Thursday, 9 October 2008

Why home educate? (9) The Library

Despite weeing on the floor, destroying the audio tapes, fighting on the stairs, shouting, screaming and generally creating merry hell before having the effrontery to point a finger to the stairs and utter the magic words 'health and safety' to demand a children's handrail (it worked); all this, and routinely being so appalled at our own lateness in returning the library books - making it cheaper to buy the ruddy Dolphin Diaries outright and remove them from the library stock forever - I would still say, hand on heart, that the library is a very good reason to home educate. Because looky here:

All these ordinary photos could be snapped on any visit to our library these days. And I would say it is all thanks to the patience and goodwill of Linny and the many librarians who know us, and have grown older alongside us, and who weekly exclaim My! Haven't they grown!' and recall three babies at baby storytime, when really, they only saw us last week, but are just saying the equivalent of Hello! Welcome! How lovely to see you!'

And this gets us to the heart of home education in so many ways; it is community education. The resources are all outside, all around us, in the community, and only require us to ask for them, and engage with the people who can help us use them. Only a fraction of our education is done at home, or round a kitchen table. Most of our education relies on the goodwill, patience, and welcoming pleasantries of ordinary people in everyday jobs in the community around us. And this has to be integration into a community at its most practical, fulfilling and satisfactory level.

Indeed, we find so much routine acceptance of our chosen life, down the library, at the cinema, in the shops, at the community halls, in the sports halls, at the discovery park, and from all the people we meet while booking workshops and inquiring about student rates, that I have to conclude there isn't, right now, a deep social suspicion of home educators - who we are or what we do. There is simply the feeling that home education is now, something quite ordinary, and we are accepted for who we are and respected for what we do.

And that is probably something quite extraordinary. Thank you, Linny, and so many others in our community, for making that happen.


Maggie May said...

I think libraries are wonderful places. I regularly took my youngest granddaughter to the "story time" sessions every Friday morning and then in the holidays they did craft and yoga sessions. That is beside the reading of books and study, of course.
Are your triplets identical?

sharon said...

The Library service is an absolute treasure, not only for books either. The boys had memberships to the local Library before they could talk properly never mind read! It's a service we use frequently even now. Actually, I have to admit here that we belong to THREE. Having only a small library in our small town we joined the neighbouring small one too and even kept our membership to the much larger one from our last address. What can I say ... we read ... a lot! I only buy 'how to' or cookery books these days and borrow fiction. We also borrow DVDs to enliven the evenings that the TV is useless (quite often), after all I need something to 'watch' while I knit!

kellyi said...

Thank you for this series, I am taking great comfort from the post as I am just starting out HEing my daughter (I emailed you recently - thanks for the reply!)

My daughters teacher announced to the class that dd was leaving to be schooled at home, out of a class of 30, only one parent has been negative about what we are doing. The rest have been supportive or even envious. I think you are right, that HE is no longer seen as the crazy peoples choice.

Mean Mom said...

My lads enjoyed a visit to the library, too. Whenever we borrowed books, though, I was always worried that they might get damaged. I used to put them in a safe place, so that they could only look at them with me. I also had to pay a few fines, because the books were too well hidden!

Grit said...

hi maggie may! i hope libraries don't become internet cafes; we have enough of those. i need a proper book place! and the doctorpeople said two of the kids are identical, but normalpeople usually choose the wrong two.

hi sharon! the library is our source for just about everything. and most of their stock i seem to end up buying. right now they're doing a bogoff offer on old books which is cheaper than paying the fines.

hello kelly! i hope you find home ed a positive and fulfilling experience! and you are not alone on those days when it all goes belly up!

mean mom, the best place to store library books is behind the radiators. this is squirrel's favourite place. (i have now sorted that out with a coat hanger.)

Irene said...

You make it sound simple, Grit, but I'm sure you put a lot of work into it and yes, libraries are fantastic places that deserve all the community support they can get.