I am the Crazy Book Lady at the Library

I love, love, love reading. I don’t so much love going to the library with all the kids in tow. I spend the first 4 months of the school year stressed out that my crying baby, running toddler, and missing-in-action preschooler are stressing out all the other quiet and orderly library patrons. Then I spend the last 4 months of the school year perfecting the in-and-out-before-meltdown method of library attendance. “Kid 1 and 2, you know where your books are. Go pick out 15 each. Kid 3, the picture books are over there. I will come get you in 10 minutes. Kid 4, hold onto the stroller, you get to come with mom to get the school books. Baby – we’re almost done, you can do it, for goodness sakes, we’re gonna make it this time!”

I’m not ashamed to say we were doing pretty well for a while there.

And then the kids found the “kid” computers that only work about half the time, which really just means now I have frustrated children who get mad and have freak outs in the library again. So there was a little set back. Yes, I reverted to the I’m-internally-freaking-out-because-my-kids-don’t-follow-library-etiquette-protocols method.

But you see, with coaching and teaching and repetition they are learning and figuring things out and once again, life is getting better at the library. Just in time for summer.

That is enough incriminating evidence for one blog post. Let’s move on.

I love having a big library close and with no limitation on how many books I can check out at a time. THAT makes a huge difference – the no limitations clause. Every now and then there is a book I want to buy and just have for my very own forever and ever, but really, I don’t have that much storage space.

But the library does! I can pretend all those books belong to me anyway. Public library = my library, right?

In my homeschool we use lots and lots of library books for our history lessons. We do have a “textbook” that we read too. It has a chapter for each event or subject in history and moves chronologically through the history of the world. But just reading that little chapter opens up so many possibilities of learning. Our “textbook” was never meant to be the complete history course. Our complete course is at our library! This, I believe, is the concept behind “living books” and “living history.”

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Occasionally I check out books for science as well. And always we check out books just for fun. My husband and I read almost every night. (In fact, last night we were up until midnight just reading YA fiction – which yes I do regret today – a little bit.) Our kids see our stacks of reading books and they start to form their own stacks of reading books.

Mom Stack.

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Kid Stacks.

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School Stack, or Row. (I always wondered what those awkward ledges along the basement walls were for. I figured some sort of structural necessity. But I’ve figured out they are actually just built in bookshelves. 🙂  Yay for me and the awkward walls downstairs!)

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Here is my warning on library usage. Libraries are not equal. Now everyone knows this is true, but no one knows this as well as the homeschool mom whose resident town has a subpar library. I am grateful for this cute little 70s era building with its quaint little aisles. But as far as variety and quality of books go, I know my time is better spent driving 20 minutes to the bigger building. I looked up non-fiction children’s books on Native Americans in my cute little library and was sorely disappointed. Then two weeks later I was at the farther but bigger building and was blown away by how many books were available. I felt like kicking myself for not just driving over to the bigger library first!

This next year we will be required to buy a library pass at the bigger library – and it isn’t cheap. But it is so worth it to me.

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Still, we do support our local 70s building. This is where we go during the summer. (See a few paragraphs ago you all gasped in shock and dismay that I would somehow admit to not going to the library just because “official school” was out. We just go to the local library. I don’t mind my kids freaking out in public there. All the other kids are out of school in summer too and they are freaking out right alongside mine so I don’t feel so out of place.) We sign up for the summer reading program here, and are back getting stacks of new books once a week from mid May to mid August.

My preschooler almost kindergartner preffers this library. He was explaining to me a few months ago that the bigger library always makes him feel funny. He couldn’t explain it, he just didn’t feel right every time we were there. The way he was talking I was starting to think something creepy was haunting the library. But upon further investigation he admitted that he gets a funny tickle in his throat every time we get off the freeway into our hometown when coming back from said library. So I have less sympathy for him now. Of course, after that miss 1st grader rallied to his side and confessed that she usually gets headaches from the larger library.  So maybe there is something creepy lurking in the library – like dust, or just lots and lots of little kids’ germs all over the place.

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Now just for your amusement or a transition into deeper thoughts should you choose to dwell on them, I found this meme on Facebook and thought it was funny/strange. Maybe I am just totally out of the loop (which is actually more plausible than not) but seriously? Is there an anti-library movement out there? I have never once in my life met (virtually or in real life) an anti-librarian. I suppose I hang out with the wrong crowds. Let’s just be grateful all those senior citizens and teens aren’t getting into trouble out there on the streets!

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For the record, 8 year old maybe spends more time than anyone in the house besides me reading books. But every time I tried to take a photo of him he ran away. I’ll just have to be sneakier next time!

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4 thoughts on “I am the Crazy Book Lady at the Library

  1. Hi- I found your blog recently and I love it. My oldest is 2 so I haven’t officially started homeschooling but I am over excited about it. What history text book do you use?
    And in another post you said that you teach math for an hour and a half every day – what is your normal time frame or time management for a typical homeschool day?
    Thanks so much for writing this blog!

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    1. Oh I’m so glad you found me! Thanks for reading – sometimes I feel like I’m just talking to outer space! I use The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer. There are four books, first the ancients, then middle ages, then late middle ages through the gold rush, and then modern. We just finished book 3 this year. I’ll try to find a blog post that talks directly about what/how I teach the subjects. I’m sure there is one. But a quick reference, I have morning school from about 9:00 to 11:00. We do math, grammar or handwriting, and spelling every morning. Grammar and handwriting alternate. Math with the younger kids obviously takes less time but the 3rd grader has more math and if he has to work on his own it can take an hour and a half! Afternoon school is from 1:00 pm to 3:00ish. We do Latin (just for the older child) and then science OR history. We alternate those too. Sometimes we are done at 2:00. especially if it is science and we just have a quick lab to do. Also, I am teaching 2 kids at once – and next year 3 – so things will generally take longer for me than they would for someone who is only teaching 1 at first. Next year I am adding in an engineering class for all the kids and a writing and rhetoric class for the then 4th grader, so life might get crazy! But I am still planning on keeping our work load to about 4 or 5 hours a day. https://thehonesthomeschool.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/what-should-i-teach-and-how-not-necessarily-what-you-should-teach-and-how/ and https://thehonesthomeschool.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/scheduling-and-planning/ maybe those blog posts will help out too. (ok this reply looks funky on my computer screen. hopefully it will come out normal looking for you.)

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  2. Thank you- those were perfect and answered my questions. I have been reading homeschool books trying to decide if it is the right fit for us (and I am excited to start) but one thing my husband and I are trying to decide is a foreign language. Neither of us speak another language so we want to learn as a family. How did you decide on Latin? (Sorry to keep bugging you with questions- last one I swear!)

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    1. You can ask as many as you want. We first started out with German – I majored in German at college and my husband is half Swiss. So my kids grew up speaking only German. But it became too complicated when my oldest was about 5. I didn’t know enough and I wasn’t willing to keep learning myself. My brain was already full. So we stopped. I chose Latin because it fits with the model of a classical education, and that is what I try to mimic and then tweak a little for what fits our family. I thought Latin was sort of an elite and intellectual language and I wasn’t sure if we could do it, but I found a great company called Classical Academic Press and I am so happy we are doing it. I think any language would be fine, though. Latin certainly helps for when the kids want to learn any of the romance languages later or read classical works in the original language. My husband is pushing for a German curriculum because he wants to keep that heritage alive. I’m mostly Norwegian so deep in my heart I am hoping I can maneuver the kids in that direction too. So in short (I am never short when it comes to words!) we chose languages based on family heritage and future academic benefits. There are a lot of language programs out there and 3 of the 4 nearest libraries to us have free online language programs. You could start there and see which language sounds best to you. (I took two years of Russian and one year of Polish in college because I just really loved the way they sounded! I know, that is strange and maybe a waste of money, but it’s true.)

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