Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Homeschooling Meet n' Greet

The library is naturally one of the first places most home-schoolers visit for their work.  In light of this, I have planned a general get together for all interested families.  We will be holding a Meet n' Greet where parents and kids can get to know each other and exchange ideas about testing, curriculum, assignments etc.  It's a great way to socialize and meet others of like-minded attitude towards education.

Here is a list of places one can browse for more information:


I’m Not Consumed http://www.notconsumed.com/
About: "Whether it's death, divorce or deployment, many women find themselves "suddenly single." Circumstances rage out of control and questions beg for answers." Resources offered: This website offers support and resources for single parents doing homeschooling, provided by a single mom homeschooler who has an M.A. in Early Childhood Education and a strong Christian faith.

Secular Homeschool www.secularhomeschool.com
SecularHomeschool.com provides information, resources, and a place to share and connect with secular homeschoolers across the world. It highlights secular homeschool resources, provides a blog forum for discussion groups, online interest groups, and more.

Homeschool Christian Youth Association www.hcya.org 
The Homeschool Christian Youth Association is a nonprofit Christian service organization serving home school families and students via sports programs in basketball, baseball, football, soccer, swimming, track, and volleyball for boys and girls.

Extraordinary Education http://www.extraed.net/
About: Extraordinary Education is a cooperative non-profit learning community of families and teachers who educate children outside the traditional school setting. Services offered: It provides onsite classes, activities, and support services to families as they seek to meet the customized educational needs of their extraordinary students according to the parents’ goals for their child’s education. Services include clubs, classes, teams, competitions, field trips and social activities for students and support, information and educational workshops for parents.

Homeschool Reviews http://homeschoolreviews.com/
This website provides users’ reviews of various homeschool curricula and resources.

The Homeschool Store www.thehomeschoolstore.com 281-890-4295
This privately owned store run by a homeschool family buys and sells new and used homeschool curricula, novels, manipulatives, and other school-related materials. Located at the junction of FM 1960 and Highway 249, at 12315 Ann Lane, Houston, TX 77064, it is open 10-5 Tuesday to Saturday and also open Mondays during July and August.

Rainbow Resource www.rainbowresource.com 1-800-841-3456
This private, for-profit store run by a homeschool family offers curriculum and other school products as well as free curriculum consulting. Located in Illinois, sales are online, or by phone or mail. The website has a chat line. The mailing address is: 655 Township Road 500 East, Toulon, IL 61483 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Superhero Training Camp

Superheroes took over our library today!
We trained over 150 little superheroes.
They started out at HEADQUARTERS where they received their mission then worked through 12 different stations and met back at headquarters to receive their CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION and prizes. 

The most popular station was our papier mache boulder!

Summer Reading


It's hot, it's sizzling and it's time to keep reading.  Here are a few ways to continue exploring the magic of reading through the summer months with your little ones:

- Attend Library Programs:  And while at the library, have your child choose a book that he or she enjoys.  If they choose the book, they’re more likely to read it

Read Together.  Take turns reading or talking about the pictures.  This stimulates learning and the love of reading in a deeper way and creates a bonding experience.

Read about Your Summer. If you’re planning a vacation, choose books that highlight the themes of your vacation, such as; summer, beach, pet, going to camp, etc.

Write. The ability to put down thoughts is just as essential as reading.  Start a journal and write about your reading materials or have your child draw from the story.

Join SRP. Join the library’s Summer Reading Program  and get incentives for something you already do!

Be an Example.  SRP is not just for children. Adults can get incentives, but most importantly, adults model behavior.  So if you read, your child will too.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Library Went to the Dogs!

Last week our library was overrun by kittens.
This week, as part of our Springtime Story Time, the puppies came to our library!
All the children and adults enjoyed our books about dogs.

and we sang a song that went like this:
Puppy dog, puppy dog, turn around.
Puppy dog, puppy dog, touch the ground.
Puppy dog, puppy dog, sit and beg,
Puppy dog, puppy dog, lift your leg.
Puppy dog, puppy dog, try to talk,
Puppy dog, puppy dog, let's go for a walk... 
                                            - by Kathy Ross.

The kids were asked what other animals should come visit our library.  The most popular answer was.... SHARK!
A shark stopover would be difficult to arrange, but we never know who might will visit our Library next.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Library Overrun by KITTENS!

As part of our Springtime Story Times we had baby kittens visit our library!
All the children and adults enjoyed our books about kittens.
and we had an AWWW moment after AWWW moment once the kittens were brought out for the children to play with.

Even the reference librarians could not help themselves and had to participate:

Special thanks to Ms. Mary  for bravely bringing the kittens to the library.
Next week:

- See more at: http://www.hcpl.net/content/library-overrun-kittens#sthash.A0nHN3uY.dpuf

Monday, April 27, 2015

Library Overrun by First Graders!

Last Friday before the library opened, we had the pleasure of hosting ALL of the First graders along with their teachers and some parents from a nearby elementary school.  The library was a lively place to be!  All the children learned about the events that we host here and about our Summer Reading Program. They especially loved the idea of getting FREE books as part of our SRP recognition awards.
The word quickly spread that we are the place where books live and we are the place where LEGO, Minecraft, games and art programs take place.
The kids were treated to a number of lively stories and games during their visit and left with small gifts to remember OUR Library for this summer and beyond. 
We were very happy to have welcomed this group and are eager to host other schools.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Toca Boca App Review

Lately I've been playing around with Toca Boca.

Toca Boca is a collection of apps that are not games, but digital toys that rely on creative play with no points earned and no moving up a score chart.  There is no speech, no text, yet it’s easily understandable and totally intuitive.  The apps feature bright colors, well designed visuals while it does not contain any adware or analytics.
The Guardian says: “Toca Boca divides children's activities into five categories: active play (sport), make-believe, manipulative play (building stuff), creative play (drawing) and learning play (books and games).”
Toca Boca now has several apps, which are aimed primarily at children ages 4 and up. Most cost $3, but some are free and are available on Android devices and for Kindle Fire.
Some of these apps are:
Toca House, in which players perform chores like sweeping, gardening while playing. Learning chores CAN be FUN!

Toca Hair Salon 2, in which children wash, cut and style the hair of salon patrons or their own digital hair.  Just think of the many times a child gave themselves a real haircut!  This will take the mystery out.

Toca Lab is another app, in which children are introduced to the elements of the periodic table.  In this game they are able to perform the scientific things we actually do in real labs to elements, such as freeze, boil, shake, etc.  These elements, however, have little personalities, make sounds and behave in most adorable and sometimes destructive ways.  Again, science; cause and effect.
Toca Band is a new app that is less appealing.  It is repetitive and the music staggers too quickly.  The melody is too brief, yet fun to arrange. But all the apps can't be perfect.
In their review, New York Times focused on the noncompetitive environment of the game that keeps no score.
All in all, Toca Boca has many varieties of play learning and is easier to play than Minecraft and no monsters jump out.
Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

More Bulletin Boards

As I go through my computer files I keep finding more images of the bulletin boards I've done.  Here are some from last year:
 Another shot of the "Read Across America" bulletin board for March.
 This was up in the summer and has an aquatic theme, or ocean bulletin board:

 Of course, we had to put Olaf somewhere since he's been buzzing around all year:
 I made an international children's board in the library's children's section and had the clouds spell "Hello" in different languages:
 The Solar System Bulletin Board was put up for last summer's reading program and whoever finished reading an assigned number of books, got to put up a star with their name on the sky:
 And the most recent bulletin board is, of course, MINECRAFT bulletin board.

Bulletin Boards

During slow times at the library I like to decorate our bulletin boards.  It's just one way to get my creative energy out there.  Typically, our boards get changed with the seasons.  The first one here is for March, which is "Read Across America" month that coincides with Dr. Seuss's Birthday.
 And another board was made for Valentine's, but ended up staying longer as it fits the general library theme (and was slightly more labor intensive).

Friday, April 10, 2015


OK, so fake snow.  Every library needs to get this!
It was such a hit!  We hardly every see snow and this
looks and feels like the real thing.  Too bad we couldn't fill
a whole swimming pool with this stuff.  Love it!


Today we had a bunch of bunnies show up at my story time!
They were all so colorful and creative with the masks :)
I got the templates on sale at Michael's for 70% off the day before.  Whoot!

Trying email

So I started an email list to let all the caregivers who come to my story times know our current events.  So far it seems like I've had little success, but we will know when the numbers of attendees for programs will grow.  Can't wait to see if the email updates make a difference.  I'm limiting to sending only one a month as I don't want to spam everyone.  Fingers crossed :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ART at the Library

One of my wishes as a child was to be able to draw anything.  Many years and hours of practice later I have attained that magic power and am able to now pass it onto others.
Our Still Life drawing class that meets on Wednesday nights has been well attended and quite successful.  We are halfway through the program, but it's not too late to drop in and learn new techniques.  We always create new magic as we learn new drawing techniques.

- See more at: http://www.hcpl.net/content/still-life-drawing-going-strong#sthash.DyVTXGnM.dpuf

Picture Books

   Picture Books!

Illustration is one of the oldest forms of communication. Drawings transcend language with their ability to tell stories.
With picture books, readers are able to focus only on the pictures and interpret the story visually.
Some people enjoy looking at images more than they enjoy reading while others are too young to read.  Picture books are the perfect way for people to share time together.  One way for a young child who is too young to read is to talk about the illustrations and explain what they see to a caring adult or to their sibling.  Telling stories is an essential pre-reading skill, which sprouts a child’s curiosity for reading, introduces them to the world of storytelling and builds character.  This type of reading also instills in them a love of language and improves literacy while sharing their imagination.
Pictures are magical!
For many, the life-long love of reading will start with a picture book.
Click on the titles below to request some of our favorite wordless books:
- See more at: http://www.hcpl.net/content/picture-books#sthash.C2LBJ52K.dpuf

Keep on Readin'!

Encouraging a love for reading is one of the best gifts you can give your child. 
To help them keep their minds sharp during the winter break, sneak reading into their daily activities.  Here are a few fun tips from Baldwin Boettcher Library:
• Encourage your kids to read and write Holiday cards.  If they are too young to write, let them make a drawing in the outgoing cards.
• Encourage your child to write and draw by providing materials and writing ideas. Have your child write thank you notes, create to do lists, and make signs for their bedroom doors.
• While making desserts, let them participate in figuring out the recipe; let them read the ingredients and measure.  Or even make a family cookbook!
• Have them retell a story from a book that they have recently read or been read to.
• Even if no books make your child's wish list, perhaps use them as stocking stuffers and encourage your child to read them.
Or consider visiting your library's story times during the winter break. 
  • A library card is a gift that costs nothing and one that always keeps on giving.
- See more at: http://www.hcpl.net/content/keep-reading-through-holidays#sthash.JNc8HAoI.dpuf

Manga Contest

We held a drawing contest at our library and received many GREAT artworks.
All the artists worked really hard on their creations and the work looks great!  It was very difficult to choose just one winner.  
Here are some close up examples of the artworks that were turned in for this contest:


All of the artwork will be on display until the end of February.
CONGRATULATIONS to all participants!
- See more at: http://www.hcpl.net/content/manga-contest-winners#sthash.5M2uURBX.dpuf

Story Time!

Here's a little cartoon I made to feature our Story Time at the library: