Who are Homeschoolers and What do They Want?
To Feel Welcomed: Homeschoolers want to be welcome to use the library during school hours. Many complain of librarians who frown at them and ask them why they are there during school hours. Yet, what better place to learn?
Late readers: There are many different educational philosophies, some of which encourage delaying teaching reading until after the age of 8 or 10. Some homeschooled children also have difficulty with reading skills, just as some traditionally schooled children may. They are coming to the library looking for help. Please do not judge the parents to be neglectful or the children to be 'behind' for this.
Grade Levels: Many home school children are at several different grade levels of curriculum. They may be in 4th grade math and 2nd grade grammar. The question "What grade are you in?" is often not an easy one or a comfortable one. Please ask instead what grade level book they are looking for.
Special Needs: Many homeschoolers have children that have special educational needs. In fact, many have left the school systems because of special needs and they are struggling to meet them at home instead.
The need could be for age appropriate yet high school level reading material for an 8 year old - or for books that don't look childish but are of a low level for an older student. Educators for decades have long sought such materials, and homeschoolers are no different. Knowing the books in your collection that fit these unique needs is a terrific boon to homeschoolers.
Confidentiality: Many homeschoolers fear losing their right to homeschool. They fear that they will be harassed or that laws will change and if they are known in the community they will lose their right to homeschool.
Please be aware that many homeschoolers will worry that if they give a library their name and phone number on a homeschool contact list that that information might be given to another governmental agency. Some even fear coming forth as a homeschooler for fear that the library staff will report them as truant. Trust is hard won in many cases, and takes time.