What is the one thing you would consider your most valuable asset when you are facing the challenge of homeschooling your children? Is there something you just don't think you could live without in your homeschool?
I often have people ask me similar questions. They want to know what it is that I have that makes my homeschool run so well. They want to know what I have, so they can go out and get it. My answer is very simple. Go get a library card.
When my oldest two were 1 and 2 years old, we started visiting our library. Every Thursday, we went to story time with Ms. Betty B., and each week they learned how to sit, listen, and learn from a book. Ms. Betty B. made it so fun for them, and they just couldn't wait to go again the next week. This WAS their school when they were young. She read a story, dressed up and played pretend with them, did a flannel graph story, taught them their numbers and letters, and just had some FUN with them! She is one of the most energetic and fun people I know! We kept that story time schedule until they were 5 and 6 years old. And I can honestly say, some of the best memories I have with my kids include story time with Ms. Betty.
But when they got to the age that I was ready to start doing some schooling with them, and about the time Little Sister was born, we had a shift in our routine. We weren't able to go to story time anymore like we used to. But that didn't mean we didn't regularly visit the library. We headed up there about once every other week to pick up the books we needed for our unit study that we were presently working on, and each time, we'd be sure to spend some time visiting Ms. Betty. And she was always there with a smile and ready to help me find anything I needed!
What I have learned is this. If you are a homeschooler, there is no more valuable thing to you than a great librarian! Ms. Betty has been there to teach my kids in story time (the younger two go now), and when they were too old for that, Ms. Betty has been there to help me find any resources I needed to help us in our homeschooling. This lady is always smiling and cheerful, and she makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world at that moment. All of my children adore her. And each of them know that, if you have trouble finding anything, you can go straight to Ms. Betty and she will find whatever you need. She has even helped me to find books from out-of-town libraries and has had them sent in for me just for one special lesson we were doing. Little Sister, my 5 year old, used to head straight in and start playing with the puzzles, and she always wanted Ms. Betty to put them together with her. And Ms. Betty always did.
I cannot imagine being able to homeschool the way I do if I did not have the support and the help of a great librarian. And what is more, we have spent so much time at the library with Ms. Betty that she is no longer just our librarian, but she is our dear friend. We all love her very much! In fact, when Little Man and I ran The Race for the Cure last September, he was thrilled to know she would be there, because he wanted to give her a hug and show her his new running shoes! My kids wish she lived next door to us, because they would just love to see her every day. She is now part of our family.
So if you want to know my advice on how to make your homeschool work well, here it is. Get a library card, and make friends with your librarian. I have no idea where we would be today without the help of our wonderful friend and librarian, Ms. Betty!