Home at the library

Posted on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 9:36 am

If Jan Bates sees a need, she does something about it.

Recently, Bates, the children’s librarian at the Northumberland Public Library, realized that home schooled children don’t have the same access to libraries as children in school do. The public library is there for them but it may not come to mind and, even if it does, the children’s use of it may not be as full as it can be with guidance. To address the need Bates started “What if Wednesday,” a twice monthly program for home schooled children and their parents.

Last week, Bates said she knew one mother who home schooled her children and invited her to bring her children to the first session of “What if Wednesdays.” That woman asked if she could bring other mothers and home schooled children she knew. Bates said she was delighted to have them all come.

Eight children and five adults came to the first meeting, Bates recalled. “We talked about what they wanted and what the library could provide.” At a more recent meeting, 39 people showed up for a program devoted to maps, Pilgrims and Indians.

While the program is designed for children from four to 12-years-old, any teenagers in the family are included, too, Bates said. “They are given something to study and present to the younger ones.”

Bates said she thinks there are about 40 home schooling families in Northumberland and she is trying to reach them all. She asks those already involved to spread the word and has sent flyers to the Y in KIlmarnock where the home school children go for the equivalent of physical education.

-To read the full story, pick up a copy of the December 4 issue of the Northumberland Echo, on stands now!

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