Homeschooling? Your Library Can Help
One of the many ways COVID has changed our lives is an increased interest in homeschooling. Of course no parents want their children to be exposed to the virus. But many families face health challenges that make the possibility of exposure much more dangerous. Parents may have many reasons for preferring homeschooling, and the pandemic has brought them front of mind.
If you're a homeschool family, you already know that the public library is an invaluable resource. But the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) can support your efforts in many ways that you might not be aware of.
One of VIRL's most popular resources for homeschool families are our Tinker Totes. Tinker Totes help you bring STEAM learning to life in your own home. STEAM – which stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts Math – activities encourage creative thinking and build problem-solving skills. With STEAM learning, children learn through hands-on experience, rather than memorizing lists and writing exams.
Try Magna Tiles or Keva Planks for building and engineering, a set of handbells for a group music experience, Code-A-Pillar to learn the basic principles of computer coding, and a sensory playtime for a unique, all-around learning experience. Ask for these kits at your library branch, or go to virl.bc.ca and search the catalogue for Tinker Totes.
CreativeBug is another great STEAM resource. One of our newest e-resources, CreativeBug offers thousands of video classes taught by expert makers in design, art, and all manner of crafts. Exploring and creating art, crafts, and DIY projects are all very much STEAM learning. Kids – like all of us – learn best when they enjoy what they're doing. Along with CreativeBug, VIRL has a wealth of art and craft books geared to children – no internet connection needed.
Another popular resource for enriching home learning are VIRL's literacy kits. "Lit kits," as we like to call them, focus on different learning themes, such as Wild Animals, Pirates, Things That Go, Force and Motion, and Divorce. Like Tinker Totes, Lit Kits come in a backpack or tote. They contain books, CDs, DVDs, toys, and other educational tools.
VIRL also offers a huge variety of e-resources specially designed for children and teens. Encyclopedia of British Columbia, Explora for Kids, KnowBC, Knowledge Network, National Geographic Kids, OverDrive for Kids, PebbleGo, and TumbleBookLibrary, are all kid-friendly, and great resources for research projects, building literacy skills, and independent learning.
All in all, the best resource for homeschooling is your local library. Staff can help you find books on every topic, and show you amazing e-resources for kids and teens. To get started, go to virl.bc.ca > learn > kids, or stop by your favourite branch.