Next Generation of Homeschooling Resources

Next Generation of Homeschooling Resources

by Brianne Anderson

At the end of last school year, most of us parents were celebrating a return to “normal” over the summer. The pool was opening again, the summer reading program was back at the Library, and we could again look forward to spending time outside with our families at summer concerts and fun events.

I don’t know about you, but the fact that we are not totally back to pre-COVID normal is still a hard pill for me to swallow. Masks are again donning faces as cases surge and social distancing is definitely still an important part of being out in society. Our area schools are again debating how to bring kids back to the classrooms safely.

Because of the unease from the last year, we have seen a high spike in the number of families who have chosen to not send their kids to school and instead teach them from home. Homeschooling has been an extremely popular option in Ames for many years due to the support of the Ames Homeschool Assistance Program, Library resources, and a strong community of parents, but if you are one of the families new to the field because of COVID-related circumstances, you are not alone--and Ames Public Library is here to help!

Besides our amazing assortment of books and materials in the Library, we have a whole collection of awesome resources online, too. Here are a few of my favorites that might be just the ticket if you need a boost of help while home schooling this year. Access to all of these are FREE 24/7 with an Ames Public Library account.

Brainfuse Help Now (description from website): “Stuck on a tough homework assignment? Looking for test prep resources? Brainfuse offers virtual live tutoring, a 24-hour writing assignment review, study groups, flashcards, and can even help create a study plan. Find test prep for college entrance exams and ASVAB. Adult learners will find tutoring and study guides just for adults, as well as computer training courses, and study guides for the U.S. Citizenship Test, TABE, TOEFL, GED, and more.” I love this resource because you can actually log on with a live tutor and get real-time help with assignments, and their writing lab will edit your assignments and send it back to you with super helpful notes.

GCF Learnfree: This resource is SO COOL! Need to teach kids how to use Microsoft Office or other technology skills, GCF LearnFree is the place to start. Need help with math or reading? Are your older kids getting ready for their first jobs or need to learn everyday life skills? Check out their more than 125 self-paced tutorials or explore teaching guides and ready-made lesson plans. Seriously, there are resources on here for everyone and in such an easy-to-use interface.

If you are looking for a fun literacy-based activity to complement your learning, join our Homeschool Book Club! We meet the first Thursday of every month from 10:00-11:00am in the Library’s auditorium. Each month we will discuss a book together featuring a different genre, take turns sharing about our reading, and have a fun activity. Each book is about a 3rd - 4th grade reading level but all are great read-alouds, so we encourage families with younger children to read them together and participate too. All attendees at the first event in September should come prepared to share about a favorite book they read over the summer, and every family will receive a free copy of our selection for October.

Whether you are new to homeschooling or seasoned veterans, Ames Public Library is here to help. We’d be happy to show you how to use any of these online resources, or even borrow books you need for your curriculum through inter-library loan. Give us a call or stop by anytime.