they shared books they had recently read; it was a lot of fun.

I also learned that homeschooling parents have informal (and sometimes formal) bulletin boards and newsletters that spread the word about helpful agencies and services in a community, and I discovered that when the word gets out to a community about a helpful librarian who’s sympathetic to homeschooling, you’ll begin receiving visits from parents and kids you might not have seen hanging around the place before.