We have seen discussion on listservs recently about the need for libraries to provide more information about homeschool resources since more parents are choosing to keep their children at home this fall because of the pandemic. It’s important to delineate among: parents who choose to school their children at home and provide their own curriculum and activities; parents who choose to have their children learn at home and be enrolled in the school district’s online school option; and parents whose children will likely do school at home sporadically, dependent on whether it is deemed safe for schools to be open for on-site learning. Library support may overlap in some areas, no matter which type of home learning is taking place.
Homeschooling/Home Study: Education directed by the parent/guardian in accordance with state guidelines.
Unschooling: Dictated by the child’s interests and is typically less structured than homeschooling and not connected to a formal curriculum.
School at Home: For students currently enrolled in school including fully online option, or a hybrid online/in person option, or who will be doing school at home temporarily due to school closures.
Considerations for Supporting Learning from Home
Families will likely be searching for materials and resources to supplement online assignments and lessons. Ensure links to online resources can be located easily on your library’s website.
Consider adding information to your website about technology and access available through the library to help learners navigate online learning.
- Laptops, tablets, e-readers
- Keyboards, headsets, cameras, power strips and extension cords, projectors
- Library Wi-Fi accessibility (hours and restrictions)
- Mobile hotspots, or locations to access internet (bookmobiles, neighborhood businesses, etc.)
Access to books and digital materials:
Ensure learners and families know how to access, the public library’s collection of print and electronic books, music, learning materials, nontraditional items for checkout, reference support and reader’s advisory, and everything else the library offers.
Parents may be looking for physical materials including:
- STEM materials such as: Legos, straws and connectors, magnets, sorting games
- Art and craft supplies
- Learning/themed kits
- Hobby items: cake pans, rock polishers, sports and playground equipment, binoculars or telescopes, garden equipment, musical instruments, sewing machines
- Board and yard games
- Work closely with schools and local homeschool groups to help communicate library services and ways to get library cards. Some families may not be familiar with what your library has to offer, and some may have stopped using the library due to fines or other reasons.
Learning, whether at school or at home, is impeded if children are hungry, unsafe, or do not have basic supplies for self-care or for school. Libraries nationwide are partnering with schools and local agencies to not only increase access to books and learning materials, but to increase access to food, diapers, school supplies, and more.
Become familiar with information to help families access local support services for: food, shelter, safety, employment, clothing, childcare etc.
Vermont Homeschooling/Schooling from Home Support Resources
Vermont Agency of Education: Home Study - Forms and guidelines for enrolling in home study, resources, end of year assessments, special education guidelines
- Home Study Updates-COVID-19
- Home Study FAQ-COVID-19
- Guidelines for Home Study in Vermont - Contains information necessary to prepare and submit an enrollment notice for homeschooling. Excerpts from relevant statutes and rules are also provided.
- Minimum Course of Study (MCOS) - Vermont state statute requires that parents provide a list of skills and topics, scope and sequence, for each of the topic areas that the student will be learning about during the course of the school year for each child.
- Home Study Form Instructions and Checklist
- Home Study Newsletter
- Questions may be referred to the Home Study Team via phone at 802-828-6225 or email AOE.HomeStudy@vermont.gov.
Vermont PBS: At Home Learning - Vermont Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Agency of Education (AOE) are partnering to support continuity of learning for our students and school communities this Fall.
- Learning Media - VTPBS and PBS have curated FREE, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans, and more for teachers like you.
- HSLDA Homeschooling law, rights, cases, and resources
- Oak Meadow – Resources for families and independent learners in kindergarten to grade 12
- Rebecca Rupp Resources - Books and educational resources for all ages
- Swanton Public Library: Home Learning - Books and educational resources for all ages
- Facebook Groups/Listserv Groups
Booklist compiled from Vermont library listservs (PDF)
Good readers advisory is important when sharing homeschooling book titles to ensure parents know you are not providing a curriculum but rather a list of resources.
- ALA Blog - Homeschoolers and the Public Library
- ALSC - Homeschoolers’ Experiences with the Public Library: A Phenomenological Study
- Burlington Free Press - Uneasy about hybrid school, some Vermont families choose an alternative education path
- Maine Policy Review - Homeschoolers and Public Libraries: A Synergistic Relationship
- Seven Days - Amid Pandemic, Vermont Homeschool Enrollments Surge
- SLJ - Homeschooling Families Tap into Library Services, from Storytime to Science Equipment
- USA Today - Homeschool pods are gaining traction amid worries about school reopening; here’s how parents are getting the finances to work
- VT Digger - As schools announce reopening plans, many parents opt to homeschool