Thursday, April 03, 2008

Another not-really-a-detour, and why I love the library

I love the library. It's a homeschooling mother's best friend.

We take the kids once a week, and never come home empty-handed. I just checked our receipts (thank goodness for computerized card catalogs and printed receipts of check-outs -- they've saved me thousands of dollars in fines and jail time.) We currently have 49 books out. Not a huge amount, but a typical amount.

Our library basket usually looks something like this:

The books travel all over the house, but the basket is home base. When we're done with a book, we return it to the basket, making it easier to track everything down on library day.

Ramona, inspired by her sisters and their library quests ("I'm going to find everything I can about Greek mythology," or, "I'm looking for books about poisons, so I can write a report on them,") was on a quest of her own last week. She decided she wanted to learn about sea turtles, so Atticus and the girls helped her find a few books.

Ramona loves to sit down at a library computer and tap out a catalog query. She used to always come home with books about mommies and the zoo (the only two words she could spell.) Now that her spelling repetoire is expanding, so are her book choices. But, it's quite likely that her first attempt to track down turtle books looked something like this:

sea tertls

But, Atticus steered her in the right direction, and she came up with these:

Her "report" (pictured above) begins:

sea turtles give me an expereinse two study them so that i can larn more about them

She has since added:

I like sea turtles because thayr’r qute

(I don't correct spelling, word spacing, etc., at this age -- I'm thrilled that she's writing, and I don't want to do anything to discourage her. I think Betsy told her how to spell "because.")

This is a "detour" only in that I didn't plan it and we're simply following the route Ramona's mapping. But, like the foray into Greek mythology, it's just a fun part of the whole journey.

Ramona learns so much from her older sisters (it's education by osmosis) and right now, what she seems to be learning is that it's fun to learn.

That's a road worth traveling. And it's confirmation enough for me that when you lay the groundwork of a rich, fun and educational atmosphere (especially one that includes regular trips to the library) the learning will follow.


Heather said...

I just love the basket idea, thank you! We have books in every corner of the house from our weekly trips. And the fines, oh the fines!
I have a fun scavenger hunt that I send mine on-they have to find all sorts of genres on their list. It sure keeps them busy!

Anonymous said...

What you wrote is so true. It's great for your daughter to have such wonderful examples to follow.

Meredith said...

We adore the library!! I think we may have over 100 books right now in all our baskets! I LOVE Ramona's report, too cute!

Ma Beck said...

I found your blog looking for Quodvultdeus's homily on the Holy Innocents. (I didn't want to have to transcribe it all!)

Then I read your conversion story and was moved to tears. Mine is very similar, though I was a cradle Catholic who fell away.

Thanks for sharing.

Shirley said...

We love our trips too... we are lucky enough to have multiple branches close by and so we can visit often as we have our travels about town. And I can't help but love the ride home. Usually I glance in the rear-view mirror to find someone poking someone or some other grievous offense. But on library days, all I see is the tops of heads, because they are all bowed reading their books! Ah, the [short-lived] tranquility!

Jennifer said...

Mommies and Zoos are two very important subjects though! ;)

Alice Gunther said...


And I have a bag of wildly overdue books to return this weekend! :/

Beck said...

That library basket idea is SMART - right now, they congregate on top of the piano, where they REALLY shouldn't go.