Of all possible homeschooling resources – after, of course, such pipe-dream unobtainables as unlimited time and money – next-best is a library card. Kids vary certainly, but there’s no doubt, as Neil Postman said, that a magnificent education can be obtained solely through reading; and even for the reading-resistant, the library has a lot to offer. And, should your young library-goers need support, encouragement, or just some great books about libraries, there are many resources out there.
One of the many uses of libraries is as a prime source of information, and – though most librarians are certainly helpful – it’s useful to know how to find it for yourself. This is the theme of Deborah Heliligman’s The New York Public Library Kid’s Guide to Research (Scholastic, 1998), which guides readers through a research project from beginning – choosing a topic – to end. For example, kids learn how to use card and online catalogs, discover what kind of information is found in various kinds of reference books, and learn how to find information in magazines and newspapers, how to use the Internet, and how to judge reliability of information sources.
Read more of Rebecca Rupp’s “Loving the Library,” in her regular column for HEM, Good Stuff, for the May/June, 2005 issue.