Monday, December 10, 2012

Homeschooling at the Library

Students at Hill School Listening on Headphones to Recordings of Classical Music in School Library

When home got too difficult, distracting and unfriendly- to- quiet for my youngest homeschooler (15), I packed up his books and took him to the library.   Every morning, we got dressed up and took his books to the large, elegant library in town.  We went upstairs in the antique building with all its stately furniture, and sat in a large room, for 2 hours, and did his studies.  It was inspiring!

It seemed like we were in Boston, sitting in one of the rooms at Harvard College. (Okay, I have a vivid imagination!)  But the environment of that library inspired us to want to learn. . . To want to be quiet and to really study.   While my teenager worked on his books, his math and his writing, I crocheted or read from John Wesley's journals.  I sat across the table from my student and was available at any moment to help him.  But we mostly worked quietly and independently because that is how the best of learning takes place - when one is thinking and analyzing on one's own.

At times we would take breaks. I would look at the archives of historic books in the vaults, or take in the old artwork on the walls.  My student would walk through the different rooms and see what kinds of books were available. Then we would get back to our quiet little world of learning.

This daily excursion went on for months.  All too soon, the season changed and many new patrons were arriving to use computers. The tables and desks in every room were crowded with people needing wifi, and that took away the beauty and the silence of the inspired world of old fashioned learning.  So we stopped going.

I am remembering this today because, once again, my home has become crowded with noise, distractions and a great many people. The environment has become unfriendly to education.  So I must find a way to turn my own stately old home into a library of sorts. I will work on enticing the family to want to sit and learn in any of the rooms. I must pull out exciting literature, decorate the walls with art that makes one think, and try my very best to compete with the allurement of video games, computers and television. Somehow, I will make my home into a pleasant type of library that is far more interesting than the distractions that go on here.  And once I set my mind to do this, the happiness it brings me will be infectious!  All the children will think learning is pleasant, and that studying is delightful.  Even if it is only for 2 hours each day. 

Mrs. White

Never Forget This - Education Must Not Be Rushed.

The Comfort of Home - The Light in the Window.

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Deanna said...

Blessings to you, Mrs. White.
Libraries are one of my favorite places to escape to....when others remain quiet.

Years ago, when I was a Para, the Library was what they called a media room where the students played games and worked on projects. The quiet disappeared and the young students didn't have a clue to respect a quiet Library.

Merry Christmas,

busymomof10 said...

I enjoyed reading this post! Libraries have certainly changed over the years -- you are right, they are now crowded with computer users!

I remember as a child going to the big, downtown library with my Mom and Dad on Sunday afternoons. It was a big two-story building and a huge globe was suspended like a chandelier over the stately, spiral staircase. I always loved those visits! :)

Blessings to you my dear as you seek to find a quiet place suitable for learning in your busy home!

Anonymous said...

That sounds so lovely, Sharon. I DO wish that certain library rooms were preserved with all their old-fashioned elegance and maintained a quiet, un-distracted demeanor.

While it's okay to have media areas, I wish they were relegated to certain places only.

I hope you are able to re-create this at home, and now I am inspired to do the same!

We might not reach our ideals, but without having any, would we aspire to do anything!?

Unknown said...

When my kids were younger, we used to visit the library at least once a week. It had been a while, but recently I gave a friend a ride to the doctor. Knowing the library is right next door to the doctor's office, we went prepared to wait for our friend at the library. My 2 high schoolers did their math and Essay writing. I set up our younger one on the computer to do her Time4learning, which she uses for all her subjects. And I got some of my journaling done, which I don't get to do as often as I'd like. What a perfect morning without distractions! We each also went home with some books and a movie to watch together that night. I had almost forgotten how much I love the library. I think we'll be doing this more often. Thank you for the reminder and for sharing. :)

Unknown said...

I just love libraries. We have some old libraries here in Pittsburgh that are just lovely. We did school at the library one day a week last fall. We were so disciplined!