Monticello library expands services to home-school families

Last spring, the Monticello library started offering scheduled programming for area home-school families. Attendance ranges from 10-14 kids, along with parents to assist. Here, a group works on a water-color resistant project, creating their own stained glass artwork. (Photos submitted)

One of the home-school parents in Monticello, Michelle Perry, assists her son Jacob with a seed-starting project. The Monticello library brought in a gardener to talk about starting your own garden.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello Public Library is always thinking toward the future and looking at ways in which to expand services. One of those ideas brings into account home-schooled families throughout Jones County and surrounding counties.

     In March, prior to the end of the last school year, MaDonna Thoma-Kremer, who’s in charge of technology and adult services, brought the idea to Library Director Michelle Turnis.

     “We had been talking about it for quite a while,” Turnis said.

     Now was the time to implement “Enrichment Activities for Home-schooling Families.”

     The group of parents and students in grades K-12 meet during the second and fourth Tuesdays every month at 10:30 a.m. at the library. The activities range from arts and crafts to public speaking, STEM projects, and more.

     “We want to help expose those kids to different things to meet their education needs,” said Kremer.

     By meeting in the daytime during the school year, the Monticello library is less busy because other kids are in school.

     “It’s a good use of our resources and time,” said Kremer.

     Working around other library events on the docket, Kremer plans all of the activities well in advance. Right now, the schedule is out for home-school families from September, the start of the school year, through May, the start of summer.

     “I plan the schedule out ahead of time for the families to help plan their education curriculum,” offered Kremer.

     The home-school program is offered free of charge for those families that choose to take part and take advantage of the Monticello library’s services. Right now, home-school families from Monticello, Cascade and Onslow attend, roughly five families, or 10-14 kids.

     Kremer joined a local home-school Facebook page to connect with these families and to help spread the word.

     “I work with these families to develop relationships,” she said.

     While the home-school programming is offered just through the typical school year, Turnis said everyone is welcome to take part in the library’s summer programming as well.

     “Most families don’t do year-round schooling,” she said. The summer programs at the library can help supplement their education.

     The library tries to cover a variety of topics, many of which are generated by the families themselves.

     “STEM can cover a lot of things,” said Turnis of the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.

     To go along with each topic, Kremer pulls out other library resources related to the topic at hand. “We try to incorporate what we already have at the library into the project,” said Kremer. “All in an effort to meet their needs.”

     Just this summer, Kremer happened to meet another home-school family in the area.

     “As a librarian, we need to be aware of our patrons, who they are and what they do,” she said. “You uncover through conversation a lot about them.”

     The library’s home-school programs also give the home-school families an opportunity to interact with one another. Kremer said they share ideas and network.

     “There’s also a social aspect as well,” said Kremer. “It gives the parents a break, time out of the house, to meet other home-school families and build on those relationships.”

     Many of the Monticello-area home-school families belong to the Marion home-school program. By offering this program in Monticello, Turnis said it cuts down on their drive time to Marion multiple times a month.

     Kremer said offering the programming for free is also a plus. “They don’t have the expense of art supplies and materials,” she said. “They can try something for free without purchasing the material.”

     Turnis added much of the projects on the schedule for the home-school families are things the library has already done with the general public, therefore has the materials needed.

     Registration is now open for the Enrichment Activities for Home-schooling Families. Contact Kremer of Turnis at the library for more details or to sign up: 319-465-3354.



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