Friday, November 8, 2013

An Additional H/school Resource

Earlier this week, I pawned my kids off on my parents for a couple of hours so that I could attend an open house for h/schoolers at our local provincial education library.  I only learned earlier this year that this is a resource for h/schoolers (I'd assumed it was only for teachers in the public system).  I've been meaning to go there for months, but it's a bit of a commute and because I always have three kids in tow.  But I made a point of attending the open house...and am glad I did.

It was awesome!  So many resources:  Books (obviously); dvds and cds; tons of supplementary books on any given subject; gazillions of kits that the library staff put together for all manner of subject areas; games; literature boxes; graphic novel collections, including non-fiction; tools to make cutouts and so on....  It was really incredible!!  The staff who presented were so friendly and welcoming and seemed to want to bend over backwards to make things possible for h/schoolers.  Wow.

The best thing of all, from my perspective, was learning that I could phone the library and put in what's called a subject request.  I can just call in and ask the staff there to put together a package of materials for me on any given subject.  Can you believe that???  They can do my research for me and probably do a way better job than I would!

So...this morning I did it for the first time and it felt like Christmas morning.  I told the reference librarian the things I wanted searched (almost hesitatingly, as if I was trying to get away with something that I wasn't really supposed to be doing), told her my kids' ages, and she took notes!  She said it would be ready for me in 24 hours and that they would hold it for 7-10 days.  I plan to pick up the pile next Wednesday evening when I'm in the area.

Here's what I requested:
  • Math By All Means: Multiplication, recommended by one of my favourite blog readers here.  Thanks again Jackie!!
  • Information about the culture and geography of Montreal and Quebec, given that we're going to be going there briefly in a couple of months.
  • Subject of light (a current interest of both Matthew and Seth):  Light as a source of energy; how light travels; how to design a periscope and kaleidoscope; the vocabulary of light (eg. absorb, transmit, transparent, translucent, etc etc); white light as separated into colours; natural vs artificial light; etc etc.  They're going to put together 3-4 books for each kid (to accommodate their ages) and other general-use stuff that I can put to use.
  • Pirates - not fake pirates, but real pirates.  This is something that Matthew's been interested in for several weeks.  I've been avoiding it a little, to be honest, because real pirates aren't nearly as friendly a topic as fake ones; but his interest has persisted and so I asked the reference librarian if she could find something - and she assured me she could find several books on the subject that were age appropriate, informative, and interesting.  OK then...real pirates it is.
Isn't that amazing??!  After I hung up the phone, I rubbed my hands together with glee, I was so excited!

Anyway, I'm pumped.  What a resource to have at my disposal.


  1. Amazing!!!! What a great service. I'm hearing more and more about supports for Home schooling. Good!

    LIGHT. yah!! amazing topic. It was one of my favourite topics ever. One thing to talk about with them is vision/eyes and perception.... because it's US who are 'seeing' (or not seeing) the light, colours, etc. Our eyes are different from some other animals. Like cheetahs and great cats can see way more than we can, and they can see things that are moving fast that would be just a blur to us. Other animals cannot see well at all, some cannot see colour, etc. Some cool things to play with that involve visual perception (and light) are making little flip books, maybe claymation films, and there are lots of awesome toys you can make that you can find online...

    Also, I just read something CRAZY the other day. You know this thing we all learned in school about colours of the rainbow, breaking up the light spectrum etc? Well, that was Isaac Newton who discovered that light can be broken into those colours with a prism however there are only SIX colours, not seven. There is no indigo, no ROYGBIV (for those who know that acronym). Nope. Isaac Newton made up indigo. Because he was a scientist but he was also an alchemist etc... Seven was a magical number, music of the spheres, all that stuff... it had to resonate with the sound of the universe or it coudln't be right... so he simply just made up a seventh inbetween colour... indigo, between blue and violet. ha ha ha. I love that. Children would LOVE this story. It says something important about science and also about how science has been taught.

  2. More great ideas, Jackie! And what a creative idea about including the way that we (and other living creatures) perceive things differently, and a very natural inclusion into 'light' learning...I'm going to give that some thought and incorporate that. GREAT addition.

    And no, I had absolutely no idea about there being only 6 colours...I learned the ROYGBIV thing. Matthew will love hearing about a scientist making up/adding a colour! Huh...who knew!

    Yeah, the education library. What a resource. I also just learned that, rather than driving across town to pick the materials up, I could always ask the public elementary school across the field from us if they would be willing to accept packages of books on my behalf and then I could just pick them up there...and maybe return them through the school as well. The education library staff suggested that I request a meeting with the school principal and ask if I could 'join up' with them for this service, seeing as how the schools are using the library's courier service all the time to support public school teachers. So I'm going to think through how to approach this and am going to initiate a meeting with the principal.

    OK, I see you left another comment (yay!) so I'm going to check that one out now!


  3. That sounds fantastic Ruth. Someone else to help with researching. So glad you were able to find out about this. I have a friend who just started homeschooling and I should pass this info on to her. Where in Quebec will you be going?

  4. Thanks, Eileen...I'm so thrilled with that resource and stunned by how willing and friendly the staff are. Yes, pass this along to your other friend - it's tough, in the early days, to figure out how to h/school, where to find resources, how to meet other h/schoolers, etc. I think it took me a full two years to feel connected.

    Do you, as a public school teacher, use this resource, Eileen, or know others who do? I wondered (though I could be way off base here), at the open house, whether there were a lot of teachers who actually used this resource. The staff seemed so ready, willing, and able to help the h/schoolers, I couldn't help but wonder how they could do this if they are similarly available to teachers within the system.

    We'll be spending a few days in Montreal, then driving out of the city into the mountains for about 5 days in January, where we've signed the kids up for a few days of downhill skiing lessons. They're totally pumped about it because they had 6 days of skiing last winter at Silver Star in B.C. and they, all three, LOVED it. Seth still talks about Silver Star and wishes we could live at the bottom of the mountains there so that he could walk up the road and ski down it! They're bemoaning the fact that they have to wait a couple of months yet.

    Have a great weekend, Eileen!! Talk soon.