Here’s our list of special monthly projects for the upcoming several months:
- September: Learn how to use the library
- October: Write and publish our own printed book and convert it to an audio CD
- November: “How to” PowerPoint project (teach someone how to do something)
- December: Art Project – Do an artist portfolio and presentation on an artist we study
- January: HomeSchool Science Fair
- February: Homeschool Spelling Bee
Our projects are not meant to be labor-intensive or too drawn out… just something that will create a valuable learning experience for the girls.
Today was our focus on getting to know the library, and I know it sounds pretty simple and basic, but it was a success! It happens that the Children’s Area of the Mitchell Library is pretty empty at around noon on Fridays. My goal was to help Olivia to be an independent library user. Here’s what we did:
1. Olivia got her first library card. This was a big deal for us because I wanted her to be at the age where she was responsible enough to keep up with her books and to monitor their due dates. The front desk was nice enough to take their time explaining the rules to her about maximum books, due dates, renewals, and fines.
2. Olivia interviewed the Children’s Librarian, Miss Shelly. This was good practice for Olivia’s speaking and note-taking skills, plus Miss Shelly was a wealth of information about the library system and how it works. Sometimes we take for granted that children know how this stuff works, when in reality they have no idea. So we talked about how and why we get to use these books “for free’, how books are selected for the library, why they never run out of space on the shelves (rotating old books out), etc. She even asked some personal questions of the librarian, like her favorite childhood book, etc. This was a very positive interviewing experience for Olivia because Miss Shelly was extremely nice and willing to elaborate.
3. We toured the Children’s Area (fiction books, non-fiction books, audio books, CD’s, reference books, shelving carts), and I taught Olivia how to find fiction and non-fiction books on the shelf. We played a great “Find the Book” game that she loved, and we’ll have to do it more often since we ran out of time. Olivia closed her eyes while I found a book on the shelf (but I left the book in place). Then she was given the author’s name and book title and had to find the book. It really was a great way to emphasize alphabetical skills and numerical order skills (for the non-fiction books). We also learned how to use the electronic card catalogue, searching for books by title, author, subject and/or location. These skills will be of use to her for any upcoming research.
4. We’ll finish up this project on our next project day (two weeks from today, since we alternate projects with field trips on Fridays) with some homemade bookmarks.
5. I should mention – I was so inspired as I thought about this project yesterday and how important I think it is to use the library and be fond of books that I rearranged their entire playroom last night and made a little private reading nook area that the girls were happy to see this morning.