According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1.5 million students--about 2.9% of the K-12 students in the US--were homeschooled in 2007, a 36% increase since the last study in 2003. And in Colorado, the Department of Education recorded 6,462 homeschooled students in 2010. This small but quickly growing population has particular needs, and homeschooling families often turn to public libraries to help fill those needs.
What types of services can my library provide for homeschoolers?
These are just a few ideas:
- The best place to start is with the collection and programming you already have. Reach out to homeschooling families and groups in your community to let them know what you have to offer, and invite them to your library. You may wish to hold an open house for them and create flyers.
- Talk to the homeschooling families in your community (start with those that already use the library) to get their input on how else you can assist them, and how to reach those that don’t use the library.
- Offer to display art, science, technology, and other projects that homeschoolers create.
- Create a special section of resources specifically for homeschoolers, such as textbooks, information, curricula, etc.
- Offer homeschoolers extended loan periods and increased limits on the number of items they can check out at a time.
- Create handouts and a webpage of the state laws and requirements pertaining to homeschooling in CO; include info on local homeschooling groups.
- Invite homeschooling groups to use the library’s meeting room for meetings and instruction (of course you may wish to set limits on the frequency and length of time!).
- Invite teen homeschoolers to volunteer in the library, as well as join the Teen Advisory Group.
- Offer trainings on databases your library subscribes to; these are excellent research tools for students of all ages.
A Colorado Library Example and Interactive Resource
The Pikes Peak Library District offers services to homeschooling families. The Library has an excellent webpage that offers great ideas and resources called Homeschool Hub.
The Libraries Supporting Homeschoolers wiki provides collaborative work space for public library employees to share information and ideas about programming and services for homeschooling families in Colorado.
Check out these books on the subject:
- Helping homeschoolers in the library by Adrienne Furness, American Library Association, 2008.
- Serving homeschooled teens and their parents by Maureen T. Lerch and Janet Welch, Libraries Unlimited, 2004.
These websites offer more info:
- Library Services for Homeschoolers Wiki
- Public Library Services for Home Schooling from ERIC Digest
- Home Schooling in Colorado information and resources from the Colorado Department of Education
- Home-Based Education and Colorado Public Libraries from the Library Research Service, Colorado State Library (PDF)
- Best Online Schools Directory of free, top-quality, online courses
Return to: Library Development Services