|Celebrating Catholic Motherhood|
Catholic Kids *
with Maureen Wittmann
Past Columns by Maureen Wittmann:
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“I’m sorry Mrs. Wittmann, as of the new year, you
can have no more than fifty books checked out at one time,” the
librarian told me apologetically.
At any given moment, I have somewhere between fifty and ninety books checked out from the public library. Because “real” books provide the foundation of my homeschool, the library has become a very necessary resource.
I have also found good textbooks on the shelves there, so always check with your library before making purchases. This is very easy to do if your library offers their catalog on the Internet.
Keep a Log and Designate a Special Place
I keep my library items organized in two ways. First I keep a log and second I designate a special place for library items.
Keeping a log is very easy for me, as my library gives me a printout of the books, videos, and magazines borrowed when I check out. This printout also includes the date that they are due for return. If your library does not provide this service, then make up your own log of items borrowed.
Write down the actual date returned when you take books back. Sometimes libraries miss books that have been returned. If the library shows that I have not returned an item, I check my log and notify the library clerk of the date returned. The clerk then puts a “search” on the missing item. Because I use the library quite frequently, this has happened to me a few times and I certainly don’t want to pay for books that I did indeed return.
The log can also double as a reading list for your homeschool. It is a very good idea to keep track of books read by your children for several reasons. For one thing, it impresses any nay-saying relatives. It also makes keeping a portfolio easier. At the end of each year, I go over our reading log to see just what we read for that year. This helps me in planning the next year’s curriculum, plus it reassures my husband and me that our children are doing a great job.
The second thing that I do to keep a handle on library books is to have a special place designated for library items only. I have a large wicker basket that I found for almost nothing at a garage sale. All items checked out from the library are to go into this basket. If a book ends up on one of my many bookshelves, it may not be found again for a long time.
Just doing these two things, and training your children to do them, will save you a lot of hassle on library day and it will save you money.
Get to Know Your Librarian
The library has little worth if it does not offer what you need. Get to know your librarian. Always smile and say “hi!” Let him or her know how much you would love it if they subscribed to Heart and Mind and other favorite homeschooling magazines. Make mention of your favorite children’s titles and let the librarian know that there are many other homeschoolers who would check out such books.
If you are too shy to speak up, that’s okay. Most libraries provide suggestion cards for your convenience. My library allows patrons to make book purchasing suggestions at their website. You can’t get much easier than that. Take 60 seconds to complete one card each time you visit the library or their website. Ask all your homeschooling friends to do the same.
Not too long ago, the children’s librarian at my library told me that she had a big order to place and wondered if I had any suggestions. I wish that I had a Bethlehem Book catalog handy to give her at that moment but I didn’t, so instead I sat down and spent some time talking to her about the children’s books that I love.
Get to know your librarian; you never know when he or she will ask your advice.
The Internet is a great resource
for free reading lists:
Check these books out from your
library. Each contains a good reading list:
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education by Laura Berquist (Ignatius Press) - My favorite homeschooling book, it is worth the price just for the literary suggestions.
Landscape With Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind
by Michael O’Brien
Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss – The back of the book contains a “Read Around the Year Booklist” segregated by grade level (similar to the list at www.4RealLearning.com ). To purchase visit www.bywayofthefamily.com or call (651) 778-0287.
Kolbe Academy’s reading list is available to non-enrolled families. Visit www.kolbe.org or call (707) 255-6499 for a catalog.
Another way to come up with terrific reading lists is to peruse homeschooling mail order catalogs such as Angelicum Academy, By Way of the Family, Emmanuel Books, Bethlehem Books, Sonlight, Elijah Company, Kolbe Academy, etc.
Books Are Not All That
Other free offerings that we have found at our library includes a toy and game lending program, educational videos, DVD’s, musical cd’s and cassette tapes, CD-ROM’s, meeting rooms for club meetings and co-op classes, lecture series, Saturday movies, and story time.
Not all libraries offer these free services. Some do not offer them at all, while others charge a fee. You may have to weigh the costs of library fees against the benefits received. Either way, take the initiative to find out if and how the public library can be an asset to your homeschool.
Maureen welcomes you to join her at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ThriftyHomeschooler/ where you will find even more ideas on how to save on your grocery purchases.
2037 W. Bullard #247
Fresno, CA 93711