Living and Learning in the Pacific Northwest
In four years, we developed a natural style of education that blends into our family life. We have fun learning together and we learn so much it makes my head spin. When the kids talk, I am amazed at what they know and remember. The connections are actively happening in their brains every single day.
Here are our learning essentials:
3) The Library! – The single best resource for learning is a library card, or four. Our kids have four area library cards in their wallets. They have the children’s cards which cost about $12 to $15 per year for all the children in the family. Ask about the children’s card instead of a family card to save money and have a nice variety for library outings. If you live in an area with a big library cooperative, even better!
This story of the BiblioBurro brings tears to my eyes. Look at Luis Soriano’s shining face as he talks about their library at the end of the video. I wish all of us had this same enthusiasm and appreciation for our local libraries.
We love our local libraries and it is a great place for the kids to learn to love books and love the thrill of the hunt for knowledge. With options to place books on hold, inter-library loans, and e-books, the possibilities are endless. Get to know your local librarian and what your library offers. Librarians need to hear our appreciation.
Our boys like to ask the librarians for help finding books on topics that interest them, and Hunter likes to use the computer catalog to type in keywords. Now Hunter is learning how to use the call number to help him find the book. Chandler is not quite ready to learn the shelving system, but he knows where to find books by his favorite authors shelved. Even the smallest children can enjoy the children’s room at the library since many libraries have toys and puzzles for kids–just being there is planting a seed.
In the early years, we only stayed a short time since the boys like to run and shout. At our library, the kids can talk in a normal voice instead of whispers, but shouting is discouraged. We worked on having successful trips to the library and I left when they had enough. The trick was seeing the signs they were ready to go home before the meltdown happened (Charlotte Mason has guidance for this). Sometimes all we could do is put books on hold from home and then quickly pick them up. I did not give up.
These are all books and media that the boys found to check out on our last trip to the library, and there is one of our friendly, helpful librarians in the background. They like to use the self-check system. To encourage reading, sometimes I will pick up a book while the boys are quietly playing and start reading it. If they are building or playing with playdoh they do listen, or they come over to look at the illustrations. This technique works so much better than asking, “Do you want me to read you a story?” When Hunter was preschool and kindergarten age, he’d say no.
Now Hunter says this is a comfy reading spot at our house. I love seeing him read! Strewing books about the house works well also. All those trips to the library and reading together is so worth it.
Chandler is reading this post in a whisper as I type it, and said, “Did you hear me reading?” I do hear you, son, and it makes my heart glad.